Primitive Irish

Primitive Irish

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Primitive Irish

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Description:
Primitive Irish or Archaic Irish () is the oldest known form of the Goidelic languages. It is known only from fragments, mostly personal names, inscribed on stone in the ogham alphabet in Ireland and western Great Britain from around the 4th century to 7th or 8th century.

Characteristics

Transcribed ogham inscriptions, which lack a letter for the /p/ phoneme, show Primitive Irish to be similar in morphology and inflections to Gaulish, Latin, Classical Greek and Sanskrit. Many of the characteristics of modern (and medieval) Irish, such as initial mutations, distinct "broad" and "slender" consonants and consonant clusters, are not yet apparent.

More than 300 ogham inscriptions are known in Ireland, including 121 in County Kerry and 81 in County Cork, and more than 75 found outside Ireland in western Britain and the Isle of Man, including more than 40 in Wales, where Irish colonists settled in the 3rd century, and about 30 in Scotland, although some of these are in Pictish. Many of the British inscriptions are bilingual in Irish and Latin, but none show any sign of the influence of Christianity or Christian epigraphic tradition, suggesting they date before 391, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire; only about a dozen of the Irish inscriptions show any such sign.

The majority of ogham inscriptions are memorials, consisting of the name of the deceased in the genitive case, followed by...
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