GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-07 > 1248448163
From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Who killed the men of England -
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2009 15:09:23 +0000 (GMT)
Thank you for the support but I would appreciate it if we now move onto the subject of the thread. One aspect that I find interesting is change of language and how it relates to change of population. Britain is a bit of a weird one when it comes to language change and seems to always have gone against the prevailing trends. Britain was the exception in the empire in that Celtic remained strong whereas Celtic died out everywhere else. Then, in post-Roman times, when most of the old Roman empire remained Latinate (despite widespread Germanic intrusions the Germanic-Latin border only shifted a little,) Britain was again the exception in that it was one of the only former Roman provinces where Germanic realy took hold. Then again, it was the only Roman province where Germanic was not competing with the prestige of Latin. I have a personal hunch that in the 5th and 6th centuries AD sub-Roman Britain may have been divided by
geography and class into Latin and Celtic speakers as well as groups of Germanic mercenaries and settlers. Is it possible that Anglo-Saxon benefited from this lack of common language to become a Lingua Franca? As I posted recently, a similar huge shift towards Gaelic happened in Scotland in the 9th-11th centuries. over an area that had previously featured several languages (Gaelic, Brythonic, Pictish and Anglo-Saxon). Its an interesting subject to explore because language change is often linked in peoples minds with conquest and mass immigration but it sometimes is subtler than that and in itself it is not always an indicator of numbers of migrants. I think this is also demonstrated in places like Turkey, Hungary etc where it seems the vast majority of the genes there are not those brought by the Asiatic people who brought their languages. That is of course also true for the Latin-derived languages of Europe. In fact, there are not
many case where the dominant genes ina country appear to be those of the people who brought the modern language to the country. So, I do not think it should be assumed that language change in England was accompanied with a huge influx of genes. That is not the norm it seems.