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If you set a story in a Celtic Otherworld which is co-located with London, your otherworldly Celts are not all that likely to speak Irish; a lost eastern dialect of Welsh is more probable.

If you set a story in 1666, and your viewpoint character does not have access to time-travel, he probably would not be familiar with the concepts of telegraphing, or oxygen.

Just saying, like.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Francis Davey
May. 20th, 2013 07:24 am (UTC)
Quite right
I don't know the story in question, but I am sure you are quite right, though I might express the language as "the lost language of which Welsh was an Eastern dialect" :-).

But could there not have been a more successful series of Irish invasions than there were historically, such that (say) they colonised Cornwall and Devon and then slowly took over the lowlands of England. Implausible, but surely possible given some concatenation of events.
May. 20th, 2013 10:01 am (UTC)
Re: Quite right
Sure, but this is fairly firmly set in our timeline's 1666, with Celtic decoration. del_c nails it in his comment below.
May. 20th, 2013 02:09 pm (UTC)
I'd be prepared to believe in a Goidelic Q-celtic presence in the south east that goes back to *before* the Brythonic P-celtic speakers, but the problem even with that is that much of the modern perception of "Irish" is itself modern: any genuinely ancient cultural presence in SE England is going to sound neither modern Welsh, nor modern Irish, nor any pre-modern culture we can reasonably recognise based on the sources we have left to us.

The only way out is to suppose that even fairies learn to speak in contemporary accents, thus justifying all the urban fantasy where elves or vampires have whatever today's local dialect is. It's just more plausible than the alternatives unless you're a professor of philology.
May. 20th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
I suspect it might be something closer to Proto-Celtic, as evidenced in early Gaulish inscriptions. Not much good evidence for a serious Q-Celtic presence in that area that early (unless you buy into diffusionism, which I don't. I'm on the John Hines side of that debate.) If it was the south-west, then some Q-Celtic influence is more plausible, just about. But if people must do pan-Celticism (and I really, really, really wish they wouldn't, then Proto-Celtic is the safest choice in fiction).
May. 20th, 2013 09:05 am (UTC)
Irish is Celtic and Celtic is Irish. Anything else is just crazy talk, man. Ask any American science fiction or fantasy writer.
May. 20th, 2013 10:06 am (UTC)
I have to say I have seen English writers do this too - here's one example.
May. 20th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
It's a long time since I read it, but don't the "English" fairies of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel use a few Irish words too?
May. 20th, 2013 10:15 am (UTC)
Alas, some people need a kick in the goidels.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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