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Centres and Peripheries in Celtic Linguistics


Edited By Maria Bloch-Trojnar and Mark Ó Fionnáin

This book examines various aspects of Celtic linguistics from a general and more specific point of view. Amongst the topics investigated is the system of Irish initial mutations from both a linguistic universal and contrastive perspective. Other contributions analyse and cast new light on deverbal adjectives and assertive and declarative speech acts in Irish, communication and language transmission, change and policy, Breton and Sorbian grammars, as well as other issues of sociolinguistics in Irish, Welsh and Breton.

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Centre and Periphery in Munster Dialects of Irish (Diarmuid Ó Sé)


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Diarmuid Ó Sé

Centre and Periphery in Munster Dialects of Irish

Abstract: Differences between central and peripheral areas have been a recurrent theme in dialectology. A much-cited article by Henning Andersen discusses some examples from Polish, among other languages. In his Irish dialects and Irish-speaking districts (1951) Brian Ó Cuív distinguished between a ‘coastal region’ and a ‘central region’ in Co. Cork, and remarked that some of the features of the coastal area were also to be found at the western end of the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry. I elaborated considerably on these suggestions in an article which appeared (in Irish) in 2002. In preparing a new book on the dialect geography of Irish I have revisited the centre vs. periphery distinction in Munster, adding many linguistic features to those which I had previously cited. I have also had to reassess some of what I said earlier about the role of maritime contact. There is considerable evidence for the coastal spread of linguistic features in Irish, and Brian Ó Curnáin has put forward (in 2012) a map of 15 coastal isoglosses in Ulster, Connacht and Munster. However, doubts may be raised when diffusion is supposed to have occurred between areas which are non-contiguous, and perhaps rather distant from one another. Some suggestions about coastal contact between Clare and West Kerry which I adopted from Eric Hamp now seem to me to require revision. In general, the dialect geography of Munster supports the traditional observation...

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