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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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Early Descriptions of Lower Sorbian and Breton Syntax: The Grammar Books by Julien Maunoir and Jan Chojnan (Till Vogt)


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Till Vogt

Early Descriptions of Lower Sorbian and Breton Syntax: The Grammar Books by Julien Maunoir and Jan Chojnan

Abstract: The present chapter presents the results of research on the oldest grammar books of Lower Sorbian and Breton, paying particular attention to the syntactic features displayed therein. The earliest known grammar of Lower Sorbian is a manuscript in Latin completed by the Protestant clergyman Jan Chojnan (1616–1664) in 1650 and retained in the Sorbian Cultural Archive in Budyšin/Bautzen. Chojnan used a terminology and structured his grammar similarly to the ancient grammar of Latin written by the fourth century grammarian Aelius Donatus and contemporary grammars of German and Polish. Notably, he does not discuss syntactic issues, claiming that Lower Sorbian syntax “follows the often mentioned pattern of Latin and German.” The first Breton grammarian was the Jesuit priest Julien Maunoir (1606–1683) who published his grammar, a printed book in French with Latin headings and grammatical terms, in Quimper-Corentin in 1659. The structure of his grammar, as well as his terminology, resemble those known from ancient and contemporary grammars of French and Latin, especially the Latin grammar written by the Flemish humanist Jan de Spauter (1480–1520). Chojnan and Maunoir both lived in the late Renaissance era and apparently wrote their grammars according to the traditions known at that time. This chapter substantiates the hypothesis that both grammarians imposed grammatical features of Latin, French and German on the minority language they aimed...

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