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Title: The subjunctive in Celtic : studies in historical phonology and morphology
Author: Darling, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 496X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis attempts to address a number of problems related to the phonological and morphological development of the subjunctive mood in the Celtic languages, and to come to a reconstruction of the category based on all of the data attested in the documented languages. The origin of the various subjunctive morphemes attested in the Celtic languages has long been a contested matter in comparative Celtic and Indo-European linguistics, particularly regarding the question of whether the ā-subjunctive of Old Irish constitutes a shared innovation with the Italic branch of the language family. In this thesis, the data is comprehensively reassessed, attempting to reconstruct the Proto-Celtic subjunctive from the ground up. After a brief survey of the subjunctive in Indo-European more generally, the material from the relatively well-understood Insular Celtic languages is examined. Significant progress has been made in the treatment of the subjunctive in Irish and Brittonic, particularly by McCone (1991), and, more recently, Zair (2012b). Some debate still remains, however, particularly in relation to a set of irregular forms in the Brittonic languages (MW el, O/MBr. -el), which are taken by Jasanoff (1994; 2009) as conclusive proof of an Italo-Celtic ā-subjunctive. This work shows that these forms can be explained without recourse to an ā-subjunctive category otherwise unattested in Brittonic Celtic. The distinguishing characteristics of the subjunctive categories attested in Insular Celtic are then used to come to a provisional reconstruction of the category. The second half of the thesis assesses the Continental Celtic evidence for the subjunctive. As this material is more fragmentary, and there is greater controversy as to its interpretation, first the historical phonology of Gaulish and Celtiberian is examined, in order to set criteria by which subjunctive forms may be identified. The possible evidence for the subjunctive in these languages is then analysed on a case-by-case basis, in order to establish whether it is truly admissible as evidence of the category. It is found that many of the forms previously identified in the scholarship as subjunctive are likely to have been misinterpreted. Nonetheless, there is a small but significant body of evidence for the category in Continental Celtic. This is finally brought together with the Insular Celtic material to establish a reconstruction of the Proto-Celtic subjunctive. The possible consequences of this reconstruction to that of the Indo-European subjunctive are then briefly assessed.
Supervisor: Meissner, Torsten ; Clackson, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Indo-European ; Celtic ; Historical Linguistics ; Comparative Philology ; Verbal Morphology ; Continental Celtic