Celtiberian language

Celtiberian
Native toIberian Peninsula
EthnicityCeltiberians
Extinctattested 2nd to 1st century BC[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3xce
celt1247[2]
Mapa llengües paleohispàniques-ang.jpg
  Celtiberian in the context of the Paleohispanic languages

Celtiberian or Northeastern Hispano-Celtic is an extinct Indo-European language of the Celtic branch spoken by the Celtiberians in an area of the Iberian Peninsula between the headwaters of the Douro, Tagus, Júcar and Turia rivers and the Ebro river. This language is directly attested in nearly 200 inscriptions dated to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, mainly in Celtiberian script, a direct adaptation of the northeastern Iberian script, but also in the Latin alphabet. The longest extant Celtiberian inscriptions are those on three Botorrita plaques, bronze plaques from Botorrita near Zaragoza, dating to the early 1st century BC, labelled Botorrita I, III and IV (Botorrita II is in Latin). In the northwest was another Celtic language, Gallaecian (also known as Northwestern Hispano-Celtic), that was closely related to Celtiberian.

Overview

Enough has been preserved to show that the Celtiberian language could be called Q-Celtic (like Goidelic), and not P-Celtic like Gaulish.[3] For some, this has served to confirm that the legendary invasion of Ireland by the Milesians, preserved in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, actually happened.

Some scholars believe that Brythonic is more closely related to Goidelic than to Gaulish;[4] it would follow that the P/Q division is polyphyletic, the change from to p occurring in Brythonic and Gaulish at a time when they were already separate languages, rather than constituting a division that marked a separate branch in the "family tree" of the Celtic languages. A change from PIE (q) to p also occurred in some Italic languages and Ancient Greek dialects: compare Oscan pis, pid ("who, what?") with Latin quis, quid; or Gaulish epos ("horse") and Attic Greek ἵππος hippos with Latin equus and Mycenaean Greek i-qo. Celtiberian and Gaulish are usually grouped together as the Continental Celtic languages, but this grouping is paraphyletic too: no evidence suggests the two shared any common innovation separately from Insular Celtic.

Celtiberian exhibits a fully inflected relative pronoun ios (as does, e.g., Ancient Greek), not preserved in other Celtic languages, and the particles -kue 'and' < *kʷe (cf. Latin -que, Attic Greek τε te), nekue 'nor' < *ne-kʷe (cf. Latin neque), ekue 'also, as well' < *h₂et(i)-kʷe (cf. Lat. atque, Gaulish ate, OIr. aith 'again'), ve "or" (cf. Latin enclitic -ve and Attic Greek ē < Proto-Greek *ē-we). As in Welsh, there is an s-subjunctive, gabiseti "he shall take" (Old Irish gabid), robiseti, auseti. Compare Umbrian ferest "he/she/it shall make" or Ancient Greek δείξῃ deiksēi (aorist subj.) / δείξει deiksei (future ind.) "(that) he/she/it shall show".