LINGUIST List 13.2887

Fri Nov 8 2002

Books: Language Description:Scottish Gaelic,Lamb

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  1. LINCOM EUROPA, Scottish Gaelic, William Lamb

Message 1: Scottish Gaelic, William Lamb

Date: 06 Nov 2002 19:27 GMT
Subject: Scottish Gaelic, William Lamb

Scottish Gaelic
William Lamb 
University of Edinburgh and Colaisde Bheinn na Faoghla 

Scottish Gaelic (ScG), along with Irish and Manx, is a member of the
Goidelic branch of the Celtic family of Indo-European languages. At
its peak of influence around 1000AD, it was undoubtedly the national
language of Scotland, but ever since, its fate has been one of gradual
decline. Today, the Gaidhealtachd or Gaelic-speaking region is
confined to the islands off the west coast of the country, aside from
small pockets dotted throughout the northern and western
Highlands. Although now spoken by only slightly more than 1% (65,978)
of the country's population, it has had a rich influence on Scotland's
history, toponymy, art, literature and national folklore.

Scottish Gaelic has received much prior linguistic attention for its
complex phonology (one dialect distinguishing at least 5 different
lateral approximates), its system of consonant mutations, and its rich
dialectal variation. However, relatively little has been published on
its syntax. It is a dependent-marking, nominative-accusative VSO
language . The verbal system tends to be agglutinating while the
nominal system is somewhat fusional. Pronominal forms are especially
notable in this regard, with a large proliferation of
'prepositional-pronouns' evincing different forms according to person,
number, and gender. There are two genders (M & F), three numbers
(Sing., Pl., and dual) and four cases extant in the language. Stem
modification and suppletion are common morphological
processes. Distinctions of mood, aspect, and voice tend to be made
periphrastically, employing a combination of verbal particles,
auxiliaries and 'verbal-nouns' that can function differently depending
upon their syntactic status.

Finally, the grammar ends with sections on discourse phenomena,
interjections and exclamations, the influence of English, and a full
oral folktale with interlinear translation.

This new grammar is the most up-to-date one available on the
language. It includes many topics that have never, or only rarely,
been dealt with in the available literature, for example information
structure, complex clause formation, and descriptions of various types
of discourse-related constructions. It has been informed by an ongoing
corpus-based study of register variation in the language, highlighting
some of the initial differences that have been found in this data
set. It is fully-referenced throughout for further information on
Gaelic grammar and sociolinguistics. Useful for the language learner,
it also includes a glossary of the Gaelic words in the text and a
statistically-derived list of the 100 most frequent words in the
language with definitions.

ISBN 3 89586 408 0. (2nd printing) 
Languages of the World/Materials 401. 
100pp. USD 42.40 / EUR 38.30 / GBP 23.40. 

Mini order: Save 30% ordering two or more titles! Special offer to
individuals only. Check LINCOM's online catalogue:

Freibadstr. 3, D-81543 Muenchen, Germany; 
FAX +49 8962269404; 
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Thursday, January 17, 2002