12 Facts About Gaulish


Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language spoken in parts of Continental Europe before and during the period of the Roman Empire.

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Together with Lepontic and the Celtiberian spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, Gaulish helps form the geographic group of Continental Celtic languages.

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Gaulish is found in some 800 inscriptions including calendars, pottery accounts, funeral monuments, short dedications to gods, coin inscriptions, statements of ownership, and other texts, possibly curse tablets.

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Gaulish was first written in Greek script in southern France and in a variety of Old Italic script in northern Italy.

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The exact time of the final extinction of Gaulish is unknown, but it is estimated to have been about the sixth century AD, after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

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Bonnaud maintains that while Latinisation occurred earlier in Provence and in major urban centers, while Gaulish persisted longest, possibly as late as the tenth century with evidence for continued use according to Bonnaud continuing into the ninth century, in Langres and the surrounding regions, the regions between Clermont, Argenton and Bordeaux, and in Armorica.

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The most famous Gaulish record is the Coligny calendar, a fragmented bronze tablet dating from the 2nd century AD and providing the names of Celtic months over a five-year span; it is a lunisolar calendar trying to synchronize the solar year and the lunar month by inserting a thirteenth month every two and a half years.

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Longest known Gaulish text is the Larzac tablet, found in 1983 in l'Hospitalet-du-Larzac, France.

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Gaulish had seven cases: the nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental and the locative case.

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O-stems, Gaulish innovated the pronominal ending for the nominative plural -oi and genitive singular -i in place of expected -os and -os still present in Celtiberian.

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Gaulish verbs have present, future, perfect, and imperfect tenses; indicative, subjunctive, optative and imperative moods; and active and passive voices.

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The Indo-European s-aorist became the Gaulish t-preterit, formed by merging an old 3rd personal singular imperfect ending -t- to a 3rd personal singular perfect ending -u or -e and subsequent affixation to all forms of the t-preterit tense.

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