15 Facts About Pictish


Pictish is the extinct Brittonic language spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.

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Virtually no direct attestations of Pictish remain, short of a limited number of geographical and personal names found on monuments and the contemporary records in the area controlled by the kingdoms of the Picts, dating to the early medieval period.

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Pictish was replaced by – or subsumed into – Gaelic in the latter centuries of the Pictish period.

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Pictish came under increasing influence from the Goidelic language spoken in Dal Riata from the eighth century until its eventual replacement.

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Pictish is thought to have influenced the development of modern Scottish Gaelic.

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Toponymist William Watson's exhaustive review of Scottish place names demonstrated convincingly the existence of a dominant P-Celtic language in historically Pictish areas, concluding that the Pictish language was a northern extension of British and that Gaelic was a later introduction from Ireland.

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William Forbes Skene argued in 1837 that Pictish was a Goidelic language, the ancestor of modern Scottish Gaelic.

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Pictish suggested that Columba's use of an interpreter reflected his preaching to the Picts in Latin, rather than any difference between the Irish and Pictish languages.

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Skene later revised his view of Pictish, noting that it appeared to share elements of both Goidelic and Brittonic:.

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In 1892, John Rhys proposed that Pictish was a non-Indo-European language.

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Pictish used this to reconcile the perceived translational difficulties of Ogham with the overwhelming evidence for a P-Celtic Pictish language.

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Pictish toponyms occur in Scotland north of the River Forth.

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Some Pictish names have been succeeded by Gaelic forms, and in certain instances the earlier forms appear on historical record.

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Several Pictish names are directly paralleled by names and nouns in other Brittonic languages.

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Several Pictish names are listed below according to their equivalents in Brittonic and other Celtic languages.

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