[tied] Re: Celtic Jutland
From: Joseph S Crary
The impacts of migrating populations on language? I thought Old
Norse, and the languages that developed from it, was the produce of
migrating IE speaking populations?
I think migration may be only one aspect of this issue. Language as a
tool of determining ethnic and social standing within heterogeneous
but structured cultures, is used to provide or deny economic
opportunity, whatever its form.
There are several clear patterns. The social structure of cultures
that occupied greater Denmark and the northwest German coast in the
Iron Age to late Roman period were, as has been noted, not
homogeneous. While they may have been heterogeneous, this may best be
compared to a layer cakes, not a checkerboard or patchwork. I think
the Roman and Beowulf accounts indicate the early structure was
broadly based and later it became more vertical or pyramid shaped,
still with a somewhat broad base.
I believe the Finn Fight episode exposes this aspect very well. Here
is a Friesian prince allied with and married to a Half-Dane prince
and princess, respectively. He has a son that is both Half-Dane and
Friesian. He employs Jute, as well as armed gangs of other ethnic
groups, as retainers. These are designated by custom, dress,
weapons, and language that tie them into the larger cultural
mechanisms that reinforce and support these behavior. However, at
least the leaders of these groups spoke a common lingo that provided
access to a greater cultural order.
However, at any level this upper social structure was supported by
several strata of landed peasants, each segregated to retain discrete
aspects of culture and language. Some nordic-germanic, some celt-
germanic, and some possibly both and neither. These kept separate to
maintain and reinforce the overall social structure. Still this would
keep active linguistic reservoirs that would from time to time spill
over to effect the common lingo.