Celtic Language Celtic Culture a Festschrift for Eric P Hamp

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Author: Edited by A.T.E. Matonis and Danial F. Melia

Publisher: Ford & Bailie Publishers

ISBN Number: 9780926689015

Publication Date: May 1990

Reviewed by: cuardai





Review:

“Celtic” applies to a group of related languages in the Indo-European language group and the cultures that developed in the communities that speak these languages. Many people in the scholastic communities consider that Celtic identity is not based on genetics or “blood” but on being part of this linguistic and cultural grouping.In the preface of the book the editors tell us that the book was compiled in honor of the achievements of Eric P. Hamp, and that the book can be considered to be a labor of love.  The book is a collection of essays written by Eric P. Hamp’s students, and people who were affected by his achievements.  The book is divided into five parts; the first is concerned with the Continental Celts and the Indo-Europeans, the second with the Irish, the third with the Scottish Gaelic, the fourth with the Welsh and the fifth part with the Bretons.The bibliography of Eric Hamp is added after the final section (Breton), it shows the extensive amount of wok that Eric Hamp has done in the field of Celtic culture.  It certainly is a fitting tribute!As can be seen from the simple summaries provided above the two parts that had the most essays were the Irish and the Welsh.  This is probably because (and I could be wrong) of the fact that with these two the language is still spoken somewhat widely and there are much in the way of literary material to deal with.  Ireland and Wales have a tradition of vernacular material that is very impressive compared to any other Celtic nation.The book is interesting in that it shows you that you can not really separate linguistics from mythology and poetry, which naturally leads to not being able to separate language from culture.  I would also venture out and say that to understand people you need to know their archeology, history, and culture.  Having said that I should also warn people that the book takes the language part of the title literally, if you are not interested in linguistics then many of the essays in this book if not all of them will be boring to you.  On the other hand you will also miss out on the mythological aspect of the essays, which the authors use the meaning of a word or name to explain. For a more indepth look at the book please check out my website: http://celticscholar.wordpress.com  


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