Research for fiction

Moderator: kevin

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Joined: 2019-12-05, 1:38
Real Name: Matt Wheeler
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Research for fiction

Postby MWheel » 2019-12-05, 2:14

Good day everyone. I'm working on a piece of fiction set in Britain during the iron age. I know very little about linguistics or Celtic languages, but I gather that linguists hypothesize a common language spoken in the British Isles during or before this time which may already have begun to diverge into the Neo Brittonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, Cumbric, Breton, maybe Pictish).

For this story, I want to construct believable names for places and characters. These may be early forms of surviving names, or invented names derived from literal meanings. I want these names to be somewhat credible, meaning they're derived from their earliest traceable forms in related languages. Obviously I need some expert help with this, whether from scholars or texts (or more likely both). Does anyone have any ideas as to first steps here? I'm much obliged for your time.

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Re: Research for fiction

Postby kevin » 2019-12-05, 10:17

Hi Matt, welcome to the forum!

I'm certainly not an expert on these historical forms of the languages, but let's see if I can help anyway. I think the main problem is that we just don't know much about the Celtic languages spoken at that time. "Iron age" is a quite broad range, but I think it matches quite nicely the age that Wikipedia gives for Common Brittonic. It would probably be too early for diverging into separate languages.

There's even a page for Celtic toponyms that could maybe already taken as an example for common elements in place names. Other than that I'd suggest to have a look at the sources given in both articles.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can give you much more help at this point without doing extensive research myself, but it's certainly an interesting topic. Keep us posted!

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