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Wales and the Britons, 350-1064$
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T. M. Charles-Edwards

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198217312

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198217312.001.0001

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The Britons and their Languages

The Britons and their Languages

(p.75) 2 The Britons and their Languages
Wales and the Britons, 350-1064

T. M. Charles-Edwards

Oxford University Press

In the fifth and sixth centuries three languages were spoken among the Britons: British, Latin, and Irish. By about 700 only British was normally spoken and it thus became possible to identify the Britons as the speakers of British. Not until the end of the period was Welsh seen by contemporaries as a language distinct from Cornish, Breton, and Cumbric (the British language of Northern Britain). These languages influenced each other, but Latin had been a particularly strong influence on British from the first century AD. Changes in the languages of western Europe were often parallel, probably because of wide bilingualism and the influence of Latin.

Keywords:   British Celtic, British Latin, Welsh, language and national identity

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