An online friend of mine has seized on this passage from the online Columbia Encyclopedia (6th edition) as evidence of an ancient Berber (indigenous North African) and early British connection.
An interesting feature of Celtic languages is that in several characteristics they resemble some non-Indo-European languages. These characteristics include the absence of a present participle and the use instead of a verbal noun (found also in Egyptian and Berber), the frequent expression of agency by means of an impersonal passive construction instead of by a verbal subject in the nominative case (as in Egyptian, Berber, Basque, and some Caucasian and Eskimo languages), and the positioning of the verb at the beginning of a sentence (typical of Egyptian and Berber).
Also, he is fond of displaying pictures of dark Welsh/Briton types as evidence of an ancient “Hamito-Semitic” type remnant in the British Isles.
Especially this guy
And this guy when fully bearded
His dream woman…
Miss Wales 2001
Anyway, it looks like there is something too it. I mean the standard textbook history is that “Iberians” (of Spanish, and before that, Northwest African origin) did settle Britain. Perhaps a remnant remains in some areas.
Is there anything to any of this, either linguistically or anthropologically? Or are any linguistic similarities between Celtic and Berber - or any other languages - coincidental.
I don’t have any cites to hand, but I do remember reading that Berbers served in Roman forces in Britain, including right up near Scotland. It’s possible they left the odd loan word and some DNA behind. (Useless fact: the Berber - at least Shluh - word for foreigner is “arumi”, apparently meaning Roman.)
I have Berber relatives by marriage, and I can’t say they remind me of the Welsh, or the Welsh of them.
This guy claims the Picts share copious amounts of DNA with Basques as well as Berbers…
My understanding (from quite recent work, can’t find cite, but I recall it was pretty respectable) is that DNA differences among different groups of white British Isles people of longstanding British Isles ancestry are minimal and the Celt/Anglo-Saxon divide is almost entirely cultural, not genetic - stereotypes about ginger-hared Irish, dark Welsh, dashingly handsome Englishmen etc notwithstanding.
I defer to the reply of my learned colleague Hemlock as concerns the DNA evidence so I am not sucked into that debate. Insofar as the linguistic and cultural anthropological data are concerned, the linguistic evidence your friend cites seems as relevant for a celtic/Eskimo connection as for any other. In the context that this similarity seems to have developed independently in several areas, concidence may well have played a part.
>(for cunning linguists or anthropologists here)
It is recognized in most scientific circles that cunning linguists do not contribute to the gene pool directly and I have the pictures to prove it.
Well…I’m not a linguist, but finding a couple of grammatical similarities between two languages doesn’t prove anything, methink…I’m pretty certain one could find similar evidences of finnish people being related to Solomon islanders or somesuch…
Plus, I’m not sure why your friend tries to find pictures of irish people who have a north-african look. Apart the fact you’ll find a large spectrum of physical features in any countries, a lot of Berbers don’t have exactly such a look. A lot of them have blue or green eyes, for instance (of course, he could use that as a “proof” they’re related to the irish). The man on the first picture doesn’t appear to me as having a particulary Berber appearance. The woman on the last picture looks spanish, IMO (probably due to the costume, actually).