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A classification of the Celtic languages based on grapheme frequencies

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Publication date17/10/2020
Host publicationWords and Numbers: In Memory of Peter Grzybek (1957-2019)
EditorsEmmerich Kelih, Reinhard Köhler
Place of PublicationLüdenscheid
Number of pages16
ISBN (print)9783942303897
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Grapheme frequencies from a small parallel corpus of psalms translated into Breton, Cornish, Irish (both the Early Modern and present-day versions of the language), Manx, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh are analyzed. They can be modelled – as with many other languages – by the negative hypergeometric distribution. Based on the modified Ord graph constructed from the grapheme frequencies, the Celtic languages can be divided into two groups which differ slightly from the traditional Celtic language classification (Manx is placed among the P-Celtic rather than the Q-Celtic languages); however, the difference can be explained by the English (or Scots) influences on the Manx orthography.