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Celtic connections

The six Celtic languages currently spoken are divided into two branches: Goidelic or Gaelic, and Brythonic or British. The former branch consists of Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic, while the latter branch includes Welsh, Cornish and Breton. While there are many similarities between the languages in each branch, there are fewer similiarities between the two branches as they have had thousands of years to grow apart.

Differences in spelling and sound changes can disguise related words, but there are quite a few cognates that appear in most or all of the Celtic languages. In some cases the words in one language might be archaic or only used in place names, and more cognates can be found in earlier versions of the the languages. Some words are cognate within each branch of the Celtic languages, but not between the branches.

Words marked with an asterisk are archaic and/or used only in place names. The Cornish words shown are in Common Cornish (Kernewek Kemmyn). The Breton words are in Peurunvan/Modern Standard Spelling.

Sound changes

Cognates that appear in all or most of the Celtic languages

Adjectives | Pronouns | Verbs | People | Animals | Birds | Fish | Parts of the body | Colours | Numbers | Time expressions | Musical terms | Other words

Animals and other creatures

Gaeilge
(Irish)
Gàidhlig
(Gaelic)
Gaelg
(Manx)
Cymraeg
(Welsh)
Kernewek
(Cornish)
Brezhoneg
(Breton)
English
ainmhithe ainmhidh baagh
cretoor
anifail
creadur
mil
enyval
best
aneval
loen
animal
beast
asal asal assyl asyn asen azen ass
donkey
béar arth
muc-abhainn
rustag
ursa
maghouin arth ors arzh bear
broc broc brock broch
mochyn daear
mochyn bychan
pry llwyd
brogh broc'h badger
cat cat kayt cath kath kazh cat
connín coinean conning cwningen conyn c'honikl rabbit (coney)
coo ci ki ki dog
hound
dobahrcú dobhar-chù dooarchoo dwrgi
dyfrgi
dowrgi dourgi otter
fia fiadh feeaih carw karow karv deer
gabhar gobhar goayr gafr gaver gavr goat
gráinneog gràineag graynoge draenog sort heureuchin
avalaouer
kulier
hedgehog
iora
madra crainn
toghmall
feòrag
ir
roddan biljagh gwiwer gwiwer gwiñver
kazh-koad
squirrel
luchóg luch lugh llygoden logosenn logodenn mouse
mac-tíre
faolchú
madra alla
sagh'ic-tìre
sidheach
siogach
uilbh
filliu
moddey oaldey
blaidd bleydh bleiz wolf
muc muc muc mochyn (sg)
moch (pl)
mogh moc'h pig
nathair nathair (aarnieu
ardnieu)
neidr nader naer snake
seangán seangan
moirb
caora-chòsag
sniengan morgrugyn moryon merion ant
sionnach
madra rua
sionnach
rainche
shynnagh cadno
llwynog
lowarn louarn fox
eallach eallaidh ollagh buwch bugh buoc'h cattle
tarbh tarbh tarroo tarw tarow tarv bull
booa buwch bugh buoc'h cow
lao laogh lheiy llo lugh leue calf
capall each cabbyl ceffyl margh marc'h horse
stail greadhair collagh
grihder
march
stalwyn
margh marc'h stallion
láir làir laair caseg kasek kazeg mare
searrach searrach sharragh ebol ebel ebeul foal
caora caora keyrrey dafad davas dañvad sheep
reithe reithe
rùda
rùta
rea hwrdd
maharen
hordh maout ram
caora caora bheanan
caora-uain
crog
othaisg
oasht dafad
mamog
dañvadez ewe
uan uan eayn oen oen oan lamb

Notes

  • means hound in Irish - dog is madra
  • * Words with an asterisk are archaic or obsolete

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If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

Links

Stòr-fhaclan Co-dhàimheil Ceilteach (Database of Celtic cognates)
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/faclair/scc/lorg.php

McBain's Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language
http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MB2/

MAGUS: Multilingual Animal Glossary of Unveiled Synonyms
http://www.informatika.bf.uni-lj.si/magus-celtic&basque.html

Other pages about Celtic languages


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