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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

Fish and other sea creatures

Gaeilge
(Irish)
Gàidhlig
(Gaelic)
Gaelg
(Manx)
Cymraeg
(Welsh)
Kernewek
(Cornish)
Brezhoneg
(Breton)
English
iasc iasg eeast pysgod pysk pesked fish
bradán bradan
eo*
iach*
braddan eog
samwn
eghek eog salmon
breac breac breck
brick
brithyll brithel dluzh trout
eascann easgann astan llysywenod sylly silienn
kurzenn
eel
gliomach giomach gimmagh cimwch legest legestr lobster
míol mór mial-mhór meeyl mooar morfil morvil morvil
balum
whale
portán partan partan cranc kanker krank crab
rón ròn
morlo
raun morlo
broch môr
moelrhon
rhôn*
reunig
morleue
leue-mor
seal
ronnach
murlas
maicréal
breac-mhara
reannach
macrail
breck (marrey) macrell brithel brezhell mackerel
scadán sgadan skeddan ysgadan hernenwyn harink herring
siorc siorc
cearban
gobag mhòr
sharkagh morgi
siarc
rinkin shark

Notes

  • * Words with an asterisk are archaic or obsolete
  • The Welsh cognate of breac (GE) is brych (spotted), and the Breton cognate is brec'h (spotted)

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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