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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


aon aon nane/un un onan unan one
dha da dau, dwy dew, diw daou, div two
trí trì tree tri, tair tri, teyr tri, teir three
ceathar ceithir kiare pedwar, pedair peswar, peder pevar,
cúig cóig queig pump pymp pemp five
sia shey chwech hwegh c'hwec'h six
seacht seachd siaght saith seyth seizh seven
ocht ochd hoght wyth eth eizh eight
naoi naoi nuy naw naw nav nine
deich deich jeih deg deg dek ten
fiche fichead feed ugain ugens ugent twenty
céad ceud keead cant kans kant hundred
míle mìle meeiley mil mil mil thousand


  • Welsh, Cornish and Breton have masculine and feminine forms for two, three and four

More numbers in Celtic languages


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Stòr-fhaclan Co-dhàimheil Ceilteach (Database of Celtic cognates)

McBain's Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language

Other pages about Celtic languages