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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

Words for people, relatives and professions

Gaeilge
(Irish)
Gàidhlig
(Gaelic)
Gaelg
(Manx)
Cymraeg
(Welsh)
Kernewek
(Cornish)
Brezhoneg
(Breton)
English
pobail
muintir
pobaill
muinntir
pobbyl
mooinjer
pobl pobel pobl people
community
slua sluagh sleih llu lu lu people,
horde,
force
duine duine dooiney dyn den den man
person
fear fear fer gŵr gour gwaz man
husband
bean bean ben banw*
menyw
ben maouez woman
bean (chéile) bean ben (heshee) gwraig gwrek gwreg wife
woman
lady
mac mac mac mab mab mab son
boy
iníon nighean 'neen
inneen
merch myrgh merc'h daughter
girl
buachaill buachaill bochilley bugail bugel bugul
bugel
shepherd
boy
bárd bàrd bard bardd bardh barzh poet
cailleach bana-
bhuidseach
briosag
ben obbee
buitçh
caillagh
gwrach gwragh gwrac'h witch
dochtúir dotair fer lhee
ben lhee
meddyg medhyk mezeg doctor
(ban)altra banaltram boanderey
boandyr
nyrs klañvdiour nurse
saor saor seyr saer ser munuzer carpenter
wright
craftsman
artificer

Notes

  • * 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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