Sparrows

Words for sparrows in Celtic languages.

Old Irish (Goídelc) gelbann = sparrow
Irish (Gaeilge) gealbhan [ɟəˈlˠuːn̪ˠ] = sparrow
gealbhan binne = house sparrow (Passer domesticus)
gealbhan crainn = Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) gealbhonn [gʲal̪ˠavən̪ˠ] = sparrow
gealbhonn-taighe = house sparrow
gealbhonn nan craobh = tree sparrow
Manx (Gaelg) gialloon / giallun / giallyn / jallyn = sparrow
fallyn = house sparrow
jallyn ny miljyn / sperriu ny miljyn = tree sparrow
Welsh (Cymraeg) golfan [ˈɡɔlvan] = (house) sparrow
golfant / aderyn y to = house sparrow
golfan y mynydd = tree sparrow
Cornish (Kernewek) golvan = sparrow
golvan chy = house sparrow
golvan gwyth = tree sparrow
Breton (Brezhoneg) golvan = sparrow
golvan-tiez = house sparrow
golvan ar maezioù = tree sparrow

Etymology: unknown

Sparrow

Here’s a tune I wrote about sparrows: A Hedge Full of Sparrows / Gwyrch Llawn Adar y To

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau, TermOfis

Geese

Celtic words for goose, waterfowl of the genus of the family Anatidae.

Proto-Celtic *gezdā = goose
Old Irish (Goídelc) géd = goose
Irish (Gaeilge) [ɟeː] = goose
gé ghlas = greylag goose (Anser anser)
gé ghiúrainn = barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)
cadhan = brent goose (Branta bernicla)
gé Cheanadach = Canada goose (Branta canadensis)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) gèadh [gʲiəɣ] = goose
gèadh-glas = greylag goose
cathach [ka.əx] = barnacle goose
gèadh-got = brent goose
gèadh Canadach = Canada goose
Manx (Gaelg) guiy = goose
guiy glass = greylag goose
guiy twoaie = barnacle goose
guiy breck = brent goose
guiy Canadagh = Canada goose
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) guit = goose
Welsh (Cymraeg) gŵydd [ɡuːɨ̯ð / ɡʊi̯ð] = goose, simpleton
gŵydd wyllt (gyffredin) = greylag goose, wild goose
gŵydd (g)wyrain = barnacle goose
gŵydd ddu brent goose
gŵydd Ganada = Canada goose
Old Cornish guit = goose
Cornish (Kernewek) goedh = goose
goth wyls = greylag goose, wild goose
morwoth = barnacle goose
goth mannow = brent goose
goth kanada = Canada goos
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwaz = goose
gwaz louet = greylag goose, wild goose
garreli dremm wenn = barnacle goose
garreli boutin = brent goose
garreli-Kanada = Canada goose

Note: the types of goose mentioned here are commonly found in Celtic-speaking areas. Other types of geese are available.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Geese / Gwyddau

Here’s a tune I wrote inspired by a couple of geese (pictured above) who used to live on the seashore in Bangor, and who I called Bertie and Gertie: Goosing Around / Gwyddio o Gwmpas

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, fócloir.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau, TermOfis

Gulls

Celtic words for (sea)gull, seabirds of the genus Larus or of the family Laridae.

Blackheaded gulls

Proto-Celtic *wailannā = seagull
Old Irish (Goídelc) faílenn, foílenn = seagull
Irish (Gaeilge) faoileán, faoileog = gull, seagull
faoileán bán = common gull (Larus canus)
faoileán ceanndubh, faoileán an chaipín = black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
faoileán droma duibh = greater black-backed gull (Larus marinus)
foillan scadán = (Larus argentatus)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) faoileann [fɯːlən̪ˠ], faoileag [fɯːlag] = gull, seagull, common gull
faoileann-bheag = common gull
faoileann-dubh = black-headed gull
faoileann a’ chinn dhuibh = greater black-backed gull
faoileann-mhór = herring gull
Manx (Gaelg) foillan, foilleig, fooilleig = gull, seagull
foillan bane = common gull
foillan kione doo = black-headed gull
foillan saggyrt = greater black-backed gull
foillan skeddan = herring gull
Proto-Brythonic *gwuɨlann = seagull
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) gwylan = seagull
Welsh (Cymraeg) gwylan [ˈɡʊɨ̯lan / ˈɡʊi̯lan] = sea-gull, sea-mew; fair maiden; glutton
gwylan gyffredin = common gull
gwylan goes goch / gwylan benddu = black-headed gull
gwylan gefnddu = greater black-backed gull
gwylan y penwaig = herring gull
Old Cornish guilan = seagull
Cornish (Kernewek) golan [ˈɡoːlan / ˈɡʊlɐn] = gull, seagull
gwylan gemyn = common gull
skraw / skrawik / scraw = black-headed gull
gwylan keyn du = greater black-backed gull
gwylan hern = herring gull
Old Breton guilannou = seagull
Middle Breton goelann = seagull
Breton (Brezhoneg) gouelan = seagull
gouelan loue = common gull
gouelanig maskl du = black-headed gull
gouelan bras = greater black-backed gull
gouelan gris = herring gull

Etymology: thought to be from the Proto-Indo-European *wáy (oh! ah! woe! alas!), possibly related to *waylos (howler, wolf) [source].

The English word gull also comes from the same Proto-Celtic *wailannā, via the Middle English gulle [source].

The French word goéland (gull, herring gull) comes from the Breton gouelan [source].

Note: the types of gulls mentioned here are commonly seen in Celtic-speaking areas. Other gulls are available.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Here’s a song I wrote in Manx and English about seagulls and their love of chips: Spollagyn son tey / Chips for tea

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau, TermOfis

Swallows

Words for swallows, swifts and martins in Celtic languages.

Proto-Celtic *wesnālā = swallow
Old Irish (Goídelc) ainnel, fannall = swallow
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) áilleóc, fainleóc = swallow
Irish (Gaeilge) fáinleog, áinleóg = swallow
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) (f)ainnleag [(f)ãĩn̪ʲl̪ʲag] = swallow, martin, storm(y) petrel
Proto-Brythonic *gwennọl = swallow
Old Welsh guennol = swallow
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) gwennawl = swallow
Welsh (Cymraeg) gwennol [ˈɡwɛnɔl] = swallow, martin; weaver’s shuttle
Cornish (Kernewek) gwennol = swallow
Old Breton guennol = swallow
Middle Breton guennel = swallow
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwennel = swallow

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *wós-r̥/*wés-n̥s (spring) [source].

Irish (Gaeilge) gabhlán = martin
gabhlán-binne = house martin (delichon urbicum))
gabhlán gainimh = sand martin (riparia riparia)
gabhlán gaoithe = swift (apus apus)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) gòbhlan [gɔːl̪ˠan] = swallow, martin; prong, small fork
gòbhlan-gaoithe [goːl̪ˠan’gɤjə] = barn swallow (hirundo rustica)
gòbhlan-gainmhich [goːl̪ˠan gɛnɛvɪç] = sand martin, bank swallow
gòbhlan-dubh [goːl̪ˠan du] = (common) swift
gòbhlan-mara [goːl̪ˠan marə] = storm(y) petrel (hydrobatidae)
Manx (Gaelg) gollan = swift, martin; fork
gollan geayee = swallow
gollan gheinnee = sand martin
gollan mooar = swift
gollan thie = house martin

Etymology: from the Old Irish gabul (fork, forked branch), from the Proto-Celtic *gablā (fork, branch, gallows), from the Proto-Indo-European *gʰeh₁bʰ- (to grab, take) [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Flying swallow

Here’s a tune I wrote called The Swallow / Y Wennol:

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

Swans

Words for swan (cygnus) in Celtic languages.

Swans, etc

Proto-Celtic *eli- = swan
Gaulish ala = swan
alauda = skylark
Old Irish (Goídelc) elu = swan
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) ela(e) = swan
Irish (Gaeilge) eala [ˈalˠə] = swan
ealach = frequented by swans
eala bhalbh = mute swan (Cygnus olor)
eala ghlorach = whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) eala [jal̪ˠə] = swan
eala bhàn = mute swan
eala fhiadhaich = whooper swan
ealag, eala-ghlas = cygnet, young swan
eala-bheag = Bewick’s (tundra) swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)
Manx (Gaelg) olla, ollay = (mute) swan
ollay chiaulee = whooper swan
eean olla = cygnet
Proto-Brythonic alarkos = swan
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) alarch = swan
Welsh (Cymraeg) alarch [ˈalarχ/ˈaːlarχ] = swan, the constellation Cygnus
alarchaidd = pertaining to a swan, swanlike
alarchen = cygnet
alarches = female swan
alarchwedd = swanlike
alarch dôf, alarch mud = mute swan
alarch y gogledd, alarch chwibanol, alarch gwyllt = whooper swan
Old Cornish elerch = swan
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) elerch = swan
Cornish (Kernewek) alargh = (mute) swan
Middle Breton (Brezonec) alarc’h = swan
alarc’hez = female cygnet
Breton (Brezhoneg) alarc’h = swan
alarc’h roueel = mute swan
alarc’h-kristilh = whooper swan

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁el- (swan, bird, waterfowl) [source].

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include alondra (lark) in Spanish, alouette (lark) in French, and allodola (skylark) in Italian. They were probably borrowed from the Gaulish alauda (skylark), from ala (swan) [Source].

Words from the same PIE root include auk (swan) in English, alke (auk) in Danish and Norwegian, and álka (razorbill) in Faroese and Icelandic [Source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary, Teanglann.ie, eDIL – Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old Irish glossary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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Starlings

Words for starling (sturnus vulgaris) in Celtic languages.

Proto-Celtic *trozdis = starling
Old Irish (Goídelc) truit = starling
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) truit = starling
Irish (Gaeilge) druid [d̪ˠɾˠɪdʲ] = starling
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) druid [drɯdʲ] = starling, thrush
Manx (Gaelg) truitlag = starling
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) trydw, drydwen, drudwy, drydw, drudw = starling
Welsh (Cymraeg) drudw [ˈdrɨ̞dʊ/ˈdrɪdʊ], drudwy, drydwy, drydw = starling, stare
Old Cornish troet = starling
Cornish (Kernewek) trojen = starling
Middle Breton (Brezonec) tret = starling
Breton (Brezhoneg) tred [ˈtʁeːt], tridig = starling

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *trosdos (thrush) [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Starlings

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

Herons

Words for heron in Celtic languages.

Proto-Celtic *korxsā / *korxsiyos = heron
Celtiberian *cárcia = heron
Old Irish (Goídelc) corr = crane, heron, stork, crane
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) corr = (grey) heron, stork, crane, leg-necked person
Irish (Gaeilge) corr [kəuɾˠ] = (grey) heron, stork, crane, leg-necked person
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) corra [kɔr̪ˠə] = heron, stork, crane
Manx (Gaelg) coar = heron, stork, crane
Proto-Brythonic *krɨxɨð = heron
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) crychyd, krechydd, crechydd = heron
Welsh (Cymraeg) crychydd [ˈkrəχɨ̞ð / ˈkrəχɪð] = heron
Old Cornish cherhit = heron
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) cerhidh = heron
Cornish (Kernewek) kerghydh = heron
Old Breton corcid = heron
Middle Breton (Brezonec) quercheiz, querch-eïz, querc’heiz, qarc’hleyz kerc’heiz = heron
Breton (Brezhoneg) kerc’heiz = heron

Etymology: possibly immitative in origin. Words for heron in Spanish (garza) and Portuguese (garça) come from the Celtiberian root [source].

Proto-Brythonic *krexVr = heron
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) crehyr = heron
Welsh (Cymraeg) crëyr [ˈkrɛ.ɨ̞r / kreː.ɪr] = heron

Etymology: possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)ḱrey- (to scream, screech) [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Heron

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

Pigeons and Doves

Words for pigeon and doves in Celtic languages.

Old Irish (Goídelc) columb [ˈkolumb] = dove
colmán = wood-pigeon, ring-dove
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) colum [ˈkolumb] = dove
Irish (Gaeilge) colm [ˈkɔl̪ˠəmˠ / ˈkʌl̪ˠəmˠ] = dove, pigeon
colmán = (little) dove, pigeon
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) calman [kal̪ˠaman] = dove, pigeon
colman [kɔl̪ˠɔman] = dove, pigeon
Manx (Gaelg) calmane / colmane = pigeon, dove
Welsh (Cymraeg) colomen / clomen = dove, pigeon, culver; symbol of peace
Old Cornish colom = dove, pigeon
Middle Cornish colomen = dove, pigeon
Cornish (Kernewek) kolom = dove, pigeon
Breton (Brezhoneg) koulm / koulom = dove

Etymology: from the Latin columbus (dove, pigeon), from Ancient Greek κόλυμβος (kólumbos – a diver), from κολυμβάω (kolumbáō – dive, plunge headlong, swim) [source].

Breton (Brezhoneg) pichon = pigeon

Etymology: unknown

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Our Doves

Here’s a tune I wrote called The Curious Pigeon / Y Colomen Chwilfrydig:

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

Hawks and Falcons

Words for hawk / falcon in Celtic languages.

Old Irish (Goídelc) sebac [ˈsʲevak] = hawk
Irish (Gaeilge) seabhac [ʃəuk] = hawk; warrior
seabhac gorm/seilge = peregrine falcon
seabhac buí/gaoithe = kestrel, windhover
seabhac mara = sea-hawk, skua
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) seabhag [ʃo.ag] = falcon, especially peregrine falcon
seabhag na seilge / seabhag-ghorm / seabhag-shealgair = peregrine falcon (falco peregrinus)
seabhag-ghorm an fhraoich / seabhag-bheag ghlas = merlin (falco columbarius)
seabhac mara = sea-hawk, skua
seabhag nan uiseag = hobby (falco subbuteo)
Manx (Gaelg) shawk = hawk, falcon
shawk eeastee = osprey
shawk ny sperriu = goshawk
shawk sperriu = sparrow hawk
shirragh = buzzard, falcon, seeker, bird of prey, kite
shirragh ny bogleeyn = marsh harrier
shirragh ny giark = hen harrier
shirragh ny ree = peregrine falcon
Welsh (Cymraeg) hebog = hawk, lanner falcon; noble chieftian, brave fighter, hero
hebog chwyldro = gerfalcon
hebog yr ehedydd = hobby
hebog (g)las = hen harrier
hebog y weru = marsh harrier
hebog tramor = peregrine falcon
gwlach = hawk, falcon; fine soldier, brave fighter, nobleman, hero; wily knave, rascal, rogue, wag
gwalch bach = merlin
gwalch banred = sparrow-hawk
gwalch glas = peregrine falcon
gwalch gweilgi = osprey
Cornish (Kernewek) hok = hawk
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwalc’h = falcon, hawk, sea bream

Etymology: from the Old English heafoc/hafoc (hawk), from Proto-Germanic *habukaz (hawk). The English word hawk comes from the same root [source].

The Welsh gwalch and the Breton gwalc’h come from the Old English wealh-hafoc / *wealc-hafoc (foreign hawk) [source]

Old Irish (Goídelc) faucon = falcon
Irish (Gaeilge) fabhcún = falcon
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) faolchon = falcon
Welsh (Cymraeg) ffaw(l)cwn = falcon
Cornish (Kernewek) falghun = falcon
Breton (Brezhoneg) falc’hun = falcon, hawk

Etymology: from the Old French faucon (falcon), from Latin Latin falcō (falcon). The English word falcon comes from the same root [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Notes
A falcon is a bird of prey of the genus falco. Kestrels, hobbys, merlins and peregrine falcons are all in this genus.

Falcon

A hawk is a bird of prey of the genus accipitridae. These include buzzards, kites, harriers, eagles, goshawks and sparrowhawks.

Sparrowhawk

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

Cockerels / Roosters

Words for cockerel / rooster in Celtic languages.

Cockerel

Proto-Celtic *kalyākos = cockerel, rooster
Old Irish (Goídelc) cailech [ˈkalʲex] = cockerel, rooster
Irish (Gaeilge) coileach [ˈkalʲex / ˈkɛlʲəx / ˈkɛlʲax] = cockerel, rooster
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) coileach [ˈkɤləx] = cockerel, rooster; male bird of any species; male lobster;
coilich = cockerels, etc; eddies, rapids, white water
Manx (Gaelg) kellagh = cock(erel), cock (of anchor), rooster, cock bird
Proto-Brythonic *kėljọg [ke̝lˈjɔːɡ] = cockerel, rooster
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) keylyauc, keilyawc = cockerel, rooster
Welsh (Cymraeg) ceiliog [ˈkei̯ljɔɡ / ˈkei̯ljɔɡ] = cock(erel); plucky person; weather-cock; cock of gun; water-cock; clevis of a plough, plough-cock; snack taken by quarrymen to their work
Old Cornish chelioc = cockerel, rooster
Middle Cornish kullyek = cockerel, rooster
Cornish (Kernewek) kulyek = cockerel, rooster
Middle Breton kilhog = cockerel, rooster
Breton (Brezhoneg) kilhog [ˈkiljok] = cockerel, rooster

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *kerkos [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old-Irish Glossary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau