Login Register


“The Six Celtic Languages

There was a unifying language spoken by the Celts, called not suprisingly, old Celtic. Philogists have shown the descendence of Celtic from the original Ur-language and from the Indo-European language tradition. In fact, the form of old Celtic was the closest cousin to Italic, the precursor of Latin.

The original wave of Celtic immigrants to the British Isles are called the q-Celts and spoke Goidelic. It is not known exactly when this immigration occurred but it may be placed somtime in the window of 2000 to 1200 BC. The label q-Celtic stems from the differences between this early Celtic tounge and Italic. Some of the differences between Italic and Celtic included that lack of a p in Celtic and an a in place of an the Italic o.

At a later date, a second wave of immigrants took to the British Isles, a wave of Celts referred to as the p-Celts speaking Brythonic. Goidelic led to the formation of the three Gaelic languages spoken in Ireland, Man and later Scotland. Brythonic gave rise to two British Isles languages, Welsh and Cornish, as well as surviving on the Continent in the form of Breton, spoken in Brittany.

The label q-Celtic stems from the differences between this early Celtic tounge and the latter formed p-Celtic. The differences between the two Celtic branches are simple in theoretical form. Take for example the word ekvos in Indo-European, meaning horse. In q-Celtic this was rendered as equos while in p-Celtic it became epos, the q sound being replaced with a p sound. Another example is the Latin qui who. In q-Celtic this rendered as cia while in p-Celtic it rendered as pwy. It should also be noted that there are still words common to the two Celtic subgroups.”

By AnBalores Posted: February 23, 2014


20 replies

Start the discussion

max 4000 characters
  • hereandthere  |  February 23 2014, 11:08PM

    Desperation really showing through now. At least the kitchen spam contained more reality and truth.

  • AnBalores  |  February 23 2014, 11:09PM

    And your qualifications hereandthere?

  • AnBalores  |  February 23 2014, 11:20PM

    And your qualifications hereandthere? Don't tell me you are a holocaust denier? Your sort of bigot normally is.

  • hereandthere  |  February 23 2014, 11:43PM

    Yep, you are rattled.

  • Taxman100  |  February 24 2014, 10:22AM

    AB: And, your qualifications in language and language history are? Do you lecture at one of Europe's most highly regarded language Universities? Not as far as I am aware! The use of the word, "Celtic" is a relatively modern term.

  • T_Flamank  |  February 24 2014, 2:06PM

    The words at the head are those of Doctor of letters from the Isle of Man as I recall. I have certainly read them before. The first recorded use of the word Celts to refer to an ethnic group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC,when writing about a people living near "Massilia" (Marseille). According to the testimony of Julius Caesar and Strabo, the Latin name Celtus (pl. Celti or Celtae) and the Greek were borrowed from a native Celtic tribal name.Pliny the Elder cited its use in Lusitania as a tribal surname,which epigraphic findings have confirmed. I am interested in your phrase 'relatively modern' Taxman100. We can all agree though that hereandthere quite simply does not understand the subject he purports to know about.

  • Taxman100  |  February 24 2014, 3:52PM

    It was not until 1707 that Edward Lhuyd (sometimes spelt Luyd) applied the word, 'Celtic' to the language group(s) mentioned above. It was repeated in his book published two years later. Thus when applied to languages it is reasonable to state, "... a relatively modern term'.

  • IainS  |  February 24 2014, 4:13PM

    More inclined to believe T_Flamank than you Taxman100. Or in your mind is 517BC after 1707? I am sure everyone understands your background and hence, blinkered outlook.

  • IainS  |  February 24 2014, 4:15PM

    Interesting though not surprising to see that the statement made by Taxman100 "The use of the word, "Celtic" is a relatively modern term." completely disproved.

  • hereandthere  |  February 24 2014, 7:40PM

    For a more up to date treatment of the 'Celtic' question have a read of, 'The Celts, Origins, Myths, Inventions' by John Collis, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. He is the leading authority on the European Iron Age. Read it alongside everything else. Then you can get a balanced view.

  • Anyone  |  February 24 2014, 8:00PM

    hereanthere has no qualifications AnBalores he is a troll, the more you pander to him the more he will continue with his trollish meanderings. Just ignore him.

  • Taxman100  |  February 25 2014, 9:34AM

    IainS. I am quite sure you did not read my comment. I would suggest you do. Perhaps, you did not understand its implications, "......It was not until 1707 that Edward Lhuyd (sometimes spelt Luyd) applied the word, 'Celtic' to the language group(s) mentioned above". Furthermore, you again resort to name calling as you have nothing constructive to contribute to the discussion. To my previous comment I will add the following: Although Lhuyd categorised the languages as 'Celtic' in 1707 his view was not generally accepted throughout the UK and Europe until the mid-Victorian period - when all things 'Celtic' gained popularity. So, the use of the word 'Celtic' when applied to a group of languages is indeed a modern term. As an aside, the Celtic Sea, was not named as such until about 45 years ago.

  • AnBalores  |  February 25 2014, 11:24AM

    And when did the British Channel become the English Channel? More Anglo Imperialism? They are Celtic Languages. Cornwall is a Celtic Nation. And as the poster above correctly indicates, in the face of overwhelming academic support in favour of that, you are all trolls and indeed best ignored.

  • hereandthere  |  February 25 2014, 1:35PM

    'lalalalalalal' goes AnBalores.

  • Taxman100  |  February 25 2014, 4:02PM

    Oh dear AB. Anglo imperialism? No, it was the Dutch in the 16th Century who first named it, the "Engelse Kanaal". You will find it was commonly named as such on Dutch navigation maps of the period. Also, at the same time the Italian seafarer's called it, "Oce**** Britannicus". The "English Imperialists" didn't use the name until the 18th Century! Therefore, may I suggest the English may be guilty of plagiarism, or of supporting the Dutch and Italian map makers point of view, but definitely nothing to do with English imperialism.

  • T_Flamank  |  February 25 2014, 7:00PM

    Now I recall whose the words at the lead post were. They are those of Dr Brian Stowell, renowned Celticist and Linguist from the Isle of Man. I wouldn't bother with the trolls on this site AnBalores. As discussed elsewhere (I think you might guess where - and no not Cornwall 24 where they think everyone hangs out without realising there are other sites) they really are an utter waste of time. Better to get on with the real work and let this lot talk themselves into circles. At least while they are busy here, those of us who are really campaigning, working with the Council and others to progress so many things are left unhindered. Your efforts are better placed there for as much fun as it is showing these clowns up.

  • T_Flamank  |  February 25 2014, 7:02PM

    You never know, they might even buy a high value kitchen! No, they would even dispute that. None of them have the balls to call Cornish and Celtic academics liars do they?

  • hereandthere  |  February 25 2014, 11:06PM

    From 'The Celts. Origins, myths & inventions' by Professor John Collis. 'With Sidonius Appollinaris in the fifth century AD the Celts, at least as a contemporary group, disappear from the literature; Isidore of Seville (AD 560-636) already seems to be talking of the Celtiberians in the past tense, and other authors such as Steph**** of Byzantium (c.AD 480-500) in his compendium of peoples even more obviously so. But where the inhabitants of Gaul are discussed the term Galli is the favoured expression to refer initially to the indigenous subjects of the newly established Germanic kingdoms, and later as the expression for the French in general used by authors writing in Latin. Sometimes hybrid names such as Celtigalli appear, but where authors wish to be more explicit they refer to the individual tribes named by Caesar (Latham 1965, 1981). Thus Bede refers to the Gauls, or to the Belgic Gauls, but also to the Morini or the towns where individuals come from (e.g. Germ**** of Auxerre); much later we find Geoffrey of Monmouth mentioning the Allobroges. As previously mentioned, no extant authors speak of Celts in Britain. The closest we have is Hipparchus, quoted in Strabo: 'But this phenomenon (the height of the sun at the winter solstice) is more marked among the people who are six thousand three hundred stadia distant from Massalia (People who live two thousand five hundred stadia north of Keltike whom Hipparchus assumes are still Celts, but I think they are Britons). Strabo 2. 1. 18. Strabo himself certainly distinguished Britons from Celts. For the origin of the inhabitants of Britain, Caesar states: The inland part of Britain is occupied by people who claim that, according to their own tradition, they are indigenous to the island, but the coastal part by peoples who had crossed from Belgium with the aim of capturing booty and waging war. Almost all of them bear the name of the states from which they originated. At the conclusion of the war they remained there and began to cultivate the fields. De bello gallico 5.12.' See, just a little bit of looking beyond nationalist sources and you can find something new to learn.

  • Slimslad  |  March 24 2014, 11:19AM

    So, at the Celtic League Conferences? Only Celtic is spoken.

  • Hunlef  |  March 25 2014, 6:49PM

    Kernewek is the living language of the Cornish people NOW!! Treading water over long lost history keeps us fixated on the in the past not present. Carpe deum.

View all Comments


Something about your area!