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Celtic languages
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Celtic languages

Celtic languages are a branch of the Indo-European languages. They were spoken across western Europe in ancient times, but are now limited to a few enclaves in the British Isles and Brittany.

Celtic is traditionally split into two branches:

The differences between P and Q languages are most easily seen in the word for son, mac in Q (hard K sound) and map in P languages. The division into "Continental" and "Insular" may not be genetically correct, since the distinction between P and Q languages is found among the "Continental" languages as well: Celtiberian is Q-Celtic, while Gaulish and the other Continental Celtic languages are P-Celtic. There is some controversy over the accuracy and usefulness of positing a Continental vs. Insular branching within the Celtic family, nonetheless the distiction is usually maintained because of its geographic usefulness. Alternatively, the Celtic languages may be seen as having two branches: Q-Celtic and P-Celtic, each with both "Continental" and "Insular" members.

Within the Indo-European family, the Celtic languages have traditionally been placed with the Italic languages in a common Celto-Italic (or Italo-Celtic) subfamily.

Table of contents
1 Characteristics of Celtic Languages
2 See also
3 References

Characteristics of Celtic Languages

Although there are many differences between the individual Celtic languages they do show many family resemblances. While none of these characteristics is necessarily unique to the Celtic languages, there are few if any other languages which possess them all. They include:

Ná bac le mac an bhacaigh is ní bhacfaidh mac an bhacaigh leat.
Not pay-attention to son the beggar's and nor will-pay-attention son the beggar's to-you.

pedwar ar bymtheg ar bedwar hugain
four on fifteen on four twenties

See also


Gray, R. and Atkinson, Q.D. 2003. Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin. Nature. 426:435-439.