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> 6 Celtic Languages, But Only 3 Gaelics!
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 03-Jul-2004, 06:39 AM
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Hello everyone!

I would like to correct a common misconception about the Celtic languages. In some of the threads I have read here, several people have spoken of the six Gaelic languages, when in fact there are only three!

Here I am quoting from Teach Yourself Gaelic by Robertson and Taylor, pg 1:

Scottish Gaelic is one of six modern Celtic languages. The Celtic languages fall into two groups: Gaelic and British. Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and Manx belong to the Gaelic group and Welsh, Breton and Cornish to the British group.

The thread that Danann posted on the history of the Celtic languages backs me up on this too:

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.


Also, from a post by Shamalama:

The word "Celt" refers to several groups who lived in central and western Europe and can be broken down into two categories: Brythonic Celts and Goidelic Celts.

The Brythonic Celts were made up of the Welsh (or Cymru), Bretons and Cornish who lived in Wales, Brittany and Cornwall. The Goidelic Celts were made up of the Irish and Scots (or Gaels) and Manx who lived in Ireland (Eiru), Highland Scotland (Alba or Caledonia) and the Isle of Man. Those who lived in Lowland Scotland were typically a mixture of Gael, Britons, Saxons and other ethnic groups.


As you can clearly see for yourselves, all three of these sources agree that the Welsh, Breton and Cornish peoples were from a different group of Celts than the Scottish, Irish and Manx. So while there are indeed six Celtic languages, only three of them (Scottish, Irish, and Manx) should be properly referred to as varieties of Gaelic!

Co-dhiubh, tha mi'n dochas gum bi latha math agaibh!
Anyway, I hope you have a nice day!

This post has been edited by WizardofOwls on 03-Jul-2004, 10:38 AM


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C Dubh 
Posted: 03-Jul-2004, 08:33 AM
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That's quite right Wizardofowls. Although as you say there are 6 Celtic languages spoken today only 3 are Gaelic or Goidelic (Q-Celtic) languages - Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic & Manx. The other 3 being British or Brythonic (P-Celtic) - Welsh, Cornish & Breton. Although Scots & Irish Gaelic can look quite different they sound similiar enough for speakers of the two languages to communicate at a fairly reasonable level with each other. This would not be the case if a speaker of say Irish Gaelic were to try and speak with a native Welsh speaker. P & Q celtic are called so because of the sound changes whithin the languages. Where Scots Gaelic, Irish & Manx use a Q like sound Welsh, Cornish & Breton use a P like sound. This is best illustrated with the word for 'head'

Gidhlig - Ceann
Gaeilge - Ceann
Manx - Kione

Welsh - Pen
Cornish - Pen
Breton - Penn

QUOTE
Anyway, tha mi'n dochas bum bi latha math agad! I hope you have a nice day!

..Tapadh leat, agus thusa cuideachd. cool.gif


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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 03-Jul-2004, 10:43 AM
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Hello Cu!

I have a question for you, though I don't know whether or not you can answer it.

You said in your post that Irish Gaelic can be understood by speakers of Scottish Gaelic to some degree and vice versa. I am wondering if the Brythonic languages are also mutually intelligible? For instance, could someone speaking Cornish understand a Breton or Welsh speaker or vice versa?

Just curious...
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C Dubh 
Posted: 03-Jul-2004, 01:20 PM
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Good Question WizardofOwls and one that unfortunately i don't know the answer to as my knowledge of Welsh/Breton/Cornish is zilch! rolleyes.gif
Aren't there some fluent Welsh speakers here at CelticRadio? I'm sure i've seen Welsh wrote on the board. Maybe they could answer that question for us.
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Ladybug1258 
  Posted: 07-Jul-2004, 10:11 AM
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I unfortunately am not answering that question, but rather asking one of my own. My ancestors were Scottish and Irish and also a bit of English and Welsh thrown in just for fun. I've been keeping up with a thread that has lessons on Gaelic language, but have not been here in a few days. I'm not sure what I've missed, but will catch up in a bit. I've been searching for a Claddagh ring or pendant for quite some time and finally found a pinkie ring(hard to find one in the small size my pinkie requires!) in the Claddagh design. Here's my rediculously stupid question - (blushing with embarrassment at my own ignorance) How do you pronounce "claddagh", is this a corrupted spelling of this word, if so what is the correct one, and what does it mean? Sorry....my mistake - that's actually four questions!

Dee

This post has been edited by Ladybug1258 on 07-Jul-2004, 11:31 AM
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greenldydragon 
Posted: 07-Jul-2004, 11:00 AM
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I read on another website about welsh that it is hard for people who speak different Brythonic languages to communicate. They may understand some, but not usually enough for them to hold a conversation. At least I believe that was what it said.


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C Dubh 
Posted: 07-Jul-2004, 11:00 AM
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No not a ridiculous question at all Ladybug. I'm not an expert on the Claddagh ring myself (or Irish) but i can tell you this much. Claddagh (Klad-uhh) was a small village in Galway Ireland. I think there are a few different versions of the Claddagh ring story, but the most widely accepted one can be found here:-
Claddagh
Hope this helps.

This post has been edited by C Dubh on 07-Jul-2004, 11:02 AM
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Ladybug1258 
  Posted: 07-Jul-2004, 11:26 AM
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That also clarified something else for me as well! I found out that the information I'd read elsewhere was incorrect as to which direction the heart should be facing when you are taken or not! Yikes! I've been wearing it wrong since I bought it! Good thing you sent me this! Thanks bunches! ~~Dee

This post has been edited by Ladybug1258 on 07-Jul-2004, 11:29 AM
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barddas 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 08:11 AM
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I know that there are only 3 Gaelic languages...But I have read and was told by tour guide through Scotland/Wales that at one time the two languages were relatively close (Scottish/Welsh). Much like Irish and Scottish Gaelic. But, with the building of Hadrians Wall and a 400 yrs separation from one another, that the languages evolved in two different directions. Making it nearly impossible to communicate.
But since there only being 70 miles of sea between Ireland and Scotland (from Glasgow roughly to Belfast), trade was still possible, and therefore the two were able to communicate.....

I just find this interesting, what invasions from other cultures, and a 400 yr seperation can do to a culturesl languages.....

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greenldydragon 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 09:01 AM
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You have a point. Welsh and Scots Gaelic used to be alike, and then the Hadrian Wall was built. I've read that somewhere too.
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Ladybug1258 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 09:25 AM
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Oh that Gaelic would outlast Hadrian's Wall! It's still there...as yet Gaelic is still with us as well. There's hope!

rolleyes.gif
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barddas 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE (Ladybug1258 @ 08-Jul-2004, 10:25 AM)
Oh that Gaelic would outlast Hadrian's Wall! It's still there...as yet Gaelic is still with us as well. There's hope!

rolleyes.gif

Hadrien's wall is still standing.... wink.gif and the Scots, and Welsh 'Gaelic' Languages have HUGE differences, making it almost impossible to communicate. unsure.gif
Lowland Scotland were less gaelic speakers, Gaelic was and really still is a Highland, and Island Language( Orkney, Shetlands, and Heberdies) . Lower Scotland spoke/speaks Middle English, Doric, Lallans, or generally Auld Scots..... along with common english.....

Nice discussion...
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barddas 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 10:32 AM
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Here is an article from the BBC 2003 about Scottish Gaelic census.....
It's a good thing there are a few of us willing to learn it to help in keeping it 'round.


BBC
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barddas 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 10:37 AM
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Another interesting Article----Yet somewhat disturbing.....*sigh*



Scots Languages

Here is a segment...I suggest reading it in its entirety



The majority of Scotland's population speak English, a consequence of England's political and cultural domination during 3-400 years. But there are two other - lesser known - languages that have been there far longer, and they are still there. That's Gaelic and Scots.

Gaelic
A thousand years ago the majority of the Scottish population spoke Gaelic. Nowadays the language has largely been reduced to the Highlands and Islands. By the latest census in 1991 the language was brought down to 66.000, a poor 1,5% of a population of 5+ million. And it is still falling, since the 66.000 are mainly elderlies.

Gaelic is a very endangered language. But during the last 20 years it has experienced a revival which is part of the rising awareness - or creation of - a separate Scottish identity. Pop and rock stars sing in Gaelic, all the political parties want to protect Gaelic. There is a growing movement for Scottish Kindergartens/Pre-schools. Many schools now teach what was once a proscribed language and TV and radio broadcast in Gaelic. Together with tartan and whisky and bagpipes Gaelic is part of the romantic Scottish myth, and most Scots believe it is Scotland's aboriginal language. They also believe it is impossibly difficult.

Gaelic thus enjoys a high cultural status. But it is of limited practical value. The largest problem for Gaelic is........

Continued in link above....
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Catriona 
Posted: 08-Jul-2004, 12:40 PM
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Jason
Your point about Lallans/Auld Scots/Doric is well made! I don't agree with every little point in those articles - but certainly with the broader vision.

The fact that at the last census there were only about 60K Gaelic speakers in Scotland proves that really is the SECOND language of Scotland. Meanwhile, we all talk Lallans and write in Standard English...

That's why I am so involved in the preservation and promotion of Lallans - iti is the language that we central belters use (to a greater or lesser extent) every day of our lives!

However, that is not to say I am against the push to popularise the Gaelic. Just that I'm not interested in learning it - although my father was a fluent speaker of the Gaelic and his parents had the Gaelic as their first language.
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