Q-Celtic languages

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As q-Celtic languages all Celtic languages referred to in which the Indo-European labiovelar / k w / received was:


Island Celtic

Most of the living Q-Celtic languages ​​are spoken in the British Isles :

  • Irish , the official language of the Republic of Ireland, 40,000-80,000 active native speakers
  • Scottish Gaelic , the official language of the Outer and Inner Hebrides and Northwest Scotland, around 57,000 native speakers, plus Canadian Gaelic , the third most popular language in Canada in the 19th century, today spoken by 500 to 1,000 older native speakers
  • Manx , extinct in the 20th century, partly revived
  • Shelta , a mixed language with a strong Gaelic reference

Mainland Celtic

The q-Celtic languages ​​on the mainland are extinct. There is only one representative of this Celtic branch of language that has hardly been passed down:

The other mainland Celtic languages such as Gallic , Noric , Galatian and Lepontic , the oldest traditional language (from the 6th century BC), belong to the p-Celtic languages .


Goidelic came from Ireland in the Middle Ages to Scotland in the 5th century, where it remained relatively unchanged for a very long time. Documents written in Scottish Gaelic can be found from the 12th century. The first evidence of Manx comes from John Phillips and his translation of the Common Prayer Book of 1610. The Isle of Man was settled from Ireland in the early Middle Ages.

Linguistic peculiarities

In later language levels of the Goidelic group (from Old Irish ) the Indo-European phoneme / k w / was simplified to / k / or / k´ / (palatalized, "soft" / k /) depending on the sound environment. In the table, some words from Goidelic (Scottish Gaelic) and British (Welsh) are compared.

Scottish Gaelic Welsh German
ceann pen head
còig pump five
pwy who

It is questionable to what extent the division of the Celtic languages ​​into q-Celtic and p-Celtic languages makes sense. On the one hand the phonological difference between / k w / or / q / and / p / is small, on the other hand the Goidelic languages ​​and the Celtiberian come into a narrow group , although otherwise it has many similarities with the other mainland Celtic languages.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Russell: An Introduction to the Celtic Languages. Longman 1995. pp. 25-28


  • Martin J. Ball (Ed.): The Celtic Languages. Routledge, London 1993.
  • Henry Lewis and Holger Pedersen: A Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar. 3. Edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1989.
  • Donald MacAulay (Ed.): The Celtic Languages. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK) 1992.
  • Stefan Zimmer: The Celtic Languages; in: Stefan Zimmer (Ed.): The Celts, Myth and Reality. Stuttgart: Theiss, 2009; ISBN 978-3-8062-2229-6 .
  • Holger Pedersen: Comparative grammar of the Celtic languages. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1909
  • Wolfram Euler, Konrad Badenheuer: Language and origin of the Germanic peoples - demolition of Proto-Germanic before the first sound shift, 244 p., ISBN 978-3-9812110-1-6 , London / Hamburg 2009; see. v. a. Chapter 1.2.4 .: Teutons, Celts and Italians.
  • Paul Russell: An Introduction to the Celtic Languages, Longman 1995.
  • Alois Walde: About the oldest linguistic relationships between Celts and Italians. Innsbruck 1917
  • Carl Friedrich Lottner: Celtic-Italic. Contributions to comparative linguistic research in the area of ​​the Aryan, Celtic and Slavic languages ​​2 (1861), pp. 309–321.

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