Today’s Celts

ieithoeddceltaiddcymToday, we use the term ‘Celtic’ to refer to people in six countries or areas where they still speak a Celtic language.

About 2000 years ago the people of Britain and Ireland spoke two Celtic dialects – Goidelic in Ireland and Brythonic in Britain. By about the fifth century those dialects had begun to evolve into new dialects.

Goidleic developed into Gaelic; that language further devloped into three sister languages – Irish Gaelic (Gaelige) in Ireland, Scots Gaelic (Gàidhlig) in Scotland and Manx (Gaelg) in the Isle of Man.

Brythonic became two dialects. In Wales and the ‘Old North’ – North of England and the south of Scotland – the language became Welsh (Cymraeg). The earliest examples of Welsh poetry come from the Old North.

In the south-west of Britain the language became Cornish (Kernewek). People from this area later moved to and settled in north-west France, in Brittany, where the language further developed into Breton (Brezonek).

Today, the Welsh language is the strongest of the six Celtic languages; Welsh and English are both the official languages of Wales.

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