Within Indo-European, the Celtic languages are most closely related to the Italic languages, with which they may form the Celto-Italic branch.

Celtic is 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. P-languages have a slightly simpler structure and may be younger than the Q-languages.

Characteristics of Celtic Languages

Although there are many differences between the individual Celtic languages they do show many family resemblences. 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:

N bac le mac an bhacaigh is n bhacfaigh mac an bhacaigh leat.
Not pay-attention to son the beggar's and nor will-pay-attention son the beggar's to-you.

  • bhacaigh is the genitive of bacach. The i is the genitive inflection; the bh is a mutation.
  • leat is the second person form of the preposition le.
  • The order is VSO in the second half.
pedwar ar bymtheg ar bedwar hugain
four on fifteen on four twenties
  • bymtheg is a mutated form of pymtheg, which is pump five plus deg ten. Likewise, bedwar is mutated from pedwar.
  • The multiples of ten are deg, ugain, deg ar hugain, deugain, hanner cant, trigain, deg a thrigain, pedwar hugain, deg a phedwar ugain, cant.

See also