The Celtic languages (usually /ˈkɛltɪk/, but sometimes /ˈsɛl-/) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used to describe this language group by Edward Lhuyd in 1707, following Paul-Yves Pezron, who made the explicit link between the Celts described by classical writers and the Welsh and Breton languages.
During the 1st millennium BC, Celtic languages were spoken across much of Europe and in Asia Minor. Today, they are restricted to the northwestern fringe of Europe and a few diaspora communities. There are four living languages: Welsh, Breton, Irish and Scottish Gaelic. All are minority languages in their respective countries, though there are continuing efforts at revitalisation. Welsh is an official language in Wales and Irish is an official language of Ireland and of the European Union. Welsh is the only Celtic language not classified as endangered by UNESCO. The Cornish and Manx languages went extinct in modern times. They have been the object of revivals and now each has several hundred second-language speakers.
Irish and Scottish form the Goidelic languages, while Welsh and Breton are Brittonic. Beyond that there is no agreement on the subdivisions of the Celtic language family They may be divided into and Continental group and Insular group, or else into P-Celtic and Q-Celtic. All the living languages are Insular, since Breton, the only Celtic language spoken in continental Europe, is descended from the language of settlers from Britain. The Continental Celtic languages, such as Celtiberian, Galatian and Gaulish, are all extinct.
The Celtic languages have a rich literary tradition. The earliest specimens of written Celtic are Lepontic inscriptions from the 6th century BC in the Alps. Early Continental inscriptions used Italic and Paleohispanic scripts. Between the 4th and 8th centuries, Irish and Pictish were occasionally written in an original script, Ogham, but the Latin alphabet came to be used for all Celtic languages. Welsh has had a continuous literary tradition from the 6th century AD.
|Formerly widespread in Europe; today Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Patagonia, Nova Scotia and the Isle of Man|
|ISO 639-2 / 5||cel|
SIL Ethnologue lists six living Celtic languages, of which four have retained a substantial number of native speakers. These are the Goidelic languages (i.e. Irish and Scottish Gaelic, which are both descended from Middle Irish) and the Brittonic languages (i.e. Welsh and Breton, which are both descended from Common Brittonic).
The other two, Cornish (a Brittonic language) and Manx (a Goidelic language), died in modern times with their presumed last native speakers in 1777 and 1974 respectively. For both these languages, however, revitalisation movements have led to the adoption of these languages by adults and children and produced some native speakers.
|Language||Native name||Grouping||Number of native speakers||Number of people who have one or more skills in the language||Main area(s) in which the language is spoken||Regulated by/language body||Estimated number of speakers in major cities|
|Welsh||Cymraeg / Y Gymraeg||Brittonic||562,000 (19.0% of the population of Wales) claim that they "can speak Welsh" (2011)||Around 947,700 (2011) total speakers
— Wales: 788,000 speakers, 26.7% of the population of Wales,
— England: 150,000
— Chubut Province, Argentina: 5,000
— United States: 2,500
— Canada: 2,200
Y Wladfa, Chubut
|— Welsh Language Commissioner (Meri Huws)
— The Welsh Government
(previously the Welsh Language Board, Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg)
Newport: 18,490 Bangor: 7,190
|Irish||Gaeilge/ Gaedhilge / Gaeiluinn / Gaeilig||Goidelic||40,000–80,000
In the Republic of Ireland, 94,000 people use Irish daily outside the education system.
Republic of Ireland:
|Ireland||Foras na Gaeilge||Dublin: 184,140|
|Breton||Brezhoneg||Brittonic||206,000||356,000||Brittany||Ofis Publik ar Brezhoneg||Rennes: 7,000|
|Scottish Gaelic||Gàidhlig||Goidelic||57,375 (2011) in Scotland as well as 1,275 (2011) in Nova Scotia||87,056 (2011) in Scotland||Scotland||Bòrd na Gàidhlig||Glasgow: 5,726|
|Cornish||Kernowek||Brittonic||Unknown.||3,000||Cornwall||Cornish Language Partnership (Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek)||Truro: 118|
|Manx||Gaelg/ Gailck||Goidelic||100+, including a small number of children who are new native speakers||1,823||Isle of Man||Coonceil ny Gaelgey||Douglas: 507|
Celtic is divided into various branches:
Scholarly handling of the Celtic languages has been contentious owing to scarceness of primary source data. Some scholars (such as Cowgill 1975; McCone 1991, 1992; and Schrijver 1995) distinguish Continental Celtic and Insular Celtic, arguing that the differences between the Goidelic and Brittonic languages arose after these split off from the Continental Celtic languages. Other scholars (such as Schmidt 1988) distinguish between P-Celtic and Q-Celtic, putting most of the Gaulish and Brittonic languages in the former group and the Goidelic and Celtiberian languages in the latter. The P-Celtic languages (also called Gallo-Brittonic) are sometimes seen (for example by Koch 1992) as a central innovating area as opposed to the more conservative peripheral Q-Celtic languages.
The Breton language is Brittonic, not Gaulish, though there may be some input from the latter, having been introduced from Southwestern regions of Britain in the post-Roman era and having evolved into Breton.
In the P/Q classification schema, the first language to split off from Proto-Celtic was Gaelic. It has characteristics that some scholars see as archaic, but others see as also being in the Brittonic languages (see Schmidt). In the Insular/Continental classification schema, the split of the former into Gaelic and Brittonic is seen as being late.
The distinction of Celtic into these four sub-families most likely occurred about 900 BC according to Gray and Atkinson but, because of estimation uncertainty, it could be any time between 1200 and 800 BC. However, they only considered Gaelic and Brythonic. The controversial paper by Forster and Toth included Gaulish and put the break-up much earlier at 3200 BC ± 1500 years. They support the Insular Celtic hypothesis. The early Celts were commonly associated with the archaeological Urnfield culture, the Hallstatt culture, and the La Tène culture, though the earlier assumption of association between language and culture is now considered to be less strong.
There are legitimate scholarly arguments in favour of both the Insular Celtic hypothesis and the P-Celtic/Q-Celtic hypothesis. Proponents of each schema dispute the accuracy and usefulness of the other's categories. However, since the 1970s the division into Insular and Continental Celtic has become the more widely held view (Cowgill 1975; McCone 1991, 1992; Schrijver 1995), but in the middle of the 1980s, the P-Celtic/Q-Celtic hypothesis found new supporters (Lambert 1994), because of the inscription on the Larzac piece of lead (1983), the analysis of which reveals another common phonetical innovation -nm- > -nu (Gaelic ainm / Gaulish anuana, Old Welsh enuein "names"), that is less accidental than only one. The discovery of a third common innovation would allow the specialists to come to the conclusion of a Gallo-Brittonic dialect (Schmidt 1986; Fleuriot 1986).
The interpretation of this and further evidence is still quite contested, and the main argument in favour of Insular Celtic is connected with the development of the verbal morphology and the syntax in Irish and British Celtic, which Schumacher regards as convincing, while he considers the P-Celtic/Q-Celtic division unimportant and treats Gallo-Brittonic as an outdated hypothesis. Stifter affirms that the Gallo-Brittonic view is "out of favour" in the scholarly community as of 2008 and the Insular Celtic hypothesis "widely accepted".
When referring only to the modern Celtic languages, since no Continental Celtic language has living descendants, "Q-Celtic" is equivalent to "Goidelic" and "P-Celtic" is equivalent to "Brittonic".
Within the Indo-European family, the Celtic languages have sometimes been placed with the Italic languages in a common Italo-Celtic subfamily, a hypothesis that is now largely discarded, in favour of the assumption of language contact between pre-Celtic and pre-Italic communities.
How the family tree of the Celtic languages is ordered depends on which hypothesis is used:
"Insular Celtic hypothesis"
Eska (2010) evaluates the evidence as supporting the following tree, based on shared innovations, though it is not always clear that the innovations are not areal features. It seems likely that Celtiberian split off before Cisalpine Celtic, but the evidence for this is not robust. On the other hand, the unity of Gaulish, Goidelic, and Brittonic is reasonably secure. Schumacher (2004, p. 86) had already cautiously considered this grouping to be likely genetic, based, among others, on the shared reformation of the sentence-initial, fully inflecting relative pronoun *i̯os, *i̯ā, *i̯od into an uninflected enclitic particle. Eska sees Cisalpine Gaulish as more akin to Lepontic than to Transalpine Gaulish.
Eska considers a division of Transalpine–Goidelic–Brittonic into Transalpine and Insular Celtic to be most probable because of the greater number of innovations in Insular Celtic than in P-Celtic, and because the Insular Celtic languages were probably not in great enough contact for those innovations to spread as part of a sprachbund. However, if they have another explanation (such as an SOV substratum language), then it is possible that P-Celtic is a valid clade, and the top branching would be:
Although there are many differences between the individual Celtic languages, they do show many family resemblances.
The lexical similarity between the different Celtic languages is apparent in their core vocabulary, especially in terms of the actual pronunciation of the words. Moreover, the phonetic differences between languages are often the product of regular sound change (i.e. lenition of /b/ into /v/ or Ø).
The table below contains words in the modern languages that were inherited directly from Proto-Celtic, as well as a few old borrowings from Latin that made their way into all the daughter languages. Among the modern languages, there is often a closer match between Welsh, Breton, and Cornish on one hand, and Irish, Gaelic and Manx on the other. For a fuller list of comparisons, see the Swadesh list for Celtic.
|mouth of a river||aber||aber||aber||inbhear||inbhir||inver|
|(to) smoke||ysmygu||mogediñ, butuniñ||megi||caith(eamh) tobac||smocadh||toghtaney, smookal|
† Borrowings from Latin.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
It has been suggested that several poorly-documented languages may possibly have been Celtic.
"Alba" (English: ) is the Scottish Gaelic name (pronounced [ˈal̪ˠapə]) for Scotland. It is cognate with the Irish term Alba (gen. Albann, dat. Albainn) and the Manx term Nalbin, the two other Goidelic Insular Celtic languages, as well as contemporary words used in Cornish (Alban) and Welsh (Yr Alban), both of which are Brythonic Insular Celtic languages. (The third surviving Brythonic language, Breton, instead uses Bro-Skos, meaning 'country of the Scots'.) In the past these terms were names for Great Britain as a whole, related to the Brythonic name Albion.Brittonic languages
The Brittonic, Brythonic or British Celtic languages (Welsh: ieithoedd Brythonaidd/Prydeinig; Cornish: yethow brythonek/predennek; Breton: yezhoù predenek) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family; the other is Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael. The name Brittonic derives ultimately from the name Πρεττανική (Prettanike), recorded by Greek authors for the British Isles.
The Brittonic languages derive from the Common Brittonic language, spoken throughout Great Britain south of the Firth of Forth during the Iron Age and Roman period. In addition, North of the Forth, the Pictish language is considered to be related; it is possible it was a Brittonic language, but it may have been a sister language. In the 5th and 6th centuries emigrating Britons also took Brittonic speech to the continent, most significantly in Brittany and Britonia. During the next few centuries the language began to split into several dialects, eventually evolving into Welsh, Cornish, Breton and Cumbric. Welsh and Breton continue to be spoken as native languages, while a revival in Cornish has led to an increase in speakers of that language. Cumbric is extinct, having been replaced by Goidelic and English speech. The Isle of Man and Orkney may also have originally spoken a Brittonic language, later replaced with a Goidelic one. Due to emigration, there are also communities of Brittonic language speakers in England, France, and Y Wladfa (the Welsh settlement in Patagonia).Celtic nations
The Celtic nations are territories in western Europe where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived. The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common identity and culture and are identified with a traditional territory.
The six territories widely considered Celtic nations are Brittany (Breizh), Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire) and the Isle of Man (Mannin or Ellan Vannin). These together are commonly referred to as the "Celtic fringe". In each of the six nations a Celtic language is spoken to some extent: Brittonic or Brythonic languages are spoken in Brittany, Cornwall, and Wales, while Goidelic or Gaelic languages are spoken in Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.Before the expansions of Ancient Rome and the Germanic and Slavic tribes, a significant part of Europe was dominated by Celts, leaving behind a legacy of Celtic cultural traits. Territories in north-western Iberia—particularly Galicia, northern Portugal and Asturias, historically referred to as Gallaecia and Astures, covering north-central Portugal and northern Spain—are considered Celtic nations due to their culture and history. Unlike the others, however, no Celtic language has been spoken there in modern times.A genetics study from an Oxford University research team in 2006 claimed that the majority of Britons, including many of the English, are descended from a group of tribes which arrived from Iberia around 5000 BC, before the spread of Celts into western Europe. However, three major genetic studies in 2015 have instead shown that haplogroup R1b in western Europe, most common in traditionally Celtic-speaking areas of Atlantic Europe like Ireland and Brittany, would have largely expanded in massive migrations from the Indo-European homeland, the Yamnaya culture in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, during the Bronze Age along with carriers of Indo-European languages like proto-Celtic. Unlike previous studies, large sections of autosomal DNA were analyzed in addition to paternal Y-DNA markers. They detected an autosomal component present in modern Europeans which was not present in Neolithic or Mesolithic Europeans, and which would have been introduced into Europe with paternal lineages R1b and R1a, as well as the Indo-European languages. This genetic component, labelled as "Yamnaya" in the studies, then mixed to varying degrees with earlier Mesolithic hunter-gatherer and/or Neolithic farmer populations already existing in western Europe.Celtic studies
Celtic studies or Celtology is the academic discipline occupied with the study of any sort of cultural output relating to the Celtic people. This ranges from linguistics, literature and art history, archaeology and history, the focus lying on the study of the various Celtic languages, living and extinct. The primary areas of focus are the six Celtic languages currently in use: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton.
As a university subject, it is taught at a number of universities, most of them in Ireland, the United Kingdom, or France, but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands.Celts
The Celts (, see pronunciation of Celt for different usages) are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities.The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed; in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC. According to a theory proposed in the 19th century, the first people to adopt cultural characteristics regarded as Celtic were the people of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture in central Europe (c. 800–450 BC), named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria. Thus this area is sometimes called the "Celtic homeland". By or during the later La Tène period (c. 450 BC to the Roman conquest), this Celtic culture was supposed to have expanded by trans-cultural diffusion or migration to the British Isles (Insular Celts), France and the Low Countries (Gauls), Bohemia, Poland and much of Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula (Celtiberians, Celtici, Lusitanians and Gallaeci) and northern Italy (Golasecca culture and Cisalpine Gauls) and, following the Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe beginning in 279 BC, as far east as central Anatolia (Galatians) in modern-day Turkey.The earliest undisputed direct examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested almost exclusively through inscriptions and place-names. Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although it was clearly being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century CE. Coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge ("Cattle Raid of Cooley"), survive in 12th-century recensions.
By the mid-1st millennium, with the expansion of the Roman Empire and migrating Germanic tribes, Celtic culture and Insular Celtic languages had become restricted to Ireland, the western and northern parts of Great Britain (Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall), the Isle of Man, and Brittany. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a reasonably cohesive cultural entity. They had a common linguistic, religious and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities. By the 6th century, however, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use.
Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels (Irish, Scottish and Manx) and the Celtic Britons (Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons) of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain, Ireland, and other European territories, such as Portugal and Spanish Galicia. Today, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, and Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival.Continental Celtic languages
The Continental Celtic languages are the Celtic languages, now extinct, that were spoken on the continent of Europe, as distinguished from the Insular Celtic languages of the British Isles and Brittany. Continental Celtic is a geographic, not a linguistic, grouping of the ancient Celtic languages. The Continental Celtic languages were spoken by the people known to Roman and Greek writers as Keltoi, Celtae, Galli and Galatae. These languages were spoken in an arc stretching across from Iberia in the west to the Balkans and Anatolia in the east.
Even though Breton is spoken in continental Europe, and has been since at least the 6th century AD, it is not considered one of the Continental Celtic languages. It is a Brittonic language closely related to Cornish and Welsh. Whilst it has been suggested that there is a Gaulish substratum in the Vannetais dialect (Galliou and Jones 1991) the historical and linguistic evidence shows otherwise.Gaelic
Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun, it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Celtic languages are spoken in both Ireland and Scotland, in Scotland it is very often referred to just as "Gaelic", but in Ireland it is referred to as "Irish".Galatian language
Galatian is an extinct Celtic language once spoken by the Galatians in Galatia mainly in north central lands of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) from the 3rd century BC up to at least the 4th century AD, although ancient sources suggest it was still spoken in the 6th century. Galatian was likely contemporary with and closely related to the Gaulish language.Gallaecian language
Gallaecian, or Northwestern Hispano-Celtic, is an extinct Celtic language and was one of the Hispano-Celtic languages. It was spoken at the beginning of the 1st millennium in the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula that became the Roman province of Gallaecia and is now divided between the modern regions of Galicia, Norte Region, Portugal, western Asturias, and the Province of León, in Spain.Gallo-Brittonic languages
The Gallo-Brittonic languages, also known as the P-Celtic languages, are a subdivision of the Celtic languages of Ancient Gaul (both celtica and belgica) and Celtic Britain, which share certain features. Besides common linguistic innovations, speakers of these languages shared cultural features and history. The cultural aspects are commonality of art styles and worship of similar gods. Coinage just prior to the British Roman period was also similar. In Julius Caesar's time, the Atrebates held land on both sides of the English Channel.Goidelic languages
The Goidelic or Gaelic languages (Irish: teangacha Gaelacha; Scottish Gaelic: cànanan Goidhealach; Manx: çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages.Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from Ireland through the Isle of Man to Scotland. There are three modern Goidelic languages: Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) and Manx (Gaelg), the last of which died out in the 20th century but has since been revived to some degree.Hispano-Celtic languages
Hispano-Celtic is a hypernym to include all the varieties of Celtic spoken in the Iberian Peninsula before the arrival of the Romans (in c. 218 BC, during the Second Punic War):
a northern-eastern, inland language attested at a relatively late date in the extensive corpus of Celtiberian. This variety, which Jordán Cólera proposed to name northeastern Hispano-Celtic, has long been synonymous with the term Hispano-Celtic and is universally accepted as a Celtic language.
a language in the north west corner of the peninsula, with a northern and western boundary marked by the Atlantic Ocean, a southern boundary along the river Douro, and an eastern boundary marked by Oviedo, which Jordán Cólera has proposed to call northwestern Hispano-Celtic, where there is a corpus of Latin inscriptions containing isolated words and sentences that are clearly Celtic.Western Hispano-Celtic is a term that has been proposed for a language continuum of dlalects, ranging from Celtic Gallaecian and Tartessian to para-Celtic Lusitanian, located in the Iberian peninsula west of an imaginary line running north-south linking Oviedo and Mérida. According to Koch, the Western Celtic varieties of the Iberian Peninsula share with Celtiberian a sufficient core of distinctive features to justify Hispano-Celtic as a term for a linguistic sub-family as opposed to a purely geographical classification. In Naturalis Historia 3.13 (written 77–79 CE), Pliny the Elder states that the Celtici of Baetica (now western Andalusia) descended from the Celtiberians of Lusitania, since they shared common religions, languages, and names for their fortified settlements.As part of the effort to prove the existence of a western Iberian Hispano-Celtic dialect continuum, there have been attempts to differentiate the Vettonian dialect from the neighboring Lusitanian language using the personal names of the Vettones to describe the following sound changes (PIE to Proto-Celtic):
*ō > ā occurs in Enimarus.
*ō > ū in final syllables is indicated by the suffix of, e. g., Abrunus, Caurunius.
*ē > ī is attested in the genitive singular Riuei.
*n̥ > an appears in Argantonius.
*m̥ > am in names with Amb-.
*gʷ > b is attested in names such as Bouius, derived from *gʷow- 'cow'.
*kʷ in PIE *perkʷ-u- 'oak' appears in a lenited form in the name Erguena.
*p > ɸ > 0 is attested in:*perkʷ-u- > ergʷ- in Erguena (see above).
*plab- > lab- in Laboina.
*uper- > ur- in Uralus and Urocius.However, *p is preserved in Cupiena, a Vettonian name not attested in Lusitania; also in names like Pinara, while *-pl- probably developed into -bl- in names like Ableca.Insular Celtic languages
Insular Celtic languages are a group of Celtic languages that originated in Britain and Ireland, in contrast to the Continental Celtic languages of mainland Europe and Anatolia. All surviving Celtic languages are from the Insular Celtic group, including the one which is now spoken in Continental Europe; the Continental Celtic languages are extinct. The six Insular Celtic languages of modern times are divided into two groups:
Goidelic languages: Irish, Manx, and Scottish Gaelic,
and Brittonic languages: Breton, Cornish, and Welsh.Insular Celts
The Insular Celts are the speakers of the Insular Celtic languages, which comprise all the living Celtic languages as well as their precursors, but the term is mostly used in reference to the peoples of the British Iron Age prior to the Roman conquest, and their contemporaries in Ireland.
According to older theories, the Insular Celtic languages spread throughout the islands in the course of the insular Iron Age. But this is now doubted by most scholars, who see the languages as already present, and possibly dominant, in the Bronze Age. At some point the languages split into the two major groups, Goidelic in Ireland and Brittonic in Great Britain, corresponding to the population groups of the Goidels (Gaels) on one hand and the Britons and the Picts on the other. The extent to which these peoples ever formed a distinct ethnic group remains unclear. While there are early records of the Continental Celtic languages, allowing a comparatively confident reconstruction of Proto-Celtic, Insular Celtic languages become attested in connected texts only at the end of the Dark Ages, from around the 7th century AD, by which time they had become mutually incomprehensible.Italo-Celtic
In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others. There is controversy about the causes of these similarities. They are usually considered to be innovations, likely to have developed after the breakup of the Proto-Indo-European language. It is also possible that some of these are not innovations, but shared conservative features, i.e. original Indo-European language features which have disappeared in all other language groups. What is commonly accepted is that the shared features may usefully be thought of as Italo-Celtic forms.Lepontic language
Lepontic is an ancient Alpine Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Rhaetia and Cisalpine Gaul (what is now Northern Italy) between 550 and 100 BC. Lepontic is attested in inscriptions found in an area centered on Lugano, Switzerland, and including the Lake Como and Lake Maggiore areas of Italy.
Lepontic is a Celtic language. While some recent scholarship (e.g. Eska 1998) has tended to consider it simply as an early outlying form of Gaulish and closely akin to other, later attestations of Gaulish in Italy (Cisalpine Gaulish), some scholars (notably Lejeune 1971) continue to view it as a distinct Continental Celtic language. Within this latter view, the earlier inscriptions found within a 50 km radius of Lugano are considered Lepontic, while the later ones, to the immediate south of this area, are considered Cisalpine Gaulish.Lepontic was assimilated first by Gaulish, with the settlement of Gaulish tribes north of the River Po, and then by Latin, after the Roman Republic gained control over Gallia Cisalpina during the late 2nd and 1st century BC.Noric language
The Noric language, or Eastern Celtic, is an unclassified Continental Celtic language. It is attested in only two fragmentary inscriptions from the Roman province of Noricum (one in Grafenstein, Austria, the other in Ptuj, Slovenia), which do not provide enough information for any conclusions about the nature of the language to be drawn. However, the language was probably similar to the other Celtic languages near to it, such as Gaulish. Due to the scanty evidence it is unknown when it became extinct.Proto-Celtic language
The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics. As Celtic is a branch of the Indo-European language family, Proto-Celtic is a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European language. According to one theory, Celtic may be closest to the Italic languages, which together form an Italo-Celtic branch. The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe from the last quarter of the second millennium BC. By the Iron Age Hallstatt culture of around 800 BC, these people had become fully Celtic.The reconstruction of Proto-Celtic is currently being undertaken. While Continental Celtic presents much substantiation for its phonology, and some for morphology, recorded material is too scanty to allow a secure reconstruction of syntax. Although some complete sentences are recorded in Gaulish and Celtiberian, the oldest Celtic literature is found in Old Irish and Middle Welsh.Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie
The Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie is an academic journal of Celtic studies, which was established in 1897 by the German scholars Kuno Meyer and Ludwig Christian Stern. It was the first journal devoted exclusively to Celtic languages and literature and is the oldest significant journal of Celtic studies still in existence today. The emphasis is on (early) Irish language and literature and Continental Celtic languages, but other aspects of Celtic philology and literature (including modern literature) also receive attention.Apart from Stern and Meyer, previous editors include Julius Pokorny, Ludwig Mühlhausen, Rudolf Thurneysen, Rudolf Hertz, Heinrich Wagner, Hans Hartmann, and Karl Horst Schmidt. The current editors-in-chief are Jürgen Uhlich, Torsten Meißner and Bernhard Maier.
In addition to the regular volumes, the journal also has a subsidiary series, Buchreihe der Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie.The journal features in a poem by Flann O'Brien which satirises scholars who "rose in their nightshift / To write for the Zeitschrift".