Gaelic - Goidelic  
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  • Goidelic is one of two major divisions of modern-day Celtic languages (the other being Brythonic). It is also known as Gaelic, or Q-Celtic because of the way that words in Brythonic that begin with "B" or "P" begin with "C" or "K" in Gaelic languages.

  • Only three Goidelic languages survived into modern times: Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, and Manx Gaelic. Goidelic languages were once restricted to Ireland, but in the 6th century Irish colonists and invaders began migrating to Scotland and eventually assimilated the Brythonic language speakers who lived there. Manx, the former common language of the Isle of Man, is descended from the Gaelic spoken in north east Ireland and the now extinct Gaelic of Galloway (Scotland), with heavy influence from Old Norse because of the Viking invasions. Goidelic languages may once have been common on the Atlanic coast of Europe and there is some evidence that they were spoken in the region of Galicia in modern Spain.

  • Irish Gaelic, (known as 'Irish', formerly 'Erse'), is one of Ireland's two official languages and is still fairly widely spoken in the west of Ireland. The legally defined Irish-speaking areas are called the Gaeltacht. At present, Irish is primarily spoken in Counties Cork, Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry and, to a lesser extent, in Waterford and Meath. Irish Gaelic is also spoken by a few people in Northern Ireland and has been accorded some legal status there under the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

  • Some people in the north and west of Scotland and the Hebrides still speak Scots Gaelic (also known as Gàidhlig), but because of its minimal official recognition and because of large-scale emigration from those parts of Scotland, the language appears to be in decline. There are now believed to be approximately 1,000 native speakers of Scots Gaelic in Nova Scotia and 60,000 in Scotland. Manx is virtually extinct, although attempts to revive it continue.

  • All the other living Celtic languages belong to the Brythonic branch of Celtic, which includes Welsh, Breton, and Cornish.


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