5 Difference Between Gaelic And Celtic

SHARE

What Is Celtic?

Celtic refers to the peoples who were widespread in Europe before the Romans and the Germanic tribes pushed them to the western extremities. Nowadays the term refers to the native languages and culture in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia and Asturia.

The Celtic languages were diverse enough to have various subgroupings – between the continental Celtic languages like Gaulish and Celtiberian, spoken in France and Spain, and the Insular Celtic languages spoken in Britain and Ireland, and the Insular Celtic languages are further subdivided into the Brythonic and Goidelic subgroups, which derive from the languages of the Ancient Britons and the Ancient Irish respectively.

There are six Celtic languages still spoken in the world today, spoken in the north-west Europe. They are divided into two groups, Goidelic (or Gaelic) and the Btythonic (or British). The three Goidelic languages still spoken are Irish, Scottish and Manx. Scottish is the main language spoken in parts of north-west Scotland and Irish is the main language spoken in the Gaeltacht in Ireland.

Manx is spoken mainly by people interested in the language. The three Brythonic languages are Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Of these, Cornish became extinct in the 18th centuary but people have started speaking it again now. Welsh is spoken everywhere throughout Wales, but is mainly first language for people in the western part of Wales, in the area some people call the Bro Gymraeg. Breton is spoken mainly in the west Brittany and is the only Celtic language not mainly spoken on the islands of Great Britain and Ireland.

What Is Gaelic?

Gaelic refers to the native languages and culture of subset of the Celts, namely the peoples that refer to themselves as Gaels, these being in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In other words, Gaelic is part of Celtic. Gaelic alone most often refers to the Celtic language of the Scottish Highlands, but may also include Irish Gaelic (or just Irish) and Manx Gaelic (or simply Manx). In any case it is either a single or a group of very closely related languages.

All Gaelic languages are Celtic, but not all Celtic languages are Gaelic. Welsh, Cornish, and Breton, the Brythonic languages along with the extinct Cumbric language of Northern England and Lowland Scotland, are all Celtic languages but none of them are Gaelic.

Key Difference

  1. Gaelic is the language which is part of the Godelic group of languages in the Celtic language tree that exist today. In other words, Gaelic generally refers to the Scottish and Irish languages. Celtic on the other hand, refers to the overall language tree and cultural make up of both the Gaels and Brythons.  
  2. Gaelic is either a single or a group of very closely related Insular Celtic languages ( Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx) whereas Celtic is a whole branch of the Indo-European family that also contains the more distantly related Brythonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, Breton) and several extinct ones (such as Gaulish).
  3. All Gaelic languages are Celtic, but not all Celtic languages are Gaelic. Welsh, Cornish, and Breton, the Brythonic languages along with the extinct Cumbric language of Northern England and Lowland Scotland, are all Celtic languages but none of them are Gaelic.
  4. Celtic began in Marne/Moselle area of France/Germany, but spread over a large area of Europe. Gaelic began in Ireland by the arrival of Gallic-Iberians from Iberia and influenced the already existing ancient language of Ireland. Though Gaelic is a Celtic language, it still has strong roots to Irelands older pre-Gaelic & pre-Celtic linguistic past including older forms of Primitive Proto P-Celtic, Old Indo-European, Semitic & Basque.
  5. The Celtic culture and languages can be found to be practiced in places like Brittany, the Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall. On the other hand, Gaelic languages is spoken by people living along northwest coast of Scotland.

Also Read: Difference Between Maya, Aztec And Inca