element and becomes k, e.g. Gaulish petor-, “four,” Ir. cethir, Welsh petguar, Breton pevar, Lat. quattuor; Ir. cia, “who,” Welsh pwy, Lat. quis; Gaulish epo-, “horse,” Welsh eb-ol, Breton eb-eul, Ir. ech, Lat. equus. Several attempts have been made to prove the existence of Celtic dialects with qv on the continent. Forms containing p occur in the Coligny calendar, discovered in 1897, by the side of others with qv, a state of affairs not yet satisfactorily accounted for. The Rom tablets, discovered in 1898, have not been interpreted as yet, but p forms are found on them exclusively. In an excursus we shall deal with the language of the Picts.
No comprehensive handbook of the Celtic languages on the lines of Gröber’s Grundriss der romanischen Philologie or Paul’s Grundriss der germanischen Philologie was available in 1909. The reader may refer to Windisch’s article “Keltische Sprachen” in Ersch und Gruber’s Allgemeine Encyklopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste, and V. Tourneur, Esquisse d’une histoire des études celtiques (Liége, 1905; vol. ii. with full bibliography). Also H. Zimmer, “Die kelt. Litteraturen” in Die Kultur d. Gegenwart, T. i. Abh. xi. I, Berlin and Leipzig, 1909. The materials for the study of the older forms of the languages are to be found in Zeuss’s Grammatica Celtica as revised by Ebel. A comparative grammar of the Celtic dialects has been prepared by H. Pedersen (Göttingen, 1908). See also Whitley Stokes and A. Bezzenberger, Wortschatz der keltischen Spracheinheit (Göttingen, 1894).
I. Gaulish.—Celtic place-names are found as far east as the Dniester and Dobrudja, and as far north as Westphalia. The language of the Galatians in Asia Minor must have stood in a very close relation to Gaulish. Indeed few traces of dialectical differences are to be observed in continental Celtic. Unfortunately no literary monuments written in the ancient speech of Gaul have come down to us, though Caesar makes mention of religious poems orally transmitted by the Druids, and we also hear of bardi and vates. But a large number of personal and place-names have been preserved. The classical writers have, moreover, recorded a certain number of Gaulish words which can generally be identified without difficulty by comparing them with words still living in the modern dialects, e.g. pempedula, “cinquefoil,” cf. Welsh pump, “five,” and deilen, “leaf”; ambactus, Welsh amaeth; petorritum, “four-wheeled chariot,” cf. Welsh pedwar, “four,” and Ir. roth, “wheel,” or rith, “course.” We have further between thirty and forty inscriptions (three in north Italy) which we may without hesitation ascribe to the Gauls. These inscriptions are written in either N. Etruscan or Greek or Latin characters. We are thus in a position to reconstruct much of the old system of declension, which resembles Latin very closely on the one hand, and on the other represents the forms which are postulated by the O. Ir. paradigms. Hence Gaulish is particularly valuable as preserving the final vowels which have disappeared in early Irish and Welsh. The few verb-forms which occur in the remains of Gaulish are quite obscure and have not hitherto admitted of a satisfactory explanation. The statements of ancient authors with regard to the Belgae are conflicting, but there cannot be much doubt that the language of the latter was substantially the same as Gaulish. Caesar observes that there was little difference between the speech of the Gauls and the Britons in his day, and we may regard Gaulish as closely akin to the ancestor of the Brythonic dialects. It is difficult to say when Gaulish finally became extinct. It disappeared very rapidly in the south of France, but lingered on, possibly till the 6th century, in the northern districts, and it seems unnecessary to discredit Jerome’s statement that the speech of the Galatians in Asia Minor bore a strong resemblance to the language he had heard spoken in the neighbourhood of Trier. There is no evidence that Breton has been influenced by continental Celtic. The number of Gaulish words which have come down in the Romance languages is remarkably small, and though at first sight the sound-changes of French and Welsh seem to bear a strong likeness to one another, any influence of Gaulish pronunciation on French is largely discounted when we find the same changes occurring in other dialects where there is little or no question of Celtic influence.
The proper names occurring in classical writers, on inscriptions and coins, have been collected by A. Holder in his monumental Altceltischer Sprachschatz (Leipzig, 1896–1908). The inscriptions have been most recently treated by J. Rhys in the Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. ii. See also a paper in this volume entitled “Celtae and Galli” by the same author for the text of the Coligny and Rom inscriptions. The value of Gaulish for grammatical purposes is set forth by Whitley Stokes in a paper on “Celtic Declension” in the Proceedings of the London Philological Society (1885–1886). For the extent over which Gaulish was spoken, its relation to Latin and its influence on Romance, see E. Windisch’s article on “Keltische Sprache” in the section “Die vorromanischen Volkssprachen” in Gröber’s Grundriss der romanischen Philologie², vol. i. pp. 373 ff. Cf. further the introduction to J. Loth’s Chrestomathie bretonne (Paris, 1890); G. Dottin, Manuel pour servir à I’étude des antiquités celtiques (Paris, 1906); R. Thurneysen, Keltoromanisches (Halle, 1884).
II. Goidelic and Brythonic.—When the monuments of the Celtic dialects of the British Islands begin to appear, we find a wide divergence between the two groups. We can only mention some of the more important cases here. The Brythonic dialects have gone very much farther in giving up inflectional endings than Goidelic. In Irish all final syllables in general disappear except long vowels followed by s or r and u < ō preceded by i. But these reservations do not hold good for Brythonic. Thus, whilst O. Irish possesses five cases the Brythonic dialects have only one, and they have further lost the neuter gender and the dual number in substantives. In phonology there are also very striking differences, apart from the treatment of the labialized velar qv already mentioned. The sonant n appears in Brythonic as an, whereas in Goidelic the nasal disappears before k, t with compensatory lengthening of the vowel, e.g. I. E. *kmtom, Ir. cét, “hundred,” W. cant, Bret. kant; Prim. Celt. *jovṇko-, O. Ir. óac, Mod. Ir. óg, “young,” W. ieuanc, Bret, iaouank. t, k standing after a vowel and preceding l, n (and also r if k precede) disappear in Goidelic with compensatory lengthening of the vowel, e.g. Prim. Celt. *stātlā-, Ir. sál, “heel,” W. sawdl; Prim. Celt. *petno-, Ir. én, “bird,” O. W. etn, Mod. W. edn. Similarly b, d, g disappear in Goidelic when standing after a vowel and preceding l, r, n with compensatory lengthening of the vowel, but in Welsh they produce a vowel forming a diphthong with the preceding vowel, e.g. Prim. Celt. *neblo-, Ir. nél, “cloud,” W. niwl; Prim. Celt. *ogno-, cf. Lat. agnus, Ir. uan, “lamb,” from *ōn, W. oen; Prim. Celt. *vegno-, cf. Ger. Wagen, Ir. fén, “wagon,” O. W. guein, Mod. W. gwain. The Goidelic dialects have preserved the vowels of accented syllables on the whole better than Brythonic. Thus Brythonic has changed Prim. Celt, ā (= I. E. ā, ō) to ō (W. aw, Bret. eu); and Prim. Celt. ū to ī, e.g. Ir. bráthir, “brother,” W. brawd, Bret. breur; Gaulish dūnum, Ir. dún, “fort,” W. din. Already in Gaulish the I. E. diphthongs show a tendency to become simple long vowels and the latter are treated differently by Goidelic and Brythonic. In early times I. E. eu, ou both became ō and I. E. ei gave ē. In Goidelic ō, ē, in accented syllables were diphthongized in the early part of the 8th century to ua, ia if the next syllable did not contain the vowels e or i, whereas in Brythonic ō gave ǖ (written u) and ē became in W. ui (wy), and in Bret. oe (oue), e.g. Gaulish Teuto-, Toutius, Ir. tuath, “people,” W., Bret. tud; Brythonic Lēto-cētum, Ir. tuath, “grey,” W. llwyd, Bret, loued. Similarly in loan-words, Ir. céir, fial, W. cwyr, O. Corn. guil, from Lat. cēra, vēlum. Further I. E. ai, oi are preserved in Irish as ai (ae), oi (oe), Mod. Ir. ao, but in Welsh I. E. ai gave either ai or oe, whilst oi changed to ǖ (written u), Ir. toeb, “side,” W., Bret. tu; I. E. *oinos, Ir. óen, “one,” W., Bret. un; Prim. Celt. *saitlo-, cf. Lat. saeculum, W. hoedl, “age,” Bret. hoal. In Goidelic accented e changes to i before i, u in the following syllable, cf. Ir. fid, “wood,” gen. sing, fedo, O. H. G. witu, and i changes to e before a or o under similar conditions. In like manner u becomes o before a or o, whilst o changes to u before i, u, cf. Ir. muir, “sea,” Prim. Celt. *mori, gen. sing. mora. Of Brythonic finals which disappear, ā, ī, (ō), j alone influence preceding vowels, whilst an i (y) which received the stress in O. W. was also able to modify vowels which went before it. In Goidelic the combinations sqv, sv appear respectively as sc, s (medially, f), but in Brythonic they both give chw; Prim. Celt. *sqvetlon, Ir. scél, “story,” W. chwedl; Prim. Celt. *svesor, Ir. siur, “sister,” but mo fiur, “my sister” (whence Scottish piuthar by false de-aspiration), W. chwaer, Bret. c’hoar. In