Na Dùthchannan Ceilteach – The Celtic Nations

The brilliant @ScotsGaelicfor has created this primer disentangling the various Celtic Nations flags and languages …

1. Cornwall is “a’ Chòrn.” Cornish () is “Còrnais.” It’s very similar to Welsh and has around 500 – 600 speakers (we think).

It’s been brought back from the brink and the number of speakers is growing so “neart is buaidh leotha” (All power to them).


2. Brittany is a’ Bhreatainn Bheag (the wee Britain). The Breton language ( ) is “Breatannais.”

There are about 500k speakers – no thanks to the French Republic. It is also very similar to Welsh.


3. Another language that is extremely similar to Welsh is Welsh. Wales is “a’ Chuimrigh.” Welsh () is Cuimris.

There are about 560k speakers. They only use it when English people walk into pubs though.


4. Ireland is Èirinn. They speak (Gàidhlig na h-Èireann). Famous for mad dialects and boss craic, we have much to steal from them.

Could be about 1.8 million able to speak it according to wikilads. 80k or so L1 speakers.



5. Scotland is “Alba.” Gaelic is . It’s like Irish but smoked and salted. Makes you 100% more attractive to the opposite (and same) sex. 57k speakers (soon to be millions).

People also speaks which is cool because multilingualism is beautiful.



6. The Isle of Man is “Eilean Mhanainn.” Manx () is “Gàidhlig Eilean Mhanainn.”

It is extremely similar but the writing system is totally different. Cool guys tbf. About 1.8k speakers.


7. The last country in that flag is Galicia. They don’t speak a Celtic language. Their language () is “Gailìsis” which is similar to Portuguese.

They play the pipes, like trad music and make great wine so they are welcome in most clubs I assume.





Follow them at @ScotsGaelicfor  for more





Comments (10)

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  1. David Anderson says:

    Yes, the Breton people are happy that Breton is now a cherished part of their culture and many people are learning it as a past-time. There are also a number of schools where Breton is either taught at a basic level or as part of a bilingual approach to language learning. There doesn’t seem to be the cultural cringe as is the case with some in Scotland who try to diminish (further) the tradition of Gaelic speaking in Scotland. Personally, I think it is the reaction against anything that marks Scotland out as different (or not British) by some who are blinkered by their own politics. It’s a shame that it is politicised by some when really it is just a beautiful thing to keep alive and look at as something worth preserving and promoting.



  2. D Chilton says:

    Why use Bella like this to perpetuate English (belittling) stereotypes?

      1. D Chilton says:

        Hi. Thanks for asking.

        I’m referring in the first place to the general tone of the piece, which is more ‘Celtic Nations for English visitors’ than ‘Celtic Nations as they would wish to be seen and to project themselves to others’. The problem with the approach taken is that control of the image remains in the hands of people who are not of those nations, and who – as we of those nations know to our cost – use such control for their own ends; it is easier to feel good about exploiting an inferior than doing the same to an equal.

        I am not suggesting here that the author is knowingly colluding with this exploitative agenda. I am however asking that he and others become aware of the issue and keep it in mind when creating pieces such as this one.

        I’m also – and particularly – referring to the entry about Welsh people. That the only comment about them should be a negative one is wrong. You are of course aware of how damaging the consistent negative portrayal of a group of people can be. I can not believe that Bella would have allowed to be published a ‘joke’ on similar lines about people of colour or the LGBTQ community.

        And before we get into the ‘it was only a joke’ thing, we all know that ‘jokes’ of this kind are only one end of a spectrum of abuse. For example, in North Wales the majority of hate crimes committed are suffered by Welsh people. This is according to North Wales Police as quoted, at a meeting for which I was interpreting, by the former Chair of the North Wales Anti-Racism Network. In other work as interpreter I have been in meetings where, in spite of my presence, people have shouted ‘Speak English’ at individuals addressing the meeting in Welsh. On a more personal level, I along with pretty much every other Welsh speaker I know, have witnessed and been a victim of insult, denigration, and occasional assault – as a child and adult – for being or using Welsh.

        As for defending the comment on the basis of the right to free speech, you will know that this defence is being used in similar circumstances by the US Right.

        As to the accusation itself, having lived in Wales virtually all my life, I have never witnessed what is being asserted. Mike Parker, in his book ‘Neighbours from hell?’ suggests that the accusation derives from the experience of Londoners in their own pubs and of the use of rhyming slang. What I have witnessed over and over again is that when a non-Welsh speaker comes into the group or conversation, everyone speaks English. This however is a courtesy that has an unfortunate side effect, namely of creating the impression that English is the natural language, and not the second one. I also suspect that visitors come to Wales with the expectation that everyone in Britain speaks English first and foremost, so that when they hear someone speaking Welsh – particularly if they have been primed by the kind of ‘humour’ expressed in this piece – they assume that it is an unnatural event.

        I recommend you read Mike Parker’s book as a primer to the kind of issue Welsh people face in their own country and communities, and ask that we be treated by your contributors with the same respect as other more prominent minorities.

        All the best. DC

        1. Thanks for your comment – feedback always welcome – just to be clear the piece was written by an author who promotes Gaelic language – and the tone is cheeky, subversive, self-mocking, humorous. Maybe that didn’t translate out of context. Will check out the Mike Parker book, thanks.

          1. D Chilton says:

            Thanks. I am aware that the author promotes the Gaelic language, and the tongue in cheek tone of the piece was clear to all. I don’t think I need to restate my point about ‘negative humour’ and its effects, and my original comment was motivated by disappointment that the author and Bella should be so unaware of the true situation in Wales.

            Just a suggestion – how’s about changing the comment to something on the lines of ‘There are about 560k speakers. As a result of non-violent campaigning since the 1960s – including prison sentences – the language is now one of the UK’s two official languages.’

          2. Neither I nor the author are unaware of the situation in Wales.

            You don’t get to change the copy on someone’s article, sorry.

            Thanks for your feedback.

  3. K.A.Mylchreest says:

    Tha mise anns a’ Chòrn aig an t-am seo, agus an diugh tha an t-uisge ann gu math trom!
    Yth ezov vy yn Kernow y’n eur-ma, ha hedhyw glaw a wra yn fen!

  4. Sean F O'Drisceoil says:

    Excellent summary 🙂 Contains a good warning to the Six who still have their Celtic language intact – don’t emulate Galicia. They are Celtic in origin but because they lost their Celtic language, many dispute this, including some academics who should know better! It seems that Celtic is now hard to define because of multiple assimilation processes which happen in every country (Normans, Sasanachs, Vikings etc. in the case of modern Gaeldom/Dal Riada et al). Hence one is not really a Celtic land unless one’s Celtic language is still alive and kicking 🙁 Bí aireach – cum do chanan beo!

  5. Craig Weatherhill says:

    560 Cornish speakers are totally fluent iin the language. Some 3,000-4,000 people can use Kernowek with varying degrees of competence, and there’s a healthy intake of new learners every year at the 20 or so classes that are available (plus on-line courses). Bilingual signage is springing up everywhere – all street signs will be bilingual, and thousands are up already. Even ‘English’ Heritage (of all people!) make extensive use of Cornish at Tintagel and Chysauster, and the only agency that won’t use it is the National Trust. Many books are being published in the language, including classics like Treasure Island, The War of the Worlds and The Hobbit (Pride and Prejudice just published!) and, as production of these isn’t cheap, there is surely a demand for them). I’m glad that your write-up didn’t describe Cornish as having died out, because it never did. “Back from the brink” is the perfect phrase, because it was that close to actual extinction before the revival movement began. The last-known native speaker of Cornish was not the oft-cited Dolly Pentreath (d.1777), but a man (Richard Mann, St Just, formerly of Zennor) who was still alive in 1914, aged 80, well after the revival had begun.

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