CELTIC LANGUAGES. The Celtic languages form one group of the Indo-European family of languages, intermediate between the Italic and Teutonic groups, but distinguished from these and other branches of the family by certain well-marked characteristics, the most notable of which are the loss of initial and inter-vocalic p, and the change of I.–E. a to the I.–E. labial ized velar gv is represented by b, while the medial aspirates bh, dli, gh result in simple voiced stops. I.–E. sonant r and l become ri, li. The initial mutations which are so characteristic of the living languages arose after the Romans had left Britain. The Celtic languages and the Italic dialects stand in a close relation ship to one another. The features common to both Celtic and Italic are : (I) the gen. sing. ending -i of masc. and neut. stems in o; (2) verbal nouns in -tion; (3) the future; (4) the passive formation in The various Celtic dialects are: (I) Gaulish; (2) Goidelic, in cluding Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx; (3) Brythonic, including Welsh, Breton, and Cornish. Gaulish and Brythonic change the I.-E. labialized velar guttural qu to p, whilst the Goidelic dialects retain the qu, which later gives up the labial element and be comes k.
See INDO-EUROPEANS ; GAELIC LANGUAGE ; CORNISH LANGUAGE ; MANX LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE ; WELSH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.
See also Windisch's article "Keltische Sprachen" in Ersch and Gruber's Allgemeine Encyklopeidie der Wissenschaf ten and Kiinste, and V. Tourneur, Esquisse d'une histoire des etudes celtiques, vol. ii. with full bibliography (Liege, 1905) ; Zeuss's Granimatica Celtica as revised by Ebel; a comparative grammar of the Celtic dialects by H. Pedersen (Gottingen, 1908) ; H. Zimmer, "Die Kelt. Litteraturen" in Die Kultur d. Gegenwart, T. i. Abh. xi. I. (Berlin and Leipzig, 1909). See also Whitley Stokes and A. Bezzenberger, Wortschatz der keltischen sprach einheit (Gottingen, 1894) ; A. Meillet and M. Cohen, Les Langues du Monde (1924) •