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Celtic languages are the languages descended from Proto-Celtic both those spoken by the ancient Celts and those used by their modern descendants the Gaels Welsh Cornish and Bretons They are a branch of the Indo-European language family They were spoken across western Europe during the 1st millennium BC but are now limited to a few enclaves in the British Isles and on the peninsula of Brittany in France There are four main groups of Celtic languages of which the first two are now long extinct Gaulish and its close relatives Lepontic and Galatian These languages were once spoken in a wide arc from France to Turkey and from the Netherlands to northern Italy Celtiberian anciently spoken in the Iberian peninsula namely in the areas of modern Portugal Galicia Asturias Arag and Le Goidelic including Irish Scottish Gaelic and Manx Brythonic including Welsh Breton Cornish Cumbric the hypothetical Ivernic and possibly Pictish Note that the Breton is not Gaulish but closely related to Cornish and is thus a member of Insular Celtic Brittany is known to have been settled from Britain in historical times The separation of these groups probably occurred around 1000 BC The early Celts are commonly associated with the archaeological Urnfield culture Classification There are two competing schemata of categorization The traditional scheme links Gaulish with Brythonic in a P-Celtic node leaving Goidelic as Q-Celtic The difference between P and Q languages is the treatment of Proto-Celtic kw which became p in the P-Celtic languages but k in Goidelic An example is the Proto-Celtic verb root kwrin- to buy which became pryn- in Welsh but cren- in Old Irish With the discovery of the Botorrita tablets in the 1970s it became clear that the Celtiberian language about which virtually nothing was known previously is also Q-Celtic This gave rise to the alternative schema linking Goidelic and Brythonic together as an Insular Celtic branch and Gaulish and Celtiberian as
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