How did English get to England? (1) Celtic (Gaelic)

Probably the oldest surviving language in Britain is Gaelic which is a branch of Celtic.

Celtic was widely spoken in Western Europe including Britain, France, Poland, Austria, Germany and Czechoslovaki. The maps are only indicative, but the one below gives an indication of where the Celts lived originally.

The language was largely replaced by the Latin (Romance) languages and Germanic (Teutonic) languages and now survives in French Brittany, the South of France, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. It was the first language of Richard 1st of England (Richard the Lionheart).

Gaelic, which is a branch of Celtic, developed in Ireland and from there spread to Scotland (along with the bagpipes) and to Wales. Doubtless there are remnants of the language in English, but I have made no attempt to find them.

Next week, we’ll look at one of the languages that pushed Celtic almost completely out of England.



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