The terms Celtic and Gaelic cause a lot of confusion among many due to how similar they are, and the reason for this similarity is that they are interrelated. The Gaelic language/culture comes under the Celtic branch of languages/groups.
- Gaelic is a group of languages within the Celtic family, spoken primarily in Ireland (Irish Gaelic) and Scotland (Scottish Gaelic).
- Celtic refers to a broader family of languages and cultures originating from the Iron Age Celts, encompassing not only the Gaelic languages but also Welsh, Breton, and Cornish.
- Understanding the distinction between Gaelic and Celtic is important when discussing linguistic and cultural aspects of Ireland, Scotland, and other regions with Celtic heritage.
Gaelic vs Celtic
Gaelic is one of the languages of the Celtic family commonly spoken in Scotland and Ireland. Celtic was a group of Indo-European peoples in Europe and Anatolia with a specific culture that used the Celtic languages. Celtic language is a group of many different languages and cultures including Scottish Gaelic.
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The Celtic culture originated from central Europe, and the tribes that came under this culture were called “The Celts”. There were many languages, religions, and tribes that came under this collective group.
Traces of the culture can still be found in parts of Europe. The Gaelic language is one of the few languages under the Celtic group of languages.
It originated from Scotland and parts of Ireland. The Scottish Gaelic language was the primary language spoken in Scotland and a few areas/islands surrounding it.
|Parameters of Comparison||Celtic||Gaelic|
|Relation||The Celtic, or “The Celts”, were a combination of many different cultures and languages all grouped into one.||The Gaelic language and tribes are a subcategory of the Celtic languages and are a small branch that comes under it.|
|Origin||The Celtic culture began to rise in the year 1200 B.C. and first spread around parts of western Europe.||The Gaelic Culture/language originated in Ireland and was introduced in Scotland in the 4th century.|
|Family||The Celtic languages are believed to have descended from the Proto-Celtic and belong to the Indo-European language family.||The Gaelic language comes under the Indo-European language family and is part of the Goidelic subdivision or group.|
|Language||Here, four primary languages were spoken: Welsh, Breton, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic, including many more minority languages.||Specifically, here, the language spoken is called Scots Gaelic language or Scottish Gaelic.|
|Regions||The cultures and languages can be practised in places like Brittany, the Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, and Cornwall.||The Scottish Gaelic language is commonly found to be spoken by the people living along the northwest coast of Scotland.|
What is Gaelic?
The Gaelic language and culture are a part of the big branch of Celtic languages. It can be categorised as a subset of the Celtic languages and takes roots from the Celtic culture.
The Gaelic Culture/language primarily originated in Ireland. It was later introduced in Scotland when tribes and small groups of people from Ireland migrated over various regions of western Europe in the 4th century.
Since the Gaelic language comes under the Celtic group of languages, it also gets its roots from the Indo-European language family. It is also part of the Goidelic subdivision or group that has been categorised under the Celtic languages.
Also, here, the language spoken is called the Scots Gaelic language or Scottish Gaelic. The Scottish Gaelic language is commonly found to be spoken by the people living along the northwest coast of Scotland.
What is Celtic?
The Celtic tribes, or “The Celts”, are a newer civilisation when compared to other societies, such as the Greeks and the Romans. The Celtic, or “The Celts”, were a combination of many different cultures and languages, all grouped into one.
The Celtic languages and cultures began to rise in the year 1200 B.C. and first spread around parts of western Europe, such as Spain, Ireland, France and Britain. The people that were able to survive in these regions went to become part of different tribes.
Regarding their roots, the Celtic languages are believed to have descended from the Proto-Celtic culture. The Celtic languages are a part of the Indo-European language family and acquired a lot of characteristics from them.
The Celtic cultures and languages still in practice can be found in places like Brittany, the Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, and Cornwall, and a few that have migrated over the past few centuries between other European regions. Under the Celtic group of languages, four were primary: Welsh, Breton, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic, including many more minority languages.
Main Differences Between Gaelic and Celtic
- The Gaelic language and tribes are a subcategory of the Celtic languages and are a small branch that comes under it.
- The Celtic culture originated in 1200 B.C. It started to spread across parts of western Europe, while the Gaelic culture was created when a few people from Ireland first migrated and introduced it in Scotland around the 4th century.
- Many languages come under the Celtic, and the primary four include – Welsh, Breton, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic, while those from the Gaelic tribe/culture speak the language of Scottish Gaelic.
- The Celtic languages are believed to have descended from the Proto-Celtic and belong to the Indo-European language family. In contrast, the Gaelic language has been categorised under the Goidelic subdivision or group.
- The Celtic cultures and languages can be practised in places like Brittany, the Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, and Cornwall. In contrast, the Gaelic language, i.e., Scottish Gaelic, is spoken by people living along the northwest coast of Scotland.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.