Goidelic languages

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The Goidelic or Gaelic[1] languages (Irish: teangacha Gaelacha, Scottish Gaelic: cànain Ghàidhealach, Manx: çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other consisting of the Brythonic languages.[2] Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland through the Isle of Man to the north of Scotland. There are three modern Goidelic languages: Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), and Manx Gaelic (Gaelg).

Classical Gaelic, otherwise known as Early Modern Irish,[3] was used as a literary language[4] in Ireland and Gaelic Scotland between the 13th and 18th centuries.[5] As these during the 17th century, 18th century and 19th century either emigrated, were executed, reduced to poverty, or became anglicised, the regional dialects started coming to the fore, with divergence of the traditional orthography. However, most orthographic divergence has been held to a minimum through standardisation into a pluricentristic orthography with a certain amount of freedom to represent regional forms, be these spelling variants (e.g. ciad vs ceud in Scotland, Classical Gaelic céad "hundred"), or vocabulary or idiomatic variants. The Manx orthography introduced in the 16th century and 17th century was based on English and Welsh practice, however was never widely in use, as the educated elite were of Anglo-Norman descent at the time. A similar spelling system was in some use in Scotland, however never took hold.

The Goidelic languages are generally classified in comparative/linguistic short-hand parlance as the Q-Celtic division of the Celtic languages.


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