Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Celtic Cousins

I spotted something on Twitter that made me think back to an old interest of mine that fits in quite well here, the Celtic Languages and their similarities. In particular, the Welsh and Breton languages.

I am not a native speaker of either of these languages but my home is Wales and one of my favourite places in the world is Brittany. On trips to Brittany we have noticed house names like "Ty Gwenn" and local souvenirs decorated with the image of a Breton lady, known as "Mam Du". My limited knowledge of Welsh enabled me to make a connection with the meanings of these labels ...

Ty = House
Gwyn = White
White House

Mam = Mother
Du = Black
Mother Black - a reflection of the totally black costume worn by Mam Du in the pictures.

The Twitter post was similar, a picture of a house sign, saying "Ti Glaz" - Blue house, and similar in the Welsh, "Ty Glas".

I was inspired to Google search to find out more about the languages and their similarities and came across one particularly useful page, which sets out the more common words with closely related spellings and sounds.

Ominglot - Celtic Connections

The most striking similarities I noticed were in the numbers from both the Welsh and Breton languages

Welsh / Bretton
Un / Unan
Dai / Daou
Tri / Tri
Pedwar / Peder
Pump / Pemp
Chwech / C'hwec'h
Saith / Seizh
Wyth / Eizh
Nawr / Nav
Deg / Dek

Fascinating to think how these two languages began as one and with migration, suppression and the influence of neighbouring cultures have changes and adapted but still remain closely linked in their essence.