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Goidelic languages at the zenith of their influence in the British Isles

Gaelic refers to three closely related modern Indo-European Celtic languages spoken in parts of the British Isles and northern Nova Scotia. Irish Gaelic, usually known as Irish (or Gaelige in its own speech), is spoken on the island of Ireland, Manx Gaelic on the Isle of Man, and Scottish Gaelic (or Gaidhlig) in the Western Highlands of Scotland and the Hebrides. Scottish Gaelic was at one stage the dominant (but never the only) language in Scotland. These three languages form the Goidelic (from goidel (Ir.)= an Irishman) group of Celtic languages, as opposed to the Brythonic group which comprises Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Gaelic has been in danger of becoming extinct in many of the traditional Gaelic speaking areas, but now a Gaelic renaissance has slowed this trend if not yet reversed it. In Ireland, for example, many or all road signs are written in Gaelic, and the language is taught in public schools.

Further reading

  • [1], Gaelic Dictionary.