Celtic languages: Gaulish.

First off, so that my post will make more sense, let me start off with a little backstory of my life. I promise it will become very language related very quickly so please don't delete this post.

I grew up liking heavy rock bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden and stuff like that, and my dad liked a Finnish band named Nightwish. My favorite band several years ago was Children Of Bodom, a group of people who also hail from Finland. So after basically being forced to take Latin in school, I found a passion for languages. I remember thinking "I wanna learn Nightwish's native language!" I told my brother and he said "No you don't: Finnish isn't Germanic as you probably think, you'll hate it" which got me even more interested in it, since it'd be an extra challenge.

Abruptly fast-forwarding a bit, I grew to really like a little Welsh band named Bullet For My Valentine. As soon as I found out they were from Wales I dove right into the Welsh language; well, tried to, anyway, since there aren't many good Welsh resources on the internet.

Fast-forwarding again to a few years ago, I found Duolingo. I remember back when Duo only had five languages available to English speakers: Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. Then, I think it was two years ago now, they suddenly (at least to me it was sudden) released Dutch, Danish, and Irish. I remember seeing Irish and thinking "Cool! The language of the people from the movie 'Brave'!" and other things like that which made me want to learn it. As soon as I tried it out, I said "NOPE" and quit, for a while. Over the years, between Latin in middle school to now, I've learned a lot about language and the different language families and stuff, and relatively recently I learned that Irish and Welsh come from the same ancestor language. That's when I decided to give Irish another shot, and not long after that it was announced that Welsh had entered the incubator. When Welsh was released into Beta, I remember thinking how different it was from Irish, and then I learned they come from two different subdivisions of Celtic.

So anyway, with that out of the way, I wanted to say that I've developed an unexpected love for the entire Celtic language family, and have spent a lot of my recent free time learning all that I can about it, and just a couple hours ago I discovered an extinct Celtic language that I'd never heard of: Gaulish. It comes from the same subdivision of Celtic as Welsh and has many similarities, and I started looking for any minor resources out there and found that they offer a course on Memrise, and I thought it'd be really really cool if someone out there with knowledge of Gaulish would come contribute to a Gaulish course on Duolingo.

If you've kept yourself awake this far, thank you for spending your time reading about my newfound interest in Celtic languages and my passion for world language as a whole. If you enjoyed reading it, love any or all of the Celtic languages, and/or agree that a Gaulish course would be awesome, please up-vote this post. If there's anything I should edit like a statement that goes against guidelines or a typo please let me know and I'll do my best to keep it user-friendly. Thanks!

March 2, 2016


although it's a nice idea to bring back extinct languages, it would i think benefit the world more to keep alive the ones we have, and it would be kind of insulting to have a Gaulish course but no Cornish course, which very much needs the help to stop going extinct. The added bonuses of Cornish over Gaulish are that you can speak to first language speakers, and experience a living culture.

May 11, 2016

Lexicity is good index of resources for ancient languages, including Gaulish:

And since you like celtic languages maybe you want to have a look to Celtiberian, the only celtic language attested in the Iberian peninsula:

There is a neo-folk band from Spain called Keltika Hispanna that uses some parts of Celtiberian inscriptions as lyrics. Example:

About a Gaulish course it'll be almost impossible to see it here. First of all there are very few inscriptions to have a big idea of how the language was (a lot of tenses, declinations, vocabulary is missing so it should be reconstructed). Second, there are very few experts in the language. Third, there would be very few people studying it.

March 3, 2016

You sir, are very interesting. I have been obsessed by all things celtic since around 15 years now, I am so sure that if I would go past all my French ancestors in my family tree I would find Celts, probably Gaulish. I know I got some Breton in me somewhere too. My mystical friend says we (she too is a little obsessed ;) ) must have been from some Celt nation in another life haha. That's why I see your passion. When I had the choice between German and Spanish in college, I chose German, because it was a less obvious choice, so I understand you fascination with Finnish which is indeed, very special.

I was introduced to metal by my fiancé. I found Eluveitie myself though, and I saw someone recommend it to you: I agree, it is a great choice! I only have one album though, check out their song Brictom and also Suavelos.

Gaulish would be great. As useful to me as would be Latin. Not sure we'll see that here. I'll check the memrise class then!

May 5, 2016

I vote for Gaulish as well !

May 5, 2016

there's tonnes more resources too of course. I'm from Ireland (Éir ech in tengu Galáthach), though I've always been obsessed with the Gauls, their culture, gods, and old heroes like Vercingétorix. I would love a reconstructed/modern Gaulish course. I doubt it will ever happen, but it's a great part of European history, and it should be revived.

"Gaul united, forming a single nation, animated by the same spirit, can defy the universe." – Julius Caeser ;)

November 21, 2016

also, Eluveitie kick ass

November 21, 2016

As a student of French, I'd be very interested in a course in Gaulish.

March 2, 2016

That's something I hadn't even thought of yet, and makes me want to learn it even more!

March 2, 2016

This is interesting.

This is too.

And this too on a reconstructed Gaulish.

March 2, 2016

Wow, that's a lot lol thanks!

March 2, 2016

[deactivated user]

    For a fellow metalhead: if you like Bodom check out Korpiklaani, Kalmah, and Warmen. All three are from Finland, and Warmen is Bodom's Jann Warmen's side project. Decent stuff, lots of guests/cameos. Introduced me to Throne of Chaos.

    Going with the folk metal route, Dalriada is a personal favorite. Celtic name, Hungarian lyrics; I'm patiently waiting for the Hungarian course to go into Beta :)

    Other good stuff: Tyr, Metsatoll, Equilibrium, Ensiferum, loads more but I forgot my ipod at home so this is just off the top of my head.

    Edit: one more: Wintersun

    March 3, 2016

    If Eluveitie can sing in that awesome language, why can't we speak in it? This must be created.

    December 3, 2016

    I have extensive family in the Isle of Man, and would love it if some more Celtic language courses came onto Duolingo, especially Manx. If any more did come on, I would definitely give them a try!

    April 12, 2018

    Irish actually isn't the language from the movie Brave--Brave was set in the highlands of Scotland, so it's actually Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic). Though Gàidhlig DID come from Irish, and they are both Celtic, so they have similarities.

    June 20, 2019

    Yes. The extant Celtic languages fall neatly into two subfamilies: Goidelic, or Gaelic (Irish, Scotch Gaelic, and Manx); and Brittonic, or Brythonic (Welsh, Cornish, and Breton). In each group, the three languages ar very closely related, perhaps even somewhat mutually intelligible.

    Extinct Celtic languages include Celtiberian, Gaulish, Pictish, Galatian, Lepontic and Cumbric among many others. Largely lost to the advance of Rome (Latin/Romance languages) and the Germanic peoples (Germanic languages such as English or German).

    August 30, 2019

    VERY GOOD IDEA!!! I would be really excited because I am a fan of the Asterix graphic novel series (it's really fun and is about a Gaulish village...). Unfortunately, I don't speak Gaulish and can't help with a/the course, but I am very excited and can't wait for it to be out in the incubator and released into beta! Good luck!

    June 28, 2019

    Isn't Gaulish an extinct language?

    March 2, 2016

    It is indeed, as I stated in the second to last paragraph.

    Edit: "...And just a couple hours ago I discovered an extinct Celtic language that I'd never heard of: Gaulish."

    March 2, 2016

    Oops. Well I would still be interested in seeing it, no idea where you would get the resources though.

    March 2, 2016

    Well in the same paragraph I stated that Memrise has a course. Personally I like Duolingo way better though, and that's why I'd love a Gaulish Duo course.

    March 2, 2016

    First and foremost, your taste in music is excellent. I listen to all the bands you've enlisted here and (off topic, but interesting for you) Children of Bodom was the first concert that I have ever attended. Special memories for me.

    Since you enjoy metal music, you may be very interested in listening to the Swiss band Eluveitie who is singing in both English and Gaulish - and they are in fact the most successful Swiss band on planet Earth! It's a blend of Folk/Celtic/Pagan/Death Metal and many traditional instruments like the hurdy gurdy, the harp and the violin. See them live if you have the chance, they are top-notch. I show you some songs so that you'll know how Gaulish sounds like:

    • Omnos (acoustic song in Gaulish)
    • Celtos (Folk/Celtic/Pagan/Death Metal in Gaulish with lyrics)
    • A Rose For Epona (sung in English, but the Celtic feeling at the beginning is world-class, that's why it's one of my favorite songs of them.)


    March 2, 2016

    A Rose For Epona is a fantastic song.

    March 2, 2016

    I'm even learning something about Swiss bands here, Duolingo is awesome ;) I just realised that I've never heard something of the most successful Swiss band, even though they were no. 1 in the swiss album charts in 2014, and even though I'm Swiss -.-'
    Im going to listen to them right now, thanks for sharing!

    May 5, 2016

    You're very welcome =)

    May 5, 2016

    Wow, very cool! Thanks! And Alexi Laiho used to be (and I guess still is) my guitarist idol, along with Michael Paget from Bullet.

    March 2, 2016

    I have a weird obsession with this language. There's something fascinating about it and I can't explain why.

    November 13, 2017

    Same here!

    March 27, 2018

    I just love languages and being a Spanish speaker who is learning Catalan, it excites me to think about the possibility about studying French and Gaulish.

    November 19, 2017

    I recently started listening to Eluveitie, and they sound amazing. I was thinking about learning Gaulish, and I stumbled on this

    December 3, 2017

    A menghávithu ti galathach tengu?

    August 16, 2018

    I like the classical Gaulish language rather than the modern reconstruction.

    August 16, 2018
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