Which are the easiest to most difficult of the Celtic languages?

For those, who have tried to learn from Irish or Scotish Gaelic and Welsh/Cornish or Breton, which of the languages are objectively easier and more difficult.

I'm Irish so I can't make a comparison as I am obviously biased and Welsh/Breton seem quite difficult for me. But for those of you language nerds with experience in these languages and would be more objective, could you rank these languages from easiest to most difficult. And if possible, a slight explanation as to why that is the case. Thanks, I'm very curious about this.

April 8, 2017


Well, for me, the most difficult celtic language is Irish, cause they have some really scary words that I can't remember well. But Welsh is easy, cause If you know English, the words sound pretty much the same.

April 8, 2017

Interesting, for me, welsh words looks long and scary, with all their L's and 20 letter words, but then again, I'm Irish and grew up with it, so I can't really look at it objectively

April 8, 2017

Irish orthography and spelling are difficult for me as a native English speaker. When in doubt, add an i before and after the vowel?

Welsh is less intimidating even with their odd words and LL voiceless alveolar lateral fricative.

April 8, 2017

Exactly, but there are some words from Irish that sound the same in other languages. Like the word Stobhach, it means Stew in English and Estofado in Spanish.

April 8, 2017

There actually is a pattern to Irish spelling. It is quite difficult to get your head aroud but one you do, you can pronounce any word. In terms of consistency, it's more regular than English

April 15, 2017

I think it also depends on which language you are coming from. I suppose we're assuming English in this conversation. I did the Irish tree on Duolingo twice. I have to say that Irish was very difficult for me to get my head around. My understanding is that Irish is much less changed from its roots than Welsh has been, i.e., there has been less "innovation" in the language, and some of the constructions are unusual to those who have an English, Romance, or Germanic language mindset.

Welsh seems more straightforward. However, I haven't studied it as long as I did Irish, so maybe I haven't run into a difficult bit yet. Having said that, Irish was really hard from the get go. I love Irish, so I'm not knocking it, but my gut feeling is that it is harder than Welsh for English speakers.

May 30, 2017

Yes I believe you are correct. Irish has had fewer influences from Romance and Germanic languages compared to Welsh. I hope its difficulty will not impact your desire to continue pursuing fluency.

I am lecturer of Irish in a university in France. I have noticed that the hardest working students, despite their dedication are unable to reach fluency in the language. They do make major progress however.

Luckily, the university has set up a program for these students to live in an Irish speaking family home while attending Galway university, In my experience, those who manage to achieve fluency or a high level. Immersion was the key factor. Along with hard work, before going to Ireland of course.

My recommendation is for you to continue learning and when you may have some chance in the future, live in a Gaeltacht for a while, with a family preferably and make friends there and completely immerse yourself in the language.

If you have any questions regarding Irish, I'll b happy to help :) Go n'éirí an t-ádh leat

June 1, 2017

Welsh is easier than Irish but they are both kinda easy for me once you get past the spelling... I don't have any experience with the others as of yet

June 2, 2017

I just started learning Welsh, and it's difficult for me because I only speak English, but I'm getting used to the way that certain letters are pronounced.

August 1, 2017

Good luck with it!

August 1, 2017


August 1, 2017

I can't really have a say because my native language was scottish gaelic. To me irish seems easy because Gáidhlig and Gaeilge are closely related languages. Welsh to me is pretty hard

December 6, 2017

I'd say Manx gaelic or Gaelg is the easiest as it seldom uses accents in their spelling and it's a phonetic language. The grammar might look a bit of a tongue twister at first but it's fairly straightforward. Manx is closely related to irish and scots gaelic.

June 21, 2018

I would say Manx Gaelic 'Gaelg' is the easiest to learn for English speakers. The spelling is straightforward and it's quite a beautiful phonetic language, it's closely related to Irish and Scots Gaelic but the last two use Romanised spellings with accents etc. The second most easiest of the celtic languages to learn in my opinion is Breton ' Breizh'

March 18, 2019

Just my two cents. With English as my starting point, none of them have been easy. I will say though that Modern Irish is much easier than traditional Irish. Scots-Gaelic would then be the next easiest because it is so similar to Irish. I thought I would then have a launching point to tackle Welsh. I was wrong. It looked, felt and sounded foreign to any of the other 20 languages I have tried. Manx, Cornish and Breton, I have nothing to say about.

April 8, 2017

Well the fact that you are not too familiar with manx, cornish or breton is not super important to the question as Manx is in the Goidelic family while cornish and Breton are in the Brittonic languange family. So I wanted to know which language family was easier to master. The fact you studied welsh and Irish are enough for me to see which is easier from an outsider's perspectve

April 15, 2017

Irish Gaelic, If we learn welsh and Scottish Gaelic would that make it easier to learn Irish Gaelic.

June 3, 2018
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