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Gaelic roots...

Does anyone have any information or knowledge about the non-indoEuropean substrate in Scottish Gaelic? There are sever things that make it distinct from Continental European Celtic languages and other ancient IndoEuropean languages. Is there a lot words or features preserved from the Pre-indoEuropean inhabitants of the British Isles or the Iberian peninsula?

December 23, 2019



Hey, I’m no expert but here are some poorly researched statements: Modern Scottish Gaelic and Irish share a kind of co-origin if you go far back enough. Gaelic has borrowed a fair bit from English / Scots and Norse languages. It has also taken on some Brythonic words such as “monadh - mountain range” (the Brythonic branch of the Celtic families includes Cornish, Welsh and Breton and it also at one point included Cumbric and very probably Pictish). I don’t think we can say for certain what pre-indo-European languages would have been like in Britain, so identifying features of them in modern Gaelic would be nigh on impossible. I have no academic background in this so please feel free to correct!!!


I’m no expert either, but I can refer you to a couple Wikipedia articles on the subject. One (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goidelic_substrate_hypothesis) is about a hypothesis that an older language in Ireland influenced the Gaelic languages as a whole. The other (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictish_language) is about Pictish, the language spoken by the Picts who inhabited Scotland before the arrival of the Gaels. It’s possible that either one influenced modern Scottish Gaelic.

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