Brythonic, and a Common Tongue
various allied Celtic nations in the book (Eirelan, Scotland, Kernow, Wales,
and Bretan) share a lingua franca that they refer to as “Gaelic,” though
it is not the Gaelic we know today or from former times. It is a language that
grew out of the Irish, Scottish, and Manx forms of Gaelic (Goidelic languages),
combined with English. The everyday language of Eirelan and Scotlan is quite
close in structure and vocabulary to the shared language and thus the
Eirelanders and Scots need make little adjustment in speech (mainly avoidance
of slang and colloquial expressions) to converse freely with other Celtic
peoples. Kernow’s Brythonic-root language has, over time, grown closer to the
Gaelic spoken in Eirelan and Scotlan due to extensive military and commercial
contacts. The Welsh speak among themselves a much-changed Brythonic language
that cannot be understood without study by the Gaelic speakers. Though the
Cornish share this language with the Welsh, they tend to be somewhat more
fluent in the lingua franca version of Gaelic. Finally, the Bretans (on
the coast of France) speak a form of Brythonic related to Cornish but much
modified by French and English. The Welsh and the Bretans must learn the shared
Gaelic tongue as a foreign language. Many Welsh do; not so many in Bretan whose
connections with the island nations are somewhat looser.
The English language
survives in written form and is known, studied and read by educated citizens.
It is spoken (in a modified form) only in the areas of eastern England outside
of Wales, Kernow and Scotlan.
Those interested in
deepening their knowledge of these Celtic languages might start with Wikipedia,
which has some excellent articles.