The Modern Gaulish Language
The revival of the Gaulish language: Galáthach hAthevíu


1. A discussion group on, for and in the modern Gaulish language:

2. A comprehensive English-Modern Gaulish-English dictionary:

3. A series of step-by-step lessons in several languages, including English, Portuguese, French, German and Italian:

4. A memrise course:

5. a) A collection of translations of poetry and prose in modern and in old Gaulish:áthach-hAthevíu-Poetry/dp/1511644265

b) a collection of original poetry, songs and stories in the modern Gaulish language:

6. A collection of soundfiles, including songs, in  modern Gaulish:

7. A collection of essays on aspects of Gaulish language and culture:

8. A translation of Asterix The Gaul in modern Gaulish:

9. A translation of Agrippa, a manga about Vercingetorix:

26. Expressions and turns of phrase
Identifying turns of phrase and expressions in the Gaulish corpus is an enterprise that is fraught with danger and incertainty, as very few phrases can be translated reliably enough to identify such a thing as expressions or turns of phrase. Therefore, the following section will consist of educated conjecture, suggesting and proposing phrases that may plausibly be used in the modern Gaulish language.
     Liking and loving
A number of modal verbs can be identified that appear to convey these sentiments:
        cára: to love (p. 107)
        áma: to like (derived from namanto- = ne+ama+nto, p. 231)
        náma: to dislike (p. 231)
        lúvi: to adore (< lubi p. 209)
        arúer: to please/give satisfaction (< arueriiatis p. 56-57)
(All page numbers refer to Delamarre 2003).
These verbal forms can be used as straightforward transitive verbs:
        cára mi ti: I love you
        áma mi ti: I like you
        náma mi ti: I dislike you
        lúva mi ti: I adore you
        arwéra i mi: it pleases me
To express being pleased by a complex subject, the preposition “a” is used in its conjugated form. It precedes the subject, thus effectively forming a VOS clause:
        arwéra adhim depri esc: pleases to-me eating fish
                                               > I like to eat fish
        arwéra adhí ívi curu: pleases to-her drinking beer
                                          > she likes to drink beer
The verb “arúer” is used in the expression “please”:
        ma harwéra i ti: if it pleases you > “please”
(see also further below)
The same verb can also be used to express preference:
        arwéra í mi éth: it pleases me more > I prefer it
        arwéra í mi anéth: it pleases me less > I avoid it
The abstract noun “arwéru” can be used to construct the conceptual nouns for the above phrases. They are adjoined with the nouns “pen”, “head” and “los”, “tail” in noun-noun compounds:
        arwéru’pen: head/main/first-pleasure > preference
        arwéru’los: tail/last-pleasure > avoidance
     Wanting and needing
There are a number of verbal forms attested which express the notion of “wanting, desiring, needing” etc. These are listed in order of strength of expression, as much as such can be derived from their attestation:
        uel-: scrisu-mi-o uelor = spit-I-that one-wants/is-wanted (Delamarre 2003, p. 312)
                > that I spit is wanted / one wants that I spit / I want to spit
        > gwel: to want
        uei-: beni ueionna in coro bouido = woman wishing into cattle contract
                 suante ueiom-mi = for fancying I wish
                 uiro iono ueíío-biíe = true [and] just [your] wish may-be
                 (Mees 2010, p. 96-104)
       > gwéi: to wish
        iant-: onomastic component only, no context.
                  iant- = desire (Delamarre 2003, p. 186)
        > iantha: to desire
        suant-: suante ueiom-mi = for fancying I wish [punishment]
                    suant- is an exact match of Welsh “chwant”: covet, lust, desire
                               and of Breton “choant”: fancy, feel like, “avoir envie de”
                    > suant- appears to be ambiguous and can have negative overtones in Welsh,
                                  and conveys wistful longing, which can be but need not be envious
                   (Mees 2010, p. 101)
        > swantha: to fancy
        rinc-: rinci-tuso = need, get the advantage of (Delamarre 2003, p. 258)
        > rinchi: to need, require
e.g.: gwéla mi ái a’n dráith: I want to go to the beach
        gwéia mi arghan eth: I wish [for] more money
        iantha mi ben: I desire a woman
        swantha mi cerdhl in tiern: I fancy the job of the boss
        rincha mi depri: I need to eat
     Expression of wish
The expression of a wish, intention, desire, blessing or salutation is, in many languages, typically expressed with a subjunctive construction. However, the attested Gaulish material shows indication that the subjunctive mood was being aligned or confused with the future construction, both using the suffix/infix –si(e)/o- (see Lambert 2003, p. 65; Delamarre 2003, p. 298).
Therefore, it is proposed here that the modern Gaulish language, to give expression to a subjunctive notion, uses the future form of a verb in combination with the relative particle “o”, which translates as “that”. Parallels for such a construction can be found in other Celtic languages (Irish and Scottish Gaelic) as well as in Romance (e.g. French) and Germanic languages (English).
e.g.: o bí ti láen: “that you will be happy” > may you be happy
        och urisí su tanch: “that you-pl. will find peace” > may you-pl. find peace
To construct sentences which in English would be formed with “let’s”, the imperative is used:
        ái ni a ‘nam: let’s go swimming!
        clúi ni in gwíroth: let’s hear the truth!
     Uses of “to have”
The expression for “to have”, attested at Banassac (“tieđi ulano celicnu”, Delamarre 2003, p. 323) can be used to express a wide variety of notions:
1) a physical attribute, permanent or non-permanent:
        mi-esi derché búi: I have blue eyes
        mi-esi gwolth sír: I have long hair
2) a physical state, permanent or non-permanent
        mi-esi tráieth brisú: I have a broken foot
        mi-esi dá coch: I have two legs
        mi-esi panthu’pen: I have a headache
        mi-esi oghru: I have cold > I am cold
        mi-esi tes: I have warm(th) > I am warm
        mi-esi nan: I have hunger > I am hungry (< Lezoux L-66, Delamarre 2003, p. 340)
        mi-esi ónu: I have thirst > I am thirsty (< Banassac, Delamarre 2003, p. 242)
        mi-esi achúas: I have speed > I am in a hurry
3) a state of possession, physical or intellectual
        mi-esi cuchul: I have a hat/ hood
        mi-esi téi: I have a house
        mi-esi ménu: I have an idea (a thought)
        mi-esi ulánu: I have satisfaction > I am satisfied (Banassac, Delamarre 2003, p. 323)
        mi-esi in bes: I have the habit > I am used to
        mi-esi gwíroth: I have truth > I am right
4) a state of desire, intention or wistful longing
        mi-esi swantha a hái a’n téi: I feel like / fancy going home
        mi-esi swantha a gan: I feel like singing
     The verb “to have” with a specific subject
The question of how to use the form for “to have” with a subject other than a personal pronoun is a tricky one. In the phrase “tieđi ulano celicnu” of Banassac (Delamarre 2003, p. 323), “ulano [celicnu]” is the subject of the verb “eđi” and “ti” is the indirect object of the phrase, the recipient. The phrase transliterates as: “to/ at-you is the satisfaction ...”, i.e. “the satisfaction is to-you”. Therefore the indirect object, which is in the accusative case, precedes the verb, which is in turn followed by the subject. This gives a sentence structure of O-V-S:
        tieđi ulano celicnu
        O V  S
This structure is not uncommon in the Gaulish corpus:
        eso ieuri rigani rosmertiac = this dedicated the Queen and Rosmerta
        O    V       S
        (Lezoux, Delamarre 2003, p. 334)
        se tigi prino Ascanius = this contract buys Ascanius
             O    V        S
        (Rèze, Stifter 2012)
        scrisu-mi-o uelor = that I spit one wants/ is wanted
              O           V(S)
It is clear that an object can be preposed to a verb if required. Therefore, it is posited here that when a specific, complex or multiple entity is the recipient of the form “to have”, this entity, which is is the indirect object of the phrase, precedes the form “to have”. The personal pronoun featured in the form “to have” will agree with the number and gender expressed in the object phrase:
        é-esi: he has (to-him is)
        boch már: a big mouth
        é-esi boch már: he has a big mouth
        in cun: the dog
        in cun é-esi boch már: the dog to-him is a big mouth
                                             > the dog he has a big mouth
                                             > the dog has a big mouth
        in wná-sé: those women
        in wná-sé sí-esi coché sír: those women they have long legs
                                                  > those women have long legs
        Gwina: a female name
        Gwina í-esi gwolth duv: Gwina has black hair
Subordinate clauses can thus be the recipient of the form “to have”:
        in doné o né chwéla can: the people who don’t want to sing
        panthu’pen: headache
        in doné o né chwéla can sí-esi panthu’pen: the people who don’t want to sing have a
        in doné o sí-esi panthu’pen: the people who have a headache
        ethn o gwéla can: a bird that wants to sing
        in doné o sí-esi panthu’pen sí-esi ethn o gwéla can: the people who have a headache
                                                                                      have a bird that wants to sing
     Expression of obligation
Something that “ought” to be done can expressed as “would be right/just/correct for someone” to do, making use of the attested form “cert-“, translated as “just, right, correct”:
        certh: just, right, correct
        a’n téi: to/ at the house > home
        > ré ví certh riem ái a’n téi: it would be just/right for me to go home
        > I should go home
     Expression of occurence and presence
The notion of “there is” can be translated by the verbal form “esi”, without pronoun or subject:
        nausé: boats
        esi nausé gwer in mór: there are boats on the sea (“boats are on the sea”)
        aman: time, weather
        druch: bad
        diái: to come
        esi aman dhruch en dhíái: there is bad weather coming (“bad weather is coming”)
        né hesi néveth a hávó: there is nothing to do (“not is nothing to do”)
        esi avalé gwer in pren: there are apples on the tree (“apples are on the tree”)
A reflexive pronoun “sue” may tentatively be identified in the Gaulish corpus:
        suebreto = by one’s own judgement
        > sue = self
        (Meid in Delamarre 2003, p. 285)
It needs to be pointed out that the term “sue” also occurs at three reprises at Chateaubleau, where it is interpreted as the 2nd pers. pl. personal pronoun “you” (Mees 2010, p. 99). Nevertheless, this pronoun is attested at Chamalieres as “suis” (Delamarre 2003, p. 337). It is posited here that for the purposes of the modern Gaulish language the form “suis” is used as the personal pronoun “you” (pl.) and the form “sue” is used for reflexive constructions. The latter has an obvious cognate in Romance “sui-“ (sui-cide = self-killing, Fr. soi-meme = one’s self).
Therefore in the modern Gaulish language reflexive forms will be constructed with the pronoun “sue”, in conjunction with the relevant personal pronoun and suffixed to it. It does not change for gender or number.
        apísa mi mi-súe: I see myself
        molátha é ché-súe: he praises himself
        lautha í chí-súe: she washes herself
        esi in gwir en ch’iéi é-súe: the man is cursing himself
The same form is used to construct emphatic statements:
        avóthu mi chí mi-súe: I did it myself
        apisú sú chí sú-súe: you (pl.) have seen it yourselves
     Basic phrases of courtesy
A number of basic phrases of courtesy and simple conversation can tentatively be constructed, using either attested or semi-attested forms (e.g. brathu) or using the attested material in a manner consistent with authentic syntactic characteristics (e.g. adjective following head) or with general pan-Celtic and/ or Western European standards and/ or conventions (e.g. dí wath). All words are found in Delmarre (2003) unless otherwise indicated.
dí wath: goodday
methin dhái: good morning
óswédhí dhái: good afternoon
nesnoith dái: good evening
noith dái: good night
bráthu: thanks (< bratou decantem, Delamarre 2003, p. 85)
má harwéra í ti: please (if it pleases you)
iach: well, healthy, sane, fit
iachas: wellbeing/ health
slán: healthy
slánas: health
        > iachas dhái: good health > cheers, drinking toast
        > slánas: health > goodbye
swáel: good wind > welcome
podh a hesi ti: how are you
esi mi in dhái: I am well (with adverbial particle “in”)
mi cóéth: me too, me as well
nep: any, some, neither
        > né háva í dáias nep: it doesn’t do any good
        > esi duvr nep en in ban: there is some water in the cup
        > né hesi í on nep al: it is neither one or the other
réithu: right, law, entitlement
        > mi-esi in réithu: I have the right
certh: right, correct
        > esi mi certh: I am right (also “mi-esi gwíras”)
ancherth: wrong
        > esi mi ancherth: I am wrong
sóru: fault
        > mi-esi sóru: I have fault > I apologise
        > esi í mó shóru: id.
lái: to leave, let be, let off (< [prinni] laget, Delmarre 2003, p. 253)
        > lái mi ónach: leave me alone