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A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words, phrases, or clauses that are called the conjuncts of the conjunctions. Conjunctions are relatively volatile vocabulary items, as they have a tendency to be repurposed or recreated out of different words over time.[1] For this reason, reconstructing conjunctions and determining usage guidelines can be nebulous territory. Sanestos Towtās is not currently setting out to standardize or codify conjunctions, but is instead presenting known information about conjunctions for the reader to use in making their own determination for best usage.

Celtic conjunctions are supposed to be organized here by their nearest English equivalents for the convenience of the reader. Keep in mind that there may be substantial overlap or redundancy or even contradiction between subsections of this article as a result of the volatility of these parts of speech.

Coordinating Conjunctions


*-kʷe, *etikʷe

There are two coordinating conjunctions in Celtic translated as \'and\' which stand out as being especially archaic: *-kʷe and *eti·kʷe; the latter of which may not necessarily extend back to Proto-Celtic, but is nonetheless an archaic compound that we receive in the form of Gaulish etic (cf. eti and Latin adque below).

These conjunctions have a wide array of readily-identifiable cognates throughout the Indo-European family, including examples found in Italic, Germanic, Hellenic, and Indo-Iranian[2][3]. Although these cognates do not all share identical semantics (presumably owing to the aforementioned volatility of conjunctions), we can see a clear similarity in the usage of these specific conjunctions between continental Celtic languages and one of their nearest neighbors (both geographically and genetically), Latin.


*-kʷe is a postpositive particle, meaning that it is suffixed to the end of the word that is being conjoined[1]. Attested daughter examples include[5][6][7]:

  • Celtiberian: -kue [citation needed]
  • Gaulish: -c
  • Lepontic: -pe [8][9]
  • Old Irish: -ch (in early texts only, usually suffixed to proclitics)

Usage examples include:


  • eni Orosei Ekueisui-kue, \'in Orosis and Ekueisu\' (K.03.03)


  • lopites or lotites snieððdic (From Chamalières tablet; meaning is uncertain; two 2nd pers. sing. verbs paired together)
  • rigani rosmertiac (from \"terrine de Lezoux\"; if the suffix is -c, then this represents a dative noun paired with an associative noun; see below for -ac interpretation)


  • latumarui sapsutai pe, \'for L. and S.\' (From le vase de Latumaros)

Old Irish:

  • nochit fir, \'and it is [rather] the men\'

Comparison to Latin -que:

  • Senatus Populusque Romanus, \'The Senate and the Roman people\'
  • HOMINVMQUE FERARVMQUE, \'both of man and of beast\'
  • Fretusque his animis, \'And so trusting to the pride of them\'

In archaic and official language, -que is preferred to et, from which it is distinguished by denoting a closer connection. It is used singly to link words with related meanings:

  • fames sitisque, \'hunger and thirst\'
  • saepe diuque, \'often and for a long time\'

With the comparative:

  • plus plusque, \'more and more\'

When used with personal and possessive pronouns:

  • \'\'me meosque. \'me and mine\'

Used in archaic formulae:

  • potes pollesque, \'you are able and you are strong\'

Also used for contrastive meaning:

  • Terrā marique, \'from earth and sea\'
  • Ferro ignique, \'with iron and [with] fire\'
  • Pace belloque, \'with peace and [with] war\'
  • Parvis magnisque, \'with small and [with] large\'
  • Jus nefasque, \'law and sin\'
*eti, *etikʷe

Comparison to Latin et, adque:

Delamarre\'s treatment:

The form eti is attested at La Graufesenque where it serves to link the names of vases; cornuto cana S = CC eti triatali == CC eti pelis LX, or the names of potters depositing different vases Masuetos pana [ eti Masueto uinari [, etc. ; in the Latin version of the potters\' accounts eti is translated as item or idem \'also, likewise\', Marichal 100-101, Loth GGG 42-43. The word is found in a Swiss inscription ]cit eti legetum[ and in onomastics Ετι-ουηπος (Eti-uepos), perhaps ]ετι-ρειξ (eti-rix), M. Lejeune EC 30 (1994), 183. An augmented form etic, an old shortening (prior to the to p change), from *eti-kʷe \'and yet, and even\', is attested at Alise-Saine-Reine (L-13) ... etic gobedbi dugiíontiío... \'and with the blacksmiths who...\', at Chamalières, line 7, ... etic secoui toncnaman / toncsiíontío... \'and all those who would swear this false oath\' (Lambert, GAS 60 ; in both cases etic introduces a relative, LG 156) and in Larzac, line 1b1, etic eiotinios cuet[... where a stronger coetic form appears just a bit beneath it (1b3), probably co-etic \'and also\'. J. Eska ZcPh Jubil., 170-78, sees an allphonic variant of etic attested a bit above it on line 3 of the Chamalières inscription, in the word eđđic, ± [etsik] ; P-Y. Lambert, LG 154, notes in this regard that \"if the engraver used two different spellings on lines 3 and 7, it\'s because he wanted to write two phonetically different words\", which is far from assured given the orthographic variation that we often find in Gaulish within the same text (Larzac lissatim /lidssatim etc.) Similarly for Schrijver, SCPP 182, the etic from Alise represents a relative form, *esti-kʷe \'which is\'; this would seem less likely.

Old Indo-European adverb *éti \'yet, still\' which has given the conjunction et from Latin but for which the meaning remains in etiam \'and now, yet still\': Greek éti \'again, more\', Skr. áti \'beyond\', Got. \'then, but\', IEW 344, DELL 203. In Gaulish, the adverbial meaning seems preserved in eti, the conjunction would be etic \'et\', created by adding the old Indo-European connector *-kʷe (Latin -que etc.), with a stronger sense in co-etic.


  • duci
  • toni


Old Irish:[6][7]

  • ocus, the most common choice. See Proto-Celtic *onko-, *onku-, or *onkus-tus (\'at, near\').
  • sceo, only used in early poetry and \'rhetorics\'. Dative of old verbal noun of *sechid (\'says\'), *scé meaning \'with mention (of)\'. See Proto-Celtic *sekʷ-o- (\'say\').
  • noch, typically used to introduce something contrastive or causal in meaning, though sometimes also at the head of a main clause as an emphatic form of \'and\'.
  • emid ... emid ..., \'as well as ...\', \'not only ... but also/both ...\'. Emid alone means \'nearly, as it were\'. See Proto-Celtic *semiti- (\'also\').

But, Yet, Still

  • eti [Conjunction]

BREI: OBret. et- GAUL: eti (La Graufesenque) PIE: *h~1~eti \'beyond\' (IEW: 344) COGN: Lat. et \'and\', Skt. áti \'beyond, over\'

Other Coordinating Conjunctions

Old Irish:[6][7]

  • sech, combines parallel clauses. Equivalent to Latin praeterquam quod. See Proto-Celtic *sekʷ-o- (\'besides, without\')
  • eter ... ocus ..., \'between/among ... and ...\', links parallel elements into a larger unit. See Proto-Celtic *enter (\'between\').
  • no, nu
  • rodbu, robu
  • airc
  • cenmithá


\<ref name=\"1\" |url= |title=Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction |author=Fortson, B. W. |location=Hoboken |publisher=John Wiley & Sons |year=2011 >


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[^3]: |url= |title=Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction |author=Fortson, B. W. |location=Hoboken |publisher=John Wiley & Sons |year=2011

[^4]: |url= |title=La Langue gauloise : description linguistique, commentaire d\'inscriptions choisies |author=Pierre-Yves Lambert, Michel Lejeune |location=Arles |publisher=Éditions Errance |year=2018

[^5]: |url= |title=Selgoidelc: Old Irish for Beginners |author=David Stifter |location=Syracuse, NY |publisher=Syracuse University Press |year=2014

[^7]: |url= |title=The Ancient Languages of Europe |author=Roger D. Woodard |location=Cambridge |publisher=Cambridge Univ. Press |year=2010