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Western Brittonic languages comprise two dialects into which Common Brittonic split during the Early Middle Ages; its counterpart was the ancestor of the Southwestern Brittonic languages. The reason and date for the split is often given as the Battle of Deorham in 577, at which point the victorious Saxons of Wessex essentially cut Brittonic-speaking Britain in two.[1]

Western Brythonic
Cumbria, Wales
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Notes6th–present day

Western Brittonic languages were spoken in Wales and the Hen Ogledd, or "Old North", an area of northern England and southern Scotland. One Western language evolved into Old Welsh and thus to the modern Welsh language; the language of Hen Ogledd, Cumbric, became extinct after the expansion of the Middle Irish-speaking Dál Riata polity.[2] Southwestern Brittonic became the ancestor to Cornish and Breton.[2]


  1. ^ I.M. Watkin (1994). "Who are the Welsh?". International Journal of Anthropology. 9: 53.
  2. ^ a b J.T. Koch; A. Minard (2006). "Cumbric". In J.T. Koch (ed.). Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara. p. 516.