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The ancient Greeks used both words and appeared to have originated both. The first form appears first in 517BC by Hecateus of Milietus. The word is still known in the 12th century AD where it's used in the Alexiad to describe Franks. The word is supposedly from a Celtic word referring to themselves.

Galatai though is taken (by modern linguists) to be from a Celtic word 'galos' and was used to describe the Celts who invaded Anatolia. The state of Galatia later named for them. No mention of where the t came from though.

The Greeks used the two terms indiscriminately so my question is whether these words could have come from the same original word? I'm not a linguist and what I've seen so far doesn't address these words together but as separate things.

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    Not an answer, but: you might find better help on Latin.SE, which deals specifically with Latin, Greek, and related ancient languages. – Draconis May 9 at 3:42
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    This article may be enlightening: Keltoi, Galatai, Galli: Were They All One People? by Timothy P. Bridgman. It's on JSTOR but unfortunately my university access doesn't seem to include it, so I can't read it myself. – Draconis Jun 18 at 23:38
  • Thanks, I've read that article but it doesn't answer the question. It's mainly interested in whether the terms refer to the same meta culture which it determines they do. It doesn't discuss common origins for the words. JSTOR allows free access to certain articles if you sign up but you're limited to reading six a month. – Daniel Jun 22 at 0:00
  • Ah, alas. Back to searching then! – Draconis Jun 23 at 23:39
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    I am not a pro either, but Κέλται and Γαλ(ά)ται look pretty affine, but for labile vowel shifts and the Κ/Γ slide, both standard in Greek transliterations of foreign terms. Remember the letter Γ represented a voiced velar stop /ɡ/. – Cosmas Zachos Aug 6 at 21:38

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