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Irish ( in
Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Symbols * Colours, standards and guidons, kinds of military signs * Heraldic flag, Standard (emblem), a type of a large symbol or emblem used for identification Norms, conventions or requirements * Standard (metrology) ...
), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a
Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages. Goidelic languages historically f ...
of the
Insular Celtic Insular Celtic languages are the group of Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used ...
branch of the
Celtic language family The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used to describe this language group by Edward Lhuyd in 1707, fol ...
, which is a part of the
Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
. Irish is
indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ' ...
to the
island of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish ...

island of Ireland
and was the population's
first language A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', mean ...
until the late 18th century. Although
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
has been the first language of most residents of the island since the early 19th century, Irish is spoken as a first language in broad areas of counties
Cork Cork or CORK may refer to: Materials * Cork (material), an impermeable buoyant plant product ** Cork (plug), a cylindrical or conical object used to seal a container ***Wine cork Places Ireland * Cork (city) ** Metropolitan Cork, also known as Gr ...
,
DonegalDonegal may refer to: County Donegal, Ireland * County Donegal, a county in the Republic of Ireland, part of the province of Ulster * Donegal Bay, an inlet in the northwest of Ireland bordering counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo * Donegal (town), ...
,
Galway Galway ( ; ga, Gaillimh, ) is a in the , in the of . It is the of , which is named after it. It lies on the between and , and is the on the island of Ireland and the , with a population at the 2016 Census of 79,934. Located near an ...
, and
Kerry Kerry or Kerri may refer to: * Kerry (name), a given name and surname of Gaelic origin (including a list of people with the name) Places * Kerry, Queensland, Australia * County Kerry, Ireland ** Kerry Airport, an international airport in County K ...

Kerry
, as well as smaller areas of counties Mayo, Meath, and
Waterford Waterford ( ; from Old Norse , meaning "ram (wether) fjord") is a City status in Ireland, city in Ireland. It is in County Waterford in the South-East Region, Ireland, south-east of Ireland and is located in the Provinces of Ireland, provinc ...
. It is also spoken by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers, mostly in urban areas where the majority are second-language speakers. Daily users in the Republic of Ireland outside the education system number around 73,000 (1.5%), and the total number of persons (aged 3 and over) who claimed they could speak Irish in April 2016 was 1,761,420, representing 39.8% of respondents. For most of recorded Irish history, Irish was the dominant language of the
Irish people The Irish ( ga, Muintir na hÉireann or ''Na hÉireannaigh'') are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distingu ...
, who took it with them to other regions such as
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...

Scotland
and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
, where
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge), is the Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Ins ...
gave rise to
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
and
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
. It was also for a period spoken widely across
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and western , stretching , is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital ...

Canada
, with an estimated 200,000–250,000 daily Canadian speakers of Irish in 1890. On the island of
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
, a unique dialect of Irish developed. With a basic written form known as Ogham dating back to at least the 4th century AD and written Irish in a Latin script since the 5th century AD, Irish has the oldest vernacular literature in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
. On the island, the language has three major dialects: Munster, Connacht and Ulster. All three have distinctions in their speech and
orthography An orthography is a set of for a , including norms of , ation, , , , and . Most transnational languages in the modern period have a system of , and for most such languages a standard orthography has been developed, often based on a of the la ...
. There is also a "standard written form" devised by a parliamentary commission in the 1950s. The distinct Irish alphabet, a variant of the Latin alphabet with 18 letters, has been succeeded by the standard Latin alphabet (albeit with 7-8 letters used primarily in
loanwords A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
). Irish has
constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal case is in a general sense a dispute between opposing parties which may be ...
status as the national and first official language of the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a in north-western consisting of 26 of the 32 of the island of . The capital and largest city is , on the eastern side of the island. Around 40% of the country's popula ...

Republic of Ireland
and is an officially recognised minority language in Northern Ireland. It is also among the official
languages of the European Union The languages of the European Union are language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing sys ...
. The public body ''
Foras na Gaeilge Foras na Gaeilge (, " Irish Institute"; often abbreviated to FnaG) is a public body responsible for the promotion of the Irish language Irish (also called in An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, Standard Irish) is a Goidelic languages, Goidelic langu ...
'' is responsible for the promotion of the language throughout the island. Irish has no regulatory body but the standard modern written form is guided by a parliamentary service and new vocabulary by a voluntary committee with university input. The modern-day areas of Ireland where Irish is still spoken daily as a first language are collectively known as the ''
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
''.


Names


In Irish

In (the official written standard) the name of the language – in the Irish language – is (), this being the south Connacht form. The form used in
Classical Gaelic Classical Gaelic () was a shared literary form of Early Modern Irish that was in use in Scotland and Ireland from the 13th century to the 18th century. Although the first written signs of Scottish Gaelic having diverged from Irish appear as far ba ...
and generally up to the spelling reform of 1948 was . , spelled before the reform, was originally the
genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
of . Older spellings include in Classical Gaelic and in
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
. The modern spelling results from the deletion of the silent ''dh'' in the middle of ''Gaedhilge'', whereas
Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages. Goidelic languages historically ...
, used to refer to the language family including Irish, is derived from the Old Irish term. Other forms of the name found in the various modern Irish dialects (in addition to south Connacht above) include // or in
Ulster Irish Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label= Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces, in the north of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an ...
and northern Connacht Irish and or / in
Munster Irish Munster ( gle, an Mhumhain or ) is one of the provinces of Ireland A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', whic ...
. also has a wider meaning, which includes the Gaelic of Scotland and the Isle of Man, as well as of Ireland. When required by the context, these are distinguished as , and respectively.


In English

In
Hiberno-English Hiberno-English (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the pow ...
, the language is normally referred to as "Irish", but also sometimes as "Gaelic". Gaelic is a collective term for the closely-related native Celtic speech of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man,Interinstitutional Style Guide: Section 7.2.4. Rules governing the languages of the institutions
European Union, 27 April 2016.
and when the context is clear it may be used without qualification for the Gaelic of an individual region. When the context is specific but unclear, the term may be qualified: Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic. Though the name of the language in English is usually ''Irish'', both ''Gaelic'' and ''Irish Gaelic'' are used in some instances. The term ''Irish Gaelic'' may be seen when English speakers discuss the relationship between the three Goidelic languages (Irish,
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
and
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
). Many Irish people prefer to follow the practice of the language itself and to use the mother-term Gaelic when speaking of the language as used in Ireland. In doing this they acknowledge the continuity of Gaelic throughout its past and present geographical range. "Goidelic" is a synonym of Gaelic, used mainly in linguistic typology and historical linguistics. Goidelic and Brittonic together constitute the Insular Celtic languages. In the past, the name "Erse" was also sometimes used in Scots and then in English to refer to Irish; this name was also used for Scottish Gaelic for several centuries.


History

Written Irish is first attested in inscriptions from the 4th century AD, a stage of the language known as
Primitive Irish Primitive Irish or Proto-Goidelic or Archaic Irish ( ga, Gaeilge Ársa) is the oldest known form of the Goidelic languages The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form ...
. These writings have been found throughout Ireland and the west coast of Great Britain. Primitive Irish transitioned into
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
through the 5th century. Old Irish, dating from the 6th century, used the
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived ...

Latin alphabet
and is attested primarily in
marginalia Marginalia (or apostils) are marks made in the margin (typography), margins of a book or other document. They may be scribbles, comments, gloss (annotation), glosses (annotations), critiques, doodles, or illuminated manuscript, illumination ...

marginalia
to Latin manuscripts. During this time, the Irish language absorbed some
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
words, some via
Old Welsh Old Welsh ( cy, Hen Gymraeg) is the stage of the Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic language family that is native to the Welsh people. Welsh is spoken natively in Wales, by some in Englan ...
, including ecclesiastical terms: examples are (bishop) from , and (Sunday, from ). By the 10th century, Old Irish had evolved into
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge), is the Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Ins ...
, which was spoken throughout Ireland,
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
and parts of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...

Scotland
. It is the language of a large corpus of literature, including the
Ulster Cycle The Ulster Cycle ( ga, an Rúraíocht), formerly known as the Red Branch Cycle, one of the four great cycles of Irish mythology, is a body of medieval Irish heroic legends and sagas of the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in what is now eastern Ulst ...
. From the 12th century, Middle Irish began to evolve into modern Irish in Ireland, into
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
in Scotland, and into the
Manx language Manx ( or , pronounced or or ), also known as Manx Gaelic or Manks, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of ...
in the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
.
Early Modern Irish Early Modern Irish ( ga, Gaeilge Chlasaiceach, , Classical Irish) represented a transition between Middle Irish and Modern Irish. Its literary form, Classical Gaelic Classical Gaelic () was a shared literary form of Early Modern Irish that was in ...
, dating from the 13th century, was the basis of the literary language of both Ireland and Gaelic-speaking Scotland. Modern Irish, as attested in the work of such writers as
Geoffrey Keating Geoffrey Keating ( ga, Seathrún Céitinn; c. 1569 – c. 1644) was a 17th-century historian. He was born in County Tipperary County Tipperary ( ga, Contae Thiobraid Árann) is a Counties of Ireland, county in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It i ...
, may be said to date from the 17th century, and was the medium of popular literature from that time on. From the 18th century on, the language lost ground in the east of the country. The reasons behind this shift were complex but came down to a number of factors: * discouragement of its use by Anglo-British administrations. * the Catholic church supported the use of English over Irish. * the spread of bilingualism from the 1750s onwards. The change was characterised by
diglossia In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
(two languages being used by the same community in different social and economic situations) and transitional bilingualism (monoglot Irish-speaking grandparents with bilingual children and monoglot English-speaking grandchildren). By the mid-18th century, English was becoming a language of the Catholic middle class, the Catholic Church and public intellectuals, especially in the east of the country. Increasingly, as the value of English became apparent, the prohibition on Irish in schools had the sanction of parents.Ó Gráda 2013. Once it became apparent that emigration to the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and western , stretching , is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital ...

Canada
was likely for a large portion of the population, the importance of learning English became relevant. This allowed the new immigrants to get jobs in areas other than farming. It has been estimated that, due to the immigration to the United States because of the
Famine A famine is a widespread scarcity of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual con ...
, anywhere from a quarter to a third of the immigrants were Irish speakers. Irish was not marginal to Ireland's modernisation in the 19th century, as often assumed. In the first half of the century there were still around three million people for whom Irish was the primary language, and their numbers alone made them a cultural and social force. Irish speakers often insisted on using the language in law courts (even when they knew English), and Irish was also common in commercial transactions. The language was heavily implicated in the "devotional revolution" which marked the standardisation of Catholic religious practice and was also widely used in a political context. Down to the time of the Great Famine and even afterwards, the language was in use by all classes, Irish being an urban as well as a rural language. This linguistic dynamism was reflected in the efforts of certain public intellectuals to counter the decline of the language. At the end of the 19th century, they launched the
Gaelic revival The Gaelic revival ( ga, Athbheochan na Gaeilge) was the late-nineteenth-century Romantic nationalism, national revival of interest in the Irish language (also known as Gaelic) and Irish Gaelic culture (including folklore, sports, music, arts, ...
in an attempt to encourage the learning and use of Irish, although few adult learners mastered the language. The vehicle of the revival was the Gaelic League (), and particular emphasis was placed on the folk tradition, which in Irish is particularly rich. Efforts were also made to develop journalism and a modern literature. Although it has been noted that the Catholic Church played a role in the decline of the Irish language before the Gaelic Revival, the Protestant
Church of Ireland The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ul ...
also made only minor efforts to encourage use of Irish in a religious context. An Irish translation of the Old Testament by Leinsterman , commissioned by Bishop Bedell, was published after 1685 along with a translation of the New Testament. Otherwise, Anglicisation was seen as synonymous with 'civilising'" of the native Irish. Currently, modern day Irish speakers in the church are pushing for language revival. It has been estimated that there were around 800,000 monoglot Irish speakers in 1800, which dropped to 320,000 by the end of
the famine The Famine was an American extreme metal band, formed in Arlington, Texas in 2007. The band was signed to Solid State Records. History Formation and three-song EP The band initially formed with three of the original members of Embodyment in for ...
, and under 17,000 by 1911. Seán Ó hEinirí of Cill Ghallagáin,
County Mayo County Mayo (; ga, Contae Mhaigh Eo, meaning "Plain of the yew trees") is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was f ...
was almost certainly the last
monolingual Monoglottism ( Greek μόνος ''monos'', "alone, solitary", + γλῶττα , "tongue, language") or, more commonly, monolingualism or unilingualism, is the condition of being able to speak only a single language, as opposed to multilingualism ...
Irish speaker.


Status and policy


Ireland

Irish is recognised by the
Constitution of Ireland The Constitution of Ireland ( ga, Bunreacht na hÉireann, ) is the constitution, fundamental law of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It asserts the national sovereignty of the Irish people. The constitution is broadly within the tradition of liberal ...
as the national and first official language of the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland ('), is a in north-western consisting of 26 of the 32 of the island of . The capital and largest city is , on the eastern side of the island. Around 40% of the country's popula ...

Republic of Ireland
(English being the other official language). Despite this, almost all government business and debates are conducted in English. In 1938, the founder of (Gaelic League),
Douglas Hyde Douglas Ross Hyde ( ga, Dubhghlas de hÍde; 17 January 1860 – 12 July 1949), known as ''An Craoibhín Aoibhinn'' (lit. "the pleasant little branch"), was an Irish academic, linguist, scholar of the Irish language, politician and diplomat who ...
, was inaugurated as the first
President of Ireland The president of Ireland ( ga, Uachtarán na hÉireann) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public ...
. The record of his delivering his inaugural ''Declaration of Office'' in
Roscommon Roscommon () is the county town and the largest town in County Roscommon in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It is roughly in the centre of Ireland, near the meeting of the N60 road (Ireland), N60, N61 road (Ireland), N61 and N63 road (Ireland), N ...
Irish is one of only a few recordings of that dialect. In the 2016 census, 10.5% of respondents stated that they spoke Irish, either daily or weekly, while over 70,000 people (4.2%) speak it as a habitual daily means of communication. From the foundation of the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
in 1922 (see
History of the Republic of Ireland The Irish state came into being in 1916 as the 32 county Irish Republic. In 1922, having seceded from the United Kingdom under the Anglo-Irish Treaty The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty ( ga , An Conradh Angla-Éireannach), commonly known as The Tr ...
), a degree of proficiency in Irish was required of all those newly appointed to the
Civil Service of the Republic of Ireland #REDIRECT Civil Service of the Republic of Ireland The Civil Service ( ga, An Státseirbhís) of Ireland is the collective term for the permanent staff of the departments of state The United States federal executive departments are the principa ...
, including
postal workerA postal worker is one who works for a post office, such as a mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcards, letters, and parcels. A postal service can be private or public, though many governments place restrictions ...
s,
tax collector A tax collector or a taxman is a person who collects unpaid taxes from other people or corporations. The term could also be applied to those who audit An audit is an "independent examination of financial information of any entity, whether ...
s, agricultural inspectors,
Garda Síochána (; meaning "the Guardian of the Peace"), more commonly referred to as the Gardaí (; "Guardians") or "the Guards", is the national police service of the Republic of Ireland. The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the ...
(police), etc. By law if a Garda was stopped and addressed in Irish he had to respond in Irish as well. Proficiency in just one official language for entrance to the public service was introduced in 1974, in part through the actions of protest organisations like the Language Freedom Movement. Although the Irish requirement was also dropped for wider public service jobs, Irish remains a required subject of study in all schools within the Republic which receive public money (see
Education in the Republic of Ireland The levels of Ireland's education are primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Ko ...
). Those wishing to teach in primary schools in the State must also pass a compulsory examination called . The need for a pass in
Leaving CertificateA secondary school leaving qualification is a document signifying that the holder has fulfilled any secondary education requirements of their locality, often including the passage of a final qualification examination. For each leaving certificate ...
Irish or English for entry to the Garda Síochána was introduced in September 2005, and recruits are given lessons in the language during their two years of training. The most important official documents of the Irish government must be published in both Irish and English or Irish alone (in accordance with the Official Languages Act 2003, enforced by , the Irish language ombudsman). The
National University of Ireland The National University of Ireland (NUI) ( ga, Ollscoil na hÉireann) is a federal university system of ''constituent universities'' (previously called ''university college, constituent colleges'') and ''recognised colleges'' set up under t ...
requires all students wishing to embark on a degree course in the NUI federal system to pass the subject of Irish in the Leaving Certificate or GCE/
GCSE The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies north ...
examinations. Exemptions are made from this requirement for students born outside of the Republic of Ireland, those who were born in the Republic but completed primary education outside it, and students diagnosed with
dyslexia Dyslexia, also known as reading disorder, is a disorder characterized by difficulty reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researche ...

dyslexia
.
NUI Galway The National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway; ga, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh; OÉ Gaillimh) is a public university, public research university located in the city of Galway, Republic of Ireland, Ireland. A tertiary education and r ...
is required to appoint people who are competent in the Irish language, as long as they are also competent in all other aspects of the vacancy to which they are appointed. This requirement is laid down by the University College Galway Act, 1929 (Section 3). The University faced controversy, however, in 2016 when it was announced that the next president of the University would not have any Irish language ability. staged a number of protests against this decision. It was announced in September 2017 that Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, a fluent Irish speaker, would be NUIG's 13th president. For a number of years there has been vigorous debate in political, academic and other circles about the failure of most students in mainstream (English-medium) schools to achieve competence in the language, even after fourteen years of teaching as one of the three main subjects. The concomitant decline in the number of traditional native speakers has also been a cause of great concern. In 2007, filmmaker Manchán Magan found few speakers and some incredulity while speaking only Irish in Dublin. He was unable to accomplish some everyday tasks, as portrayed in his documentary '' No Béarla''. There is, however, a growing body of Irish speakers in urban areas, particularly in
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_ ...

Dublin
. Many have been educated in schools in which Irish is the language of instruction: such schools are known as at primary level. These Irish-medium schools send a much higher proportion of pupils on to third-level education than do "mainstream" schools, and it seems increasingly possible that, within a generation, non-Gaeltacht habitual users of Irish will typically be members of an urban, middle class and highly educated minority. Parliamentary legislation is supposed to be available in both Irish and English but is frequently only available in English. This is notwithstanding that Article 25.4 of the Constitution of Ireland requires that an "official translation" of any law in one official language be provided immediately in the other official language, if not already passed in both official languages. In November 2016, it was reported that many people worldwide were learning Irish through the
Duolingo Duolingo ( ) is an American language-learning website and mobile app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. The company uses the freemium model: the app and the website are accessible without charge, although Duolingo also o ...

Duolingo
app. Irish president Michael Higgins officially honoured several volunteer translators for developing the Irish edition, and said the push for Irish language rights remains an "unfinished project".


Gaeltacht

There are rural areas of Ireland where Irish is still spoken daily to some extent as a
first language A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', mean ...
. These regions are known individually and collectively as the ''
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
'' (plural ). While the fluent Irish speakers of these areas, whose numbers have been estimated at 2030,000, are a minority of the total number of fluent Irish speakers, they represent a higher concentration of Irish speakers than other parts of the country and it is only in ''Gaeltacht'' areas that Irish continues to be spoken as a community vernacular to some extent. According to data compiled by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, ''Gaeltacht'', Sport and Media, only 1/4 of households in ''Gaeltacht'' areas are fluent in Irish. The author of a detailed analysis of the survey, Donncha Ó hÉallaithe of the
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) ( ga, Institúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo) is a Tertiary education, third-level institute of education and is based at five locations in the west of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. GMIT's c ...
, described the Irish language policy followed by Irish governments as a "complete and absolute disaster". ''
The Irish Times ''The Irish Times'' is an Irish daily broadsheet newspaper and online digital publication. It launched on 29 March 1859. The editor is Paul O'Neill. The deputy editor is Deirdre Veldon. It is published every day except Sundays. Though formed as ...
'', referring to his analysis published in the Irish language newspaper , quoted him as follows: "It is an absolute indictment of successive Irish Governments that at the foundation of the Irish State there were 250,000 fluent Irish speakers living in Irish-speaking or semi Irish-speaking areas, but the number now is between 20,000 and 30,000." In the 1920s, when the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
was founded, Irish was still a vernacular in some western coastal areas. In the 1930s, areas where more than 25% of the population spoke Irish were classified as ''Gaeltacht''. Today, the strongest ''Gaeltacht'' areas, numerically and socially, are those of South
Connemara Connemara ( ga, Conamara ) is a cultural region in County Galway County Galway ( ; gle, Contae na Gaillimhe) is a Counties of Ireland, county in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It is in the West Region, Ireland, West of Ireland, taking up ...

Connemara
, the west of the
Dingle Peninsula The Dingle Peninsula ( ga, Corca Dhuibhne; anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spe ...

Dingle Peninsula
, and northwest Donegal, where many residents still use Irish as their primary language. These areas are often referred to as the (true ''Gaeltacht''), a term originally officially applied to areas where over 50% of the population spoke Irish. There are larger ''Gaeltacht'' regions in
County Galway County Galway ( ; gle, Contae na Gaillimhe) is a in . It is in the , taking up the south of the of . There are several in the west of the county. The traditional county includes, and is named for, the city of , but the city and county no ...
(), including Connemara (), the
Aran Islands The Aran Islands ( ; gle, Oileáin Árann, ) or The Arans (''na hÁrainneacha'' ) are a group of three islands at the mouth of Galway Bay Galway Bay ( Irish: ''Loch Lurgain'' or ''Cuan na Gaillimhe'') is a large bay (or sea lough Loc ...
(),
Carraroe Carraroe ( , its official name) is a village in County Galway, Ireland, in the Irish-speaking region ( Gaeltacht) of Connemara. It is known for its traditional fishing boats, the Galway Hookers. Its population is widely dispersed over the Car ...
() and
Spiddal Spiddal ( ga, an Spidéal , meaning 'the hospital') is a village on the shore of Galway Bay Galway Bay ( Irish: ''Loch Lurgain'' or ''Cuan na Gaillimhe'') is a large bay (or sea lough Loch () is the Irish language, Irish, Scottish G ...
(), on the west coast of
County Donegal County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William ...
(), and on the
Dingle Dingle (Irish language, Irish: ''An Daingean'' or ''Daingean Uí Chúis'', meaning "fort of Ó Cúis") is a town in County Kerry, Republic of Ireland, Ireland. The only town on the Dingle Peninsula, it sits on the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast, ...

Dingle
() and
Iveragh Peninsula The Iveragh Peninsula () is located in County Kerry in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It is the largest peninsula in southwestern Ireland. A mountain range, the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, lies in the centre of the peninsula. Carrauntoohil, its highes ...

Iveragh Peninsula
s () in
County Kerry County Kerry ( gle, Contae Chiarraí) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers ...

County Kerry
(). Smaller ones also exist in counties Mayo (), Meath (),
Waterford Waterford ( ; from Old Norse , meaning "ram (wether) fjord") is a City status in Ireland, city in Ireland. It is in County Waterford in the South-East Region, Ireland, south-east of Ireland and is located in the Provinces of Ireland, provinc ...
(), and
Cork Cork or CORK may refer to: Materials * Cork (material), an impermeable buoyant plant product ** Cork (plug), a cylindrical or conical object used to seal a container ***Wine cork Places Ireland * Cork (city) ** Metropolitan Cork, also known as Gr ...
().
Gweedore Gweedore ( ; officially known by its Irish language name, ) is an Irish-speaking district and parish located on the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast of County Donegal in the north-west of Ireland. Gweedore stretches some from Glasserchoo in the ...

Gweedore
(), County Donegal, is the largest ''Gaeltacht'' parish in Ireland. Irish language summer colleges in the ''Gaeltacht'' are attended by tens of thousands of teenagers annually. Students live with Gaeltacht families, attend classes, participate in sports, go to ' and are obliged to speak Irish. All aspects of Irish culture and tradition are encouraged.


Policy


Official Languages Act 2003

The Act was passed 14 July 2003 with the main purpose of improving the amount and quality of public services delivered in Irish by the government and other public bodies. Compliance with the Act is monitored by the '' An Coimisinéir Teanga'' (Irish Language Commissioner) which was established in 2004 and any complaints or concerns pertaining to the Act are brought to them. There are 35 sections included in the Act all detailing different aspects of the use of Irish in official documentation and communication. Included in these sections are subjects such as Irish language use in official courts, official publications, and placenames. The Act was recently amended in December 2019 in order to strengthen the already preexisting legislation. All changes made took into account data collected from online surveys and written submissions.


Official Languages Scheme 2019-2022

The Official Languages Scheme was enacted 1 July 2019 and is an 18-page document that adheres to the guidelines of the ''Official Languages Act 2003''. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide services through the mediums of Irish and/or English. According to the ''Department of the Taoiseach,'' it is meant to "develop a sustainable economy and a successful society, to pursue Ireland's interests abroad, to implement the Government's Programme and to build a better future for Ireland and all her citizens."


20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030

The Strategy was produced on 21 December 2010 and will stay in action until 2030; it aims to target language vitality and revitalization of the Irish language. The 30-page document published by the
Government of Ireland The Government of Ireland ( ga, Rialtas na hÉireann) is the cabinet (government), cabinet that exercises executive (government), executive authority in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. The Constitution of Ireland vests executive authority in a gove ...
details the objectives it plans to work towards in an attempt to preserve and promote both the Irish language and the Gaeltacht. It is divided into four separate phases with the intention of improving 9 main areas of action including: * "Education" * "The ''Gaeltacht''" * "Family Transmission of the Language - Early Intervention" * "Administration, Services and Community" * "Media and Technology" * "Dictionaries" * "Legislation and Status" * "Economic Life" * "Cross-cutting Initiatives" The general goal for this strategy is to increase the amount of speakers from 83,000 to 250,000 by the end of its run.


Northern Ireland

Before the partition of Ireland in 1921, Irish was recognised as a school subject and as "Celtic" in some third level institutions. Between 1921 and 1972,
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
had devolved government. During those years the political party holding power in the Stormont Parliament, the
Ulster Unionist Party The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is a unionist and conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in relation to ...
(UUP), was hostile to the language. The context of this hostility was the use of the language by nationalists. In broadcasting, there was an exclusion on the reporting of minority cultural issues, and Irish was excluded from radio and television for almost the first fifty years of the previous devolved government. The language received a degree of formal recognition in Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom, under the 1998
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trio ...
, and then, in 2003, by the British government's ratification in respect of the language of the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and internationa ...
. In the 2006
St Andrews Agreement The St Andrews Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Chill Rímhinn; Ulster Scots: ''St Andra's 'Greement'', ''St Andrew's Greeance'' or ''St Andrae's Greeance'') is an agreement between the British and Irish governments and Northern Ireland North ...
the British government promised to enact legislation to promote the language but as of 2019 it has yet to do so. The Irish language has often been used as a bargaining chip during government formation in Northern Ireland, prompting protests from organisations and groups such as . There is currently an ongoing debate in relation to the status of the language in the form of an Irish Language Act. An Dream Dearg have launched a campaign in favour of such an Act called ' ("Irish Language Act Now").


European Parliament

Irish became an official language of the EU on 1 January 2007, meaning that MEPs with Irish fluency can now speak the language in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
and at committees, although in the case of the latter they have to give prior notice to a simultaneous interpreter in order to ensure that what they say can be interpreted into other languages. While an official language of the European Union, only co-decision regulations were available until 2022, due to a five-year derogation, requested by the Irish Government when negotiating the language's new official status. . The Irish government had committed itself to train the necessary number of translators and interpreters and to bear the related costs. This derogation ultimately came to an end on January 1st 2022, making Irish a fully recognised EU language for the first time in the state's history. Before Irish became an official language it was afforded the status of treaty language and only the highest-level documents of the EU were made available in Irish.


Outside Ireland

The Irish language was carried abroad in the modern period by a vast
diaspora A diaspora ( ) is a scattered population whose origin Origin(s) or The Origin may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Comics and manga * , a Wolverine comic book mini-series published by Marvel Comics in 2002 * , a 1999 ''Buffy th ...

diaspora
, chiefly to
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
and North America, but also to
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
and
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
. The first large movements began in the 17th century, largely as a result of the
Cromwellian conquest of Ireland The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland or Cromwellian war in Ireland (1649–1653) was the conquest of Ireland by the forces of the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English g ...
, which saw many Irish sent to the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
. Irish emigration to the United States was well established by the 18th century, and was reinforced in the 1840s by thousands fleeing from the Famine. This flight also affected Britain. Up until that time most emigrants spoke Irish as their first language, though English was establishing itself as the primary language. Irish speakers had first arrived in Australia in the late 18th century as convicts and soldiers, and many Irish-speaking settlers followed, particularly in the 1860s. New Zealand also received some of this influx. Argentina was the only non-English-speaking country to receive large numbers of Irish emigrants, and there were few Irish speakers among them. Relatively few of the emigrants were literate in Irish, but manuscripts in the language were brought to both Australia and the United States, and it was in the United States that the first newspaper to make significant use of Irish was established: . In Australia, too, the language found its way into print. The Gaelic revival, which started in Ireland in the 1890s, found a response abroad, with branches of being established in all the countries to which Irish speakers had emigrated. The decline of Irish in Ireland and a slowing of emigration helped to ensure a decline in the language abroad, along with natural attrition in the host countries. Despite this, small groups of enthusiasts continued to learn and cultivate Irish in diaspora countries and elsewhere, a trend which strengthened in the second half of the 20th century. Today the language is taught at tertiary level in North America, Australia and Europe, and Irish speakers outside Ireland contribute to journalism and literature in the language. There are significant Irish-speaking networks in the United States and Canada; figures released for the period 2006–2008 show that 22,279
Irish Americans Irish Americans or Hiberno Americans ( ga, Gael-Mheiriceánaigh) are Americans who have full or partial ancestry from Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Irela ...

Irish Americans
claimed to speak Irish at home. The Irish language is also one of the languages of the
Celtic League The Celtic League is a pan-Celtic organisation, founded in 1961, that aims to promote Celts (modern), modern Celtic identity and culture in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man – referred to as the Celtic nations; ...
, a non-governmental organisation that promotes self-determination, Celtic identity and culture in Ireland, Scotland, Wales,
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to ...
,
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a historic county and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are ar ...

Cornwall
and the Isle of Man, known collectively as the
Celtic nations The Celtic nations are a cultural area and collection of geographical regions in Northwestern Europe where the Celtic languages and cultural traits have survived. The term ''nation'' is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a c ...
. Irish was spoken as a community language until the early 20th century on the
island of Newfoundland Newfoundland (, ; french: link=no, Terre-Neuve; Miꞌkmaq language, Mi'kmaq: ''Taqamkuk'') is a large island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provi ...
, in a form known as Irish language in Newfoundland, Newfoundland Irish. Certain Irish vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation features are still used in modern Newfoundland English.


Usage

The 2016 census data shows:
The total number of people who answered 'yes' to being able to speak Irish in April 2016 was 1,761,420, a slight decrease (0.7 per cent) on the 2011 figure of 1,774,437. This represents 39.8 per cent of respondents compared with 41.4 in 2011... Of the 73,803 daily Irish speakers (outside the education system), 20,586 (27.9%) lived in Gaeltacht areas.


Daily Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas between 2011 and 2016

In 1996, the 3 electoral divisions in the State where Irish has the most daily speakers were An Turloch (91%+), Scainimh (89%+), Min an Chladaigh (88%+).


Dialects

Irish is represented by several traditional dialects and by various varieties of "urban" Irish. The latter have acquired lives of their own and a growing number of native speakers. Differences between the dialects make themselves felt in stress, intonation, vocabulary and structural features. Roughly speaking, the three major dialect areas which survive coincide roughly with the provinces of Munster (), Connacht () and Ulster (). Records of some dialects of Leinster (') were made by the Irish Folklore Commission and others. Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland, in eastern Canada, had a form of Irish derived from the Munster Irish of the later 18th century (see Newfoundland Irish).


Munster

Munster Irish is the dialect spoken in the Gaeltacht areas of the three counties
Cork Cork or CORK may refer to: Materials * Cork (material), an impermeable buoyant plant product ** Cork (plug), a cylindrical or conical object used to seal a container ***Wine cork Places Ireland * Cork (city) ** Metropolitan Cork, also known as Gr ...
(),
Kerry Kerry or Kerri may refer to: * Kerry (name), a given name and surname of Gaelic origin (including a list of people with the name) Places * Kerry, Queensland, Australia * County Kerry, Ireland ** Kerry Airport, an international airport in County K ...

Kerry
(),
Waterford Waterford ( ; from Old Norse , meaning "ram (wether) fjord") is a City status in Ireland, city in Ireland. It is in County Waterford in the South-East Region, Ireland, south-east of Ireland and is located in the Provinces of Ireland, provinc ...
(). The Gaeltacht areas of Cork can be found in Cape Clear Island () and Muskerry (); those of Kerry lie in and
Iveragh Peninsula The Iveragh Peninsula () is located in County Kerry in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It is the largest peninsula in southwestern Ireland. A mountain range, the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, lies in the centre of the peninsula. Carrauntoohil, its highes ...

Iveragh Peninsula
; and those of Waterford in Ring, County Waterford, Ring () and Old Parish (), both of which together form Gaeltacht na nDéise. Of the three counties, the Irish spoken in Cork and Kerry are quite similar while that of Waterford is more distinct. Some typical features of Munster Irish are: # The use of endings to show person on verbs in parallel with a pronominal subject system, thus "I must" is in Munster as well as , while other dialects prefer ( means "I"). "I was and you were" is as well as in Munster but more commonly in other dialects. Note that these are strong tendencies, and the personal forms ''bhíos'' etc. are used in the West and North, particularly when the words are last in the clause. # Use of Dependent and independent verb forms, independent/dependent forms of verbs that are not included in the Standard. For example, "I see" in Munster is , which is the independent form – Ulster Irish also uses a similar form, '), whereas "I do not see" is , ' being the dependent form, which is used after particles such as ' "not"). ' is replaced by ' in the Standard. Similarly, the traditional form preserved in Munster I give/ is / in the Standard; I get/ is /. # When before -''nn'', -''m'', -''rr'', -''rd'', -''ll'' and so on, in monosyllabic words and in the stressed syllable of multisyllabic words where the syllable is followed by a consonant, some short vowels are lengthened while others are diphthongised, thus ' "head", ' "crooked", ' "short", ' "sledgehammer", ' "foreigner, non-Gael", ' "a wonder, a marvel", ' "companion, mate", etc. # A copula (linguistics), copular construction involving "it" is frequently used. Thus "I am an Irish person" can be said ' and ' in Munster; there is a subtle difference in meaning, however, the first choice being a simple statement of fact, while the second brings emphasis onto the word ''Éireannach''. In effect the construction is a type of "Topicalization, fronting". # Both masculine and feminine words are subject to lenition after ' ('/') "in the", ' "of the" and ' "to/for the" : ', "in the shop", compared to the Standard ' (the Standard lenites only feminine nouns in the dative in these cases). # Eclipsis of ''f'' after ': ', "in the farm", instead of '. # Eclipsis of ''t'' and ''d'' after preposition + singular article, with all prepositions except after ', ' and ': ' "on the house", ' "at the door". # Stress (linguistics), Stress falls in general found on the second syllable of a word when the first syllable contains a short vowel, and the second syllable contains a long vowel, diphthong, or is ', e.g. ("pin"), as opposed to in Connacht and Ulster.


Connacht

Historically, Connacht Irish represents the westernmost remnant of a dialect area which once stretched from east to west across the centre of Ireland. The strongest dialect of Connacht Irish is to be found in
Connemara Connemara ( ga, Conamara ) is a cultural region in County Galway County Galway ( ; gle, Contae na Gaillimhe) is a Counties of Ireland, county in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It is in the West Region, Ireland, West of Ireland, taking up ...

Connemara
and the
Aran Islands The Aran Islands ( ; gle, Oileáin Árann, ) or The Arans (''na hÁrainneacha'' ) are a group of three islands at the mouth of Galway Bay Galway Bay ( Irish: ''Loch Lurgain'' or ''Cuan na Gaillimhe'') is a large bay (or sea lough Loc ...
. Much closer to the larger Connacht Gaeltacht is the dialect spoken in the smaller region on the border between Galway () and Mayo (). There are a number of differences between the popular South Connemara form of Irish, the Mid-Connacht/Joyce Country form (on the border between Mayo and Galway) and the Achill and Erris forms in the north of the province. Features in Connacht Irish differing from the official standard include a preference for verbal nouns ending in , e.g. instead of , "weakening". The non-standard pronunciation of the area with lengthened vowels and heavily reduced endings gives it a distinct sound. Distinguishing features of Connacht and Ulster dialect include the pronunciation of word-final broad ' and ' as , rather than as in Munster. For example, ("mountain") is pronounced in Connacht and Ulster as opposed to in the south. In addition Connacht and Ulster speakers tend to include the "we" pronoun rather than use the standard compound form used in Munster, e.g. is used for "we were" instead of . As in Munster Irish, some short vowels are lengthened and others diphthongised before -''nn'', -''m'', -''rr'', -''rd'', -''ll'', in monosyllabic words and in the stressed syllable of multisyllabic words where the syllable is followed by a consonant. This can be seen in ' [cɑ:n] "head", ' [kɑ:m] "crooked", ' [gʲɑ:r] "short", ' [] "sledgehammer", ' [gɑ:l] "foreigner, non-Gael", ' [i:ntəs] "a wonder, a marvel", etc. The form '', when occurring at the end of words like '', tends to be pronounced as an 'ee' sound. In South Connemara, for example, there is a tendency to substitute a "b" sound at the end of words ending in "" , such as ', ' and ', something not found in the rest of Connacht (these words would be pronounced respectively as "shiv," "liv" and "" in the other areas). This placing of the B-sound is also present at the end of words ending in vowels, such as ' (pronounced as "acub") and ' (pronounced as "lyohab"). There is also a tendency to omit the "g" sound in words such as ', ' and ', a characteristic also of other Connacht dialects. All these pronunciations are distinctively regional. The pronunciation prevalent in the Joyce Country (the area around Lough Corrib and Lough Mask) is quite similar to that of South Connemara, with a similar approach to the words ', ' and ' and a similar approach to pronunciation of vowels and consonants but there are noticeable differences in vocabulary, with certain words such as ' (difficult) and ' being preferred to the more usual ' and '. Another interesting aspect of this sub-dialect is that almost all vowels at the end of words tend to be pronounced as ''í'': ' (other), ' (feet) and ' (done) tend to be pronounced as ', ' and ' respectively. The northern Mayo dialect of Erris () and Achill () is in grammar and morphology (linguistics), morphology essentially a Connacht dialect but shows some similarities to Ulster Irish due to large-scale immigration of dispossessed people following the Plantation of Ulster. For example, words ending ' and ' have a much softer sound, with a tendency to terminate words such as ' and ' with "f", giving ' and ' respectively. In addition to a vocabulary typical of other area of Connacht, one also finds Ulster words like ' (meaning "to look" and pronounced "onk"), ' (painful or sore), ' (close), ' (hear), ' (difficult), ' (new), and ' (to be able to – i.e. a form similar to '). Irish President
Douglas Hyde Douglas Ross Hyde ( ga, Dubhghlas de hÍde; 17 January 1860 – 12 July 1949), known as ''An Craoibhín Aoibhinn'' (lit. "the pleasant little branch"), was an Irish academic, linguist, scholar of the Irish language, politician and diplomat who ...
was possibly one of the last speakers of the Roscommon dialect of Irish.


Ulster

Ulster Irish is the dialect spoken in the Gaeltacht regions of Donegal. These regions contain all of Ulster's communities where Irish has been spoken in an unbroken line back to when the language was the dominant language of Ireland. The Irish-speaking communities in other parts of Ulster are a result of language revival – English-speaking families deciding to learn Irish. Census data shows that 4,130 people speak it at home. Linguistically, the most important of the Ulster dialects today is that which is spoken, with slight differences, in both
Gweedore Gweedore ( ; officially known by its Irish language name, ) is an Irish-speaking district and parish located on the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic coast of County Donegal in the north-west of Ireland. Gweedore stretches some from Glasserchoo in the ...

Gweedore
( = Inlet of Streaming Water) and The Rosses (). Ulster Irish sounds quite different from the other two main dialects. It shares several features with southern dialects of
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
and
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
, as well as having many characteristic words and shades of meanings. However, since the demise of those Irish dialects spoken natively in what is today Northern Ireland, it is probably an exaggeration to see present-day Ulster Irish as an intermediary form between Scottish Gaelic and the southern and western dialects of Irish. Northern Scottish Gaelic has many non-Ulster features in common with Munster Irish. One noticeable trait of Ulster Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx is the use of the negative particle in place of the Munster and Connacht . Though southern Donegal Irish tends to use more than ''cha(n)'', ''cha(n)'' has almost ousted ' in northernmost dialects (e.g. Rosguill and Tory Island), though even in these areas "is not" is more common than ' or '. Another noticeable trait is the pronunciation of the first person singular verb ending ' as ', also common to Man and Scotland (Munster/Connacht ' "I walk", Ulster ').


Leinster

Down to the early 19th century and even later, Irish was spoken in all twelve counties of Leinster. The evidence furnished by placenames, literary sources and recorded speech indicates that there was no Leinster dialect as such. Instead, the main dialect used in the province was represented by a broad central belt stretching from west Connacht eastwards to the River Liffey, Liffey estuary and southwards to Wexford, though with many local variations. Two smaller dialects were represented by the Ulster speech of counties Meath and Louth, which extended as far south as the River Boyne, Boyne valley, and a Munster dialect found in Kilkenny and south Laois. The main dialect had characteristics which survive today only in the Irish of Connacht. It typically placed the stress on the first syllable of a word, and showed a preference (found in placenames) for the pronunciation ''cr'' where the standard spelling is ''cn''. The word (hill) would therefore be pronounced . Examples are the placenames Crooksling () in County Dublin and Crukeen () in Carlow. East Leinster showed the same diphthongisation or vowel lengthening as in Munster and Connacht Irish in words like (hole), (monastery), (wood), (head), (crooked) and (crowd). A feature of the dialect was the pronunciation of the vowel ''ao'', which generally became ''ae'' in east Leinster (as in Munster), and ''í'' in the west (as in Connacht). Early evidence regarding colloquial Irish in east Leinster is found in ''The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge'' (1547), by the English physician and traveller Andrew Borde. The illustrative phrases he uses include the following (with regularised Irish spelling in brackets):


The Pale

The Pale () was an area around late medieval Dublin under the control of the English government. By the late 15th century it consisted of an area along the coast from Dalkey, south of
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_ ...

Dublin
, to the garrison town of Dundalk, with an inland boundary encompassing Naas and Leixlip in the Earldom of Kildare and Trim, County Meath, Trim and Kells, County Meath, Kells in County Meath to the north. In this area of "Englyshe tunge" English had never actually been a dominant language – and was moreover a relatively late comer; the first colonisers were Normans who spoke Norman French, and before these Norse. The Irish language had always been the language of the bulk of the population. An English official remarked of the Pale in 1515 that "all the common people of the said half counties that obeyeth the King's laws, for the most part be of Irish birth, of Irish habit and of Irish language". With the strengthening of English cultural and political control, language change began to occur but this did not become clearly evident until the 18th century. Even then, in the decennial period 1771–81, the percentage of Irish speakers in Meath was at least 41%. By 1851 this had fallen to less than 3%.See Fitzgerald 1984.


General decline

English expanded strongly in Leinster in the 18th century but Irish speakers were still numerous. In the decennial period 1771–81 certain counties had estimated percentages of Irish speakers as follows (though the estimates are likely to be too low): :Kilkenny 57% :Louth 57% :Longford 22% :Westmeath 17% The language saw its most rapid initial decline in counties Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Wexford, and Wicklow. In recent years, County Wicklow has been noted as having the lowest percentage of Irish speakers of any county in Ireland, with only 0.14% of its population claiming to have passable knowledge of the language. The proportion of Irish-speaking children in Leinster went down as follows: 17% in the 1700s, 11% in the 1800s, 3% in the 1830s, and virtually none in the 1860s. The Irish census of 1851 showed that there were still a number of older speakers in County Dublin. Sound recordings were made between 1928 and 1931 of some of the last speakers in Omeath, County Louth (now available in digital form). The last known traditional native speaker in Omeath, and in Leinster as a whole, was Annie O'Hanlon (née Dobbin), who died in 1960. Her dialect was, in fact, a branch of the Irish of south-east Ulster.


Urban use from the middle ages to the 19th century

Irish was spoken as a community language in Irish towns and cities down to the 19th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was widespread even in Dublin and the Pale. The English administrator William Gerard (1518–1581) commented as follows: "All Englishe, and the most part with delight, even in Dublin, speak Irishe," while the Normans in Ireland, Old English historian Richard Stanihurst (1547–1618) lamented that "When their posteritie became not altogither so warie in keeping, as their ancestors were valiant in conquering, the Irish language was free dennized in the English Pale: this canker tooke such deep root, as the bodie that before was whole and sound, was by little and little festered, and in manner wholly putrified". The Irish of Dublin, situated as it was between the east Ulster dialect of Meath and Louth to the north and the Leinster-Connacht dialect further south, may have reflected the characteristics of both in phonology and grammar. In County Dublin itself the general rule was to place the stress on the initial vowel of words. With time it appears that the forms of the dative case took over the other case endings in the plural (a tendency found to a lesser extent in other dialects). In a letter written in Dublin in 1691 we find such examples as the following: ' (accusative case, the standard form being '), ' (accusative case, the standard form being ') and ' (genitive case, the standard form being '). English authorities of the Cromwellian period, aware that Irish was widely spoken in Dublin, arranged for its official use. In 1655 several local dignitaries were ordered to oversee a lecture in Irish to be given in Dublin. In March 1656 a converted Catholic priest, Séamas Corcy, was appointed to preach in Irish at Bride's parish every Sunday, and was also ordered to preach at Drogheda and Athy. In 1657 the English colonists in Dublin presented a petition to the Municipal Council complaining that in Dublin itself "there is Irish commonly and usually spoken". There is contemporary evidence of the use of Irish in other urban areas at the time. In 1657 it was found necessary to have an Oath of Abjuration (rejecting the authority of the Pope) read in Irish in Cork (city), Cork so that people could understand it. Irish was sufficiently strong in early 18th century Dublin to be the language of a coterie of poets and scribes led by Seán and Tadhg Ó Neachtain, both poets of note. Scribal activity in Irish persisted in Dublin right through the 18th century. An outstanding example was Muiris Ó Gormáin (Maurice Gorman), a prolific producer of manuscripts who advertised his services (in English) in ''Faulkner's Dublin Journal''. There were still an appreciable number of Irish speakers in County Dublin at the time of the 1851 census. In other urban centres the descendants of medieval Anglo-Norman settlers, the so-called Normans in Ireland, Old English, were Irish-speaking or bilingual by the 16th century. The English administrator and traveller Fynes Moryson, writing in the last years of the 16th century, said that "the English Irish and the very citizens (excepting those of Dublin where the lord deputy resides) though they could speak English as well as we, yet commonly speak Irish among themselves, and were hardly induced by our familiar conversation to speak English with us". In Galway, a city dominated by Old English merchants and loyal to the Crown up to the Irish Confederate Wars (1641–1653), the use of the Irish language had already provoked the passing of an Act of Henry VIII of England, Henry VIII (1536), ordaining as follows: ::''Item, that every inhabitant within oure said towne [Galway] endeavour themselfes to speake English, and to use themselfes after the English facon; and, speciallye, that you, and every one of you, doe put your children to scole, to lerne to speke English...'' The demise of native cultural institutions in the seventeenth century saw the social prestige of Irish diminish, and the gradual Anglicisation of the middle classes followed. The census of 1851 showed, however, that the towns and cities of Munster still had significant Irish-speaking populations. Much earlier, in 1819, James McQuige, a veteran Methodist lay preacher in Irish, wrote: "In some of the largest southern towns, Cork, Kinsale and even the Protestant town of Bandon, provisions are sold in the markets, and cried in the streets, in Irish". Irish speakers constituted over 40% of the population of Cork even in 1851.


Modern urban Irish

The 19th century saw a reduction in the number of Dublin's Irish speakers, in keeping with the trend elsewhere. This continued until the end of the century, when the
Gaelic revival The Gaelic revival ( ga, Athbheochan na Gaeilge) was the late-nineteenth-century Romantic nationalism, national revival of interest in the Irish language (also known as Gaelic) and Irish Gaelic culture (including folklore, sports, music, arts, ...
saw the creation of a strong Irish–speaking network, typically united by various branches of the , and accompanied by renewed literary activity. By the 1930s Dublin had a lively literary life in Irish. Urban Irish has been the beneficiary, over the last few decades, of a rapidly expanding independent school system, known generally as , teaching entirely through Irish. As of 2019 there are 37 such primary schools in Dublin alone. It has been suggested that Ireland's towns and cities are acquiring a critical mass of Irish speakers, reflected in the expansion of Irish language media. Many are younger speakers who, after encountering Irish at school, made an effort to acquire fluency; others have been educated through Irish; some have been raised with Irish. Those from an English-speaking background are now often described as (new speakers) and use whatever opportunities are available (festivals, "pop-up" events) to practise or improve their Irish. Though it has been suggested that the comparative standard is still the Irish of the Gaeltacht, other evidence suggests that young urban speakers take pride in having their own distinctive variety of the language. A comparison of traditional Irish and urban Irish shows that the distinction between broad and slender consonants, which is fundamental to Irish phonology and grammar, is not fully or consistently observed in urban Irish. This and other changes make it possible that urban Irish will become a new dialect or even, over a long period, develop into a creole (i.e. a new language) distinct from Gaeltacht Irish. It has been argued that there is a certain elitism among Irish speakers, with most respect being given to the Irish of native Gaeltacht speakers and with "Dublin" (i.e. urban) Irish being under-represented in the media. This, however, is paralleled by a failure among some urban Irish speakers to acknowledge grammatical and phonological features essential to the structure of the language.


Towards a standard Irish – An Caighdeán Oifigiúil

There is no single official standard for pronouncing the Irish language. Certain dictionaries, such as , provide a single pronunciation. Online dictionaries such as ''Foclóir Béarla-Gaeilge'' provide audio files in the three major dialects. The differences between dialects are considerable, and have led to recurrent difficulties in conceptualising a "standard Irish." In recent decades contacts between speakers of different dialects have become more frequent and the differences between the dialects are less noticeable. ("The Official Standard"), often shortened to , is a standard for the spelling and grammar of written Irish, developed and used by the Irish government. Its rules are followed by most schools in Ireland, though schools in and near Irish-speaking regions also use the local dialect. It was published by the translation department of in 1953 and updated in 2012 and 2017.


Phonology

In pronunciation, Irish most closely resembles its nearest relatives, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. One notable feature is that consonants (except ) come in pairs, one "broad" (velarization, velarised, pronounced with the back of the tongue pulled back towards the soft palate) and one "slender" (Palatalization (phonetics), palatalised, pronounced with the middle of the tongue pushed up towards the hard palate). While broad–slender pairs are not unique to Irish (being found, for example, in Russian language, Russian), in Irish they have a grammatical function. Diphthongs: .


Syntax and morphology

Irish is a fusional language, fusional, verb-subject-object, VSO, nominative-accusative language. Irish is neither verb framing, verb nor verb framing, satellite framed, and makes liberal use of deixis, deictic verbs. Nouns declension, decline for 3 grammatical number, numbers: Grammatical number#Singular versus plural, singular, dual (grammatical number), dual (only in conjunction with the number ''dhá''/''dá'' "two"), plural; 2 Grammatical gender, genders: masculine, feminine; and 4 grammatical case, cases: ainmneach (nominative, nomino-accusative), gairmeach (vocative), ginideach (genitive), and tabharthach (prepositional case, prepositional-locative case, locative), with fossilised traces of the older accusative case, accusative. Adjectives agreement (linguistics), agree with nouns in grammatical number, number, grammatical gender, gender, and grammatical case, case. Adjectives generally follow nouns, though some precede or prefix nouns. Demonstrative adjectives have Demonstrative#Distal and proximal demonstratives, proximal, Demonstrative#Distal and proximal demonstratives, medial, and Demonstrative#Distal and proximal demonstratives, distal forms. The prepositional-locative case is called the dative by convention, though it originates in the Proto-Celtic ablative. Verbs Grammatical conjugation, conjugate for 3 grammatical tense, tenses: past tense, past, present tense, present, future tense, future; 2 grammatical aspect, aspects: Uses of English verb forms#perfective, perfective, imperfective; 2 numbers: Grammatical number#Singular versus plural, singular, plural; 4 grammatical mood, moods: indicative mood, indicative, subjunctive mood, subjunctive, conditional mood, conditional, imperative mood, imperative; 2 relative forms, the present and future relative; and in some verbs, Dependent and independent verb forms, independent and Dependent and independent verb forms, dependent forms. Verbs Grammatical conjugation, conjugate for 3 grammatical person, persons and an impersonal form which is agent (grammar), actor-free; the 3rd person singular acts as a person-free personal form that can be followed or otherwise refer to any person or number. There are two verbs for "to be", one for essence, inherent qualities with only two forms, ''is'' "present" and ''ba'' "past" and "conditional", and one for Substance theory#Aristotle, transient qualities, with a full complement of forms except for the verbal adjective. The two verbs share the one verbal noun. The passive voice and many other forms are periphrasis, periphrastic. There are a number of preverbal grammatical particle, particles marking the affirmative and negative, negative, interrogative, subjunctive mood, subjunctive, relative clauses, etc. There is a verbal noun and verbal adjective. Verb forms are highly Inflection#Regular and irregular inflection, regular, many grammars recognise only Irish conjugation#Irregular verbs, 11 irregular verbs. preposition and postposition, Prepositions inflection, inflect for grammatical person, person and grammatical number, number. Different prepositions government (linguistics), govern different grammatical case, cases. In Old and Middle Irish, prepositions government (linguistics), governed different cases depending on intended semantics; this has disappeared in Modern Irish except in fossilised form. Irish had no verb to express having; instead, the word ("at", etc.) is used in conjunction with the transient "be" verb ''bheith'': * "I have a book." (Literally, "there is a book at me," cf. Russian У меня есть книга, Finnish ''minulla on kirja'', French ''le livre est à moi'') * "You (singular) have a book." * "He has a book." * "She has a book." * "We have a book." * "You (plural) have a book." * "They have a book." numerals (linguistics), Numerals have 3 forms: abstract, general and ordinal. The numbers from 2 to 10 (and these in combination with higher numbers) are rarely used for people, numeral nominals being used instead: * "Two." * "Two books." * "Two people, a couple", "Two men", "Two women". *, (free variation) "Second." Irish had both decimal and vigesimal systems: 10: ''a deich'' 20: ''fiche'' 30: vigesimal – ''a deich is fiche''; decimal – ''tríocha'' 40: v. ''daichead, dá fhichead''; d. ''ceathracha'' 50: v. ''a deich is daichead''; d. ''caoga'' (also: ''leathchéad'' "half-hundred") 60: v. ''trí fichid''; d. ''seasca'' 70: v. ''a deich is trí fichid''; d. ''seachtó'' 80: v. ''cheithre fichid''; d. ''ochtó'' 90: v. ''a deich is cheithre fichid''; d. ''nócha'' 100: v. ''cúig fichid''; d. ''céad'' A number such as 35 has various forms: ''a cúigdéag is fichid'' "15 and 20" ''a cúig is tríocha'' "5 and 30" '' a cúigdéag ar fhichid'' "15 on 20" ''a cúig ar thríochaid'' "5 on 30" ''a cúigdéag fichead'' "15 of 20 (genitive)" ''a cúig tríochad'' "5 of 30 (genitive)" ''fiche 's a cúigdéag'' "20 and 15" ''tríocha 's a cúig'' "30 and 5" The latter is most commonly used in mathematics.


Initial mutations

In Irish, there are two classes of initial consonant mutations, which express grammatical relationship and meaning in verbs, nouns and adjectives: * Lenition () describes the change of stops into fricatives. Indicated in gaelic type, Gaelic script by a (a dot) written above the consonant, it is shown in Latin script by adding an ''h''. ** "throw!" – "I threw" (lenition as a past-tense marker, caused by the particle , now generally omitted) ** "requirement" – "lack of the requirement" (lenition marking the genitive case of a masculine noun) ** "John" – "John!" (lenition as part of the vocative case, the vocative lenition being triggered by , the vocative marker before ) * Irish initial mutations#Eclipsis, Eclipsis () covers the voicing of voiceless stops, and nasalisation of voiced stops. ** "Father" – "our Father" ** "start", "at the start" ** "Galway" – "in Galway" Mutations are often the only way to distinguish grammatical forms. For example, the only non-contextual way to distinguish pronoun#Possessive, possessive pronouns "her," "his" and "their", is through initial mutations since all meanings are represented by the same word ''a''. * his shoe – ' (lenition) * their shoe – ' (eclipsis) * her shoe – ' (unchanged) Due to irish initial mutations, initial mutation, prefixes, clitics, suffixes, root (linguistics), root inflection, ending morphology (linguistics), morphology, elision, sandhi, epenthesis, and assimilation (phonology), assimilation; the beginning, core, and end of words can each change radically and even simultaneously depending on context.


Orthography

Modern Irish traditionally used the ISO basic Latin alphabet, Latin alphabet without the letters j, k, q, w, x, y and z. However, some Gaelicised words use those letters: for instance, "jeep" is written as "" (the letter v has been naturalised into the language, although it is not part of the traditional alphabet, and has the same pronunciation as "bh"). One diacritic sign, the acute accent (''á é í ó ú''), known in Irish as the ("long mark"; plural: ), is used in the alphabet. In idiomatic English usage, this diacritic is frequently referred to simply as the , where the adjective is used as a noun. The ''fada'' serves to lengthen the sound of the vowels and in some cases also changes their quality. For example, in Munster Irish (Kerry), ''a'' is or and ''á'' is in "father", but in Ulster Irish (Donegal), ''á'' tends to be . Traditional orthography had an additional diacritica dot (diacritic), dot over some consonants to indicate lenition. In modern Irish, the letter h suffixed to a consonant indicates that the consonant is lenited. Thus, for example, '' has become ''. This dot (diacritic), dot-above diacritic, called a or (often shortened to ), derives from the ''punctum delens'' used in medieval manuscripts to indicate deletion, similar to crossing out unwanted words in handwriting today. From this usage it was used to indicate the lenition of ''s'' (from to ) and ''f'' (from to null morpheme, zero) in
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
texts. Lenition of ''c'', ''p'', and ''t'' was indicated by placing the letter ''h'' after the affected consonant; lenition of ''b'', ''d'', ''g'', or ''m'' was left unmarked. Later, both and postposed ''h'' were extended to be indicators of lenition of any sound except ''l'', ''n'', and ''r'', which could not be lenited. Eventually, use of the predominated when texts were written using Gaelic letters, while the ''h'' predominated when writing using Roman letters. Today, Gaelic type and the are rarely used except where a "traditional" style is required, e.g. the motto on the University College Dublin coat of arms or the symbol of the Irish Defence Forces, the Irish Defence Forces cap badge . Letters with the are available in Unicode and ISO 8859-14, Latin-8 character sets (see Latin Extended Additional chart and Dot (diacritic)). Postposed ''h'' has predominated due to its convenience and the lack of a character set containing the overdot before Unicode, although extending the latter method to Roman letters would theoretically have the advantage of making Irish texts significantly shorter, particularly as a large portion of the ''h''-containing digraphs in a typical Irish text are silent (ex. the above ', the old spelling of Louth, which would become ').


Spelling reform

Around the time of the Second World War, Séamas Daltún, in charge of (the official translations department of the Irish government), issued his own guidelines about how to standardise Irish spelling and grammar. This de facto standard was subsequently approved by the State and called the Official Standard or . It simplified and standardised the orthography. Many words had silent letters removed and vowel combination brought closer to the spoken language. Where multiple versions existed in different dialects for the same word, one or more were selected. Examples: * → , "Irish language" * → , "Louth" (see County Louth Historic Names) * → , "food" The standard spelling does not necessarily reflect the pronunciation used in particular dialects. For example, in standard Irish, ', "food", has the genitive '. In Munster Irish, however, the genitive is pronounced . For this reason, the spelling is still used by the speakers of some dialects, in particular those that show a meaningful and audible difference between (nominative case) and (genitive case) "of food, food's". In Munster the latter spelling regularly produces the pronunciation because final ' regularly delenites to ' in Munster pronunciation. Another example would be the word ', meaning "hard". This pronounced in Munster, in line with the pre-Caighdeán spelling, '. In Munster, ' is pronounced and ' pronounced , but the new spellings of ', "life, world", genitive: ', have become ', genitive '. This produces irregularities in the match-up between the spelling and pronunciation in Munster, because the word is pronounced , genitive .


See also

* , Anglicisms in Irish * , a course in basic spoken Irish * , Irish language Society * Dictionary of the Irish Language * Comparison of Scottish Gaelic and Irish * Goidelic substrate hypothesis * Hiberno-Latin, a variety of Medieval Latin used in Irish monasteries. It included Greek, Hebrew and Celtic neologisms. * Irish name and Place names in Ireland * Irish words used in the English language * Irish (Junior Cert), Irish, a subject of the Junior Cycle examination in Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland * * List of Irish-language media * List of artists who have released Irish-language songs * List of English words of Irish origin * List of Ireland-related topics * List of Irish-language given names * Modern literature in Irish


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

*Caerwyn Williams, J.E. & Ní Mhuiríosa, Máirín (ed.). '. An Clóchomhar Tta 1979. *McCabe, Richard A.. ''Spenser's Monstrous Regiment: Elizabethan Ireland and the Poetics of Difference''. Oxford University Press 2002. . *Hickey, Raymond. ''The Dialects of Irish: Study of a Changing Landscape''. Walter de Gruyter, 2011. . *Hickey, Raymond. ''The Sound Structure of Modern Irish''. De Gruyter Mouton 2014. . *De Brún, Pádraig. ''Scriptural Instruction in the Vernacular: The Irish Society and its Teachers 1818–1827''. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies 2009. *Doyle, Aidan, ''A History of the Irish Language: From the Norman Invasion to Independence'', Oxford, 2015. *Fitzgerald, Garrett, 'Estimates for baronies of minimal level of Irish-speaking amongst successive decennial cohorts, 117-1781 to 1861–1871,’ Volume 84, ''Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy '' 1984. *Garvin, Tom, ''Preventing the Future: Why was Ireland so poor for so long?'', Gill and MacMillan, 2005. *Hindley, Reg (1991, new ed.). ''The Death of the Irish Language: A Qualified Obituary''. Routledge. *McMahon, Timothy G.. ''Grand Opportunity: The Gaelic Revival and Irish Society, 1893–1910''. Syracuse University Press 2008. *Ó Gráda, Cormac. '' in ''Dublin Review of Books'', Issue 34, 6 May 2013: *Kelly, James & Mac Murchaidh, Ciarán (eds.). ''Irish and English: Essays on the Linguistic and Cultural Frontier 1600–1900''. Four Courts Press 2012. *Ní Mhunghaile, Lesa. 'An Eighteenth Century Irish scribe's private library: Muiris Ó Gormáin's books' in ''Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy'', Volume 110C, 2010, pp. 239–276. *Ní Mhuiríosa, Máirín. ‘’ in ', ed. Seán Ó Mórdha. 1981. *Ó hÓgáin, Dáithí. ''Labhrann Laighnigh: Téacsanna agus Cainteanna ó Shean-Chúige Laighean''. Coiscéim 2011. *Ó Laoire, Muiris. ''Language Use and Language Attitudes in Ireland' in ''Multilingualism in European Bilingual Contexts : Language Use and Attitudes'', ed. David Lasagabaster and Ángel Huguet. Multilingual Matters Ltd. 2007. *Shibakov, Alexey. ''Irish Word Forms / Irische Wortformen''. epubli 2017. *Williams, Nicholas. 'Na Canúintí a Theacht chun Solais' in ', ed. Kim McCone and others. Maigh Nuad 1994.


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Extract from ' (the Bible in Irish), published by in 1981

Extract from the ' (New Testament) 1970, tr. Coslett Ó Cuinn, published by

Extract from ' (The Holy Bible), 16th–17th century translation done under the supervision of William Bedell
, republished in 1817 by the British and Foreign Bible Society]


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* s:de:Die araner mundart, ''Die araner mundart'' (a phonological description of the dialect of the
Aran Islands The Aran Islands ( ; gle, Oileáin Árann, ) or The Arans (''na hÁrainneacha'' ) are a group of three islands at the mouth of Galway Bay Galway Bay ( Irish: ''Loch Lurgain'' or ''Cuan na Gaillimhe'') is a large bay (or sea lough Loc ...
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{{DEFAULTSORT:Irish Language Irish language, Languages attested from the 4th century Fusional languages Goidelic languages Languages of Northern Ireland Languages of Ireland Verb–subject–object languages Vertical vowel systems