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Interesting Facts and History About Irish Gaelic Language

Interesting Facts and History About Irish Gaelic Language


History

The Irish Gaelic language belongs to the family of Celtic and Indo-European languages. The history of Irish language begins with the migration of Celts from the European continent between 400-500 BC. The Irish language that is now spoken has gone through many different stages of development. The first known form of this language, the primitive Irish, was found on inscriptions on rocks. These inscriptions date back to the 3rd and 4th century.

Interesting Facts About the Irish Language


Official Language

According to the constitution of Ireland, Irish Gaelic and English are both recognised as the official languages of Ireland. However, the Irish language is the first official and national language.


An Endangered Language

Ireland is in the midst of losing its cultural essence which is its language. The decline of Irish language was mostly due to English language being dominant. It has officially been added to the ‘definitely endangered’ languages list by the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s languages. As only 1.8% population of Ireland speaks Irish and only 40.6% have the ability to.


Construction of sentences

Unlike English, Irish is a Verb-Subject-Object(or VSO) Language.This means that the verb comes before the subject in a sentence.So, if we want to say ‘Cameron is riding a bike’, in Irish it would be ‘Rides Cameron a bike’.


Oldest language

Irish Gaelic is recognized as one of the oldest languages in the world. The earliest writings of this language used alphabet known as Ogham, which was later replaced by the Latin alphabet. Primitive Irish, the oldest form of Irish Gaelic, was used prior to the 5th century.


Yes or no

This might come as a surprise to many but Irish Language doesn’t have any specific word to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In spite of that it isn’t like you can not deny or affirm a statement. In order to answer a question with yes or no, you use the same verb in the positive or negative form.


Irish counting systems

Irish language has three different counting systems. The system varies upon whether you are counting human beings, non-living things or simply doing math.


Dialects

There are three traditional dialects of Irish language; Ulster in the North, Munster in the South and Connacht in the West. The differences between the dialects are mostly in the vocabulary and pronunciation.


Alphabets

In the 5th century and prior to that, Ogham Alphabet was used as to write the Gaelic language. However, towards the end of 6th century it was replaced by the Latin alphabet. Irish language consists of 23 letters, 18 are form Latin alphabet with the exception of J, K, Q, V W, X, Y and Z. The remaining five letters are Á, É, Í, Ó and Ú.


Gaeltacht

Any place or region where Irish is spoken and is a predominant language is called Gaeltacht. It was found in 2015 that only 21 counties in Ireland speak Irish Gaelic on a daily basis.


Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, which is the part of the United Kingdom, Irish Gaelic is a minority language. With only 10.6% people having knowledge of it and only 0.2% people using it as first language. During history Irish Gaelic was banned by British Law in Northern Ireland which may be the cause of its decline.


European Union Language

Ireland joined European Union in 1973 but Irish was given the status of an official EU language years later in 2005.


Difficulty of Learning

Irish Gaelic is considered by many as a difficult language to learn. This may be due to the fact that there are not many similarities between English and Irish.



Cliff of Moher in the Republic of Ireland


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