Languages Prehistoric languages. The earliest linguistic records in Ireland are of Primitive Irish, from about the 17th century AD.Languages spoken in Iron Age Ireland before then are now irretrievable, although there are some claims of traces in Irish toponymy.
- Ullans, Isl and Shelta, OH My!
Up until recent history, Irish was thelanguage of Ireland. Celtic cultures and languages, like Irish, initially emerged from waves of prehistoric migration from mainland Europe to the British Isles. The Primitive Irish spoken by these early Celts gradually evolved into contemporary Gaelic Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx, a language native to the Isle of Man. Throughout Ireland’s history and complicated relationship with Great Britain (more on that later), Englishsteadily replaced Irish as the island’s dominant language. In the late 19th century, supporters of the Gaelic Revival movement pushed for a resurgence of public interest in Gaelic cultures and languages. Today only around 10% of the population is fluent in Irish, with 141,000 native speakers. Unfortunately, modern attempts to revitalize the language haven’t been the most successful. Just like math (sorry, maths),Irish is a mandatory subject in all public schools. That said, many students choose not to continue learning the l...
So why is it that 99% of Ireland’s population speaks English natively, and not Irish? Let’s just say the answer lies very close to home. After weathering multiple waves of Viking and Norman invasions, a forced annexation to neighboring England and the Black Death, the Irish saw their native language flourish anew during a short interlude of (relative) sociopolitical peace and autonomy. That is until King Henry VIII of England decided to restore British authority by declaring himself King of Ireland, too. It all went downhill from there. Fast-forward through many years of fighting harsh British rule to the year 1801, when the United Kingdom of England and Ireland came into existence. This unequal union, along with the devastating mid-century Potato Famine, sounded the first death knell for the Irish language. A stark lingual divide emerged, with English as thefavored language of politics and the upper class, while Irish remained a rural vernacular. In fact, Irish was outright banned...
But wait! Irish and English aren’t the only languages to be found in the Éire. In the northeastern part of the island, you’ll hear Ullans, a Scottish language (or dialect, depending on who you ask) that draws influence from English and Scots. It’s classified as an official minority language and is spoken by roughly 10,000 people. The Irish deaf community also has its own Irish Sign Language(ISL), which is actually more closely related to the French Sign Language than ESL. You’ve probably also heard of Irish Travellers, or an lucht siúil(literally “the walking people”). They’ve been largely excluded from Irish society and were only recently recognized as a distinct ethnic group in 2017. Around 30,000 people speak their native vernacular, Shelta A.K.A. De Gammon, which is a mixture of Irish, English and a touch of Romani. Apart from these five major languages, some prominent immigrant languages include Polish, Lithuanian, Chinese, Tagalog, French and German.
Dec 06, 2017 · In today’s world, English is the most commonly spoken language in Ireland. However, the Irish language is still taught in schools. There are still some areas where Irish is the vernacular. These areas are referred to as Gaeltacht areas.
Mar 26, 2018 · Irish is a Celtic language closely related to such languages as Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. It has been spoken here for at least two and half thousand years. This is always worth remembering next...
- Donal Casey
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Jun 20, 2017 · The latest video in our Cartus On the Ground series focuses on Ireland and the frequented expatriate destination of Dublin. Produced in conjunction with our in-country destination services provider Irish Relo, the video shares top tips and best practices for international assignees moving to the ‘Emerald Isle.’
Although English is the predominant language throughout both the Republic and Northern Ireland, Irish remains widely spoken as a first or second language by many and there are pockets of Irish speakers scattered throughout both the Republic and Ulster. 953 views
- What Is A Language?
- The Origin of Languages
- The Invention of Writing
- Dying Languages
- Extinct Languages
- How to Help Save A Language from Extinction
- Want to Know More About Learning Languages? Start Here!
- Over to You!
A language is, fundamentally, a collection of dialects that are mutually intelligible. Each dialect is a collection of idiolects that are similar enough to be classified together. An idiolect is a single speaker’s version of a language. For example, as an Australian, I speak my own idiolect of English, just as you speak with a slightly different one. Yet, since we can understand each other, it can be defined as a single language.
Researchers are still baffled as to how and when these numerous languages were invented. While there are only a few references mentioned in the Holy Bible and other religious texts, the origin of languages still remains a mystery. The language spoken in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve is still unknown.One such reference as to the origin of languages comes from the Book of Genesis. According to the story, humanity was united after the Great Flood and began speaking a single language. Migrat...
The invention of writing can be traced back to 4000 BC. The Sumerians who lived in southern Mesopotamia (modern-day southern Iraq) introduced the first writing system to the world. Their descendants known as Sumero-Babylonians developed the timing system that we still use today, whereby an hour divided into 60 minutes is in turn divided into 60 seconds.
As mentioned earlier, the number of known languages is constantly declining. But why? A key factor is in education. When a language ceases to be taught to young children, its rate of survival is very bleak. It can then be predicted with near certainty that it will not survive the death of the present native speakers.An example of this can be seen in North America where 165 indigenous languages exist. Only eight of these languages are spoken by 10,000 people and approximately 75 are spoken by...
During the 2nd millennium BC, only seven languages became extinct. As the years past the number of dead languages increased like rapid-fire. The highest number of languages lost was during the 20th century when a total of 110 languages were declared extinct.Already this century 12 languages have been classified as dead. The most recent being the Klallam language, when in February 2014 Hazel Sampson, its last native speaker passed away. Klallam was the traditional language of the Klallam nativ...
Here are two ways in which you can learn more and help indigenous people protect their languages and traditional knowledge:Visit Cultural Survival’s website for a list of ways to become directly involved with their language preservation project.The Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on Endangered Languages and allows you to sign up in order to be alerted of opportunities for political action in support of endangered languages.If you’re learning a language, I recommend checking out my 1...
1. Top Language Learning Resources You Should Use 2. 7 Reasons Why You Should Go on a Language Holiday 3. 11 Life-Changing Reasons Why You Should Learn a Language 4. How to Learn Your First Foreign Language in 8 Simple Steps: A Beginner’s Guide 5. 42 beautiful Inspirational Quotes for Language Learners 6. Language learning tips: 11 Polyglots Reveal The Secrets of Their Success 7. Top 10 Best Ways to Learn a Language Better and Faster 8. How to Learn Italian Before Your Trip 9. Free Travel Ph...
How do you feel about the European settlers affect on the decline of languages? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.Like what you see? Subscribe using the form below to have all of my posts delivered directly to your email.
- Spoken Languages
- Mother Language of All Languages
- Sino-Tibetan Languages
- Indo European Language Family
There are thousands of spoken languages in the world and most can be traced back in history to show how they are related to each other.For example:By finding patterns like these, different languages can be grouped together as members of a language family.There are three main language families: 1. Indo-European (Includes English) 2. Sino-Tibetan (Includes Chinese) 3. Afro-Asiatic (Includes Arabic)Indo-European is the largest language family, followed by Sino-Tibetan, and lastly Afro-Asiatic. T...
A hypothesis put forward by Professor Joseph Greenberg and his colleagues (Stanford University) holds that the original mother language developed in Africa among early Homo sapiens. Their ‘Proto World’ map would show how Homo sapiens spread across the world, taking their language with them. That single language, which the Professor calls the Mother Tongue or proto-world, diverged naturally over time into the several thousands of diverse forms spoken today. Read more hereAn idea of of what thi...
Sino-Tibetan is one of the largest language families in the world, with more first-language speakers than even Indo-European. The more than 1.1 billion speakers of Sinitic (the Chinese dialects) constitute the world’s largest speech community. Sino-Tibetan includes both the Sinitic and the Tibeto-Burman languages.Tibeto-Burman comprises hundreds of languages besides Tibetan and Burmese, spread over a vast geographical area (China, India, the Himalayan region, peninsular SE Asia). Read moreHok...
As far back as 18th century it was suggested that similarities among languages such as Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Gothic, and others were so striking as to suggest that they had sprung from a common Proto-Indo-European language. By the 19th century, August Schleicher’s Family Tree had been proposed to model the relationships among the Indo-European languages as the branches of a tree. English is branched off Germanic.The picture below shows how the Indo European Language Family tree branch comes...
The original mother tongue may never be found. It becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between inheritance from a common ancestor and borrowing from another group. There are no written records, so we can never know if word similarities happened by sheer chance or by accident.However, what is known about the main language groups is still fascinating, such as: 1. The amazing fact that in the 18th century it was discovered that Sanskrit (the ancient language of India), resembles and has...
Research done into the DNA of the Irish has shown that our old understanding of where the population of Ireland originated may have been misguided. The modern Irish population share many genetic similarities with Scottish and Welsh populations, and to a lesser extent the English. At the same time, DNA testing of remains of ancient Irish people suggests that some of the earliest human arrivals on the island originally came from much further afield. Another interesting finding about Irish DNA is that many men in North West Ireland (and their descendants around the world, including about 2% of men in New York today) are descended from a single man who lived in Ireland around 1600-1700 years ago. This coincides with the time of the famous Irish king Niall of the Nine Hostages, who legend says brought St Patrick to Ireland as a slave. The O'Neill family, who claim to descend from Niall, have certainly been a powerful family through the ages in Ireland. Meanwhile, the latest research in 2018 suggests that the Irish are most closely related to people in North West France (Brittany where a Celtic language has traditionally been spoken) and in Western Norway. Interestingly, where earlier studies didn't find much impact of Viking DNA among the modern Irish, a recent study suggests there may have been more influence than perviously thought. You can read more details here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17124-4 Today, people living the north of Spain in the region known as the Basque Country share many DNA traits with the Irish. However, the Irish also share their DNA to a large extent with the people of Britain, especially the Scottish and Welsh. DNA testing of the male Y chromosome has shown that Irish males have the highest incidence of the R1b haplogroup in Europe. While other parts of Europe have integrated continuous waves of new settlers from the east, Ireland's remote geographical position has meant that the Irish gene-pool has been less susceptible to change. The same genes have been passed down from parents to children for thousands of years. The other region with very high levels of this male chromosome is the Basque region. This is mirrored in genetic studies which have compared DNA analysis with Irish surnames. Many surnames in Irish are Gaelic surnames, suggesting that the holder of the surname is a descendant of people who lived in Ireland long before the English conquests of the Middle Ages. Men with Gaelic surnames, showed the highest incidences of Haplogroup 1 (or Rb1) gene. This means that those Irish whose ancestors pre-date English conquest of the island are descendants (in the male line) of people who probably migrated west across Europe, as far as Ireland in the north and Spain in the south. However, more recent studies confirm that when a complex picture is taken of Irish DNA, including both male and female lines of descent, the closest similarities are between the Irish and people living in Western Britain. In particular, people in the north of Ireland are close genetic relatives of those living in Western Scotland, probably due to a long history of migration between the two regions. However, research into both British and Irish DNA suggests that people on the two islands have much genetically in common. Males in both islands have a strong predominance of the Haplogroup 1 gene, meaning that most of us in the British Isles are descended from the same stone age settlers. The main difference is the degree to which later migrations of people to the islands affected the population's DNA. Parts of Ireland (most notably the western seaboard) have been almost untouched by outside genetic influence since early times. Men there with traditional Irish surnames have the highest incidence of the Haplogroup 1 gene - over 99%. Irish and Scottish people share very similar DNA. The obvious similarities of culture, pale skin, tendency to red hair have historically been prescribed to the two people's sharing a common Celtic ancestry. Actually, in my opinion, it seems much more likely that the similarity results from the movement of people from the north of Ireland into Scotland in the centuries 400 - 800 AD. At this time the kingdom of Dalriada, based near Ballymoney in County Antrim extended far into Scotland. The Irish invaders brought Gaelic language and culture, and they also brought their genes. The MC1R gene has been identified by researchers as the gene responsible for red hair as well as the accompanying fair skin and tendency towards freckles. According to genetic research, genes for red hair first appeared in human beings about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. Some readers, writing below, with typical Black Irish coloring have had genetic testing done to confirm that they have Spanish, Portuguese, and Canary Island heritage.
The earliest settlers came to Ireland during the Stone Age, around 10,000 years ago. There are still remnants of their presence scattered across the island. Mountsandel in Coleraine in the North of Ireland is the oldest known site of settlement in Irelandremains of woven huts, stone tools and food such as berries and hazelnuts were discovered at the site in 1972.
Keltoi was the name given by the Ancient Greeks to a 'barbaric' (in their eyes) people who lived to the north of them in central Europe. While early Irish art shows some similarities of style to central European art of the Keltoi, historians have also recognized many significant differences between the two cultures. One theory about the origins of the term is that it describes Irish people who descend from survivors of the Spanish Armada. There are other hypotheses, mostly placing Irish ancestors on the Iberian peninsula or among the traders that sailed back and forth between Spain, North Africa, and Ireland, particularly around the Connemara region.
Recent research into Irish DNA at the beginning of the twenty-first century suggests that the early inhabitants of Ireland were not directly descended from the Keltoi of central Europe. Genome sequencing performed on remains of early settlers in Ireland by researchers at Trinity University in Dublin and Queens University has revealed at least two waves of migration to the island in past millennia. Analysis of the remains of a 5,200 year-old Irish farmer suggested that the population of Ireland at that time was closely genetically related to the modern-day populations of southern Europe, especially Spain and Sardinia. Her ancestors, however, originally migrated from the Middle East, the cradle of agriculture. Meanwhile, the research team also examined the remains of three 4,000 year-old men from the Bronze Age and revealed that another wave of migration to Ireland had taken place, this time from the edges of Eastern Europe. One third of their ancestry came from the Steppe region of Russia and Ukraine, so their ancestors must have gradually spread west across Europe. These remains, found on Rathlin Island also shared a close genetic affinity with the Scottish, Welsh, and modern Irish, unlike the earlier farmer. This suggests that many people living in Ireland today have genetic links to people who were living on the island at least 4,000 years ago. Most interestingly, the book says that the group which then came to Ireland and fully established itself as rulers of the island were the Milesiansthe sons of Mil, a soldier from Spain. Modern DNA research into male Y chromosomes has found that the the R1b haplogroup reaches very high concentrations in Western Ireland and the Basque country in northern Spain. While the picture for matrilineal descent (mother to daughter) is more complex, it seems that the northern Spanish and the Irish might have common male ancestors at some point in history.
One of the oldest texts composed in Ireland is the Leabhar Gabhla, the Book of Invasions. It tells a semi-mythical history of the waves of people who settled in Ireland in earliest times. It says the first settlers to arrive in Ireland were a small dark people called the Fir Bolg, followed by a magical super-race called the Tuatha de Danaan (the people of the goddess Dana).
What we can take from all of this is that, although the Irish today feel part of a single group united by cultural and national identity, this culture and identity is ultimately founded on waves of migration connecting the island to the wider world of European peoples and beyond.
Some scholars even argue that the Iberian peninsula (modern-day Spain and Portugal) was once heavily populated by Celtiberians who spoke at now-extinct Celtic language. They believe some of these people moved northwards along the Atlantic coast bringing Celtic language and culture to Ireland and Britain, as well as France. Although the evidence in not conclusive, the findings on the similarities between Irish and Iberian DNA provides some support for this theory.
I live in Northern Ireland and in this small country the differences between the Irish and the British can still seem very important. Blood has been spilt over the question of national identity.
The origin of the term \\"Black Irish\\" and the people it describes are debated (see the comments below!). The phrase is ambiguous and is mainly used outside of Ireland to describe dark-haired people of Irish origin.
Some \\"Black Irish\\" are of Irish-African descent, tracing their ancestry back to the slave trade. Many of these people live on Barbados and Montserrat.