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.
More than a fifth of those living in Fingal speak a non-native language at home, with Polish, French and Lithuanian the most commonly spoken first languages in the State.
ome of it chimes with Mr. Wight’s thoughts - “The Irish language spoken in Ireland today is the direct descendant without break of the language our ancestors spoke in those far off days.
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- Hebrew. Hebrew is 3,000 years old and spoken mostly in Israel. The language stopped being used around 400 CE. But it was preserved and used by Jews around the world as a liturgical language.
- Basque. Basque is not related to any of the Romance languages. It is a language isolate, meaning it is not related to any language used in the world. Only the Basque people residing in parts of France and Spain exclusively speak the language.
- Tamil. Tamil is more than 2,200 years old and used in Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India. It is an official language in Singapore and Sri Lanka. About 68.7 million users are located in India, with 60.7 million speaking it as their first language.
- Lithuanian. The first written text in Lithuanian on record dates back to the 16 century. It belongs to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.
The predominant languages in Ireland are Irish and English. There are certain areas in the West of Ireland where only Irish is spoken, and one must speak Irish to settle there (buy a house). English however, is the most widely spoken language. With the majority of the country speaking English as their first language
Northern Ireland, known in Irish as Tuaisceart Éireann, has no official languages but Irish is recognised as a minority language. According to the 2011 UK Census, in Northern Ireland 184,898 (10.65%) claim to have some knowledge of Irish, of whom 104,943 (6.05%) can speak the language to varying degrees - but it is the home language of just 0.2% of people.(see Irish language in Northern Ireland ).
Yu Ming eventually begins a conversation in Irish with an old man in a pub who explains to a perplexed Yu Ming that “ Ní labhraítear Gaeilge anseo, labhraítear Béarla anseo – ó Shasana!” (“Irish isn't spoken here – English is spoken here, from England!”). Yu Ming leaves Dublin and finds work in rural western Ireland where the ...
- Philip McDermott
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