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Interesting Facts About the Irish Language

Sammy Rich on Aug 28, 2019, 1:39:27 PM

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Ba chóir duit Gaeilge a fhoghlaim! If Google Translate is anything to be trusted, that translates to, “You should learn Irish!”

Just like the country it originates from, the Irish language is fascinating and unique. Here are just a couple of interesting facts about Irish you might not know:

- Irish is a Celtic language along with other languages such as Welsh, Cornish, and Scottish Gaelic. Technically, Irish is classified as Irish Gaelic and the word for the language is pronounced similarly to Gaelic, but Gaelic as a language descriptor applies only to the language of Scotland.

- Though the majority of Ireland speaks English, the official language of the country is Irish. Around 30-40% of Irish people can speak Irish, Irish is qualified as an endangered language. As an effort to preserve the language, it is a required subject in Irish schools. 1.7 million people in Ireland can speak Irish, however only 140,000 of those speakers are native speakers, and only 82,000 people speak it daily.

- There are also three areas in Ireland, called Gaeltachts, where Irish is the primary language used. Some of these Gaeltachts have their own dialects, as well, and pronunciation of words can differ completely from area to area.

- Unlike most languages that follow a subject-verb-object, Irish follows a verb-subject-object language. So a sentence in English, like “I am learning Irish”, would become “am learning I Irish”. Only 9% of languages use this sentence structure!

- There are no words for “yes” or “no” in Irish. To answer a question, you repeat the verb used in the question either with affirmation or negation. There are also three different types of number systems depending on what you are counting.

Now that you know a little bit more about Irish, do you have an interest in learning the language? If so, this Fall CEWT is offering just the course for you!

In Beginning Irish Language and Culture, you will learn the basics of Irish required for a variety of everyday settings. You will also learn some popular Irish songs.
Classes begin September 5 and run every Thursday (excluding Thanksgiving) until December 19.

If interested in signing up, visit cetrain.isu.edu or call us at (208) 282-3372.

Feicfidh mé ann thú! See you there!

Resources:

Brooks, R. (2017). 11 Interesting Facts About the Irish Language. Retrieved from https://k-international.com/blog/facts-about-the-irish-language/.

Okrent, A. (2015). 8 fun facts about the Irish language. Mental Floss. Retrieved from https://mentalfloss.com/article/49480/8-fun-facts-about-irish-language.

The Irish Post. (2016). Fifteen surprising facts that will make you appreciate the Irish language even more. Retrieved from https://www.irishpost.com/life-style/15-surprising-facts-about-the-irish-language-you-may-not-know-92707.

United Language Group. (n.d.) Gaelic vs. Irish: What’s the difference? Retrieved from https://unitedlanguagegroup.com/blog/gaelic-vs-irish-whats-the-difference/.

 

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