Let yourself be seduced by the Irish Gaelic
Posted by Ola Kosakowska on the 5th of November 2015 at 10:19:28
Today, the Republic of Ireland has two official languages: English and Irish. That’s why in cities like Dublin, the name of the streets, bus/tram stops are translated in both languages…which to me, when I arrived in Dublin, seemed kind of unusual, since actually almost every Irish person in Dublin speaks only English, and you can never hear Irish except coming from the metallic voices announcing the bus stops.
The Irish language, also called Irish Gaelic, is called Gaeilge in Ireland. Before British rule, Irish was the predominant language of the Irish people. For centuries the British controlled Ireland and saw the Gaelic language as barbaric and tried to abolish its use. Over time, the majority of the Irish became English speakers.
At the end of the nineteenth century though, members of the Gaelic Revival movement made efforts to encourage the learning and use of Irish in Ireland, particularly to develop a modern literature.
There are small communities where Irish is still the community language. They are found in some of the most beautiful and striking landscapes of Ireland.
A Gaeltacht is any officially-recognized area where the Irish language is spoken. The Gaeltacht regions are mainly along the the Wild Atlantic Way, especially in Kerry, Galway (in the Connemara region) and Donegal.
County Kerry. Learn more here.
County Donegal. Learn more here.
Should you come to some Irish-speaking villages in these regions, here are a few words you could use:
- Hello: Dia dhuit.Pronunciation: Djee-ah gwitch
- What is your name? Cad is ainm duit?Pronunciation: Codh is anam gwitch
- My name is Karin: Karin is ainm domPronunciation: Karin is aman dhum
- Thank you : Go raibh maith agatPronunciation: Guh row mah aguth
- You're welcome: Tá fáilte romhatPronunciation: Thaw foil-cheh roath
Some funny facts about the Irish language:
- In a sentence, the order is Verb Subject Object, as opposed to most other languages where it’s Subject Verb Object.
- There is no yes or no in Irish. You communicate "yes" and "no" with a verb form. The answer to "did you eat the pork sandwich?" would be "(I) ate " or "(I) didn't eat."
- The words for numbers depend on whether you're counting humans or non-humans, or whether it’s for referring to dates and times.
But you should know that even in those regions, shops keepers use English, as they don’t want to lose English-speaking customers.