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8 Interesting Facts About The Irish Language

8 Interesting Facts About The Irish Language March 19, 2015

Facts about the Irish Language

The Irish language is one of the most interesting in the world. Unfortunately, it is not widely spoken, even amongst the Irish. Here are some fun facts about Irish to expand your knowledge about this cool language.

1. The name of the language is “Irish.”

Gaeilge is the name of the language in Irish, and Irish is the name of the language in English. Some people call it Irish Gaelic at times to ensure that they aren’t misunderstood or to distinguish it from Gaelic. Gaelic usually refers to Scottish Gaelic, which is similar but considered a different language.

2. There’s no “yes” or “no” in Irish.

There are no exact words for “yes” or “no” in Irish. However, there’s still a way for you to answer yes-no questions: you communicate “yes” and “no” with a verb form. For example, the answer to the question “Did they sell the house?” would be “(they) sold” or “(they) didn’t sell.”

3. Irish sentences follow the verb-subject-object order.

A typical English sentence follows the subject-verb-object order, whereas an Irish sentence follows the verb-subject-object order. So for the sentence “I saw a bird,” it would be “Saw I a bird” in Irish.

4. Words for numbers depend on whether you’re counting humans or non-humans.

The Irish language has a different set of numbers for counting humans and another set for counting non-humans. For example, “five children” is “cúigear páiste,” but five horses is “cúig chapall.”

5. The beginning of the word changes depending on the grammatical environment.

Depending on whether it comes after certain possessive pronouns, prepositions, or numbers, a single Irish word can have different spellings. For example, the word “woman” could become “bean,” “bhean,” or “mbean.”

6. Irish has only 11 irregular verbs.

The Irish language has 11 irregular verbs. This is fewer than English, which has more than 80.

7. It left an imprint on the English spoken in Ireland.

The Irish language has affected how the people speak English in Ireland. For example, a typical Irish person would say “I’m after eating my breakfast” instead of “I just ate my breakfast, or “I gave out about the terrible service” instead of “I told them off about the terrible service.”

8. It’s possible to travel around Ireland only speaking Irish.

While it can be difficult, it’s possible to travel around the country without speaking English. Filmmaker Manchan Magan made the documentary “No Bearla” (No English), wherein he speaks only Irish even when the people demanded him to speak English.

Here is episode 1 of the series on TG4 enjoy :)