Language & linguistics news from around the world • Updated daily • Relevant stories, selected by humans (not computers)

Share this site!

Language: Irish

  • Apr 14, 2012
  • 01:53 PM

Ni Riada is Sinn Fein's Irish language officer

Joe Leogue / The Corkman
Party leader Gerry Adams TD said that the appointment of Liadh Ní Riada, daughter of famous composer Seán O Riada, was proof that the party "was committed to the revival of the language" and that he was looking forward to seeing the positive results of her work.
  • Apr 12, 2012
  • 01:23 AM

Twitter Gets Help from SLU Prof on How to Deal With Indigenous Tweeters

Nicholas Phillips / Riverfront Times
If you're one of the five remaining speakers of "Yuchi" -- a near-extinct Native American language in Oklahoma -- your tweets will look insane, even to those within your linguistic group. That's because whenever you type in the "@" character, which is a part of your alphabet, Twitter will (wrongly) think you're trying to refer to a different user, such as @Joe_Smith.
  • Apr 11, 2012
  • 03:54 PM

Donegal's radio pioneer celebrates historic anniversary

Michelle Nic Phaidin / Donegal Democrat
The boundaries of the Gaeltacht dictate that the rich linguistic qualities of Irish in each region differ from that of the other, affiliated with the different streams of language that has evolved over hundreds of years is a difficulty for one region to understand that of another. According to Timlín, Raidió na Gaeltachta has played a vital part in dulling the linguistic boundaries and differences between each dialect and helps each region understand another enhancing a common understanding to a rich, complex language.
  • Apr 11, 2012
  • 01:02 AM

Waiting for Beckett with Irish in Focus

Irish Times
Yeates believes what Mouth on Fire is doing harks back to the days of the Damer theatre, when great Spanish, Russian and even Shakespearean works were staged in the Irish language. “And let’s not forget, Beckett himself did not write in English. He wrote in French, as that was the language he was most connected to.”
  • Apr 10, 2012
  • 05:49 PM

Trilingual kids who will never be tongue-tied

Iva Pocock / The Irish Times
MY FIRST experience of trilingual children was living in Sri Lanka in 2005, where many of the kids I met spoke Tamil, Sinhala and English. I was astounded when I realised that they could also read and write in these languages, a feat requiring knowledge of three completely different scripts – the Roman alphabet, Tamil script with more than 200 letters, and Sinhalese which has more than 50 characters.
  • Apr 08, 2012
  • 08:44 PM

Declan Lynch: Overwhelmingly, we Irish prefer the lie

Declan Lynch / Irish Independent
In the recent census, 1.77 million people said that they were able to speak the Irish language. I have written that sentence four times, no doubt bringing back happy memories of your schooldays, but mainly to ensure that the magnitude of the statement is fully absorbed. Because this is not just a lie. All official statements pertaining to the Irish language are to some extent a lie, but it is the extraordinary size of the lie in this case which requires special attention.
  • Apr 04, 2012
  • 03:32 PM

Making sense of the census

Pól Ó Muirí / Irish Times
Other speakers in today’s Tuarascáil also highlight the need to provide extra support for young students learning the language in the Gaeltacht and outside it. Muireann Ní Mhóráin of COGG, an organisation for Irish-language and Gaeltacht education, worries that the teaching of Irish is not working while Gael-Linn head honcho, Antoine Ó Coileáin, wonders if the stats will be properly incorporated into any future language planning.
  • Apr 03, 2012
  • 05:49 PM

Minister Launches Líofa In Carntogher
The initiative encourages people to learn Irish with the goal of becoming fluent by 2015. The Minister said: "I welcome this opportunity to visit Carntogher and see how the Irish language is thriving. This is a living example of a rural community embracing Irish at grass roots level and creating a vibrant Galetacht area.
  • Mar 29, 2012
  • 06:58 PM

Census 2011: 1.77m say they are able to speak Irish
THE NUMBER OF people who say they are able to speak the Irish language has fallen to 1.77 million, according to the results of Ireland’s most recent census. This figures represents 41.1 per cent of respondents – a slight decrease from 41.9 in 2006.
  • Mar 28, 2012
  • 07:49 PM

Hogan moves to plug Irish language gaps in Household Charge law
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Phil Hogan has moved to defend the State against a legal challenge to the household charge laws by producing Irish-language equivalents of the legislation. The High Court granted leave two weeks ago for a challenge to the legislation on the basis it had not been published in Irish, the official language of the country.
  • Mar 17, 2012
  • 07:27 PM

Can foreign speakers help the Irish language survive? (video)

Kate Dailey / BBC News
Still, Mr Ó Brádaigh warns that while interest in learning Irish is on the rise, the Irish-speaking communities that shape and protect the language are on the brink. The ratio of Irish learners to Irish speakers is greater than any other language in the world, he says. "There's a worldwide network of Irish speakers, but the native speaker areas are under severe distress.
  • Mar 16, 2012
  • 12:19 PM

Irish language on St Patrick's Day parade flag prompts unionist boycott

Lesley-Anne McKeown / Belfast Telegraph
Jim Wells, DUP MLA for South Down attended the carnival last year, but will not be there this Saturday in protest over the use of Irish. “I most certainly will not be attending the parade,” he said. “It is my personal protest against the adoption of Irish language on the flag. I believe this is a highly retrograde step...
  • Mar 16, 2012
  • 12:09 PM

Gifts celebrates Ireland's 1st written language

Brittany Lyte / Ct Post
Ogham is the first written form of the Irish language. It originated as a series of intersecting lines that's read bottom to top. In the 4th Century, the early Irish carved Ogham characters into wood and stone to mark territory. It was eventually replaced by the Latin alphabet.
  • Mar 13, 2012
  • 02:25 AM

The Scottish Prisoner's Ottawa connection

Adam Feibel / The Ottawa Citizen
The novel is set in Scotland and its author lives in Arizona, but Diana Gabaldon’s latest bestseller owes its Gaelic accent to Ottawa. Two Ottawa-based Gaelic linguists ensured the proper translation and phonetics of the portions of the The Scottish Prisoner that are in Scottish and Irish Gaelic.
  • Mar 12, 2012
  • 01:19 PM

Adventures of Biolbó Baigín set out as Gaeilge in 'An Hobad'

Éanna Ó Caollaí / Irish Times
An accomplished linguist, Tolkien learned over a dozen languages and invented several more, many of which feature in his tales of Middle-earth, the fictional setting of the majority of his fantasy books. Despite his apparent love of languages, the English author and academic revealed a dislike of Irish in a selection of letters published posthumously in 1981 (he also admitted having a dislike for French and preferring Spanish to Italian).
  • Mar 12, 2012
  • 02:32 AM

Run for your language!

Marie Madden / Galway Independent
Thousands of people will carry a specially designed baton with a hidden message of support for the Irish language from person to person, community to community, to the finishing line on Inis Mór where it will be revealed. Over 20,000 people took part in the first Rith that was held in Ireland in 2010. This year, the run aims to be even bigger whilst also raising money to support the Irish language in communities throughout Ireland.
  • Mar 11, 2012
  • 01:57 PM

Irish is spreading like a sexually transmitted disease

Concubhar O Liathain / Irish Independent
There are some of my generation and older who listen to Irish as it is spoken by the coming generation and they feel pain; it is so unlike the rich poetic language they spoke themselves. But this is Irish for a new age and a new generation. It's a modern language of communication, and preservation as if it were in a museum isn't compatible with that and is not an option.
  • Mar 10, 2012
  • 03:26 PM

Not all speak same language despite efforts in the chamber

Irish Times
IRISH LANGUAGE morning in the Dáil passed off uneventfully on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it was eclipsed by the launch of the Government’s progress report. Typical, you wait ages for a damp squib, then two come along in the same day. That’s not to say the outbreak of Irish was not without its highlights.
  • Mar 09, 2012
  • 11:31 AM

The Hobbit to be published in Irish
Not quite in time for St Patrick’s Day, but shortly thereafter, fans will at last be able to read an Irish language version of The Hobbit. The book has been translated into Gaelic by Nicholas Williams, and will be published by Evertype on March 25th.
  • Mar 08, 2012
  • 01:13 PM

Irish spoken in some areas for 'first time since Famine'

Marie O'Halloran / Irish Times
Mr Martin acknowledged the ambition of the 20-year strategy to increase the number of people speaking Irish on a daily basis from 83,000 to 250,000, but he said children were now speaking Irish in towns and cities around the country and he claimed the previous government had made great progress in Irish.
  • Mar 08, 2012
  • 10:05 AM

Bilingual approach 'destroys' Gaeltacht Irish

Lorna Siggins / Irish Times
Joint editor Brian Ó Curnáin noted interjections such as “yeah”, “no”, “like”, “really” and “My God” are used eight out of 10 times by young women and six out of 10 times by young men in Irish speech in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht area of Co Kerry. He found a reduced use of interjections such as “ara”, “is dócha”, and “in aon chor”, to a frequency level of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent in Irish speech.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 12:40 AM

Irish language endangered by austerity measures

Finbar McDonnell / Irish Times
A crucial exception to this optimism is the decline in the use of Irish in Gaeltacht areas. This is primarily due to these communities being largely rural and remote (why the language survived in the first place), and so having the economic tide against them. While the value of the language in these areas is firstly to those who live there, who tap directly into a rich Gaelic heritage, these communities provide inspiration for all who speak Irish.
  • Mar 07, 2012
  • 12:37 AM

A modest revival for the Irish language (video)

Daniel de Vise / Washington Post
As the Irish diaspora prepares for St. Patrick’s Day, the Hibernian tongue, once at the brink of extinction, is enjoying a modest revival. A 2009 survey by the Modern Language Association found enrollment in Irish-language classes in the United States numbered 409 students, compared with 278 in 1998, 58 in 1990 and 28 in 1980. Classes at Catholic University drew 18 students this year and 20 last year, the largest enrollments in recent memory.
  • Mar 05, 2012
  • 11:21 AM

What's the Irish for 'leave those kids alone'?

Ann Marie Hourihane / Irish Times
Come on, we’ve wasted enough time on this nonsense. It is one thing to be taught Irish by your loving family in a happy home, as most of the Irish-language enthusiasts quoted in the article Mise agus an Gaeilge , published in this newspaper on Saturday, appear to have been. It is quite another to have the educational opportunities of hundreds of thousands of Irish children squandered in hours of non-teaching of a non-spoken language. Is mór an trua é.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 02:22 PM

Seachtain na Gaeilge events

Derry Journal
The Irish language will be celebrated across the north west next week during Seachtain na Gaeilge. The ten day series of events will include workshops, information sessions, as well as music and dancing events, culminating with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations on March 17th.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 01:11 PM

Our language strategy is leaving us at a loss for the right words

Matt Cooper / Irish Examiner
Immersion, even if only for a three-week period, was extremely beneficial and has helped enormously in her first year in secondary school, allowing her to work during Irish class comfortably alongside those children who had completed their primary education as gaelige.
  • Feb 29, 2012
  • 01:52 AM

Irish language social network launched

Éanna Ó Caollaí / Irish Times
The core concept of is that at least 70 per cent of all posts and comments must be in Irish. It automatically calculates the percentage of Irish in each post and then invites the user to amend the submission if required. A spellchecker is provided and an integrated version of Google translate allows users to translate any words they do not know.
  • Feb 28, 2012
  • 03:37 PM

Gaeltacht status or bilingual signs – your choice

Anton McNulty / Mayo News
Gaeltacht communities who call for bilingual road signs ‘should be careful what they wish for’, as it could mean they lose their Gaeltacht status, according to a senior council official.
  • Feb 22, 2012
  • 05:57 PM

Art in Paradise: Getting Gaelic

James Heflin / Valley Advocate
There are few languages as melodiously lovely as Irish (often dubbed Irish Gaelic). There are, on the other hand, few as fearsome to behold in print or as unusual in pronunciation. Take the letter "m." In Irish, it sounds just like "m" in English. Unless, that is, it's followed by an "h." Then it sounds like "v" or "w," depending on the vowels that surround it.
  • Feb 15, 2012
  • 03:37 PM

A New Era for Newry Gaels

Ciarán Dunbar / Slugger O'Toole
The Irish language receives a huge boost in Newry this week when building work begins on the new Irish language centre, ‘Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail’. It is hoped that the work will be completed and the centre opened by September 2012 – in time for the centenary of Omeath Irish College, Coláiste Bhríde.