[eng] 4,270,000 in Ireland (European Commission 2012). L2 users: 275,000 in Ireland (European Commission 2012). Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1937, Constitution, Article 8(2)). Dialects: South Hiberno English, North Hiberno English. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English.
[gle] Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, part of Mayo, Meath, and Waterford counties. Western isles northwest and southwest coasts. 138,000 in Ireland (European Commission 2012). L2 users: 1,000,000 in Ireland (European Commission 2012). Total users in all countries: 1,167,940 (as L1: 167,940; as L2: 1,000,000). Status: 3 (Wider communication). Statutory language of national identity (1937, Constitution, Article 8(1)). Widely used as L2 in all parts of the country (Salminen 2007). Alternate Names: Erse, Gaeilge, Gaelic Irish, Irish Gaelic. Dialects: Munster-Leinster (Southern Irish), Connacht (Western Irish), Donegal (Northern Irish, Ulster). Classification: Indo-European, Celtic, Insular, Goidelic. Comments: Taught as an official language in schools and encouraged by the government.
Irish Sign Language
[isg] Scattered, possibly also in Northern Ireland. 21,000 in Ireland (2014 IMB). 5,000 Deaf and estimated 45,000 hearing L1 and L2 users (2014 DeafVillageIreland). Total users in all countries: 21,050. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Teanga Chomharthaíochta na hÉireann. Dialects: Separate schools for boys and girls resulted in strong gender-based dialectal differences, but these have diminished with time. British Sign Language (BSL) [bfi] was formally introduced to Ireland in 1816, but references to signing go back much further in Irish history. In 1846, the Catholic nuns who established St. Mary’s School for Deaf Girls went to France, so contemporary Irish Sign Language includes aspects of nineteenth-century French Sign Language [fsl] as well as BSL, with influence from signed French, signed English, and gestural systems like cued speech. (Leeson and Sneed 2012). Classification: Sign language. Comments: Support for parents to learn Irish Sign Language (2014 National Council for Special Education). The name ‘Irish Sign Language’ (ISL) came into common use following the publication of a dictionary of ISL in 1979 and establishment of the Irish Deaf Society in the mid 1980s. (Leeson and Sneed 2012). The Irish Deaf Society is currently working to have Irish Sign Language legally recognized. (2014 Irish Deaf). Fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language [fsl]. Christian.
[sco] Donegal County. 10,000 in Ireland (1999 B. Kay). Status: 5 (Developing). Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English. Comments: Non-indigenous. Christian.
[sth] 6,000 in Ireland. Total users in all countries: 86,000. Status: 6a (Vigorous). Alternate Names: Cant, Gammon, Irish Traveler Cant, Sheldru, The Cant. Dialects: None known. Based largely on Irish [gle] with influence from an undocumented source. Classification: Mixed language, Irish-undocumented. Comments: The secret language, or cryptolect, of Travellers in the British Isles. Not Gypsies.