Irish

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A language of Ireland

Alternate Names
Erse, Gaelic Irish, Irish Gaelic
Autonym
Gaeilge
Population

1,138,000 in Ireland, all users. 138,000 (European Commission 2012). 1,000,000 (European Commission 2012). Total users in all countries: 1,167,940 (as L1: 167,940; as L2: 1,000,000).

Location

Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, part of Mayo, Meath, and Waterford counties. Western isles northwest and southwest coasts.

Language 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).

Dialects

Munster-Leinster (Southern Irish), Connacht (Western Irish), Donegal (Northern Irish, Ulster).

Typology

VSO; prepositions; noun head initial; gender (masculine/feminine); definite article; case-marking (3 cases); verb affixes mark person, number; tense and aspect; comparatives; 32 consonants, 11 vowels, 4 diphthongs; non-tonal; stress on first syllable; initial consonant mutation.

Language Use

A number of children learn the language but the number is decreasing (Salminen 2007). Also use English [eng] (Salminen 2007).

Language Development
Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1685–1981.
Writing

Latin script [Latn]. Latin script, Gaelic variant [Latg]. Ogham script [Ogam], no longer in use.

Other Comments

Taught as an official language in schools and encouraged by the government.

Also spoken in:

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