Languages of Northern Ireland

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The brand identity of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland as shown on this sign is displayed in English, Irish and Ulster Scots

English is the most spoken language in Northern Ireland. There are also two recognised regional languages in Northern Ireland: the Irish language (see Irish language in Northern Ireland) and the local variety of Scots known as Ulster Scots.[1] Northern Ireland Sign Language and Irish Sign Language have been recognised since 29 March 2004.[2][3]

At the 2001 census, Chinese was the most widely spoken minority language in Northern Ireland, with Shelta, Arabic and Portuguese also spoken by a significant number of people.[1] Since the census, however, an influx of people from recent EU accession states is likely to have significantly increased numbers of speakers of languages from these countries. Detailed figures on these changes are not yet available.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Language/Cultural Diversity: Frequently Asked Questions". Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Sign Language". Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Paul Murphy announces recognition for sign language". Northern Ireland Office. 2004-03-30. Retrieved 2011-01-31. I am pleased to announce formal recognition for both British and Irish Sign Languages in Northern Ireland.