Middle Irish (sometimes called Middle Gaelic) is the name given by historical philologists to the Goidelic language spoken in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man from the 10th to 12th centuries; it is therefore a contemporary of late Old English and early Middle English. The modern Goidelic languages—Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx—are all descendants of Middle Irish.
At its height, Middle Irish was spoken throughout Ireland, Scotland and Mann; from Munster in the south to the island of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth. Its geographical range made it the most widespread of all Insular languages before the late 12th century, when Middle English began to make inroads into Ireland, and many of the Celtic regions of northern and western Britain.
Few medieval European languages can rival the volume of literature extant in Middle Irish. Much of this survival is due to the tenacity of a few early modern Irish antiquarians, but the sheer volume of sagas, annals, hagiographies, and so forth, which survive shows how much confidence members of the medieval Gaelic learned orders had in their own vernacular. Almost all of it survives in Ireland; very little survives in Scotland or Mann. The Lebor Bretnach, the "Irish Nennius", survives only from manuscripts preserved in Ireland; however, Thomas Owen Clancy has recently argued that it was written in Scotland, at the monastery in Abernethy.
- ^ Mittleman, Josh. Concerning the name Deirdre. Quote: "Early Gaelic (aka Old Irish) is the form of Gaelic used in Ireland and parts of Scotland from roughly 600 - 900 AD. Middle Gaelic (aka Middle Irish) was used from roughly 900 - 1200 AD, while Common Classical Gaelic (aka Early Modern Irish, Common Literary Gaelic, etc.) was used from roughly 1200 - 1700 AD". Medieval Scotland. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- ^ Mac Eoin, Gearóid (1993). "Irish". In Martin J. Ball (ed.). The Celtic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 101–44. ISBN 0-415-01035-7.
- ^ Breatnach, Liam (1994). "An Mheán-Ghaeilge". In K. McCone, D. McManus, C. Ó Háinle, N. Williams, and L. Breatnach (eds.). Stair na Gaeilge in ómós do Pádraig Ó Fiannachta (in Irish). Maynooth: Department of Old Irish, St. Patrick's College. pp. 221–333. ISBN 0-901519-90-1.
- ^ Clancy, Thomas Owen (2000). "Scotland, the 'Nennian' recension of the Historia Brittonum, and the Lebor Bretnach". In Simon Taylor (ed.). Kings, Clerics and Chronicles in Scotland, 500-1297. Dublin & Portland: Four Courts Press. pp. 87–107. ISBN 1-85182-516-9.
- MacManus, Damian (1983). "A chronology of the Latin loan words in early Irish". Ériu 34: 21–71.
- McCone, Kim (1978). "The dative singular of Old Irish consonant stems". Ériu 29: 26–38.
- McCone, Kim (1981). "Final /t/ to /d/ after unstressed vowels, and an Old Irish sound law". Ériu 31: 29–44.
- McCone, Kim (1996). "Prehistoric, Old and Middle Irish". Progress in medieval Irish studies. pp. 7–53.
- McCone, Kim (2005). A First Old Irish Grammar and Reader, Including an Introduction to Middle Irish. Maynooth Medieval Irish Texts 3. Maynooth.