Middle Irish

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Middle Irish
Pronunciation [ˈɡɯːʝeɫɡ]
Native to Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man
Era Evolved into Early Modern Irish/Classical Gaelic about the 12th century
Early forms
Latin (Gaelic alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 mga
ISO 639-3 mga
Glottolog None

Middle Irish (sometimes called Middle Gaelic[1]) is the Goidelic language which was spoken in Ireland, most of 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.[2][3] The modern Goidelic languages—Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx—are all descendants of Middle Irish.

The Lebor Bretnach, the "Irish Nennius", survives only from manuscripts preserved in Ireland; however, Thomas Owen Clancy has argued that it was written in Scotland, at the monastery in Abernethy.[4]


  1. ^ Mittleman, Josh. Concerning the name Deirdre. Quote: "Early Gaelic (a.k.a. Old Irish) is the form of Gaelic used in Ireland and parts of Scotland from roughly 600 - 900 AD. Middle Gaelic (a.k.a. Middle Irish) was used from roughly 900 - 1200 AD, while Common Classical Gaelic (a.k.a. Early Modern Irish, Common Literary Gaelic, etc.) was used from roughly 1200 - 1700 AD". Medieval Scotland. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  2. ^ Mac Eoin, Gearóid (1993). "Irish". In Martin J. Ball. The Celtic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 101–44. ISBN 0-415-01035-7. 
  3. ^ Breatnach, Liam (1994). "An Mheán-Ghaeilge". In K. McCone; D. McManus; C. Ó Háinle; N. Williams; L. Breatnach. 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. 
  4. ^ Clancy, Thomas Owen (2000). "Scotland, the 'Nennian' recension of the Historia Brittonum, and the Lebor Bretnach". In Simon Taylor. Kings, Clerics and Chronicles in Scotland, 500-1297. Dublin & Portland: Four Courts Press. pp. 87–107. ISBN 1-85182-516-9. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. 

See also[edit]