Talk:Irish language/Archive 4

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Number of Speakers

The table states that there are 250,000 speakers, but the article says that there are only 20,000. It also states that current policy to increase numbers has been a disaster and that there has been signigicant increase over the past decades. Which is it?--Counsel 02:58, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

It depends what you count. Figures from the latest census claim there are 1.6 million speakers, but when you investigate, that turns out to mean 1.6 million who consider themselves able to speak Irish, even if they're not native speakers, and even if they never do speak Irish; it also includes all the schoolchildren who "speak Irish every day" because they have Irish class in school every day. 20,000 is probably the number of native speakers who use it regularly. What would be really helpful is if the Irish census posed the question the same way the U.S. census does: What language do you speak at home? But instead they ask "Can you speak Irish?" and everyone who's ever said Sláinte! answers yes. Angr 07:11, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
I understand that you (Counsel) find this to be conflicting, but that's actually how it is. As Angr explains, the Irish census is a mess when it comes to languages, asking for language knowledge instead of actual language use. If the same census idea were ever applied in the Netherlands, the result would be that almost all Dutch are English speakers. There are an estimated number of 250,000 fluent speakers and a number of 20,000 native speakers who use Irish as their main language in the Gaeltacht. Another 20,000 are estimated to use it as their home language outside the Gaeltacht, giving a number of 40,000 active speakers of Irish and about 200,000 more who have a knowledge of Irish comparable to the knowledge of English you can find in many European countries. The figure of 1.6 million speakers invclude anyone who knows a few words of Irish, most of them could not carry out even the simplest conversation in Irish, I'm sorry to say.
It is true that policies to increase the number of speakers have been a disaster. When Ireland became independent, the stated goal was to make Irish the language of the state and at the very least to halt its decline. Both efforts failed miserably, many places that were almost completely Irish speaking in 1921 are completely English speaking today. On the other hand, the last 10-15 years have seen an upsurge in people outside the Gaeltacht areas who achieve fluency. The number of Gaelscoileanna are increasing and the number of people who could actually discuss with you in Irish is probably higher now than for the last 50 years at least. At the same time, the areas in which Irish is used as the community language continue to shrink. JdeJ 13:05, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

In the Irish in Stages section, it says "Irish has been a minority language since at least the 19th century", I've just read a book 'The Death of the Irish Language: a qualified Obituary" (Reg Hindley)and it says that there were no consensus' until the middle of this period but from looking at figures from later consensus' and working backwards it looks as if Irish was still the dominant language in the 19th Century. Who should I believe?! Beki 19:40 19th January 2007

It depends on where in Ireland you were talking about. On the eve of the Famine, English was the language of government, the language of Dublin and the Pale, the language of advancement in society. It may or may not have been the majority language, but it was at the very least "dominant" in the political sense. At the same time Irish was the dominant language of the rural poor, particularly in the West - and because of the population growth in Ireland that had taken place over the previous centuries, there were more rural poor (and hence more Irish speakers) than there had ever been before. So Irish was dominant in the countryside and may well have been the majority language in, say, 1845. The Famine changed everything because half the population died or emigrated, and the overwhelming majority of those were rural, poor Irish-speakers. - Maalox 19:36 26 March 2007

I report the real number of peoples using irish according to the last census. Please note that english is not my mother tongue.correct me please.[1]

That's cool, but next time could you practice your maths first?
  • Persons aged three and over: 4,057,646
  • Can speak Irish: 1,656,790 (40.9% of speaking population)
    • Can speak Irish (in educational system): 453,207 (27.4% of Irish speaking population, 11.2% of speaking population)
    • Can speak Irish (outside of educational system): 1,203,583 (72.6% of Irish-speaking population, 29.7% of speaking population)
      • Daily: 85,076 (7.1% of Irish speakers outside of education, 2.1% of speaking population)
      • Weekly: 97,089 (8.1% " ", 2.4% " ")
      • Less often: 581,574 (48.3% " ", 14.4% " ")
      • Never: 412,846 (34.3% " ", 10.2% " ")
      • Not stated: 26,998 (2.2% " ", 0.001% " ")
--sony-youthpléigh 16:34, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to make the point that the first graph on this page is grossly misleading. According to this graph there is a higher or equal percentage of Irish speakers in the majority of counties over Donegal, which has an official Gaeltacht. This includes counties such as Limerick, Roscommon, Carlow, Meath, Kildare, etc. I take your point that these figures may reflect those who stated that they can speak Irish in the latest Census, however this offers an inaccurate reflection of what is reality.

- burning-man 15/05/07

Roman and Gaelic Type

How about a section on Roman and Gaelic type, controversies etc. Frainc 10.30 17 October 2006

It's mentioned briefly in the Orthography and pronunciation section; any more detailed discussion probably belongs at Gaelic script and/or Irish orthography. —Angr 09:49, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, I hadnt noticed the article on Gaelic script, i will continue my query there. Frainc 11:47, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Irish phonology peer review

Irish phonology is up for peer review. Please leave comments at Wikipedia:Peer review/Irish phonology/archive1. Thanks! —Angr 18:36, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Materials for the status of Irish in NI after St Andrews Agreement

I have written a line or two in the aricle "[Irish Language]]" about the Irish Language Act discussed these days following the St Andrews Agreement but maybe there is more to be written in this article or in aticles specialised in North Ireland. Because I follow the news considering language policy, but I do not have the time to write something more myself about something I don't know enough, I am listing some links for the issue to be used by someone interested:

--Michkalas 20:21, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Republic now Éire-Ireland

Added in - perhaps the main page should be divided into the linguistic and political/policy aspects? Can anyone add a) when Irish was first made compulsory in schools b) what it has cost the Irish government since then c) why 200,000+ people are fluent but hardly ever use it?Stamboul 11:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Hardly ever use it?! Pure conjecture. According to the 2002 census, Irish is used daily by 359,000~ The cost is immaterial and no doubt not attainable. Jamesnp 11:39, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Irish vs. Gaelic

"The language is usually referred to in English as Irish, and less often as Gaelic (IPA: /ˈgeɪlɪk/) or Irish Gaelic. Gaelic or Irish Gaelic"

So I had thought, until my dad told me once upon a time that Irish and Gaelic are different languages. Does this mean that he's wrong, or that people who refer to Irish as Gaelic or Irish Gaelic are wrong? And on this basis, is there any language that's correctly called Irish Gaelic? -- Smjg 23:25, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Your dad was probably thinking of Scottish Gaelic, which is often called simply "Gaelic" for short. Irish is sometimes also called simply "Gaelic" for short, but not as frequently or as uncontroversially. "Irish Gaelic" is the same language as Irish, used especially when the speaker wants to make it clear that by "Irish" he doesn't mean "Irish English". —Angr 23:40, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Re the claim from the article that it's usually referred to as Irish, and less often as Gaelic, I was surprised (as an American of Irish ancestry who has lived near New York and Boston, two cities with large Irish-American communities) to hear that Gaelic is a less common name, and that Gaelic may preferentially refer to Scottish Gaelic. In my experience (again, in the US) the language spoken in Ireland is most often called Gaelic, and that Gaelic unambiguously refers to the version spoken in Ireland. I am curious whether this is the experience of others in the US, and also whether the number of people who call this language Gaelic is larger than the article suggests. --Zippy 17:35, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
The article does say that the name Gaelic is often used in the Irish diaspora. It's in Ireland itself where the name Gaelic is comparatively rare. In my experience as a Celticist I can say that in scholarly works (regardless of the author's country of origin) the language is almost universally called "Irish", occasionally "Irish Gaelic" and never "Gaelic" unmodified. —Angr 18:57, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
I would have to disagree I don't know about Ireland but in the I have never heard it called Irish only Gaelic0
I live in Ireland and it's never called gaelic. I know plenty of people from England and the US who call it gaelic thoughWardhog 17:36, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Then you're not disagreeing after all. —Angr 21:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Could this be the fact that Gaelic in Ireland usually refers to "Gaelic Games" rather than the language?

Nothing so normal as disambiguation. From what I gather it's usually referred to as Irish because the speaker sees it as/wishes it to be seen as the indigenous/national language, ie the Irish language. At least this was one argument used by an 'enthusiast' when I referred to it as Gaelic. beano 21:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic are all Gaelic languages. Scottish Gaelic, however, is the only one that requires a clarifier. Its original name in English was Scottis (pronounced "Scots"). However, in English, this word now means the Scottish Anglic language, Scots, which was originally called Inglis (pronounced "English"). Scots started to be known as such from the 15th century onwards, but, following the 1707 Act of Union, the practice grew rapidly as speakers sought to distance the language they spoke from the language spoken in England. Today, in English, to avoid confusion between the two "Scots", the Gaelic language of Scotland is known as Scottish Gaelic.
Irish or Manx do not require any such clarifiers as there are no other languages with which they could be confused. Calling Irish "Irish Gaelic" or calling Manx "Manx Gaelic" is about as useful as calling English "English Anglic" or calling Welsh "Welsh Britannic". That is to say that unless the speaker is naming Irish in terms of other Gaelic languages, its utterly unnecessary. However, this may explain why Irish-Americans name Irish in this way i.e. emphasising its "Gaelic-ness", possibly to others who may assume that it is an Anglic language similar to English as I know from experience that may people think. --sony-youthtalk 00:50, 1 April 2007 (UTC)


Could some of you who know about Irish have a look at the article Aber and Inver as place-name elements. I would be surprised if there are really no Irish place-names with a form of Inver-, but the Irish situation needs to be covered in that article. --Doric Loon 10:15, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I have been studying both Irish and Scots Gaelic for a few years. Even though I am not totally fluent in either yet, I can tell you that there are more similarities between Irish and Scots Gaelic than differences. Scots Gaelic has it's birth place in Irish Gaelic. There is also a strong link between the dialect spoken in Ulster and it's counterpart in Scotland. I have a buddy that is a fluent speaker of Scots Gaelic. He does understand me when I talk to him in Irish. Though from time to time there are words or pronounciations that are not found in common. I like to think of the differences between the two as similar to the differences between British English and American English. Though I have not found a counterpart to Canadian English, which is in between. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:14, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, Arklow in Co. Wicklow is called An tInbhear Mór. But I can't think of any places that have had their names Anglicised as Inver-. Jamesnp 13:00, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
A Google search for "Inver Ireland" or "Inbhir Ireland" should solve your troubles. There's at least one in each of Mayo and Donegal that exactly match the description on the page you linked:
  • Inver, Co. Mayo = Inbhir, Co Mhaigheo
  • Inver, Co. Donegal = Bhun an inbhir, Co. Dhun na nGall

Those are just the first two hits. Speaking as a Mayo man, the sound Inver seems very familiar. --sony-youthtalk 23:06, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Inverin has an article. Also Dromineer. Maybe the anglicised forms are often more distorted. But inbhear tends to mean "estuary" or "inlet" rather than "river mouth". Are many Irish settlements built at river mouths; are those that are often named after the river? jnestorius(talk) 23:15, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
  • This is a very interesting topic. Inver- names are virtually non-existent in Ireland, perhaps like Ben- names and the Strath- names. This seems to be very significant, as Inver- names are one the most common generic element variations in Scotland, in both Argyll and Alba/Pictland; the key is perhaps that the Picto-Scottish follow the British tendency, as in Wales, to use Aber- for settlements lying at the confluence of rivers. The estuary meaning is used in Scotland, such as Inverclyde, but is likewise rare. It also noticable that Inver- names are virtually non-existent in Galloway (as are Aber- names and Ben- names; Strath- names aren't appropriate for such particular comparison). Suprise at this phenomenon is a product of viewing early Insular Celtic languages as two branches, a product itself of using Welsh and Irish as the only paradigms, rather than a continuum subject to alterating periods of convergence and divergence. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 20:03, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

External links

I have made a first pass at tidying up the "External Links" section, as it is fast becoming a repository of links for anything remotely related to the Irish language, or for pages written in the Irish language.

This is not the External Links section is for.

Per WP:EL, the "Ext Links" section should really be limited to official links (like Foras na Gaeilge or similar), links to accurate/neutral reference material about the subject (that cannot be integrated into the Wikipedia article due to copyright/length considerations), or sites which are otherwise relevant to the context of the wider article.

A lot of what is currently linked (in particular links to news resources in Irish, etc) fails WP:EL for promotion, relevance, etc.

Comments welcome before I make a second pass at summarising the list. Guliolopez 19:29, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Quick/stupid question

Hello. I just have a question... I read somewhere that there was an Irish word for "hill" or even the depression next to a hill. I think the word was either "cwb" or "cbw", I can't remember, and I can't find it anywhere, (I can't even rememeber where I read about it; sorry). It may not even be Irish.... Perhaps it's Finnish.... If anyone knows what I'm talking about, your help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Kaiilaiqualyn 14:07, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I believe you're thinking of the Welsh word cwm, which is an indentation in a mountain. —Angr 14:11, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much!!! Kaiilaiqualyn 14:15, 5 March 2007 (UTC)


As an estimate, what's the percentage about of people in Ireland that speak English?

If you're counting actual Irish citizens (i.e. not people visiting on holiday, working there temporarily on a Visa, etc), I would guess it was about 99.9%.--feline1 19:59, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree to 99.9%. I see on the map that 40-45% of people in Kildare speak Irish. I have lived in Kildare all my life (I'm 50) and I have never once heard people talking to each other naturally using Irish. So 40-45% of us can understand some but we aren't fluent beyond a basic school vocabulary. The map might give the wrong impression that 40-45% of us speak it all the time. It is used for introductions to speeches (especially political), in Irish school lessons and singing folk-songs. The census figures tend to over-emphasize its daily use; the census and compulsory Irish lessons are both governmental, and not demotic, realities. It is difficult to learn and once people are fluent beyond a certain point (beyond school level) it takes on a semi-religious aspect, due to the time devoted to it.Red Hurley 11:09, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Number of fluent speakers

Where does the figure of 380,000 in the infobox come from? The footnote has a link to ethnologue, but that doesn't mention the number of fluent speakers (in any case, how is "fluent" defined?) and doesn't mention the figure of 380,000! Instead, it claims 355,000 total for all countries, which presumably includes non-fluent speakers (though contradicts the main text of this article). Any explanation? garik 12:55, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I've removed it anyway. garik 10:36, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

should i post this picture?

i have a picture from my trip to the republic of ireland last year. its of a guinness ad in irish, would that be apropriate somewhere on this page? i was looking through the page and i couldn't find a spot, so i thought i'd get some consensus before i posted it. ...Patrick (talk, cntrb.) 04:27, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good. How about the republic of ireland/Daily Life section? Boracay Bill 05:57, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
i posted the picture. from my very short knowledge of irish, i think it (Failte go dtí Ceol agus Comhrá) translates sort of as, "come and welcome to music and conversation." is that correct? i'd like to put the translation in the caption. ...Patrick (talk, cntrb.) 08:54, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
Looking at the sign, I think it's supposed to read "Fáilte go dtí Guinness - Ceol agus Comhrá" (Welcome to Guinness - Music and Conversation). But maybe it's "Fáilte go dtí Ceol agus Comhrá" (Welcome to Music and Conversation). —Angr 09:03, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

i'll put the first one, thanks ...Patrick (talk, cntrb.) 18:15, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

This is the 'dialect' that is taught in most schools in Ireland

This statement could do with elaboration. In the personal experience of myself and others who have gone to school in the Midwest of Ireland, the exact form of Irish used/taught has been influenced by the teacher, in this case generally Munster and/or Connacht. There is also the issue of the listening test in the Leaving Certificate - from what I remember this was not merely a mix of accents from Munster/Connacht/Ulster but also including local expressions, vocabulary and constructions (oh the fun of that in an exam!). zoney talk 13:24, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Tell me about it! A child of mine is being taught by a native of Donegal - a vastly different dialect to what I learned... BastunBaStun not BaTsun 00:05, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Sílim gur Gaeilge chaighdeánach a theagasctar sna scoileanna don chuid is mó

As far as spelling and morphology go, yes, but there is no standard pronunciation. Learners far away from a Gaeltacht just sort of pick up a mishmash of their various teachers' pronunciations. —Angr 11:31, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Removing unsourced statements

I am removing the following statements that have been tagged as unsourced for several months:

  • In 2007 the Gaeltacht boundaries will be redrawn, the first time that this has happened since the 1950s.
  • over 80% [of the population of the "Fíor-Ghaeltacht"] use the language daily. The highest proportions of daily Irish speakers in the community are found in Rosmuck (Ros Muc), County Galway, (over 91%), and around Bloody Foreland (Cnoc na Fola) in Donegal (88-89%).
  • The Irish of Tourmakeady (Tuar Mhic Éadaigh) in southern Mayo (Maigh Eo Theas) and Joyce Country (Dúiche Sheoigheach) are considered the living Irish dialects closest to Middle Irish.
  • While some students learn Irish well through the Irish school system, and develop a healthy respect for it, some other students find it difficult or are taught poorly by unmotivated teachers; these students' attitudes toward Irish tend to range from apathy to hostility.
  • In recent years the expansion of the Irish language in Australia been so overwhelming there is too much demand for the supply of teachers.

If anyone can find sources for these statements, feel free to re-add them. —Angr 19:02, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

The same applies to these statements where the stated source does not actually back up the claim:

  • On January 18, 2007, Marian Harkin, a North West Independent MEP, became the first MEP to officially address the European Parliament in Irish (although several other Irish MEPs had done so previously in an unofficial capacity). Sourced to:
  • These are supposed to ensure that the proportion of Irish speakers in the local population does not decrease, but may be contrary to recent Human Rights laws. Footnote: Human Rights Commission Act 2000, section 2; citizens had a right to buy, build or rent property in Ireland, regardless of language. The planning controls have created a new grey area, as yet untested in court.

The second above looks like original research based on a primary source anyway; even if the act did mention buying, building, and renting property (and I don't see that it does), it is OR to deduce that the building restrictions in the Gaeltacht may violate the law (only a court, not an encyclopedia reader, can decide that). —Angr 19:58, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

In addition to removing unsourced statements, I'm removing the following statementless sources:

  • Brian Ó Cuív in 'A New History of Ireland 1534-1691, Oxford 1978 ISDN 0 19 821739 0
  • R.V. Comerford, cited below, chapter 4.
  • A. Kelly, Compulsory Irish; Language and Education in Ireland (Dublin 2002).

If anyone remembers what statements they were put in to support, please add them inline next to the relevant sentence. —Angr 20:06, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Original research/Speculation/Commentary/POV

Further to Angr's efforts above, I have also noted quite a few cases of speculation, generalisation, unsourced POV and other "unencylopedic" commentary. Examples include:


Yet, 2007 shows some hope for the future, with the first officially sanctioned Gaeltacht being declared outside of Ireland on June 16th, 2007...
Suggesting that gowth or decline is a good or bad thing. Should stick to facts. Propose change to:
There has been some ancillary growth however, with the first officially sanctioned Gaeltacht being declared outside of Ireland on June 16th, 2007...

Unsourced commentary/Original research/Speculation:

Publicly displayed Irish is sometimes ungrammatical, which has the potential to irritate speakers and activists.
Speculation and generalisation on reaction of readers. Can consider no reword option. Plan on simply removing.

Original research/Speculation:

That the Dáil uses Irish in less than 1% of its business may also contribute to the public image of the revival.
Same as above. Speculation/generalisation on "what people might think". Again, can consider no reword option. Plan on removing.


In an effort to address the half-committed attitude of Irish language use by the State, the Official Languages Act was passed in 2003.
POV/commentary on previous efforts. Propose change to:
In an effort to increase the use of the Irish language by the State, the Official Languages Act was passed in 2003.


The Planning and Development Act (2000) attempted to address the latter issue, but the response is almost certainly inadequate.
Complete POV. Plan on changing to:
The Planning and Development Act (2000) attempted to address the latter issue, with varied levels of success.

Original research/Speculation:

Outward migration of Irish-speakers could be reduced if the state, which is the main employer in the Republic of Ireland, were to exercise its right to have certain jobs performed in Irish and relocated to the Gaeltacht.
Yet again, the contributor is making POV suggestions on what might be done, and coming to speculative conclusions on the possible outcome. Plan on removing.

More commentary/Drawing conclusions:

On 3rd December 2003 the Minister for Finance announced a new decentralisation programme, moving over 10,000 civil and public service jobs to 53 locations in 25 other counties outside Dublin. The government explicitly said this was being done to boost the economy of outlying areas. None of these jobs were used to provide employment for native Irish-speakers in the Gaeltacht.
As above. Plan on removing entire para.

If there are any comments on proposed solutions to address, please let me know. Otherwise will progress these changes in coming days. Le meas. Guliolopez 17:01, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Too many of these examples are of a editorial and speculative nature, and are certainly not neutral in their view, as a consiquence such material should be removed as a matter of course. Djegan 19:33, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Agree also, except for the bit about "first officially sanctioned Gaeltacht being declared outside of Ireland" - see talk page on Permanent North American Gaeltacht - just remove it. --sony-youthpléigh 21:23, 26 July 2007 (UTC)