Irish language

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Irish language,

also called Irish Gaelic and Erse, member of the Goidelic group of the Celtic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Celtic languagesCeltic languages,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. At one time, during the Hellenistic period, Celtic speech extended all the way from Britain and the Iberian Peninsula in the west across Europe to Asia Minor in the east, where a district still known as
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). The history of Irish as a literary language falls into three periods: Old Irish (7th–9th cent. A.D.), Middle Irish (10th–16th cent.), and Modern Irish (since the 16th cent.). In the medieval period a great Irish literature flourished. Grammatically, there are still four cases for the noun (nominative, genitive, vocative, and, in some dialects, dative). In pronunciation the stress is on the first syllable. An acute accent is placed over a vowel to denote length, and a dot is placed over a consonant to indicate aspiration. The alphabet employed today for Irish can be called a variant or a derivative of the Roman alphabet that took shape about the 8th cent. A.D. It has 18 letters: 13 consonants and 5 vowels. The oldest extant Irish texts are inscriptions written in the ogham script (see oghamogham,
 ogam,
or ogum
, ancient Celtic alphabet of one of the Irish runic languages. It was used by the druids and abandoned after the first few centuries of the Christian era.
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). These texts date back to the 5th cent. A.D. or perhaps earlier and differ as much from the early literary Irish that follows them as Latin does from Old French. Native speakers of Irish are now concentrated in the western counties of Ireland. The government of Ireland is trying, thus far unsuccessfully, to revive Irish as the primary language of the country; it is an official language, and the study of Irish is required in preparatory schools. See also Gaelic literatureGaelic literature,
literature in the native tongue of Ireland and Scotland. Since Scots Gaelic became separate from Irish Gaelic only in the 17th cent., the literature is conventionally divided into Old Irish (before 900), Middle Irish (until 1350), Late Middle or Early Modern
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.

Bibliography

See H. Wagner, Linguistic Atlas and Survey of Irish Dialects (4 vol., 1958–69); R. P. M. and W. P. Lehman, An Introduction to Old Irish (1975).

References in periodicals archive ?
Conradh na Gaeilge said they were disappointed by Mr Kenny's "lack of understanding about the state of our native tongue".
Aonghas Briannan MacNeill ann an Gaidhlig na h-Alba agus Gaeilge, leis gur ann a Eirinn a tha a mhathair.
The former Today show presenter, who once admitted to having sex as Gaeilge, said she is fitter and happier than ever.
The show will be curated by Tony Strickland, an independent visual art curator who has just completed his 21st exhibition at various venues in Dublin, which include the Crow Gallery, The Mad Art Gallery, Ranelagh Arts Centre, Conradh na Gaeilge and the Blackrock Market Cafe.
Their topics include Shakespeare and the politics of the Irish revival, Shakespeare as Gaeilge, Irish Ireland, Hamlet in Kildare Street, Oscar Wilde and the art of appeal, Shakespearean echoes in Elizabeth Bowen's portrait of Ireland, and zero-sum games in Shakespeare's King Lear and Beckett's Endgame.
It is, however, students of the revival itself who will find Fin de Siecle na Gaeilge most rewarding, for they will see how radically O Conchubhair has shifted the paradigm that has dominated thinking about the language movement almost from its inception.
Describing the funding arrangement with cross-border Irish language-promotion agency Foras na Gaeilge, he said, "The newspaper received pounds 200,000 per year in a contract which began on December 1, 2006, and was scheduled to end on December 31, 2008.
Irish language classes were organised and a branch of Conradh na Gaeilge (The Gaelic League) was set up in the camp to promote the language.
Next target for the dog will be the Foras na Gaeilge Champion Stakes at Shelbourne, and then the Derby.
Learning the Irish language has never been so popular," says Micheal O Muircheartaigh, Chairman of Ireland's Bord na Gaeilge, a language and cultural preservation organization sponsored by the Irish government.
Ach air culaibh an orain tha sgeulachd eile mu dheidhinn nan cunnartan a tha mu choinneamh Al Hassaini agus a' ghaoil a th' aige air Gaeilge.
CULTURE Minister Caral Ni Chuilin launched Seachtain na Gaeilge at Belfast's Culturlann today.