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a nation (natsiia, nation in the historical sense); the native population of Ireland. The total population in the Irish Republic is more than 2.9 million (1971, estimate); in Great Britain, 1.3 million (mainly in Northern Ireland). Mass emigrations from Ireland, especially after the mid-19th century, led to the creation of significant groups of the Irish in the USA (about 2 million), Canada (more than 160,000), and Australia and Oceania (more than 60,000). The majority of the Irish speak English. About a quarter of the population of the Irish Republic and some of the Irish emigrants speak Irish.
The Irish are predominantly Catholic, and the influence of the Catholic Church is great. The ethnic group of the Irish (formed in the tenth to 12th centuries) came mainly from the Celtic-speaking Gaels, who resettled on the island from Scotland in the fourth century B.C. Survivals of the clan structure of the Gaels were retained as late as the 19th century.
The Irish nation took form (18th and 19th centuries) in difficult and, in fact, colonialist conditions, enduring the economic and national oppression of the English. The English authorities prohibited the Irish from using their Irish (Gaelic) language and persecuted the Catholic Church. The majority of the Irish were forced to change to English, but they retained their ethnic Irish identity.
In the 1890’s a struggle began for the revival of the Irish language and culture. After the founding in 1921 of the Irish Free State, Irish was recognized there as an official language, along with English. The Irish of Northern Ireland, remaining within the framework of Great Britain, are waging a struggle against economic oppression and national and religious discrimination. In material and spiritual culture, the Irish who live in Ireland preserve some traits linking them with other peoples of Celtic origin (the Scots and Welsh).
REFERENCESEngels, F. “Drevniaia Irlandiia.” In Arkhiv Marksa i Engel’sa, vol. 10. Leningrad, 1948.
Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965. (Bibliography.)
V. I. KOZLOV
the language of part of the population of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; the first official language of the Republic of Ireland (from 1921). Irish belongs to the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages. The number of those who speak Irish in the Republic of Ireland is approximately 600,000 persons (1971, estimate). Some Irish emigrants also speak Irish. Ancient Irish monuments include the Ogham inscriptions from the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. The Roman alphabet has been used since the seventh century.
Three periods are distinguished in the history of Irish: Old Irish (seventh to tenth centuries), Middle Irish (tenth to 14th centuries), and Modern Irish (since the early 15th century). A voluminous literature (sagas, poetic works, lives, and annals) was preserved in recorded form after the 11th century, although much of it dates to the Old Irish period. The modern Irish literary language is a synthesis of three main dialects—Munster, Connacht, and Ulster. The development of Irish is characterized by a simplification of the noun and verb systems and the appearance of analytical constructions. The system of initial consonant mutations, which is also peculiar to other Celtic languages, remains basically unchanged. The vocabulary contains many borrowings from Latin (from the fifth century). Irish has been heavily influenced by English since the 15th century.
REFERENCESThurneysen, R. A Grammar of Old Irish. Dublin, 1946.
Thurneysen, R. Old Irish Reader. Dublin, 1949.
Pokorny, J. Altirische Grammatik. Berlin, 1969.
Dinneen, P. S. An Irish-English Dictionary. Dublin, 1945.
A. A. KOROLEV