How old is the Irish language?
Irish is a Celtic language, as is Scottish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic (Manx), Welsh, Breton and Cornish. The Gaelic languages come from Old Irish and the other three Celtic languages come from British. There were other Celtic languages spoken on the European Mainland, but they died out around 1,500 years ago.
Irish is a Celtic language (as English is a Germanic language, French a Romance language, and so on). This means that it is a member of the Celtic family of languages. Its “sister” languages are Scottish Gaelic and Manx (Isle of Man); its more distant “cousins” are Welsh, Breton and Cornish.
- Celtic is subgroup of the Indo-European language family. Gaelic is a language belonging to this group. To be more precise, Gaelic actually refers to a group of three close related Insular Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. They were tribes with a common language, religion and material culture.
- In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001. The highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides.
- Most people in Scotland, Ireland and Wales were assumed to be descended from Celtic farming tribes who migrated here from central Europe up to 6,500 years ago. The English were thought to largely take their genetic line from the Anglo-Saxon invaders of the Dark Ages who supposedly wiped out the Celts in England.
- It is hard to divide Irish accents into categories. Even as Irish Gaelic has ceased to be spoken in the vast majority of the island, Irish people often consider English as, spiritually speaking, a second language. Below is a list of the broadest categories of speech in Ireland.
- The language spoken in Dublin is English. Street signs and official buildings are signposted in both English and Gaelic, the indigenous Irish language. Despite this, you are highly unlikely to hear any Gaelic spoken on your travels across town.
- Hiberno-English (from Latin Hibernia: "Ireland") or Irish English is the set of English dialects natively written and spoken within the island of Ireland (including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). English was brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of Ireland of the late 12th century.
Welsh (Cymraeg or y Gymraeg [k?mˈrai?g, ? g?mˈrai?g] ( listen)) is a member of the Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages. It is spoken natively in Wales, by few in England, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina).
- 1. Welsh is not one of the oldest languages in Europe, nor is it any older than English. True, Welsh (and Cornish and Breton) come from the Brythonic language, which existed in Britain before Anglo-Saxon arrived, but that doesn't make Welsh older than English.
- Then, a few days later, a new report said what we all know already, that the language spoken by just 19 per cent of the Welsh population is dying. Among Welsh speakers aged 16 to 24, half consider themselves fluent and only a third use Welsh with friends. It's not just outsiders who don't speak Welsh.
- Many people still refer to Irish, Scottish, and Welsh as Celtic culture. The assumption has been that they were Celts who migrated from central Europe around 500BCE. Keltoi was the name given by the Ancient Greeks to a 'barbaric' (in their eyes) people who lived to the north of them in central Europe.
Updated: 25th November 2019