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  5. Who is using the Irish course?


Who is using the Irish course?

I am currently writing an academic paper on the development of the Irish course and I would like to talk a little bit about the Irish course's learners. I have the percentage of user for each country but what I would like is to do is dig a little deeper into these figures. If people could state where in the world they are learning, their nationality and perhaps maybe state why they are participating in the course I would really appreciate it.

Say for example you are learning in Ireland but you are from another country, I would love to know what prompted you to start the course. Or, if you live in the US and are doing the course, are you Irish American or from Ireland or Mexico etc...? And what is your reason for doing the course?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am preparing the paper for the American Conference for Irish Studies which will take place in April this year in the University of Notre Dame.

(Please don't post any information that you would be uncomfortable with me sharing in my paper/presentation.)

EDIT: A Chairde, I just want to say thank you to everyone for responding to my post. I really really appreciate it and you have helped my no end. I will post a link to the paper that I am preparing once I have finished. Go raibh maith agaibh uilig.

EDIT EDIT: A Dhaoine Uasaile, I just want to say thanks again to all of you who responded to my questions. I am going to write a more comprehensive paper on the users based on the information contained in this discussion here. Please keep contributing posting. Táim fíorbhuíoch díbh ar fad. I will post a drop box link to the original paper once I present it at the conference.

Final Edit: Just wanted to say thanks again and to post this link to the paper I presented at the American Conference for Irish Studies in Notre Dame for those of you who are interested in reading it: https://www.dropbox.com/s/l83ohxsf4w6bar2/Bringing%20Irish%20to%20the%20Masses%20Final.docx?dl=0

Go raibh maith agaibh go léir arís.

January 28, 2016



I'm learning in Northern Ireland, with us being part of the U.K my nationality is officially British but I feel my nationality is weirdly both British and Irish.

I'm learning Irish because I was brought up as part of the protestant/unionist community where the language is still somewhat taboo among some and isn't taught in schools. After starting university and making loads of friends from the catholic/republican background and after several visits to the republic, I really wanted to understand more about the other half of the culture in my country that I had never been exposed to before. I was already using duolingo to revive my decrepit Spanish skills when I saw they had an Irish course so I thought I'd give it whirl.


A Chara,

It is great to hear that the course has opened up access to the language so that all communities on the Island can experience Irish as a language first and foremost and not as a political/religious marker. I wish you luck with it.

Go raibh maith agat.


If you were born before 1st January 2005 anywhere on the island of Ireland, then you are entitled to Irish citizenship and can apply for an Irish passport. (If you were born on the island of Ireland after 31st December 2004, then different rules apply — see here for further details.)


It's not weird at all to feel Irish while also valuing UK citizenship, sure for hundreds of years everyone on the island was in that same boat! If you're interested, check out An Droichead which runs Irish classes and events in east Belfast :)


I'm from Northern Ireland too, and learning Castilian. I've been thinking of learning Irish too but I am not certain.


Great to see. Béir bua. Irish language has been wedded to catholicism and narrow politics for too long. Twasn't always thus.


p.s. could you point me in the way of interesting stuff from the norn irish unionist community... literature, music etc. We're told nothing about it down here except the 12th


Newly enrolled (couple of days ago) onto the irish course.

I am french but have lived in London, UK for over 30 years. I have always loved Ireland, its people, its culture, its landscapes, its myths and legends.... When I did my language degree (English, Spanish, Italian) many years ago, all my friends were going to the US or UK for their year abroad, I chose to go to Ireland. Spent a wonderful year in Dublin, and returned the following year to live in Galway.

I have always wanted to learn a gaelic language; I feel we learn so much more about a cultural 'identity' when we understand the local language. 'Native' languages carry a magical layer of experience, closely connected to a sense of the place where they emerged, which no translation can do justice to.....

If you listen to an irish song, in irish, you can 'hear' the landscape in the sounds, the crashing waves of the ocean in the '-each', the prickly beauty of the gorse in the '-aíl', the rolling greenness of soft hills in the '-ín'....

(does anyone else fee this?)

So really, my reason for doing the course is to simply continue my love-story with Ireland! It is entirely for personal pleasure, not work or family related. I would never have been able to afford - or maybe just justify paying for - private tuition to learn irish, so I am very grateful to have found duolingo to get me started!


I feel we learn so much more about a cultural 'identity' when we understand the local language. 'Native' languages carry a magical layer of experience, closely connected to a sense of the place where they emerged, which no translation can do justice to.....

love the wording


Allez les bleus!


I'm an American living in the U.S. (Idaho). My grandmother's family had very strong Irish roots. My personal reasons for learning Irish stem from a love of words, mythology, unusual languages, as well as a desire to honor my family.

I found it a horrible shame that Irish was dying out. When I was young I swore I would at least give an honest attempt to learn all the languages of my blood, which were English, Italian, Irish, and German.

English comes from a mix of Dutch and Irish, that then had some French injected into it, and was later retconned with Latin rules. Because of this, if you can read Dutch, Irish, and modern English, you can generally make out Middle English and older works. To someone who has etymology as a hobby, Irish is an awesome root that's generally ignored in the linguistic world. Which is silly.

Those are my more polite reasons. There's one more that is more personal to me but I'm going to share it anyways.

Any time I see a language being ignored, shunned, marginalized, or just simply get told "it's pointless to learn" I get angry. I get stubborn. I start to try my hardest to learn it just to spite people. My current list of languages to learn is: Italian, Irish, Dutch, Swahili, Yiddish, Maltese, possibly Hindi, at least one of the Nordics, I'm still deciding if I can fit on a Native American language (I have Hawaiian cousins), and a few others that have slid off my plate. I'll probably pick up Latin if Duo ever makes a course for it. I refuse to let amazing languages wither away and die just because "you'll never get a job with that," "you'll never go there," "no-one speaks that," etc.

I can't change the world. I can't save them all but I can certainly fill my life with them. I can at least try to make sure they aren't forgotten for just one person. All my life I have seen schools beat the love of learning out of people and it breaks my heart.

Languages open up entire worlds, cultures, histories. The sheer power to read the written word unlocks the thoughts and beliefs, the fears, the hopes and dreams, of entire generations of people. What they loved, what they hated, what they found praiseworthy... of whole countries... for thousands of years!

The amazing thing about DuoLingo is it gives me hope that this astounding knowledge won't be lost forever. I have watched in awe as life is being breathed back in to these unique languages. As people around the world come together to share and learn. It is beyond moving. Yes, DuoLingo will never replace face to face encounters, but it is a start. It plants a seed. And sometimes, that is all it takes.


Thank you so much for what you say. I think you've put your finger on some important truths that are appreciated all too rarely. Languages are so much more than means of everyday communication: they are shaped by, and in their turn shape, the whole thought-world and culture of their speakers.


I'll probably pick up Latin if Duo ever makes a course for it

Me too!!!!!!


no language should ever die :) we must do what we can and follow our hearts to learn the languages of the past and remember the lost lessons of these and any beautiful language

  • 1879

Hi Michelle!
I too share your thirst for knowledge and understanding through languages, and yes also to honor my family through learning some of their tongues. I very much liked your story. :)


English comes from a mix of Dutch and Irish.. really!!!!! trippy


I'll probably pick up Latin if Duo ever makes a course for it

Me too!!!!!!


Could not agree more, neighbor! :) (I'm in Montana)

  • 1867

I'm in the US. I do have a little Irish heritage, but my interest mostly comes from linguistics and the fact that the course release here coincided with a trip I took to Ireland. Things like the VSO word order, consonant mutation, slender/broad split, and small vocabulary I just find really cool. I do also find something alluring about languages that aren't spoken by many people.


Thanks very much for your response it is greatly appreciated. Go raibh maith agat.


VSO word order etc. I know of, but what's this small vocabulary? It seems to me that Irish has a huge wealth of vocabulary, some borrowed from Norse, Latin or Norman french, but most being home-grown Gaelic terms descended straight from PIE

  • 1794

I am German and I am in Germany (Ruhrgebiet area). I am learning Irish out of curiosity, just for the fun of it.


So many languages O_O


Würdest du dich interessieren für einen Irischkurs für Deutschsprächigen?


Vielen dank:)


Me too (but im in Estonia, Tallinn).


Along with a lot of other languages,apparently.For the same reason,I suppose?


Haha. I'm challenging myself to learn every language on Duolingo by the time I'm probably 18 :P


Maith thú:)


I am in the US (Pennsylvania). I have absolutely no Irish ancestry. I fell in love with Irish literature in college and always wanted to learn the language, but found it incredibly difficult. Finding Duolingo inspired me to try again after many years of giving up.

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