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Irish Language Presentation

Hello all. I'm currently in a linguistics course in college and we've been tasked with putting together a presentation about simply anything that interests us and has to do with linguistics. I would like to do mine on Irish, as I'm fascinated by this language and not many people, in my class nor in general, know about it. The presentation must be 10-15 minutes long, so I will have a few topics to discuss. Firstly, I want to briefly go over the history of Ireland, and explain why Irish is in the condition it is in today. Secondly, since this is a linguistics class after all, I want to mainly focus on the language itself: discussing technicalities, nuances, and the things I find unique about Irish (for example: sentence structure, word formation, ellipsis & lenition, idiomatic phrases), as well as how Irish is spoken/perceived today and possibly how it affects the way English is spoken in Ireland (words/phrases borrowed from Irish). If you have some time, give me your thoughts; are there any topics I should add? Anything specific that I should make sure to cover in the topics I've already listed? It'd be greatly appreciated! :)

April 2, 2015



Since it’s a linguistics class, the pluricentric nature of spoken Irish (having three major dialects with no national analogue of Received Pronunciation in the UK or of General American in the US) might be worth noting with some examples of their differences, e.g. the word stress of Munster Irish, the vowel inventory of Ulster Irish, the four-way distinction of coronal nasals and lateral approximants in some varieties of Connacht Irish.

[deactivated user]

    "...and possibly how it affects the way English is spoken in Ireland (words/phrases borrowed from Irish)."

    In learning Irish, I think I finally understand why my Irish in-laws all refer to stopping by for a visit as "calling in" or "calling on" since that is the literal translation of how the verb is used in Irish.

    Funny thing is, they remember barely any Irish itself, so I'm left to assume that it's a phrase that's been handed down through the generations in our part of Ireland.


    I work in an office and when there's someone in front of me, I ask "may I say who is calling?" at first it was a slip as I traditionally only answer the phones....but it has stuck since because it is appropriate. I don't know that it's purely an Irish colloquialism?


    "calling in" as in, stopping by the house etc


    The English spoken in Ireland is heavily affected by Irish. For example, "you any money on you?" is a typical way of asking if someone has money which is a direct translation of "an bhfuil airgead ort?"

    Also, the English language itself has taken words from Irish such as Clock (clóg) Galore (go leor) Slogan (Sluaigh Ghairm) Slum (slom) Darn you! (dathairne ort) Pet (peata) Babe (báb) Buddy (bodaigh)

    Also, the US slang term "ya dig?" comes from the Irish "an dtuigeann tú?" which means "do you understand?"


    Perhaps if you're talking about the history of the language mention the Ogham alphabet and the Gaelic script Latin alphabet that was used by scholarly Irish monks. Also maybe mention the Irish origin of place names for example Dublin comes from "dubh linn" meaning black pool.


    I actually was going to mention the Ogham alphabet, as well--which interestingly enough was a runic based script where each letter (for the grand majority) was represented by a form of plant life.


    It sounds like you have plenty of material for a 15 minute presentation. Nonetheless, I'll mention that, like shell42970, I have been very interested as I learn Irish to find the apparent sources of many phrases that I have heard among my family an local folks (I live near Philadelphia, and there are lots of folks of Irish descent here). For example, they say things like "good on ya" for a job well done, or "to have" meaning to have a knowledge of, as in "he has the Irish [language]". I am sure I have come across many other examples, as well.


    Ah thank you all for your comments! I'm definitely going to incorporate the two alphabets/scripts and all of the examples you've given, especially the US English that came from Irish. Go raibh maith agaibh!

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