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Jerry Lashua ( -
Posted on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 02:41 am:   Edit Post Print Post

What I would be most interested in learning is whether Gaelic (please forgive the spelling if incorrect) is the only Irish language with different dialects, or whether there is more than one Irish 'language'. My wife's father was Irish & my son and I were having a discussion with regard to language vs dialect and I need a definitive answer.

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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 03:58 am:   Edit Post Print Post

There is one language - Gaeilge (Irish).
There are three major dialects, spoken in Ulster, Connaught and Munster. There is a closely related language in Scotland, but it is considered to now be a separate language. There is also a language in the Isle of Man which sounds very similar, but uses a completely different way of writing the language.

Hope this helps...

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James ( -
Posted on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 05:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


I may be wrong, but I believe it's Micheal O'Shiadhall who says in the intro to his text on the Irish language that at one time you could travel from Dingle to Edinborough and speak one language. Now, of course, that is not the case. I am a beginning, with STRONG emphasis on beginning, Irish student. While in Ireland this past summer I visited Dingle, An Spideal, Inis Mor and another very small gaeltacht somewhere between Kerry and Blarney (can't remember the name). Even I, as a beginning student, could detect some difference in the way words were pronounced.

I would explain to your son that language is the means by which we communicate and that dialect is that aspect of language that identifies our region. For example, I'm from the south but have travelled the U.S. quite a bit. People have no problem identifying that I am from the south simply by the way I pronounce some words. Furthermore, words we use to describe things can identify us. For example, soda, or soft drinks are called "pop" almost universally in the midwest portion of the U.S.

I realize I'm being rather "Americo-centric" (a word I just made up) in assuming that you, too are from the U.S. Perhaps a better example would be that "chips" here in the U.S. come in a plastic bag and are crunchy. In most of English speaking Europe they are soft and come fresh out of the fryer. Anyway--good luck with your son. That's where language survives, you know---on the tongues of children.

Sorry for the long winded response. I do have Irish blood in my veins, after all---can't help it!!

Slan go foill,


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