Irish  (Gaeilge) is a Celtic language spoken as an everyday language by about 80,000-100,000 people. About 2,500,000 people speak it to some extent. Irish and English are the official languages of Ireland. The three major dialects of Irish are: Connemara (western Ireland and around the city of Galway), Munster (counties Cork and Kerry), and Ulster (County Donegal). It is primarily spoken in Ireland. But due to the Irish diaspora small communities speak it all across the globe from Australia to the America. It bares a lot of similarites to Scots Gaelic and Manx .

Irish is always called Irish in English, never Gaelic or Irish Gaelic,

Phonology Edit

Irish consonants come in pairs, they are always either "broad" (velarise ,​ pronounced with the back of the tongue pulled back towards the soft palate) or "slender" (palatised, pronounced with the middle of the tongue pushed up towards the hard palate).". This is not unique to Irish, Russian also uses a similar method. Many of these sounds exist in English, but they are much more important in Irish. Here is an IPA chart of all the sounds [Used from Wikipedia ]

Consonant phonemes
Labial Coronal Dorsal Glottal
broad slender broad slender broad slender
Stop voiceless t̪ˠ k c
voiced d̪ˠ ɡ ɟ


voiceless ʃ x ç h
voiced w/v ɣ j
Nasal n̪ˠ ŋ ɲ
Tap ɾˠ ɾʲ
Lateral l̪ˠ
Vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
short long short short long
Close ɪ ʊ
Mid ɛ ə ɔ
Open a ɑː


Irish is VSO language, meaning that the word order is Verb-Subject-Object. Unlike, English which is a SVO language (Subject-Verb-Object).  Adjectives usually follow their noun except for a few which are suffixes. For example

An madra ​bheag - The small dog [lit. The-dog-small]

Tá an madra ró-bheag - The dog is too small [lit. Is-the-dog-too-small]

There is also the copula, which is a form of the verb to be when we are showing two nouns are equal, for example;

an cailín anseo - The girl is here [lit. Is-the-girl-here]

Is cailín í - She is a girl [lit. Is-girl-she]


Irish is an infelcted language and has three cases; nominative, genitive and vocative. How the nouns change much be learned off by heart because the rules are quite vague. Often the pronunciation is the same, for example;

Spórt - Sport (pron. "sport")

Halla spóirt - Sport's hall (hawl-ah sport)

But sometimes the pronunciation changes a lot:

An - The day (pron. on law)

I rith an lae - During the day (i ri on lay)

In Irish many prepostitions such as do, ag and roimh change when one of the subjects come after them. For example; do means to. But we don't say do mé (to me), we say dom.

Grammar Edit

Orthography Edit

Common difficulties Edit

Resources Edit

Pimsleur offers a course in Irish.

Wikipedia has an article on the language.

Duolingo offers a course in Irish.

Rosetta Stone offers a course in Irish.

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