This paper reflects on the history of the Irish language and its dialects. This paper also visits the Latin language’s impact on Western languages.
Irish is a vernacular language that has derived from Celtic roots, much like the Scottish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, and Welsh languages. It is believed that all of these languages branched off from a Common Celtic language (“Foras na Gaeilge -The Irish Language – History”, n.d.). It is hard to determine when the Irish language actually began, but experts have tracked the language’s progression into what is now modern day Irish. History of the Irish Language
The oldest findings of the Irish language were discovered on Ogham stones that originate somewhere between the 5th and 6th century. Throughout this period, Old Irish was written utilizing the Roman alphabet making it one of the oldest written languages. Over time the Irish language has changed and adapted as different groups migrated throughout Ireland. Norse settlers came to Ireland around AD 800 and Anglo-Norman migrated around AD 1170, both affecting the language and culture. Although these settlers affected the language in small ways, the Irish language prevailed and evolved (“History of the Irish Language | StPatricksDay.com”, n.d.).
As the Irish people changed and adapted so did their written language. The Irish language has been written using three different alphabets before adopting the modern alphabet: The Ogham alphabet, Gaelic Script, and the modern Irish alphabet (“Irish language, alphabet and pronunciation”, n.d.). By the 16th century, nearly all natives spoke the Irish language, but English was used in legal and business documents. Sometime between the 17th and 20th century the Irish language was slowly replaced by the English language. Famine and migration also contributed to the Irish languages downfall (“Irish language, alphabet and pronunciation”, n.d.). In 1922 the Republic of Ireland was born and adopted both English and Irish as official languages. Some buildings and public figures have bilingual names, for example garda is the Irish term for police. Latin Language’s Impact on Western Languages
Latin is the root of five different western languages: Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. When the Latin language began to spread across Europe, it developed and broke off into dialects which are now known as western languages (“Latin Language”, n.d.).The English language utilizes roots Latin words and still utilizes Latin for law and medical purposes. As the cultures spread and grew, the languages moved further and further away from Latin. The French language moved the furthest away from original Latin, Italian remained the closest.
Foras na Gaeilge -The Irish Language – History. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2013, from http://www.gaeilge.ie/The_Irish_Language/History.asp History of the Irish Language | StPatricksDay.com. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2013, from http://www.stpatricksday.com/spdc_content/ireland-history-facts/history-of-the-irish-language/ Irish language, alphabet and pronunciation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2013, from http://www.omniglot.com/writing/irish.htm Latin Language. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://www.hyw.com/books/history/latin_la.htm