The Irish language is a part of the Goidelic language group (Celtic subfamily, Indo-European family), which also includes Gaelic and Manx. Its history as a literary language is divided into the following periods: Old Irish (7th to 9th century A.D.), Middle Irish (10th to 16th century), and Modern Irish (beginning in the 16th century).
The Irish language and her sisters, Breton and Welsh, are three of Europe’s oldest living languages. Written records of this Celtic language can be traced back to earlier Christian period, spoken in the country before 300 BC. The earliest evidence of Irish writing can be seen in the markings on Ogham or commemorative stones.
Later, Irish monks used Roman lettering in writing phrases or little poems in manuscript margins. The Book of Kells, one of the many of these manuscripts, still exists today. The arrival of Christianity and Latin introduced a lot of new terms to the Irish vocabulary, particularly those concerning religious and literacy life.
At present, Irish is the official language in Ireland. It has also become an official European Union language since January 1, 2007. Around 34.6% of Dubliners over 3 years old can speak the language. Although most Dubliners speak English, learning the Irish language can be fun. Here are some useful Irish words and vocabularies:
Yes. – ‘Sea (SHAA)
No. – Ní hea (Nee haa)
Good morning. – Maidin maith. (may-jin MY)
Good evening. – Tráthnóna maith. (“Trah-no-nuh why”)
Good night. – Oíche mhaith. (EE-hah why)
Hello – Dia dhuit (DEE-a GWIT )
Nice to meet you. – Deas ag bualadh leat. (JAHSS egg BOO-loo lyaht)
How are you? – Conas atá tú? (CUNN-us a-TAW too?)
Thank you.- Go raibh maith agat/agaibh. (GUH ROH MAH ug-ut/ug-iv )
I’m sorry. – Tá brón orm. (TAW BROHN urr-im )
Excuse me. – Gabh mo leithscéal. (Goh mah lesh-kyale)
Do you speak English? – An bhfuil Béarla agat? (ahn will BAYR-la ug-ut?)
Goodbye. – Slán (Slawn)