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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
remains an everyday language on the Aran Islands
and in some other places in Western
information: Irish, which is also known as “Irish Gaelic” and “Erse,” is used mainly in
Ireland, and there are notable Irish-speaking communities in Britain, on
the Isle of Mann, in Brazil, in Canada and in the United States of America
as well. Although, due to centuries of British occupation and influences,
it has become a minority language in today’s Ireland (Éire), it is one of the two official languages (besides English) of the Republic
of Ireland (Poblacht na hÉireann) and one of three official languages (besides English and Ulster Scots) in Northern
Ireland (Tuaisceart Éireann).
Being a mandatory
subject in many school curricula, many Irish people whose first language is English
have various degrees of proficiency of Irish as
a second language. While Irish speakers are found as a minority all over
now predominantly English-speaking Ireland, significant speaker
communities are mostly confined to the so-called Gaeltachtaí, the Gaelic regions, primarily the western counties Donegal (Contae Dhún na nGall), Mayo (Contae Mhaigh Eo), Galway (Contae na Gaillimhe) and Kerry (Contae Chiarraí) as well in the southern County Cork (Contae Chorcaí), with lesser concentrations in the southern county Waterford (Contae Phort Láirge) and in the eastern county Meath (Contae na Mí). In British-administered Northern Ireland, the Irish language has lately been
experiencing a comeback of sorts. Irish is used in the media throughout Ireland,
not only in theGaeltachtaí, and some media outlets participate in promoting the language.
Use of the Irish
language is not confined to traditional milieus and arts. It is prominently
featured in modern music and literature as well, including major poetic works
published in recent years. Considerable interest in the Irish language outside
Ireland (also among people with
no Irish ancestry) is in great part due to worldwide popularity of Irish
Irish English varieties are
perceived as very distinctive by speakers of other English varieties. The main reason for this
is that Irish English varieties have Irish Gaelic substrata, even where the speakers have no Irish Gaelic language proficiency.
ancestral language of the land, supplanted though it is among most Irish people, has left
unmistakable marks on the locally grown varieties of English, the language that arrived in Ireland with British colonial power.
Like other Celtic
languages of the Goidelic group, Irish Gaelic distinguishes two phonological main categories: “broad” and “slender,” in linguistic terms “velar” and “palatal” respectively. In phonetic terms, Irish preserved this old Goidhelic feature
more faithfully than its closest relatives Scottish and Manx Gaelic. Furthermore,
like all other modern Celtic languages, Irish has the feature of “initial mutation,” of which there are two types: “lenition” (or “softening”) and “eclipsis” (voicing and nasalization). These types of mutation are applied to initial consonants
under certain morphological and syntactic conditions.
Irish Gaelic has
been written with three sorts of script. The oldest of these is the Ogham script,
which flourished in the fifth and sixth centuries C.E., is known primarily from
inscript. Between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, an
version of the so-called “Gaelic Script” was used, a variant of a medieval uncial script of the Latin alphabet. (Due
to the work of Irish Christian missionaries, the
script was primarily derived from this medieval Irish script.) Nowadays,
the international Latin script is being used for Irish. Its system
does not differ
greatly from that of the Gaelic Script, except that lenition is indicated by
means of a following “h,” while in the Gaelic Script a dot over the mutated consonant letter serves this
purpose. This makes for more letters being used in the modern script. This makes
written Irish look even more forbidding to novices who tend to be baffled by
a seeming abundance of vowel and consonant bundles. Once the system is understood
however, it is on the whole much easier to learn
than expected. Consonant clusters are in great part due to symbolization of mutation,
and vowel clusters are due to symbolizing that a consonant is “broad” or “slender” (where unpronounced “i” and “e” signal that an adjacent consonant is palatalized, while unpronounced “a” and “o” signal that an adjacent consonant is velarized. However, Irish orthography
is partly historical, though by no means as much so as the English one. Also,
Irish spelling has undergone some reforms. This can be seen in the
case of the name of the language in the language itself. In old Irish it was
Goídelc, in Middle Irish Gaoidhealg, in Modern Irish before 1948 Gaedhilge, and nowadays Gaeilge. In addition, there are dialectical spelling variants
reflecting various local
pronunciations, such as Gaedhilic, Gaeilic, Gaeilig, Gaedhlag, Gaedhealaing, Gaoluinn and Gaelainn.
of Old Irish were introduced to Scotland and to the Isle of Man, and these
developed into Scottish and Manx Gaelic.