Resources: Irish language, alphabet and pronunciation

On March 17th, everybody gets to be Irish.  It’s a lot of fun, but most people don’t know much about the history of the Irish language, which almost didn’t survive British rule.

In the 1800s, the British laws required education in English-only, Protestant schools.  Combined with the potato famine, which killed many native speakers and caused a mass exodus of those who survived, the Irish language was quite endangered.

Language revitalization efforts began several decades ago, and now about 15% of the population can speak Gaelic well.  This is quite a relief to linguists, who hate to see any language disappear.  Here’s a link about the Irish language which exhibits the rare property of being a verb-initial language:

Irish language, alphabet and pronunciation.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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