Irish language is far from dead, linguist claims

Purist Irish-language practitioners who frown on phrases such as “mo bhicycle” and “mo mhobile fón” are a “pain in the neck”, according to a Californian linguist, whose study of dialectical differences on the Aran Islands is due to be published today.

Dr Séamus Ó Direáin (77), whose grandparents emigrated from Inis Mór to Boston more than a century ago, believes rumours of the death of the Irish language are “greatly exaggerated”.

However, he warns that people must be “allowed to play with the language” if it is to survive.

That “playing” includes allowing people to choose their own dialect – as happened with the southernmost island of Inis Oírr, which opted to speak Munster Irish, despite its neighbours Inis Mór and Inis Meáin opting for the Connacht version.

Read more: The Irish Times

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