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Gaelicisation, or Gaelicization, is the act or process of making something Gaelic, or gaining characteristics of the Gaels. The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group, traditionally viewed as having spread from Ireland to Scotland and the Isle of Man.

"Gaelic", as a linguistic term, refers to the Gaelic languages but can also refer to the transmission of any other Gaelic cultural feature such as social norms and customs, music and sport.

Early history

Examples of Gaelicisation in history include the Picts, Hiberno-Normans,[1]Scoto-Normans[2] and Norse-Gaels.[2]

Modern era

Today, Gaelicisation, or more often re-Gaelicisation, of placenames, surnames and given names is often a deliberate effort to help promote the languages and to counteract centuries of Anglicisation.

Isle of Man

The Manx language, which is very similar to Irish,[3] has undergone a major revival very recently,[4] despite the language being so rarely used that it was even mislabelled as extinct by a United Nations report as recently as 2009.[5] The decline of the language on the island was primarily as a result of stigmatisation and high levels of emigration to England.[4]

There are now primary schools teaching in the medium of Manx Gaelic, after efforts mainly modelled on the Irish system.[6] The efforts have been widely praised,[7] with further developments such as using technology to teach the language being put into place.[8]


Estimates of numbers of native speakers of the Irish language in the Republic of Ireland in 2000 ranged from 20,000 to 80,000.[9][10][11] According to the 2006 census for the Republic, 85,000 people used Irish daily outside of school and 1.2 million used Irish at least occasionally.[12] In the 2011 Census, these numbers increased to 94,000 and 1.3 million, respectively.[13] Active Irish speakers probably comprise 5 to 10 per cent of Ireland's population.[14]

In recent decades there has been a significant increase in the number of urban Irish speakers, particularly in Dublin. The dispersed but large, educated and middle-class urban Gaeilgeoir community enjoys a lively cultural life and is buoyed by the growth of Irish medium education and Irish-language media.[15]

In some official Gaeltachtaí (Irish-speaking regions) areas, Irish remains a vernacular language alongside English.

See also


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward (1982). More Irish Families. Irish Academic Press. ISBN 0-7165-0126-0. Retrieved . Some became completely integrated, giving rise to the well known phrase 'Hiberniores Hibernis ipsis' (more Irish than the Irish themselves). These formed septs on the Gaelic-Irish pattern, headed by a chief.
  2. ^ a b "Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland Part 5 X. The Vikings and Normans". Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ "Belfast's role in Manx language revival - BBC News". 2014-09-16. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b "Manx: Bringing a language back from the dead - BBC News". 2013-01-31. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Europe | Isle of Man | UN declares Manx Gaelic 'extinct'". 2009-02-20. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Can Northern Ireland learn lessons from the world's only Manx-speaking school? - BBC News". Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Manx Gaelic 'warriors' praised for language revival - BBC News". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "New app launched to 'boost' Manx language revival - BBC News". Retrieved .
  9. ^ Paulston, Christina Bratt. Linguistic Minorities in Multilingual Settings: Implications for Language Policies. J. Benjamins Pub. p. 81.
  10. ^ Pierce, David (2000). Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century. Cork University Press. p. 1140.: 20,000 to 80,000 speakers out of a population of 3.5 to 5 million.
  11. ^ Ó hÉallaithe, Donncha (1999). "Cuisle". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ "Table", Census, IE: CSO
  13. ^ "Census 2011 - This is Ireland" (PDF). Central Statistics Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-25. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Romaine, Suzanne (2008), "Irish in a Global Context", in Caoilfhionn Nic Pháidín and Seán Ó Cearnaigh (ed.), A New View of the Irish Language, Dublin: Cois Life Teoranta, ISBN 978-1-901176-82-7
  15. ^ McCloskey, James (2006) [September 2005], "Irish as a World Language" (PDF), Why Irish? (seminar), The University of Notre Dame


  • Ball, Martin J. & Fife, James (eds.) The Celtic Languages (Routledge Language Family Descriptions Series), (2002)

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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