Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 27 January, 2022

11 reasons why Irish is the best language in the world

Sure isn’t it a great little language.

YOU MIGHT NOT have been absolutely in love with the language in school, but there are plenty of things about Gaeilge that makes it extremely cool and unique.

Stand proudly to attention:

1. You can’t just casually say yes or no – you have to mean it

tumblr_lesewbCi2J1qaqaiy Source: Tumblr

Naturally, we need a little more to work with than just straight up affirmative or negative responses. We need to delve into the question to get the response. Example: to answer the question of “did you see that?” you have to say “I didn’t see that.”

2. It transports you back to a simpler time

tumblr_mcyox3hLfA1ruyh2j Source: Tumblr

Saying hello requires a simple “diadhuit” – “God be with you”. Your response – “dia is muiredhuit” – is, of course, “God and Mary be with you”.

How delightfully old school.

3. It gives you your own secret language abroad

tumblr_inline_n5wxau3zsp1sa9rv5 Source: Tumblr

They haven’t a breeze what you’re on about. CONAS ATÁ TÚ *nudges fellow Irish person*

4. Even counting things is an entirely unique experience for us

Irish sheep Source: j0sh (www.pixael.com)

As some might know, there is one set of numbers to count humans, and another set to count animals and things.

When referring to humans, Gaeilge counts in groups of people. Say, triúr, means a group of three people. For animals and everything else, you can just go with the standard aon, dó, trí.

5. You use it even when you think you’re speaking English

.3 Source: BlogSpot

Phrases like “I do be” and “I’m after doing…” are extremely Irish ways of putting things. Both have their basis in the way that Gaeilge forms its verbs and this way of speaking informs the way English is spoken across the country.

6. Doing a Gaeilge version of a massive tune nearly always guarantees success

Source: TG Lurgan/YouTube

And why shouldn’t it? Where would we be without the Gaeilgeoir version of so many songs?

7. Its structure is unlike any other language you will find in the world

tumblr_lwit89xO3e1qmpg90o1_500 Source: Tumblr

Gaeilge starts sentences with a verb and this is quite rare amongst most languages spoken in the world. The verb is usually held off until the second or third word in a regular sentence in other languages.

Not Gaeilge, though. The maverick.

8. It allows a cheap laugh at sign makers around the country

CM6G3cO Source: Imgur

Given Gaeilge is on all our sign posts, there will always be some good quality sign graffiti out there to correct the powers-that-be of their mistakes.


Nailed it.

9. It’s one of the most philosophical languages out there

anigif_enhanced-buzz-10944-1386856069-10 Source: Buzzfed

There are so many ways in Gaeilge to say “to be”. Of course, the verb bí is the literal translation, so tá can be used in simple cases like the house is small - tá an teach beag

But in Gaeilge, there are different types of being -  as in when there is a person and and an entity. So, “my brother is a writer” is not “tá mo dheartháir scríbhneoir” but rather “is scríbhneoir é mo dhearthár.” And there are more ways besides those to get across the simple meaning of the concept to be.

It’s complicated, man.

10. It really can be the most beautiful language when spoken


We can all count to 10 at the very least.

11. Everyone went through the same unique experience learning it

We all did it. The oral exam, the poetry, the literature. If there is one thing that can bring a nation together, it’s the shared experience of doing Leaving Cert Gaeilge. Not to mention the dreaded dialect change on the listening exam.

So, there you have it.

The best, most entertaining and delightfully grammatical little language in the world. And it’s all ours.

More 11 songs that will take you right back to your days in the Gaeltacht>

More The internet has some excellent Irish language advice for tourists>

About the author:

David Elkin

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel