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Dublin: 2 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

An official Gaeilge translation for 'little person' has been added thanks to campaigner Sinéad Burke


SINÉAD BURKE, ALSO known as Minnie Melange, is a well known public speaker, Alternative Miss Ireland and blogger.

And she pulled off something very special yesterday.

Continuing her work advocating for little people, she’s successfully added a phrase to the Irish language to represent them

She told how it all came about:

I first emailed Forás na Gaeilge in late September. October is Dwarfism Awareness Month and I had hoped that the entry into the foclóir could align with that campaign. A meeting to include new words takes place once a month and whilst little person was not considered in October, it was proposed and agreed upon in November.

Asking on behalf of the Little People of Ireland organisation, and with the help and encouragement of Darach O’Seaghdha – the man behind the excellent @theirishfor Twitter account – Sinéad was successful in her mission.

So since yesterday, “duine beag” has now officially been listed as a term in Gaeilge for “little person”

Pre-panel discussion with @anacosgrave and @dublinbymouth. 🙌👭💖 #EP16

A post shared by Sinéad Burke (@thesineadburke) on

It’s a big improvement on what has gone before, as Sinéad explains:

Language is a powerful tool. It not only names our society but it shapes it. Until now, few references existed for little people in Irish and one of them was dwarf (abhac).
When I was doing my Irish oral exam I didn’t feel it best represented me. I’m slightly envious of my friends who are little people who get to introduce themselves as a ‘duine beag’ when they sit their Irish oral later this year!

Ar fheabhas <3

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About the author:

David Elkin

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