Indiana University Overseas Study


Dia dhuit!

That’s hello in Gaelic. It’s pronounced “dee-ah ghwit.”

I’ve been learning ‘simple’ words and phrases in my Irish language and culture class. But simple isn’t the way I would put it. Gaelic is a lot more complex than I ever expected it to be.

One word in English will have three words in Gaelic, so it’s difficult to wrap my mind around most of it. Also, if I were to start up a conversation with a fellow Irish man, it would go: “Dia Dhuit.” “Dia is muire dhuit.” Both of those phrases mean hello, but the person responding to the first hello has to add the ‘is muire’ for it to be politically correct.

Most people probably think that the declared language for Ireland is English, since everyone speaks it here. But in my Irish language class we learned that it’s second to Gaelic. After years of being oppressed by the English, Irish men and women started to push for new education reforms, which required Gaelic to be taught in schools. A revival was beginning to emerge in the mid 20th century. Presently, there’s a 20-year movement that’s in progress that is aiming to increase the numbers of people who speak Gaelic daily.

Apparently native Irish speakers feel awkward using Gaelic in public because they think they make a fuss by requiring other people to use the language that, simply put, isn’t spoken a whole lot anymore. Gaelic was also tied to being poor many years back, so the use of it was shied away from. Ireland needs to get back to its roots before the whole country loses the Gaelic language altogether. I’m glad that politicians are making new reforms so that Ireland can once again become the place it once was.

I hope to gain a better understanding of where this language came from and how far it has progressed from everything that happened to Ireland throughout the centuries. Maybe in another 50 years Ireland will predominately speak Gaelic. Only time will tell.

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