Dillon D wrote:
Looking at the list of the Goidelic languages, two of what I would think the three most well known-about languages are there. Gàidhlig, Gaeilge and Cymraeg.
Okay, pet peeve time here: Gàidhlig
mean exactly the same thing, just in different languages. The former generally refers to Scottish Gaelic and the latter to Irish only because the former is what you use when speaking Scottish Gaelic and the latter when speaking Irish. But the inherent ambiguity is the same as for English Gaelic
. If I need to distinguish the two varieties when speaking Irish, I say Gaelainn na hAlbain
(lit. "Gaelic of Scotland") and Gaelainn na hÉireann
("Gaelic of Ireland"), respectively. (I don't speak Scottish Gaelic, but if I did I would distinguish them as Gàidhlig na h-Alba
and Gàidhlig na h-Èireann
[Note: Yes, Gaelainn
because I speak Munster Irish, not Connacht Irish or Standard Irish. And it really gets on my tits when people assume I must mean specifically Munster Irish when I write "Gaelainn". If that's what I mean, I write Gaelainn na Mumhain
. See how this works?]
When I'm not speaking Irish, I say "Scottish Gaelic" and "Irish", of course. Anything else would be pretentious. I don't go around saying "Deutsch", "castellano", or "한국말" when what I mean is "German", "Spanish" , or "Korean". Why should the principles suddenly be different when speaking of the Celtic languages?
Actually, maybe someone here would have reliable figures. I have heard that Irish has fewer native speakers but more fluent speakers than Welsh, is that so?
It's difficult to say in the absence of an objective assessment of "fluency". Pretty much all the data we have on language use is self-reported. It's fairly safe to assume that native-speakers who use the language regularly will be "fluent", but what about non-native speakers? IME, enthusiasts often have pretty generous opinions of their own level of "fluency".