Lessoonyn Meanagh

Intermediate Lessons

lesson 1: Toshiaght - Introduction

Bannaghtyn as failt erriu dys Loayr Gaelg.

Hello and welcome to Speak Manx. These lessons will give you an insight to the Manx language and help give you confidence to start using the language. There'll be gaps when you should repeat what you've just heard, then the phrase will be repeated for you again. We can try that out straightaway, because a useful phrase that'll be helpful to you when you're talking to other Manx speakers is Abbyr shen reesht, say that again [Abbyr shen reesht] ------ abbyr shen reesht.

The last few years have seen an encouraging increase in support for the Manx language and we hope that more people on the Island can start to use it in ways that are appropriate for them.

Before we start with the lessons, we'll tell you a little about what Manx Gaelic is.

Manx has been spoken in the Island for more than 1500 years. It's very similar to Irish and Scottish Gaelic (or Gaidhlig). These three languages are known as Goedelic languages, and all share a common root. Once you've learned some Manx you can start to see the similarities with Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

As well as the Goedelic languages, there are three Brythonic languages, which are Welsh, Cornish and Breton. All six of them - Goedelic and Brythonic together - are Celtic languages. Though the Brythonic languages share a number of features in common with the Goedelic languages, there are also a number of differences, so the relationship between them is usually described as like that of cousins.

The three languages in each group are usually described as sister languages. Manx became distinct from its sister languages, Irish and Scots Gaidhlig, by the middle ages. From then until the nineteenth century Manx was the language spoken by the vast majority of Islanders. However, slowly things began to change and, for a variety of reasons, including emigration, immigration, the growth of the tourist trade and a far from supportive church, state and education system, the language declined, so by the turn of the 20th century Manx was only a community language in the more remote areas of the Island, such as Cregneash.

Nevertheless, the language continued to be spoken by a declining number of native speakers and an increasing number of enthusiasts. The 1960s may well have been the lowest point in the fortunes of the language, but the last 15 to 20 years have seen a revival in its fortunes.

There's now: a Manx Gaelic Primary School, Bunscoill Ghaelgagh; a network of playgroups run by Mooinjer Veggey; children have an increasing exposure to the language at school; and a growing number of businesses in the Island use the language in their marketing.

Anyway, that's the introduction. Let's learn some Manx.

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