The Difference Between:
Gaelic,
Irish Gaelic, and
The Irish Language

There’s all these different terms that can relate to the Celtic language of Ireland (and Scotland!).

So what is the difference between Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Gaeilge, Irish and the Irish Language? Watch my video about it:

The short answer to what’s the difference: not much!

What does Gaelic mean?

“Gaelic” can refer to either the Scottish Gaelic language, or the Irish Gaelic language.

Both languages are very similar. Both are of Celtic origin.

So if you say “How do you speak Gaelic?“, a person might reply “Decide if it’s Scottish or Irish Gaelic you want to learn.”

What does Irish Gaelic mean?

Irish Gaelic is more specific than “Gaelic”.

It refers specifically to the Irish language.

This term is not used within Ireland, but it’s a good compromise if you’re speaking with people who might not know that “Irish” is a language.

What’s the Irish Language?

The Irish language is the Celtic language of Ireland (the same one as “Irish Gaelic”).

Irish people generally refer to the language of Ireland simply as “Irish“.

Gaeilge” is the name for Irish in the Irish language. “B√©arla” is the name for the English language in the Irish¬†language.

Gaeilge is the word where the English language word “Gaelic” is derived from.

You might also be interested in:

How learning Irish means more now than it did 5 years ago
It’s a good-news story for the Irish language these days.

What do you call the Irish language?
Your chance to share what you have been calling the language.

What language do the Irish speak?
An explanation of the state of the English and Irish languages in Ireland.

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