Over the next ten days we’re running a special Twitter campaign to get you speaking the basics of Irish through daily tweets and our One Minute Irish podcast. You will join Eoin as he teaches you the basics of the language and before you know it you’ll be able to greet people, talk about yourself and say that you’re learning Irish. There are around 80,000 speakers of Irish and it’s one of the official languages of the European Union.
One important thing you should know is that there are a number of different accents in Irish and some words will sound different in different parts of the country. Take, for example, the phrase for “hello”: Dia duit. In some parts of Ireland this is pronounced as “jeea ditch”, while in other areas it’s more like “gheea gwit” or “ghee a ghwuch”. Eoin’s uses the dialect from Donegal but as a teacher in Dublin he speaks a neutral, standard dialect. All types of Irish are spoken on the media and all Irish speakers will understand you when you use the words and phrases you learn in One Minute Irish! The key message here is summed up in the Irish expression: Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste – “Broken Irish is better than clever English”!
Interestingly, although there are only 80,000 native speakers of Irish, there are many more learners of Irish than native speakers. 1.4 million people claim to be fluent having learned the language. You can join these 1.4 million learners starting on Wednesday 7th May and following the tweets between Wednesday 7th and Friday 16th, and you’ll be ready to celebrate St Patrick’s day speaking Irish! Make sure you’re following @radiolingua on Twitter to see our daily tweets.