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Sun. Oct 13th, 2019

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There’s No Yes and No in Irish Gaelic

2 min read

yes and no in irish gaelicWell I’ll be. There’s no yes and no in Irish Gaelic. That’s right, the Irish language doesn’t use the words yes or no. In the English language, and most other languages, few words get used as much as yes and no. They are words that we use every day, usually when answering a question. You may think that this would be confusing not using such simple and direct words, but it’s not. It’s not confusing because the answers given are probably much more precise and clear than a simple yes or no, and certainly much more charming.

How do you say yes and no in Irish Gaelic?

The way to answer yes or no in Irish is by repeating the verb with a positive or negative particle. For example: “Do you understand how to answer in Irish?” A yes answer to the question would be “I understand,” while a no answer would be “I don’t understand.” Sometimes it can be as simple and blunt as a yes or no answer. Example: “Is that the phone?” Yes answer, “It is.” No answer, “It isn’t.”

When we are talking Irish we are talking the Gaelic language, not the people. The vast majority of Irish people speak English, with Irish being taught at schools and in the family home. That being said, in the more rural areas of Ireland it is common for people to answer in English without using a yes or no answer, but by repeating the verb with a positive or negative particle.

Why wouldn’t the Irish Gaelic use yes and no?

We can’t say for sure, but we can hypothesize. Some believe that a simple yes or no answer is too short and pointed and unable to strike up a conversation. A longer answer is more open and blunter and it leaves open the possibility for further conversation on the subject. One thing for sure, it certainly is a better way to answer yes or no, and I think I might just start using it myself.

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