Ulster - Languages and Dialects

Languages and Dialects

Most people in Ulster speak English. Irish is the next most commonly spoken language. The language is taught in all schools in the counties that are part of the Republic. In responses to the 2001 census in Northern Ireland 10% of the population had "some knowledge of Irish", 4.7% to "speak, read, write and understand" Irish. Large parts of County Donegal are Gaeltacht areas where Irish is the first language and some people in west Belfast also speak Irish, especially in the 'Gaeltacht Quarter'. The dialect of Irish (Gaeilge) most commonly spoken in Ulster (especially throughout Northern Ireland and County Donegal) is Gaeilge Thír Chonaill or Donegal Irish, also known as Gaeilge Uladh or Ulster Irish. Donegal Irish has many similarities to Scottish Gaelic. Cantonese forms the third most common language, mostly due to the considerable Chinese community of Belfast, the province's largest city. Ulster Scots (a dialect of Scots which is also sometimes known by the neologism Ullans) is also spoken in County Down and The Ards, County Antrim, County Londonderry and County Donegal.

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