Manx (language)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Isle of ManIsle of Man Isle of Man
speaker <100 as mother tongue
1689 in total (mainly as second language)
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Manx (other names Gaelg , Gailck , Manx Gaelic , own name Gaelg Vanninagh ) is the Gaelic ( island Celtic , Q-Celtic , Goidelic ) language on the Isle of Man , which was temporarily extinct as the first language in the 20th century . She is closely related to Irish and Scottish Gaelic . The language has clear Scandinavian influences.


In the 18th century Manx was still a very lively language with around 20,000 speakers - about the entire population of the Isle of Man at that time . This ended in 1765 when the island was annexed by the Kingdom of Great Britain and a process of displacement in favor of English began, fueled by political and social pressure. In 1899, Yn Çheshaght Ghailckagh (The Manx Gaelic Society) was established to preserve the language . In the 1901 census, 9.1% of the island's residents said they spoke Manx, but by then there were hardly any speakers under the age of 50. The group of those who spoke Manx as their mother tongue consisted of just a handful of people in the 1930s. A great deal of effort was made to find other remaining native speakers on the island, but in 1946 only 20 of them were counted. In the 1950s, Yn Çheshaght Ghailckagh began making tape recordings in order to preserve the original pronunciation. At that time, some very old speakers were still alive. In 1974 Ned Maddrell died , the last person at the time whose mother tongue was Manx.


Language example Manx, WIKITONGUES project

In the meantime, several hundred people speak Manx as a second language again (1991 census: 634 Manx speakers of around 80,000 inhabitants of the island), which is due to years of efforts by language activists to revive the language. For example, since 1992, all schools on the Isle of Man have given students the opportunity to learn Manx. In the first year, 1,400 students attended the relevant courses. There are also five kindergartens (Mooinjer Veggey) and two elementary schools (Bunscoill Ghaelgagh and Scoill Balley Cottier) , in which Manx is the language of instruction. In the 2011 census, 1,863 people reported being able to speak, read or write in Manx, with no degree of proficiency recorded. There are now 28 native speakers again, the oldest of whom was 14 years old in 2005.

Manx as a written language

The oldest written documents date from the 17th century. There is little literature . In 1610, Bishop John Philipps translated the Book of Common Prayer into Manx. The so-called Traditionary Ballad , a longer poem on the history of the island, is available in a version from the 18th century, but was probably written as early as the middle of the 16th century. Most of the other written evidence of the language consists of written versions of traditional stories and songs.


Consonants Bilabial Labiodental Dental / Alveolar Palatal Velar Labiovelar Glottal
Plosive p b t d t 'd' k 'g' k g
nasal   m   n   ɲ   ŋ
Fricative f v s ʃ (ç) (ʝ) x (ɣ)   H
Approximant   r   j w
Lateral approximate   l   ʎ
i (ː)   u (ː)
e (ː) ə * O)
  a (ː)  
aj ej əj oj uj aw ew ow əw iə uə

(*) If a syllable with / ə / -phoneme is lengthened secondary, the / ə / can be realized as [øː].


Some contemporary medieval music groups such as Tibetréa sing in Manx, among others.


  • George Broderick: Handbook of Late Spoken Manx. Volume 1: Grammar and Texts (= book series of the Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie. Volume 3). Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 1984, ISBN 3-484-42903-8 .
  • George Broderick: Handbook of Late Spoken Manx. Volume 2: Dictionary (= book series of the magazine for Celtic philology. Volume 4). Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 1984, ISBN 3-484-42904-6 .
  • George Broderick: Handbook of Late Spoken Manx. Volume 3: Phonology (= book series of the Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie. Volume 5). Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 1986, ISBN 3-484-42905-4 .
  • George Broderick: Manx. In: Martin J. Ball (Ed.): The Celtic Languages. Routledge, London a. a. 1993, ISBN 0-415-01035-7 , pp. 228-285.

Web links

Wiktionary: Manx  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Status: 2001 census; Source: Manx Gaelic revival impressive . BBC Isle of Man (English).
  2. ^ Language Decline and Language Revival in the Isle of Man . ( Memento of July 9, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Ned Maddrell Memorial Lecture, November 28, 1996 (English).