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contents : From 1550 - 1750 : Language

Summary: Extent of English Language

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In 1602 this New Testament translation in Irish was published in Dublin. Irish was still the language of almost everyone who lived in Ireland. An Irish Jesuit reported to Rome in 1608 that “knowledge of English is required in only one or two counties in Leinster and even Irish is used somewhat there”. Irish began to decline as government control became more effective. This was especially so among the upper classes as many of them wanted to practise law which they had to do in English. By the end of James I’s reign most of the Irish gentry spoke English as well as Irish. The poor still spoke only Irish. One Irish poet even suggested to his son that he should give up the language: Na lean do dhilgha ceirde Na cum do ghreat Gaoidheilge Follow not your useless trade Fashion not your poem in Irish

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Title page of a translation of the Books of the New Testament published in 1685

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