The dominant language in the Isle of Man is Standard English and a dialect unique to the country called Manx English. The dialect is derived from Manx which is the indigenous language of the land. The historical Manx language is a Celtic language. To differentiate it from the Manx English it is sometimes called Manx Gaelic. The language is preserved by a very small part of the population. The Latin alphabet is used for both Manx and English. Manx and English are both official languages in the legislative body of the Isle of Man, called Tynwald. Despite Manx English being very widespread, British English is often applied in formal occasions.

English is the most spoken language in the Isle of Man after Manx. About 98% of the population has a working knowledge of English. Despite the last native speakers of Manx dying in 1974, efforts have been put in place to preserve the language, and by 2015, 2% of the population could speak Manx. There are a few people who speak Irish English on the Island.

The English used in formal situations is very similar to Standard English, The difference comes in with Manx English which has a lot of loan words from Gaelic and Norse Origins. Manx English also referred to as Anglo-Manx has a lot of influence from the how people speak in Liverpool and Lancashire. This is particularly true in North-West England. Some words from the Anglo-Manx dialect are still used today. Some of these words might be used in Standard English, but in Manx English, they are used differently. The word “across” is used in the United Kingdom to mean “across water.” The word “aye” for “yes,” “coalie” for “coalfish” and “himself” meaning “the master of the house.”

German, French, Irish and Spanish could all be considered minority languages in the Isle of Man. Some languages have gone extinct on the island including historical forms of Irish like old Irish and Middle Irish. Old Norse, which was a big part of this region, historically has also become extinct. It’s only represented in some place names like Ramsey and Laxey. There is proof that the Islanders once spoke a form of P-Celtic called Brythonic. There is hardly any remains of its usage. Latin and French are also extinct on the Island of Man only used in mottos and legal phrases.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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