Rare language fact file: Manx

Here at The Language Shop we like to shine a light on some of the rarer languages spoken across the world, many of which have long and fascinating histories. This month we take a closer look at Manx.

Native to: Isle of Man, UK

Number of native speakers: 53 (first language)

Spoken by: The Manx people

Learn some Manx: Greet people by saying ‘moghrey mie’. If they say ‘Kys t’ou?’ they are asking how you are. You can reply to with, ‘Mie dy liooar’, which means ‘well enough’.

Interesting facts:

  • Manx was officially declared extinct in 2009. However, thanks to efforts to revive it, it has now been promoted to critically endangered.
  • Although the Isle of Man is only 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, Manx actually has two dialects, one from the north and one from the south of the island. The variation spoken in the centrally located capital, Douglas, is considered to be the standard.
  • The language became less and less popular in the early 20th century because people associated it with poverty. Many Manx people opted for English instead, and there was a popular Manx saying: “Cha jean oo cosney ping lesh y Ghailck”, meaning: “You will not earn a penny with Manx.”

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