The Isle of Man was inhabited by Irish Celts in their slow migration to Scotland. At that time their was one Common Gaelic language spreading through Ireland, Scotland and Islands. But further different circumstances led to different changes in all three varieties of the tongue. The Isle of Man is the 8th century BC began to suffer frequent invasions of Vikings from Norway and Denmark. Soon, already in the 9th century, the island fell under this pressure and became a permanent base of Norman sailors on the British Isles. Here they lived, from here they invaded Ireland, Scotland and England. Manx language borrowed a lot from Old Norse, a North Germanic tongue Vikings spoke. And though Vikings went away or were assimilated by Celts, this influence remains in the language structure.
Manx was spoken on the island when new invaders - the English - came to settle here. Manx literature, which developed and flourished since the 17th century, was written using anglicized spelling, which is still used in Manx: oo for Celtic [u:], ee for [i:] etc. The necessity to study English, the necessity to read English and speak it - all that led directly to the disappearance of the language. Manx speakers were never too numerous, and in the 19th century they all spoke English, and many of them - as a first language. The last people who spoke their native Manx were recorded to tapes in early 50s this century. After that, Manx has become extinct.
Manx uses grammar slightly different from that in Scottish
and Irish Gaelic. It is less inflected and in
some cases very simplified (e.g. in degrees of comparison, in forming plurals,
etc.). There are two tenses, various progressive forms of verbs, prepositional
pronouns common in Celtic, verbal nouns and verbal adjectives are in wide