In my never-ending quest to bring you the latest, hottest language news, herewith a BBC news story about a new animated television series:

Colin & Cumberland is an introduction to the Irish language through television, radio and online. Launched on Monday, the website is is aimed at giving 18-40 year olds a taster of the Irish language. The television programmes encourage the viewer to learn some key Irish phrases.

Cumberland, an Irish speaking sausage dog, is sidekick to Colin, a DJ on an Irish radio station despite the fact he cannot speak the language…

“The project is aimed primarily at viewers who have found the idea of learning a whole new language a bit daunting before,” said Kieran Hegarty, BBC Northern Ireland Head of Interative & Learning… “This is not a structured language course. The content is elementary – greetings, ordering drinks, asking personal questions and so on.

“The website’s language content is graded and progresses from single words and phrases to more structured patterns.”

They’re going to be doing this for Scots Gaelic and Welsh as well. Sounds like fun, even if it doesn’t bring about a massive language revival.

(Via Mithridates.)


  1. Interesting article. I just wish that one of the American cable tv channels or PBS would show it here in the United States. With the possible exceptions of Spanish, French and German, foreign language programs get short shrift on American television. I’m sure that Irish, Welsh and Scots Gaelic are way down on their list of priorities.

  2. Is a “sausage dog” a “dog shaped like a sausage” i.e. dachshund, or a “dog who vends sausage”?

  3. A sausage dog is a sausage-shaped dog. I’m guessing the dog is named after the Cumberland sausage.

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