Found this question on a job application:

enter image description here

and in text format:

What is your main language?
Sign language

I've never seen quite a language combination before. Sign, obviously, poses no issues. I'm not sure what language British refers to; some lazy attempt to retaliate against those who say they speak American? English/Irish makes even less sense, especially when compared to British. Irish should be a layman's term for Gaelic, but when it's slashed together with English what does that mean?

Any ideas?

  • 1
    It would help to provide context, such as what country it was in, what the job was, what the other options were, whether any other questions were asked. It is very hard to look at a part of a random screenshot and understand the reasoning behind it. Or you could ask the people who created the form.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 10, 2020 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


This makes very little sense. I don't think it can be defended on any grounds.

As you say, Irish alone almost always refers to the language belonging to the Celtic subfamily. British is sometimes used in historical linguistics, to designate the language spoken throughout Britain before the spread of Old English, and which survived for much longer on the fringes, perhaps in a dialect continuum with Welsh, Cornish, etc. Irrelevant here.

Edit: The only sense I can make of English/Irish is if it's an application within Ireland looking for bilinguals.

  • An application form put together by an illiterate and illogical person.
    – Anton
    Dec 10, 2020 at 10:57

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