The language is usually referred to in English as Irish , sometimes as Gaelic or Irish Gaelic . Gaelic or the Gaelic is often used by the older generation and by the Irish diaspora but now rarely by Irish learners of the language themselves. The younger generation (mostly those whose first language is English) call the language "Irish". Use of the term Gaelic acknowledges the language's close relationship with other Goidelic languages, and it is this form that is usually preferred by native speakers.
The term Irish Gaelic is often used when English speakers discuss the relationship among the three Goidelic languages (Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx). Scottish Gaelic is often referred to in English as simply Gaelic . The archaic term Erse (from Erische ), originally a Scots form of the word Irish applied in English-speaking Scotland (by Lowlanders) to all of the Goidelic languages, is no longer used for any Goidelic language, and in most current contexts is considered derogatory.
In the Caighdeán Oifigiúil (the official written standard) the name of the language is Gaeilge (IPA:/ˈgeːlʲɟə/), which reflects the southern Connacht pronunciation.
Before the spelling reform of 1948, this form was spelled Gaedhilge ; originally this was the genitive of Gaedhealg , the form used in classical Modern Irish. Older spellings of this include Gaoidhealg in Middle Irish and Goídelc in Old Irish. The modern spelling results from the deletion of the silent dh in the middle of Gaedhilge .
Other forms of the name found in the various modern Irish dialects, in addition to south Connacht Gaeilge mentioned above, include Gaedhilic/Gaeilic/Gaeilig (IPA:/ˈgeːlʲəc/) or Gaedhlag (IPA:/ˈgeːɫ̪əg/) in Ulster Irish and northern Connacht Irish and Gaedhealaing/Gaoluinn/Gaelainn (IPA:/ˈgeːɫ̪iŋ/) in Munster Irish.