Advertisement
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)

Lack of Enthusiasm in the Irish Language Revival

13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    dubhthach wrote: »
    Well I put it down to a "one size fits all" approach or the new word-du-jour "universalism" (used with regards to child benefit).

    If you look at school system in likes of Netherlands they actually stream students into three seperate streams in second level.

    500px-Dutch_Education_System-en.svg.png

    Even then each has multiple "Tracks", here's quoting from wiki





    Article on VWO here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voorbereidend_wetenschappelijk_onderwijs

    Some relevant highlights:



    Interesting reading. It is a a sad thing to compare and contrast the Dutch system with ours.

    But I'd like to leave out of that consideration the matter of the teaching and learning of Irish in our system. The position of Irish is decided by political ideology and not by educational criteria, so results in that area are decided by factors which are different from those for, let's say, the learning of English in the Nederlands. In short, the ideological purpose behind compulsory Irish is satisfied regardless of the amount of Irish actually learned by the pupils. Its language outcome is irrelevant to its political purpose. Everybody knows that we are not going to speak Irish.

    I don't know how long it would take for our Department of Education to advance towards those good aspects of the Dutch system. There is no evidence that they even want to. The teachers and the officials will easily frustrate any good intentions that Ruairi Quinn had at the start of his 'reign'.


  • Site Banned Posts: 2,037 ✭✭✭ paddyandy


    The Irish language simply does'nt work with imported subcultures and no doubt some people will turn that simple truth into a book .Guitars and Gaelge do not go together .Hollywood could never make a film in Irish it would not be funny at all .
    Gaelge is not sensuous just as many other languages are not and are suffering as well.Gaelge is a stunted rustic language kept alive in the Standardised Classroom Mode and is only just surviving .It never evolved properly it seems though i'm getting into the margins here .


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    paddyandy wrote: »
    The Irish language simply does'nt work with imported subcultures and no doubt some people will turn that simple truth into a book .Guitars and Gaelge do not go together .Hollywood could never make a film in Irish it would not be funny at all .
    Gaelge is not sensuous just as many other languages are not and are suffering as well.Gaelge is a stunted rustic language kept alive in the Standardised Classroom Mode and is only just surviving .It never evolved properly it seems though i'm getting into the margins here .

    Irish as a language could reflect any culture, I'm sure. If it were used for a hundred years in the service of a community of advanced education living in an advanced multi-faceted modern society. But as you say, it in fact only exists in a Standardised Classroom Mode. As such it can continue indefinately, as long as it serves its symbolic purpose with our political "leaders" and as long as it provides economic benefits for a certain elite.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,922 ✭✭✭✭ Buttonftw


    For those hours required to learn a language I find it interesting how many trilingual Europeans I've come across who only started learning their non-native language around 12 or 13.


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    Buttonftw wrote: »
    For those hours required to learn a language I find it interesting how many trilingual Europeans I've come across who only started learning their non-native language around 12 or 13.

    The fundamental and essential requirement for learning anything is that the learner wants to learn it. Irish students, in the main, don't want to learn Irish. So, in the main, it is not learned.

    The only strange thing about this well known fact is that the politicians shy away from admitting it. 'Ming' Flanagan, on the last day of debate on the Gaeltacht Bill put it up to the T'D's but you could nearly hear their knees knocking at hearing a bit of the truth being told.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    paddyandy wrote: »
    The Irish language simply does'nt work with imported subcultures and no doubt some people will turn that simple truth into a book .Guitars and Gaelge do not go together .Hollywood could never make a film in Irish it would not be funny at all .
    Gaelge is not sensuous just as many other languages are not and are suffering as well.Gaelge is a stunted rustic language kept alive in the Standardised Classroom Mode and is only just surviving .It never evolved properly it seems though i'm getting into the margins here .

    I'm sorry what's so "rustic"/"un-evolved" about it? Like any language any topic can be discussed, are you claiming that people never spoke about music/popular culture through the medium of language when it was still majority language of the island (prior to 1800)? Let alone when it was the language of the elite of the population (prior to 1700)?

    There are translations of works such as the Aenid into Irish from as early as the 11th century. It was very much a literary language, there's for example more manuscript texts in Irish about Medicine from medieval period then all other European vernacular languages put together (Latin was used instead). Along with one of largest collections of satire and poetry from any European language during the period.

    There is at least one Irish translation of De Scientia Motus Orbis that dates to the 14th century. This text which dates to 9th century Persia had originally been translated from Arabic to Latin. The latin version was translated to Irish. Here's how you explain Lunar eclipses in a Geocentric model of the Solar system:

    face94.gif


    Another astronomical text from the mid 16th century is "Ranna an aeir" (The Constellations). In it the author talks about the individual constellations and gives brief paragraph about mythological story behind their name from Greco-Roman world.

    So for example: "Minerva's battle-shield" = "cath-sgiath Meinerbha" (Sciath is modern spelling of medieval sgiath) -- taken from story of Perseus and the gorgon Medusa.

    In general I agree with Interest in History, most Irish people just couldn't be arsed, it's the usual "awh sure, It'll be grand". The same of course applies to the poor standards of Continental languages in Irish people. Compare to most Europeans we have very poor rates of language uptake. Why is this? Because in general we couldn't be arsed, "sure everyone speaks english, why do I need to learn German/French/Spanish etc."

    In my own opinion the state has been the languages worst enemy, put it on a pedestal for cermonial purposes, but completely ignore the viability of actual language community (massive de-population/emigration from Irish speaking areas from independence till now, unemployment of 25-40% in parts of Gaeltacht etc). What's interesting as well is there are elments in the civil service who are actually against the expansion of Irish medium education. No doubt because it's driven by parental demand/community actions, as opposed to be been announced from above.

    After all they basically stop recognizing new Gaelscoileanna in period 2006-2011. That and the proposal for Gaelchólaiste in North Kildare was turned down:
    Coiste Bunaithe approached An Foras Patrúnachta to apply for patronage of “new” Maynooth Post-Primary School and designate it as a Gaelcholáiste.
    There has been very strong Department of Education opposition for this application, the expression of interest made by An Foras Patrúnachta in applying for patronage of the new Maynooth school has not been registered on the DES website.
    Application for patronage made on February 24th, 2012.
    Letter received by the Department of Education in March 2012 stating that the application will not be considered because Maynooth is not a designated area for a Gaelcholáiste.

    Even though there are already four Gaelscoileanna in North Kildare (total of 1,200 students) which would act as feeders -- 88% of parents said they would like children to continue their education in a Gaelchólaiste.


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    dubhthach wrote: »
    ...............

    In general I agree with Interest in History, most Irish people just couldn't be arsed, it's the usual "awh sure, It'll be grand". The same of course applies to the poor standards of Continental languages in Irish people. Compare to most Europeans we have very poor rates of language uptake. Why is this? Because in general we couldn't be arsed, "sure everyone speaks english, why do I need to learn German/French/Spanish etc."

    In my own opinion the state has been the languages worst enemy, put it on a pedestal for cermonial purposes, but completely ignore the viability of actual language community (massive de-population/emigration from Irish speaking areas from independence till now, unemployment of 25-40% in parts of Gaeltacht etc). What's interesting as well is there are elments in the civil service who are actually against the expansion of Irish medium education. No doubt because it's driven by parental demand/community actions, as opposed to be been announced from above.

    After all they basically stop recognizing new Gaelscoileanna in period 2006-2011. That and the proposal for Gaelchólaiste in North Kildare was turned down:

    Even though there are already four Gaelscoileanna in North Kildare (total of 1,200 students) which would act as feeders -- 88% of parents said they would like children to continue their education in a Gaelchólaiste.


    Yes - the State (i.e.the stae officials') relationship with Irish is distorted to the point of being weird. Why on earth a government should think that it has a duty to change its population's language is itself weird. All they have to do to get it right is to provide Irish-language facilities to those who want them and leave it at that without further favoritism or duress. E.g.: no extra 10% marks for the Leaving Cert in Irish and nobody forced to do Irish in the Leaving Cert if they don't want to.

    But let's remember - the lack of clear thinking and of moral courage by our Oireachtas members is a pervasive characteristic. Topsy-turvy policies don't only apply to Irish. Why should we be surprised that they made a bags of Irish when we can see how they've made a bags of our independence overall.


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    I would disagree, in the education sector, knowing Irish is a real economic benefit, not just because you can get a job as an Irish teacher, but because the Gaelscoil movement is growing so fast, there is a real demand for highly competent Irish speakers to take primary teaching posts, and the growth of the Gaelcholaistí(second level) means that competence in Irish is an economic advantage for someone studying to be a teacher no matter what their chosen subject is, Personally I am currently studying to be a secondry school metalwork teacher, and have applied to do my teaching practice in the Gaeltacht, these options are open to everyone now because there are jobs, and a growing number of jobs at that, available that require that skill set. When it comes to finding a job when I leave Uni, I will have more options than my non-Irish seaking classmates.

    The media is another area where fluency in Irish is a real advantage, it is much easier to make your way up the ranks through Irish language media and then break out into English media than it is to work your way up through English media because there is much less competition for the places available in the Irish language sector. Just look at how many of RTÉ's current presenters started out through Irish.

    As for translating state services into Irish, if you don't do that then we are back to the same old situation where the state requires you to learn Irish when your in school, but won't let you use it when you leave.

    Agreed, as to your examples. But I think I am still correct in saying that these are all state-created opportunites as part of the support for Irish usage which would not otherwise exist.

    Obviously all of the people availing of these employment opportunities to-day have English as their mother tongue. Obviously all those watching RTE TV and TG4 are native English speakers except, I suppose, for a few older people. And obviously your future metal-work pupils will all be native English-speakers. So the programme of state employment created around the use of Irish serves a political objective and not a linguistic one. As such, it answers to its own (political) logic.


  • Site Banned Posts: 2,037 ✭✭✭ paddyandy


    Every simple fact becomes an essay and then a long winded argument morphing into a book because books are business .In the end the people will decide how the Language continues and children who can't or won't speak it after fourteen years learning it does'nt offer much hope but it will survive like an Aul maw that dozes by the fire and comes to life now and again an mutters awhile and returns to sleep .Handy exhibit when the local td visits .


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    paddyandy wrote: »
    Every simple fact becomes an essay and then a long winded argument morphing into a book because books are business .In the end the people will decide how the Language continues and children who can't or won't speak it after fourteen years learning it does'nt offer much hope but it will survive like an Aul maw that dozes by the fire and comes to life now and again an mutters awhile and returns to sleep .Handy exhibit when the local td visits .

    Good image. Good laugh...

    (Q: Will she be getting a grant as she dozes?)


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,677 deise go deo



    Obviously all of the people availing of these employment opportunities to-day have English as their mother tongue. Obviously all those watching RTE TV and TG4 are native English speakers except, I suppose, for a few older people. And obviously your future metal-work pupils will all be native English-speakers. So the programme of state employment created around the use of Irish serves a political objective and not a linguistic one. As such, it answers to its own (political) logic.

    That's neither obvious nor true, there are still (Tens of) thousands of people for whom Irish is their mother tongue, many people, especially in Gaeltacht areas, who avail of these jobs are native Irish speakers, that they can also speak English is neither here nor there.

    You seem intent on painting a picture where Government interference is all one way, that Irish is given preferential treatment. The reality however is that there are areas where the majority of the population is native Irish speaking, and that the Government and Civil Service is still unable and unwilling to provide even basic services in those communities in Irish.

    The state has made it abundantly clear that, whatever about Irish being compulsory in the classroom, English is compulsory everywhere else, whether the area is majority Irish speaking or not, whether you are a native Irish speaker or not.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,934 ✭✭✭ robp


    paddyandy wrote: »
    The Irish language simply does'nt work with imported subcultures and no doubt some people will turn that simple truth into a book .Guitars and Gaelge do not go together .Hollywood could never make a film in Irish it would not be funny at all .
    Gaelge is not sensuous just as many other languages are not and are suffering as well.Gaelge is a stunted rustic language kept alive in the Standardised Classroom Mode and is only just surviving .It never evolved properly it seems though i'm getting into the margins here .

    In the 19th centuary academics actually believed this kind of nonsense. People thought language influences behaviour E.g. Germans are orderly because their language is so regular. There are many claimed examples of this idea but its false. For instance German is actually a very complicated and unordered language.

    The point is, people create language and not the other way round. Even the most primitive language can be used to explain complex ideas or humour. Language is extraordinarily flexible, otherwise it would be quickly forgotten. there is no such thing as a 'rustic' language, only a perception of what rustic life sounds like. That exists in your mind but not mine.

    The only big difference within languages occurs between languages without written word and those that have written word. When writing is introduced the number of words can drastically increase. Funnily enough Irish has been written down for longer than English!


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    That's neither obvious nor true, there are still (Tens of) thousands of people for whom Irish is their mother tongue, many people, especially in Gaeltacht areas, who avail of these jobs are native Irish speakers, that they can also speak English is neither here nor there. .

    I wonder if, over time, the recent Gaeltacht Act will take this question out of the area of generalisations? It provides for the numbers of irish speakers in each of the Gaeltacht sub-sections to be counted.

    But of course, for basic reasons of their number as a fraction of the population, the number of Gaeltacht residents who benefit from the state-provided jobs will always be quite small compared to the number coming from the nation-wide gaelscoileanna. And as we know, having Irish as your mother tongue is not a requirement for those jobs anyway.

    I think that over the nine decades of independence the state agencies have done thier best to protect Irish. I really don't know what else the state could have done.


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    robp wrote: »
    The only big difference within languages occurs between languages without written word and those that have written word. When writing is introduced the number of words can drastically increase. Funnily enough Irish has been written down for longer than English!

    Obviously the English, German, Spanish or mandarin languages don't trump all others because of their grammatical structures. Would anybody claim that?

    But for suitability for coping with the modern (actual) world there is another factor - span and depth of the usage of a particular language in that actual world. When a language is in use accross large communities with the full range of social expression and in all contexts from nuclear physics to drama to sport and politics it has obvious advantages as a medium of communication for the modern person.

    Irish is not such a language.


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭ Jan Hus


    Of course there is - Gaelic is like Ancient Sanskrit


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    Jan Hus wrote: »
    Of course there is - Gaelic is like Ancient Sanskrit

    If you are going to make a comparison to Sanskrit you need to at least use "Old Irish" as your starting position, if not more suitable "Archaic Irish" (though it's corpus is limited to Ogham)


  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭ Interest in History


    dubhthach wrote: »
    If you are going to make a comparison to Sanskrit you need to at least use "Old Irish" as your starting position, if not more suitable "Archaic Irish" (though it's corpus is limited to Ogham)

    I doubt if these distinctions have much connection with the lack of enthusiasm for the Reivival of Irish by the currently living Irish nation.

    Their lack of enthusiasm is well explained in "Compulsory Irish" by A Kelly; "Preventing the Future - Why Ireland was so poor for so long" by T Garvin or "The Revival of Irish - failed project of a political elite" by D Flynn.


  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭ Jan Hus


    dubhthach wrote: »

    If you are going to make a comparison to Sanskrit you need to at least use "Old Irish" as your starting position, if not more suitable "Archaic Irish" (though it's corpus is limited to Ogham)
    Ogham was never a language. Latin has uses in science (and is actually in this writer's view an interesting and beautiful language). Gaelic on the other hand was only spoken by a primitive people on the edge of Europe who contributed very little to continental culture.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 58,881 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Jan Hus wrote: »
    Ogham was never a language. Latin has uses in science (and is actually in this writer's view an interesting and beautiful language).
    (old)Irish and Latin are very similar.
    Gaelic on the other hand was only spoken by a primitive people on the edge of Europe who contributed very little to continental culture.
    Maybe you need to read some histories of the early medieval period of European history. Actually, there's no maybe about it as you're speaking from a position of real ignorance on this subject. The Irish monastic movement and scholarship that came with it changed the intellectual and cultural maps of the time. Changed the actual maps too. Cities like Bobbio, Taranto, Liège, Auxerre, Wurzburg, Salzburg, and Vienna and many others came about because of traveling Irish monks. Bobbio in Italy was one of the finest storehouse of knowledge in medieval Europe and was founded by a bloke from Leinster. As a Chronicler of the 9th century(from Auxerre) whose name escapes commented "almost all the land of Irish, despising the sea, are migrating to our shores with so many philosophers. Bernard of Clairvaux spoke of the "throngs of Irish saints flooding into Europe". All of Europe regarded Ireland as the centre of scholarship and learning and religious peity at the time. The so called "land of saints and scholars".

    They made it as far as Kiev in the east down to Sicily in the south and made it to Palestine, founding centres of learning in their wake the ruins of the echo of the Roman empire. Without them and those who had studied under them(like Alcuin of York) Charlemagne's Carolingian renaissance would likely never have happened to the degree it did. Charlemagne appointed the irish monk Dungal to the small school(at the time) in Paris. He turned it into a university, one of the first to come along. IN writing people like Marcus influenced such later giants as Dante, John Scottus was a major figure of philosophy. The lists of influential figures hailing from Ireland in the early medieval is a long one and their influence informed a newly forming christian Europe. As one writer commented without them the spread of Islam may well have gotten a lot further. We'd likely have lost a few versions of classical literature too. Oh and they were all native Irish speakers, with a throng of other languages thrown in. Oh and by the by, you see those spaces we have between the written word? Yea well they invented that too.

    Like I said, read more. Primitive people my hole.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭ Jan Hus


    Wibbs wrote: »
    (old)Irish and Latin are very similar.Maybe you need to read some histories of the early medieval period of European history. Actually, there's no maybe about it as you're speaking from a position of real ignorance on this subject. The Irish monastic movement and scholarship that came with it changed the intellectual and cultural maps of the time. Changed the actual maps too. Cities like Bobbio, Taranto, Liège, Auxerre, Wurzburg, Salzburg, and Vienna and many others came about because of traveling Irish monks. Bobbio in Italy was one of the finest storehouse of knowledge in medieval Europe and was founded by a bloke from Leinster. As a Chronicler of the 9th century(from Auxerre) whose name escapes commented "almost all the land of Irish, despising the sea, are migrating to our shores with so many philosophers. Bernard of Clairvaux spoke of the "throngs of Irish saints flooding into Europe". All of Europe regarded Ireland as the centre of scholarship and learning and religious peity at the time. The so called "land of saints and scholars".

    They made it as far as Kiev in the east down to Sicily in the south and made it to Palestine, founding centres of learning in their wake the ruins of the echo of the Roman empire. Without them and those who had studied under them(like Alcuin of York) Charlemagne's Carolingian renaissance would likely never have happened to the degree it did. Charlemagne appointed the irish monk Dungal to the small school(at the time) in Paris. He turned it into a university, one of the first to come along. IN writing people like Marcus influenced such later giants as Dante, John Scottus was a major figure of philosophy. The lists of influential figures hailing from Ireland in the early medieval is a long one and their influence informed a newly forming christian Europe. As one writer commented without them the spread of Islam may well have gotten a lot further. We'd likely have lost a few versions of classical literature too. Oh and they were all native Irish speakers, with a throng of other languages thrown in. Oh and by the by, you see those spaces we have between the written word? Yea well they invented that too.

    Like I said, read more. Primitive people my hole.

    Writing I was acutely aware of the period known as the Irish Golden Age. But if anything the rise of Ireland in continental intellectual affairs was due in most part to a complete lack of alternative. Debatably Gaelic made it more difficult for the Irish people to participate in this area simply because it is not Latin - the tongue of the educated.
    Oh, and reading through your post you note that "Charlemagne appointed the irish monk Dungal to the small school(at the time) in Paris." To the best of my knowledge this would have come about during the period the Vikings were rampaging Ireland, not the Golden Era(I'm quoting from memory here.) As for Palestine, from what I've read the priests there were not very sophisticated. A good few were out and out anti-Semites who's idea of religious piety was to live on the top of poles. And spaces Ireland also invented the @ symbol. This was not reincarnated until the information age.
    You mentioned that the Irish reached Kiev. The Russian prince there was no friend to the Byzantines (a pagan too if memory serves me right). Thus if they helped him they were helping the Muslims. Vienna was settled back in the Roman era (although the Irish did set up a monastery there - they also set up one at Fore here in Ireland during the 12th century. Fore is now a ghost town.)
    A lot of these stories were exaggerated to make up for our national inferiority complex. St Brennan did not reach America.
    We imported a lot from Europe too around this era, it was not all giving. The emblem of Connaught for example came from Germany.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 103 ✭✭ Jan Hus


    I have read quite a few books on the history of Europe in this time period (and more on the High Middle Ages), the Dark Ages of Europe's main story was the continuation of the Byzantine Empire and the stirrings of Hungary. Justinian would probably have been the main figure and Constantinople the main intellectual centre.
    I have read little on Ireland in this period though. Can you recommend any books?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 58,881 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    Jan Hus wrote: »
    Debatably Gaelic made it more difficult for the Irish people to participate in this area simply because it is not Latin - the tongue of the educated.
    Didnt seem to hinder them much. Mainly because as I pointed out Latin and Old Irish are very similar in structure. Where's Enkidu when you need him. He had a very good post on the subject a while back. By the by, the "tongue of the educated" had already started to diverge by that stage. Vulgate Latin was different in what is now France compared to say Germany or Italy. Plus the educated were quite the endangered species in Europe. Libraries were very rare. IIRC there was one in Bordeaux, but it was quite small. Rome had one, but books were also being burned for firewood. It got so bad that one of the popes of the time threatened excommunication for burning books and taking worked stone from the old decaying ruins. The libraries in Ireland, protected from the rot of the long fall of Rome were quite extensive by comparison. European scholars were coming here too because of the relative safety and welcome afforded. They would likely have learned Irish when they did. The Venerable Bede in England had some. In turn the Irish got books in Latin, some Greek and even Hebrew and started to copy and examine and expand on them. Indeed when John Scottus got to Rome the popes greatest Greek scholar was flabbergasted when John corrected him on some point of grammar. Then agai oul John took the piss when ever he had opportunity. Once in conversation and beer drinking with one of Charlemagnes successors(whose name escapes) the king asked him "what's the difference between a drunkard and an Irishman?" John replied "Ohh about the width of this table" :D Interesting bloke.
    Oh, and reading through your post you note that "Charlemagne appointed the irish monk Dungal to the small school(at the time) in Paris." To the best of my knowledge this would have come about during the period the Vikings were rampaging Ireland, not the Golden Era(I'm quoting from memory here.)
    So? It shows their influence continued as did the era of learning.
    As for Palestine, from what I've read the priests there were not very sophisticated. A good few were out and out anti-Semites who's idea of religious piety was to live on the top of poles.
    Completely unconnected to Irish monks. Plus some of the greatest and earliest seats of christian learning where in that neck of the woods.
    And spaces Ireland also invented the @ symbol. This was not reincarnated until the information age.
    The history of the at symbol is up in the air. It might have been an Irish thing, but evidence is slim enough and it was fashionable/used quite a bit before the information age.
    You mentioned that the Irish reached Kiev. The Russian prince there was no friend to the Byzantines (a pagan too if memory serves me right). Thus if they helped him they were helping the Muslims.
    What? Yea, like the Pagans liked Muslims and vice versa and Irish church monks would have helped the Muslims.
    A lot of these stories were exaggerated to make up for our national inferiority complex.
    Slight problem with that. At the time of their writing we didn't have a "national inferiority complex". Quite the opposite. That came later.
    St Brennan did not reach America.
    It's Brendan as in Brendan the Navigator. Did he reach the Americas? Who knows? He, or others who influenced the story(there was a previous very similar storyline) may well have. The Vikings made it and Tim Severin in the 1970's proved it could certainly have been done using the boat building technology of the time. Indeed the hide cased craft was more flexible when encountering the pack ice and could be repaired at sea, where wood was more vulnerable(the traditional Eskimo kayak was basically a longer currach in design). They certainly built ocean going currachs at the time and made fair old journeys in them. Brendan, or who ever influenced the story/stories certainly made it to the Faroe islands(B called it the island of sheep, Faroe means sheep), Iceland and likely Greenland. Newfoundland isn't so far away.
    We imported a lot from Europe too around this era, it was not all giving. The emblem of Connaught for example came from Germany.
    Who said it was all giving? No culture is an island, except geographically. The flag of Connacht illustrates this, by likely coming back from central Europe because of Irish monastic influence in the area. Interestingly they didn't bring back much in the way of building techniques. The stone buildings and round towers being near neolithic in construction with the addition of basic mortar.

    Anyhoooo... I was simply pointing out the ignorance of your original statement concerning "primitives on the edge of Europe".

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 871 ✭✭✭ deirdremf


    I don't think that the decline in the Irish language can be taken out of the context of the Cromwellian settlement and the Williamite wars.
    1. The Cromwelliam settlement introduced a new landowning class into Ireland, from England. These people settled all over Ireland, and set up a new society, an English-speaking society, which for the first time coverd virtually the whole country.
    2. The Williamite wars and the defeat of the Stuarts led to a reinforcement of the society mentioned above. They came close to losing their grip on the country, and on an individual basis, on the land they had settled forty years before. They were determined that this wouldn't happen again, and they set up a society where catholics were discriminated against, particularly landed catholics, and the professional classes (poets, lawyers, the clergy etc)

    This new society functioned entirely through English, and while it didn't directly suppress Irish, it completely marginalised it. Over the course of the 18th century, a catholic middle class grew up - similar to the catholic middle class in the north today - serving the needs of the catholic population on the one hand and acting as intermediaries with the new ruling class on the other, as land agents, factors etc. In order to function this class had to learn English. And just as happened in the Americas (wherever the natives were not wiped out by killing them or by disease), the rulers' language came to be spoken first by the indigenous gentry and middle class, and then by the working class.

    As regards Irish people losing their language quickly in the States, I'd make two points here:
    a. Many Irish people who emigrated to the States already spoke English, and saw English as a route to integration for their children. Indeed, in the second half of the 19th century many of them spoke only English.
    b. This meant that while individual families could and in some cases did continue to speak Irish for generations (see the book "Crannóga" by Liam Ó Sé), it was virtually impossible for Irish-speaking communities to form and endure.
    Living in Ireland today, with the shards of the Celtic Tiger around us, we all hear recent immigrants speaking to their children in the streets - and in many cases, they speak English to their children, so the Irish in the States were in no way a major exception.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 169 ✭✭ kodoherty93


    I cant understand why Irish cant be treated like Spanish is treated in the US. For example midwestern and northern US states have few Spanish speakers and therefore there is little need for documents to be in Spanish eg election ballot papers and any other official documents.

    However states that border mexico have huge Spanish speaking population therefore all signs and state documents in these states are in Spanish.

    I cant understand the use of signs in Irish or bilingual signs in Dublin city, where a large amount of residents are non-national. eg I seen a seen for road safety in Irish on the bus. What use is that if half the bus don't have English as they're first language.

    The greatest waste of tax payers money is on teaching Irish. Its does nothing to increase career benefits for students or have the potential to increase economic growth. However teaching German to children at 4-5 years would make them fluent by the time they leave school.

    Irish people could emigrate within Europe other than the UK. Also when a multi-national looks for a thousand English speakers plus European language an Irish person could get that job.

    Irish speaking numbers wont increase. Im 19 years old and anyone I know who has gone to a gaelscoil said they would not send their child. That its so hard to learn everything in Irish and even they get to college they have to either learn all the body parts if theyre doing science in English as they only know them in Irish or translate their book in Irish


  • Registered Users Posts: 871 ✭✭✭ deirdremf


    I cant understand the use of signs in Irish or bilingual signs in Dublin city,
    Possibly because it's in Ireland?
    where a large amount of residents are non-national. eg I seen a seen for road safety in Irish on the bus. What use is that if half the bus don't have English as they're first language.
    So you feel that our main concern should be to cater to the foreign people living in our midst?
    As someone who has lived abroad for years, I feel that you should always aim to become competent in the language of the place you live in, as I did when I was living abroad.
    ..... However teaching German to children at 4-5 years would make them fluent by the time they leave school.

    Irish people could emigrate within Europe other than the UK
    .
    And setting things up so that people are not forced to emigrate might be a better use of public resources than teaching them German and fúcking them out of the country which will be no more than a variation on the policy that has been in place at least since the Wild Geese left in the 1690s.
    Also when a multi-national looks for a thousand English speakers plus European language an Irish person could get that job.
    They want people with native language skills. Very few people in Ireland are ever going to have that level of a second language, unless they get the language from their parents. So the multinationals will continue to employ foreigners for the jobs. Or do you feel that a guy from Latvia working in a call centre will be able to deal with someone ringing in from Glasgae or Gurranenabraher?
    Irish speaking numbers wont increase. Im 19 years old and anyone I know who has gone to a gaelscoil said they would not send their child. That its so hard to learn everything in Irish and even they get to college they have to either learn all the body parts if theyre doing science in English as they only know them in Irish or translate their book in Irish
    Funny, I have children at a Gaelscoil, and guess what? Loads of the kids going there have parents who went to a Gaelscoil themselves.

    I guess that as you're 19 you haven't thought very deeply about these matters, so I will forgive you your ignorance: it takes a lot of time and effort to get genuine information on the subject. I don't say that to put you down, but if you wish to argue the matter further, you need more than a few anti-Irish feelings spewed out through the keyboard.


  • Registered Users Posts: 871 ✭✭✭ deirdremf


    As for translating state services into Irish, if you don't do that then we are back to the same old situation where the state requires you to learn Irish when your in school, but won't let you use it when you leave.
    This seems to be a way of providing services in Irish.
    Except it doesn't happen. Some forms are provided in Irish, annual reports written in English gobbledygook are translated in Irish gobbledygook, but services do not get provided in Irish. That is if you feel, as I do, that a service usually involves dealing with a person rather than a piece of paper.
    To give you an example, in conversation with a friend who is principal of a gaelscoil said that she doesn't even write to the Dept of Education in Irish any more, as the letter is first sent from one department to another to be translated, it is then sent back, dealt with by an English speaking official, sent off again to be translated into Irish, sent back to the official, and then returned to the school. The whole process can take a fortnight extra or longer compared to a letter written in English, and is of course a waste of public resources.
    An acquaintance who was present, principal of another Gaelscoil, agreed that there was no point writing to the dept. in Irish, for the reasons outlined.

    My solution would be for the Dept of Education to set up an office to deal with all Irish-language matters, headed by someone at the top of the heap (necessary if they are to be able to work without constantly referring back to an office which cannot deal with Irish). Locate the office in the Gaeltacht. Employ only people who can work through Irish, take them on as people elsewhere in the department retire. As there will be no extra work involved (less in fact, in my example) there will be no extra cost to the public purse.

    The other big departments and public bodies should do the same (I'd be thinking of the Depts of Social Welfare and Health, and the HSE primarily).

    Benefits?
    1. No duplication of services owing to people having to translate and retranslate correspondence, have it dealt with in Irish, ditto, if people ring in they will be dealt with in Irish, saving time, no searching for "the Irish speaker in the department" who might turn out to be on holidays etc.
    Savings in time lost to the civil service and the member of the public - and as we know, time is money, we've heard that often enough.
    2. Provision of employment to Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht, with a strengthening of the social structure owing to those taken on being able to continue living in the Gaeltacht.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 169 ✭✭ kodoherty93


    deirdremf wrote: »
    Possibly because it's in Ireland?
    So you feel that our main concern should be to cater to the foreign people living in our midst?
    As someone who has lived abroad for years, I feel that you should always aim to become competent in the language of the place you live in, as I did when I was living abroad.
    And setting things up so that people are not forced to emigrate might be a better use of public resources than teaching them German and fúcking them out of the country which will be no more than a variation on the policy that has been in place at least since the Wild Geese left in the 1690s.
    They want people with native language skills. Very few people in Ireland are ever going to have that level of a second language, unless they get the language from their parents. So the multinationals will continue to employ foreigners for the jobs. Or do you feel that a guy from Latvia working in a call centre will be able to deal with someone ringing in from Glasgae or Gurranenabraher?
    Funny, I have children at a Gaelscoil, and guess what? Loads of the kids going there have parents who went to a Gaelscoil themselves.

    I guess that as you're 19 you haven't thought very deeply about these matters, so I will forgive you your ignorance: it takes a lot of time and effort to get genuine information on the subject. I don't say that to put you down, but if you wish to argue the matter further, you need more than a few anti-Irish feelings spewed out through the keyboard.


    So what if Dublin is in Ireland. Dubliners have totally different values to people outside Dublin and what a person values in Kerry a dubliners would laugh at.

    Non-national should learn the language which 98% of people use on a daily basis not the 2%. It's Possible for people to learn a second language if it's taught properly such as in the Netherlands where most people speak English fluently.

    I'm not ignorant but I think it's a BS forced on people because they think if makes us more Irish or unlike the British. Being Irish is more speaking something which i have only heard once being used outside the classroom( 2 donegal girls on a bus). Italian Americans are so proud of their heritage but don't learn Italian because they won't use it on a daily basis.

    If people want to learn and speak Irish fine. But just dont assume everyone does but realistically they dont and theyre was a book written 3 years which said not everyone wanted to learn.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 58,881 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    deirdremf wrote: »
    I don't think that the decline in the Irish language can be taken out of the context of the Cromwellian settlement and the Williamite wars.
    1. The Cromwelliam settlement introduced a new landowning class into Ireland, from England. These people settled all over Ireland, and set up a new society, an English-speaking society, which for the first time coverd virtually the whole country.
    2. The Williamite wars and the defeat of the Stuarts led to a reinforcement of the society mentioned above. They came close to losing their grip on the country, and on an individual basis, on the land they had settled forty years before. They were determined that this wouldn't happen again, and they set up a society where catholics were discriminated against, particularly landed catholics, and the professional classes (poets, lawyers, the clergy etc)

    This new society functioned entirely through English, and while it didn't directly suppress Irish, it completely marginalised it. Over the course of the 18th century, a catholic middle class grew up - similar to the catholic middle class in the north today - serving the needs of the catholic population on the one hand and acting as intermediaries with the new ruling class on the other, as land agents, factors etc. In order to function this class had to learn English. And just as happened in the Americas (wherever the natives were not wiped out by killing them or by disease), the rulers' language came to be spoken first by the indigenous gentry and middle class, and then by the working class.
    Well put and I would agree. It's a very common trajectory of language decline in the face of colonising powers(both military/political and cultural) and economics. The "smaller" language gets marginalised and usually dies out. It doesn't answer why the majority in this country pay lip service to the language. Often very strong and strident lip service, but as Bearla and it seems will drop the language at the first opportunity. Look at the early civil service in the nascent Irish state. The language was promoted and made compulsory so you ended up with daily use in the service. The second that daily requirement was dropped, it went to English almost overnight. And bear in mind these were people who had fluency in the language, not kids numbed from Peig.

    The Irish language seems to me almost akin to an analogy of a drowning man. He claims loudly he wants to live, and will float if he has a lifejacket on, but the second the air is let out he sinks beneath the waves still protesting he wants to live.
    a. Many Irish people who emigrated to the States already spoke English, and saw English as a route to integration for their children. Indeed, in the second half of the 19th century many of them spoke only English.
    b. This meant that while individual families could and in some cases did continue to speak Irish for generations (see the book "Crannóga" by Liam Ó Sé), it was virtually impossible for Irish-speaking communities to form and endure.
    Living in Ireland today, with the shards of the Celtic Tiger around us, we all hear recent immigrants speaking to their children in the streets - and in many cases, they speak English to their children, so the Irish in the States were in no way a major exception.
    Oh most certainly these were major factors, but when compared to other groups we do seem to have lost the language remarkably quickly, certainly by comparison to other immigrant groups. EG contrary to what kodoherty93 wrote quite a number of Italian Americans who've been there for many generations still have Italian. There are German Americans who still speak German(IIRC in one of the square states it's the second most spoken language). Quite the number of Polish Americans have some of the language. Yiddish is more like Irish in that it held on for a while, but after a couple of generations the Jewish kids stopped speaking it, but even there there's nigh on two hundred thousand who still have it. The Chinese diaspora have been in the US for about the same amount of time as the Irish diaspora and various dialects of Chinese are the third or forth most spoken language in the US today. There are nearly 8 times more Dutch speakers in the US than Irish speakers(and given the self reported stats for Irish language use in Ireland that figure is likely higher). Like I say we do stand out somewhat in this. Even more odd given the size of the population with Irish ancestry and odd for a population who are more than happy to vocally proclaim their wearing of the green. Put it another way I can't think of another US diaspora where their native language is spoken so little.

    EDIT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_the_United_States Bloody hell my memory is better than I'd hoped. :D Anyway look down the list. Irish Americans number 37 million, one of the largest diasporas in the place, yet the Irish language is way down the list of spoken languages at seventy sixth. So yea, I'm afraid you're slightly inaccurate as going by the stats we are indeed a "major exception".

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 58,881 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs


    deirdremf wrote: »
    Possibly because it's in Ireland?
    So you feel that our main concern should be to cater to the foreign people living in our midst?
    I suppose he might argue that we already are, only it's with Irish, a "foreign" language for the vast majority of Irish people. Actually IMH a good start would be to acknowledge that and treat and teach it like the foreign language it actually is for the majority.
    I guess that as you're 19 you haven't thought very deeply about these matters, so I will forgive you your ignorance: it takes a lot of time and effort to get genuine information on the subject. I don't say that to put you down, but if you wish to argue the matter further, you need more than a few anti-Irish feelings spewed out through the keyboard.
    With respect it's this attitude that is unfortunately all too common among Irish language enthusiasts that can be a major sticking point. There is all too often "ignorance" on both sides of this argument. Plus bear in mind that though he/she may be "only 19", that's the future non learner of the language and parent of non learners of the language and he/she would not be alone in their views. The Gaelsccoils may shore up the difference, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. There were quite the number of Irish speaking schools in the past. My own mother was schooled in the language in the 40's, in Dublin no less and can't speak a word of it today and lost it when she left school(ditto for all her schoolmates). At a time when the Irish language requirement for various careers was significantly higher than today.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 89 ✭✭✭ ivyQ


    dubhthach wrote: »
    If you are going to make a comparison to Sanskrit you need to at least use "Old Irish" as your starting position, if not more suitable "Archaic Irish" (though it's corpus is limited to Ogham)

    please explain what both these terms mean ....


Advertisement