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The Irish Language and the Irish Government

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  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    Its weird but maybe expected that this descended into a debate about the level of oppression or otherwise experienced by the Irish people historically.

    Again, Im just saying that the Government isnt doing what it says it is doing. Thats important news, in my opinion but the majority monolingual English speaking population (and perhaps some of the Irish speaking population) dont care. This shows, at best, apathy towards the topic of language representation and rights or at worst outright contempt. All of these positions are defendable in a free democracy.

    Therefore, Im wondering if people would support a political party who's policy was to pull support for Irish, establish English as the first official language and do away with its policy of bilingualism?

    Is it politically expedient for them to do so?

    Or is it more politically expedient for them to continue with a policy of death by a thousand tiny cuts ? (This death by a thousand cuts thing is obviously debatable)


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,323 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Its weird but maybe expected that this descended into a debate about the level of oppression or otherwise experienced by the Irish people historically.

    Again, Im just saying that the Government isnt doing what it says it is doing. Thats important news, in my opinion but the majority monolingual English speaking population (and perhaps some of the Irish speaking population) dont care. This shows, at best, apathy towards the topic of language representation and rights or at worst outright contempt. All of these positions are defendable in a free democracy.

    Therefore, Im wondering if people would support a political party who's policy was to pull support for Irish, establish English as the first official language and do away with its policy of bilingualism?

    Is it politically expedient for them to do so?

    Or is it more politically expedient for them to continue with a policy of death by a thousand tiny cuts ? (This death by a thousand cuts thing is obviously debatable)


    You can apply the same analogy to many political positions. Here is another example:

    Every political party supports traveller housing, but none of them do anything about it. Every single party and group of independents has been in control of one local authority or another over the last decade, yet none have done a single thing about it. Yet, you won't find a single party put the abolition of the traveller lifestyle into their manifesto. Sure, some will be more hypocritical than others by claiming that they will change something, but all have been in a position to do something, but have done nothing.

    People want to see motherhood and apple pie statements from their political parties. "We will help the underprivileged" "We will improve traveller housing facilities" "We will support the special position of the Irish language" "We will ensure our elderly live with dignity" "We will tackle the problem of cheap alcohol".

    But the people don't necessarily want their government to do something about those, especially if it costs them money. Sometimes politicians forget this. I think that we will see a backlash against the alcohol legislation provisions once they are implemented. Yes, the people want to see problem drinking tackled, yes the people don't want kids drinking cheap alcohol, but did the voters of Ireland really want to see an end to Tesco's 25% off wine promotions?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    And by assure you mean you can't because you just made up that statistic now? Roughly 20,000 forms were completed as Gaeilge at the last census. If you assume an average household of 4 people you easily get the circa 80,000 daily speakers

    Ironic that someone accusing someone else of making up statistics is themselves making up a statistic. 8068 census forms were completed in Irish in 2016 (page 66 of that link), not 20,000.

    Given that 1.76Million people (37% of the population) claimed in the last census to be able to speak Irish, you would expect 37% of the 1.7million census forms to be completed in Irish ~ 628000 forms. Only ~8,000 forms being completed in Irish means that nearly 99% of self proclaimed Irish speakers completed the form in English.

    Looking at it another way, 8068 forms, at 2.75 people per household equals 22,187 people. Yet 73,803 claimed in the last census to speak Irish daily out of school (see same page on first link above). That means only 30% of self proclaimed "outside of school" daily Irish speakers completed the census form in Irish.

    Either way, the statistics clearly support Jellybaby1's claim.
    I'm not understanding the logic of lying about this?

    Tokenistic nationalism. I can speak a cupla focal therefore I'm more Irish (in some nebulous way) therefore I'm better than those who can't.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Therefore, Im wondering if people would support a political party who's policy was to pull support for Irish, establish English as the first official language and do away with its policy of bilingualism?

    Is it politically expedient for them to do so?

    Or is it more politically expedient for them to continue with a policy of death by a thousand tiny cuts ? (This death by a thousand cuts thing is obviously debatable)

    I would support a policy to pull support for the language but I wouldn't specifically look for a party to do so.
    I believe the language is dead and a massive waste of money. Even if we could bring it back (which would require massive restructuring of the course in school) we would be far better off encouraging bilingualism in languages actually used around the world.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,805 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    If the Gaelic language arrived here around 2700 bc then why do so many people insist on speaking what is essentially an Immigrant language?
    What were the True Irish prior to that point in history speaking?
    Should people not be trying to unearth the Original language spoken here?
    Just a thought.

    Do not post like this again please.

    Rescinded after discussion with poster.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



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  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    Ironic that someone accusing someone else of making up statistics is themselves making up a statistic. 8068 census forms were completed in Irish in 2016 (page 66 of that link), not 20,000.

    Given that 1.76Million people (37% of the population) claimed in the last census to be able to speak Irish, you would expect 37% of the 1.7million census forms to be completed in Irish ~ 628000 forms. Only ~8,000 forms being completed in Irish means that nearly 99% of self proclaimed Irish speakers completed the form in English.

    Looking at it another way, 8068 forms, at 2.75 people per household equals 22,187 people. Yet 73,803 claimed in the last census to speak Irish daily out of school (see same page on first link above). That means only 30% of self proclaimed "outside of school" daily Irish speakers completed the census form in Irish.

    Either way, the statistics clearly support Jellybaby1's claim.

    Tokenistic nationalism. I can speak a cupla focal therefore I'm more Irish (in some nebulous way) therefore I'm better than those who can't.

    So I think you are also wrong here in some of the things that you say. Because 37% of the population claim some capacity to be able to speak Irish (everything from a couple of words to fluency) doesnt mean that they would all be more proficient in Irish than English. That would be a very incorrect assumption on the face of it. Secondly, amongst people who actually do speak Irish daily, you have people who may be fluent at speaking the language and speak it daily but may not be confident enough in their spelling or writing etc. to fill out an entire census form in the language. So its definitely not a black or white issue there.
    Also, and this is important, not all of the daily Irish speakers are activists, some dont care that they complete a form in Irish, some just want to be done with completing a census form.
    I would support a policy to pull support for the language but I wouldn't specifically look for a party to do so.
    I believe the language is dead and a massive waste of money. Even if we could bring it back (which would require massive restructuring of the course in school) we would be far better off encouraging bilingualism in languages actually used around the world.

    Thank you for this, although I would push back on the claim that the language is dead. I think that you could say that Irish is a dying language and get away with it but in a linguistic context dead has a very set definition and whether Irish is dead linguistically is at the very least debatable and probably provably false.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,323 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    madbeanman wrote: »
    So I think you are also wrong here in some of the things that you say. Because 37% of the population claim some capacity to be able to speak Irish (everything from a couple of words to fluency) doesnt mean that they would all be more proficient in Irish than English. That would be a very incorrect assumption on the face of it. Secondly, amongst people who actually do speak Irish daily, you have people who may be fluent at speaking the language and speak it daily but may not be confident enough in their spelling or writing etc. to fill out an entire census form in the language. So its definitely not a black or white issue there.
    Also, and this is important, not all of the daily Irish speakers are activists, some dont care that they complete a form in Irish, some just want to be done with completing a census form.



    Thank you for this, although I would push back on the claim that the language is dead. I think that you could say that Irish is a dying language and get away with it but in a linguistic context dead has a very set definition and whether Irish is dead linguistically is at the very least debatable and probably provably false.


    I really don't understand the issue about not being able to fill out the form.

    We are trying to ascertain the number of people for whom Irish is the first language. If Irish is your first language, you should be well able to fill out the form as Gaeilge. What you are suggesting is that most of the people who claim to speak Irish daily are not doing so as their normal language of speaking.

    I expect that to be true. I have long suspected that the number of people who speak Irish as their main language are at best in the thousands, and certainly not in the tens of thousands, but may only be in the hundreds.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    madbeanman wrote: »
    So I think you are also wrong here in some of the things that you say. Because 37% of the population claim some capacity to be able to speak Irish (everything from a couple of words to fluency) doesnt mean that they would all be more proficient in Irish than English. That would be a very incorrect assumption on the face of it. Secondly, amongst people who actually do speak Irish daily, you have people who may be fluent at speaking the language and speak it daily but may not be confident enough in their spelling or writing etc. to fill out an entire census form in the language. So its definitely not a black or white issue there.
    Also, and this is important, not all of the daily Irish speakers are activists, some dont care that they complete a form in Irish, some just want to be done with completing a census form.

    37% don't claim some capacity, they claim to be able to speak Irish. There are a separate 111,473 who only speak it weekly and another 586,535 who speak it even less often. It's all on page 66 of the census summary.
    Secondly, if you can't fill a simple form because of a written language barrier (and the census is a very straightforward form, content wise), then can you really call yourself fluent in that language? Couldn't these people get the form in Irish and fill it out in English if all they were worried about was spelling?
    Lastly, you are right, many of the daily Irish speakers are not activists. About 70% in fact. They don't care enough about the language to use an Irish language census form. Even though they claim to speak Irish everyday and feel that is important enough to put on the English language census form. If even they don't care, then why should anyone else?
    madbeanman wrote: »
    Thank you for this, although I would push back on the claim that the language is dead. I think that you could say that Irish is a dying language and get away with it but in a linguistic context dead has a very set definition and whether Irish is dead linguistically is at the very least debatable and probably provably false.

    Fair enough. I would argue then it as close enough to dead as to make it a massive waste of time and money to try and bring it back, time and money better spent helping and encouraging Irish people to be bilingual in languages that are actually used around the world.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭LeinsterDub


    Ironic that someone accusing someone else of making up statistics is themselves making up a statistic. 8068 census forms were completed in Irish in 2016 (page 66 of that link), not 20,000.

    Given that 1.76Million people (37% of the population) claimed in the last census to be able to speak Irish, you would expect 37% of the 1.7million census forms to be completed in Irish ~ 628000 forms. Only ~8,000 forms being completed in Irish means that nearly 99% of self proclaimed Irish speakers completed the form in English.

    Looking at it another way, 8068 forms, at 2.75 people per household equals 22,187 people. Yet 73,803 claimed in the last census to speak Irish daily out of school (see same page on first link above). That means only 30% of self proclaimed "outside of school" daily Irish speakers completed the census form in Irish.

    Either way, the statistics clearly support Jellybaby1's claim.


    Tokenistic nationalism. I can speak a cupla focal therefore I'm more Irish (in some nebulous way) therefore I'm better than those who can't.

    My apologies I had 20,000 in mind for some reason and didn't bother googleing it. Silly me


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭LeinsterDub


    blanch152 wrote: »
    I still want to know who oppressed the speakers of Ogham.

    Ogham is a system of writing not a language


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭LeinsterDub


    Jellybaby1 wrote: »
    I am not lying. I have witnessed this. You can believe it or not, it doesn't matter to me, but it should be said as it happened, and for a thread like this people should know the truth.

    They aren't saying you're lying they're asking why someone would lie on the census


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,704 ✭✭✭✭RayCun


    They aren't saying you're lying they're asking why someone would lie on the census

    It's like people who haven't been in church in years saying they're Catholic, or people who get their news from facebook saying they keep up with current affairs.
    Saying you have some Irish is the 'correct' answer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭LeinsterDub


    RayCun wrote: »
    It's like people who haven't been in church in years saying they're Catholic, or people who get their news from facebook saying they keep up with current affairs.
    Saying you have some Irish is the 'correct' answer.

    The census doesn't specify, perhaps it should it doesn't ask if speaking Irish daily is using it 99% or the time or say Go raibh maith agat to the bus driver .


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭LeinsterDub


    madbeanman wrote: »


    Thank you for this, although I would push back on the claim that the language is dead. I think that you could say that Irish is a dying language and get away with it but in a linguistic context dead has a very set definition and whether Irish is dead linguistically is at the very least debatable and probably provably false.

    There is literally no debate linguistically . Irish isn't a dead language and going by the linguistic definition is at least 80 + years from that definition and that is if everyone stopped learning it today.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,732 ✭✭✭BarryD2


    madbeanman wrote: »
    This all originated from a very minor incident in the Dáil in which Minister Harris was being question by Deputy Ó Cuív regarding the labelling of health warnings to be placed on alcohol labels.

    The labels will be placed on the bottles in English rather than in both English and Irish. Its been all over RnaG and tuairisc.ie

    Two things strike me about this:

    Firstly that Ó Cuív has skin in the game. He was the prime mover behind the Official Languages Act 2003, a part of which requires bi-lingual versions of public signage and documents and so on. The efficacy of this Act has been discussed elsewhere. For myself, I think it's kinda well intentioned but OTT in practice for non Gaeltacht regions.

    Secondly, there are practical implications in terms of space. In this case on a bottle or can label. Suppose a certain amount of information can usefully be carried on a public sign or bottle or can. If this all has to be translated verbatim and placed equally prominently, this causes design issues. The designer has some options 1) increase the size of the sign or label, not practical for a can or bottle 2) edit the text to half original content or 3) reduce all text in size by 50% to fit same space. Neither options 2 or 3 are desirable; option 2 yields less information and option 3 will fall foul of people who's job is to protect people with diminished sight.

    At the end of the day, the sort of regulations that Ó Cuív brought in with his Official Languages Act were ill thought out in terms of how they would be practically delivered. He took all his advice from language advocates and little or none from the people who actually design and fabricate public signage and labeling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    37% don't claim some capacity, they claim to be able to speak Irish. There are a separate 111,473 who only speak it weekly and another 586,535 who speak it even less often. It's all on page 66 of the census summary.
    Secondly, if you can't fill a simple form because of a written language barrier (and the census is a very straightforward form, content wise), then can you really call yourself fluent in that language? Couldn't these people get the form in Irish and fill it out in English if all they were worried about was spelling?
    Lastly, you are right, many of the daily Irish speakers are not activists. About 70% in fact. They don't care enough about the language to use an Irish language census form. Even though they claim to speak Irish everyday and feel that is important enough to put on the English language census form. If even they don't care, then why should anyone else?

    Are you allowed to fill out a Census form in English if you get it in Irish? Again that mindset presumes that you are filling out a form in Irish to make a statement. That's not what most people are doing.

    There are four skills to language learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening, two productive and two receptive. You can be a great speaker/listener in a language (fluent speaker) but not a great writer/reader. They are independent skills.

    Imagine a kid born in Lexlip to a family of native Irish speaking parents. He is perfectly fluent speaking Irish. Its his first language. However, he attends an English medium school and he doesnt like reading for whatever reason. Or maybe he does like reading. He goes to a library but all the books are in English. He grows older and starts interacting with the forms of the state, in English because the state service is marginalising Irish.
    I think you have a very Anglo-centric laymans view of how language works.

    The question do you speak language A, yes or no does not investigate fluency. The question is too vague. But there is broad agreement that the current figure is far too large. The question wording will be revised in the next census to greater reflect the varying competencies of respondents. Ill have to edit in the link to the article because I cant find it at present but I believe it will be changed to be more in line with the questions asked in the North which are much more detailed.

    It doesnt change the fact that if you had a truely bilingual state service you would have more people interacting with the state in Irish. If it wasnt a struggle to call up a department and be put on hold while the find the Irish speaker (on the off chance there is one) then youd likely have more interactions with the state in Irish.

    Again, Im not arguing that the state should cater for the number of people who live and work through Irish (to some capacity) Im just saying that they do exist and the Government should be honest about their policies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,704 ✭✭✭✭RayCun


    The census doesn't specify, perhaps it should it doesn't ask if speaking Irish daily is using it 99% or the time or say Go raibh maith agat to the bus driver .

    the OP had some practical examples -
    the labelling of health warnings to be placed on alcohol labels

    are there any Irish speakers who would be unable to read an English health warning? I don't think so.

    How many of the people who say they speak Irish daily would be able to read an Irish health warning? I'm guessing a low number.

    Similarly, at a meeting of the Irish Committee in the Oireachtais, a representative of the Ministry for Public Expenditure spoke to the committee in English about the number of Irish speakers in the civil service. (The committee usually caries out its business in Irish)

    At a separate committee meeting a deputy was asked to speak in English because the translation service from Irish to English was broken.

    Was anyone on the committee unable to understand the representative?

    How many people who say they speak Irish daily would be able to understand a submission to a committee given in Irish?


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,704 ✭✭✭✭RayCun


    madbeanman wrote: »
    If it wasnt a struggle to call up a department and be put on hold while the find the Irish speaker (on the off chance there is one) then youd likely have more interactions with the state in Irish.

    and if everyone in Dunnes spoke Irish, you'd likely have more interactions with the supermarket in Irish

    the reason people don't speak Irish is that people don't speak Irish


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    I use to be fluent but lost it over the years, simply because I never had much cause to use it. It's a poor argument to say government shouldn't bother with Irish because many don't speak it. That's pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,732 ✭✭✭BarryD2


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Again, Im not arguing that the state should cater for the number of people who live and work through Irish (to some capacity) Im just saying that they do exist and the Government should be honest about their policies.

    Agreed, it's all find & dandy to have legislation on these matters but delivering it in practice is a different matter. Ergo it is poor legislation.

    I'm inclined to believe that legislation in general should broadly reflect the needs of the majority whilst not infringing on the rights of minorities.

    Therein lies the problem, the Official Languages Act goes too far. It should by all means offer support to those who wish to live through Irish, but not at the expense of foisting it on the majority who don't.

    As good an example as any is to take a look at Dublin Bus bus stops and take pity on the poor tourist trying to understand where the bus goes.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,704 ✭✭✭✭RayCun


    I use to be fluent but lost it over the years, simply because I never had much cause to use it. It's a poor argument to say government shouldn't bother with Irish because many don't speak it. That's pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The reverse is true though - if more people spoke Irish, the government would bother with Irish.

    We've had about a century of the government bothering with Irish without it causing more people to speak it...


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    There is literally no debate linguistically . Irish isn't a dead language and going by the linguistic definition is at least 80 + years from that definition and that is if everyone stopped learning it today.

    Well it depends on your definition but I guess you are technically right and I am wrong.
    So Irish is definitely not an extinct language by any deifnition. The oxford dictionary would define language death as when a language ceases to be the main language of communication in any community. Of course then you have to define community. Irish is certainly the main language in certain family groups, circles of friends, pop up gaeltachts etc but its place as the main community language even in the heart of the fíor gaeltacht regions is under serious threat as many reports have shown.
    BarryD2 wrote: »
    Two things strike me about this:

    Firstly that Ó Cuív has skin in the game. He was the prime mover behind the Official Languages Act 2003, a part of which requires bi-lingual versions of public signage and documents and so on. The efficacy of this Act has been discussed elsewhere. For myself, I think it's kinda well intentioned but OTT in practice for non Gaeltacht regions.

    Secondly, there are practical implications in terms of space. In this case on a bottle or can label. Suppose a certain amount of information can usefully be carried on a public sign or bottle or can. If this all has to be translated verbatim and placed equally prominently, this causes design issues. The designer has some options 1) increase the size of the sign or label, not practical for a can or bottle 2) edit the text to half original content or 3) reduce all text in size by 50% to fit same space. Neither options 2 or 3 are desirable; option 2 yields less information and option 3 will fall foul of people who's job is to protect people with diminished sight.

    At the end of the day, the sort of regulations that Ó Cuív brought in with his Official Languages Act were ill thought out in terms of how they would be practically delivered. He took all his advice from language advocates and little or none from the people who actually design and fabricate public signage and labeling.

    I mean I guess the skin in the game issue might be a thing but Im gonna give O Cuiv the benefit of the doubt and say that he cares deeply about the issue. Call me naive if you want.

    Also the design issue is an interesting one and thank you for it. But other countrys do it so it can certainly be overcome. Again, Im not saying it should be overcome I am arguing that the Minister said it would confuse people to have it on the label. This was disingenuous. His own department comissioned a report into the labels (not specifically the question of whether they should be bilingual or not) and the report said that the Irish Government should follow best practice in Canada......(where all labels are bilingual).


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,397 ✭✭✭✭FreudianSlippers


    Jellybaby1 wrote: »
    I am not lying. I have witnessed this. You can believe it or not, it doesn't matter to me, but it should be said as it happened, and for a thread like this people should know the truth.
    No. Not you, the person filling out the form - I don't see the logic in them lying on the form.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    BarryD2 wrote: »
    Agreed, it's all find & dandy to have legislation on these matters but delivering it in practice is a different matter. Ergo it is poor legislation.

    I'm inclined to believe that legislation in general should broadly reflect the needs of the majority whilst not infringing on the rights of minorities.

    Therein lies the problem, the Official Languages Act goes too far. It should by all means offer support to those who wish to live through Irish, but not at the expense of foisting it on the majority who don't.

    As good an example as any is to take a look at Dublin Bus bus stops and take pity on the poor tourist trying to understand where the bus goes.

    Sorry I dont understand what you are saying here. The legislation is bad because the Government cant implement it? So are you saying that all Governments are competent and virtuous and therefore any issue with implementation could only result from faulty legislation? That makes very little sense to me.

    The piece in bold is among the top on the list of the most irritating things a non-Irish speaker can say to an Irish speaker, Id imagine. Im sure it was not your intention to annoy Irish speakers with the post but its a very very anglophone centric view of the world. Im sure you are not out to troll so I would like to explain why I disagree with it.

    The reasoning behind the statement would suggest that if a tourist goes to Latvia and the signs are in Latvian that therefore the tourist spends their time in a confused daze staring at the Latvian signs saying that they cant read them at all. What about the road signs? What if they rent a car and a slow down sign is exclusively in Latvian? How many road deaths in Latvia are caused by confused tourists? I would wager not many.
    Disclaimer: Ive never been to Latvia.

    I have no idea how Irish language bus signs infringe on the rights of English speakers who have their place names appear about 15 seconds after the Irish ones. I genuinely have thought about what you might mean and would welcome a further explanation.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    RayCun wrote: »
    The reverse is true though - if more people spoke Irish, the government would bother with Irish.

    We've had about a century of the government bothering with Irish without it causing more people to speak it...

    Maybe they should move towards making English the secondary language? People would pick up a working grasp and already have it in school. There are businesses that will do a discount if you order in Irish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,704 ✭✭✭✭RayCun


    Maybe they should move towards making English the secondary language?

    Yes, make the language that 99%* of the population are fluent in the secondary language, and make the language that 2% of the population (to be generous) are fluent in the primary language.

    That's a sensible suggestion.


    *and the 1% that aren't fluent in English are fluent in Polish, French, Spanish, Portuguese etc instead, not Irish


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,732 ✭✭✭BarryD2


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Sorry I dont understand what you are saying here. The legislation is bad because the Government cant implement it? So are you saying that all Governments are competent and virtuous and therefore any issue with implementation could only result from faulty legislation? That makes very little sense to me.

    The piece in bold is among the top on the list of the most irritating things a non-Irish speaker can say to an Irish speaker, Id imagine. Im sure it was not your intention to annoy Irish speakers with the post but its a very very anglophone centric view of the world. Im sure you are not out to troll so I would like to explain why I disagree with it.

    The reasoning behind the statement would suggest that if a tourist goes to Latvia and the signs are in Latvian that therefore the tourist spends their time in a confused daze staring at the Latvian signs saying that they cant read them at all. What about the road signs? What if they rent a car and a slow down sign is exclusively in Latvian? How many road deaths in Latvia are caused by confused tourists? I would wager not many.
    Disclaimer: Ive never been to Latvia.

    I have no idea how Irish language bus signs infringe on the rights of English speakers who have their place names appear about 15 seconds after the Irish ones. I genuinely have thought about what you might mean and would welcome a further explanation.

    Legislation is poor if it's impractical to implement for whatever reason. Or if it's not accepted by the citizenry at large. Aspirational legislation is practically worthless I would argue. The Official Languages Act is too general in it's scope, it would be more effective if it tried to do less IMHO.

    Re bus signage, I'm thinking of the journey itineraries as printed on the bus stops. https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/photo/dublin-bus-stop-royalty-free-image/599266268

    Last time I looked at some in Dublin city centre, I saw lists like this:
    https://deandublin.ie/locations/airport-shuttle/

    How's your average visitor, let alone Dubliner supposed to know that Cearnóg Mhuirfean is Merrion Square???????? What use is that to the average citizen who is not a Gaeilgeoir? If this bus info was in Conamara, that'd be perfectly reasonable but elsewhere it hinders rather than helps.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    BarryD2 wrote: »
    Legislation is poor if it's impractical to implement for whatever reason. Or if it's not accepted by the citizenry at large. Aspirational legislation is practically worthless I would argue. The Official Languages Act is too general in it's scope, it would be more effective if it tried to do less IMHO.

    Re bus signage, I'm thinking of the journey itineraries as printed on the bus stops. https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/photo/dublin-bus-stop-royalty-free-image/599266268

    Last time I looked at some in Dublin city centre, I saw lists like this:
    https://deandublin.ie/locations/airport-shuttle/

    How's your average visitor, let alone Dubliner supposed to know that Cearnóg Mhuirfean is Merrion Square???????? What use is that to the average citizen who is not a Gaeilgeoir? If this bus info was in Conamara, that'd be perfectly reasonable but elsewhere it hinders rather than helps.

    Well all pieces of legislation are aspirational right? Littering is illegal because we aspire to a cleaner environment. I don’t know the ins and outs of he official languages act but one of he biggest criticisms of Irish language legislation is that there is zero punishment for breaking it. If a government body fails to comply with it there are fines or sanctions. It’s certainly toothless and that’s a problem for those who believe the Government has a role in promoting the language and ensuring services in a irish are available for those who want them.

    Re: the bus stop. Ok so you have found a very very very very rare instance where text is provided in a irish without an English translation. I feel like he response to that is ..... so what? Like, again, a tourist rocks up at the airport and wonders what bus to take. They might ask in the airport in english. They might go to the bus stop and be told by the bus driver of the first bus that rocks up....in English. They might go to the city centre and ask at the information desk on o connell street, in English. They might turn to the person next to them at the bus stop and ask a ginger haired fellow like me (This happens at least twice a week) and I’ll tell them to whete to go and enjoy their trip .....in English.

    The idea that our language policy should be dictated by how confused tourists might be is pretty ludicrous, but that’s my opinion I guess. Every time I go abroad and see that the country in question has kindly provided me with an English translation I am grateful. It’s a nice thing to do. I’m not entitled to it as an English speaker. I’m a translator/ interpreter by trade (not for Irish-English).

    I’m a modern context people look stuff up on their phones before hand and get by.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,323 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Sorry I dont understand what you are saying here. The legislation is bad because the Government cant implement it? So are you saying that all Governments are competent and virtuous and therefore any issue with implementation could only result from faulty legislation? That makes very little sense to me.

    The piece in bold is among the top on the list of the most irritating things a non-Irish speaker can say to an Irish speaker, Id imagine. Im sure it was not your intention to annoy Irish speakers with the post but its a very very anglophone centric view of the world. Im sure you are not out to troll so I would like to explain why I disagree with it.

    The reasoning behind the statement would suggest that if a tourist goes to Latvia and the signs are in Latvian that therefore the tourist spends their time in a confused daze staring at the Latvian signs saying that they cant read them at all. What about the road signs? What if they rent a car and a slow down sign is exclusively in Latvian? How many road deaths in Latvia are caused by confused tourists? I would wager not many.
    Disclaimer: Ive never been to Latvia.

    I have no idea how Irish language bus signs infringe on the rights of English speakers who have their place names appear about 15 seconds after the Irish ones. I genuinely have thought about what you might mean and would welcome a further explanation.


    Yes, but if a tourist in Latvia asks a local where is the Latvian equivalent of Ath Cliath, the local would usually be able to answer. In Dublin, not so.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,323 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Well all pieces of legislation are aspirational right? Littering is illegal because we aspire to a cleaner environment. I don’t know the ins and outs of he official languages act but one of he biggest criticisms of Irish language legislation is that there is zero punishment for breaking it. If a government body fails to comply with it there are fines or sanctions. It’s certainly toothless and that’s a problem for those who believe the Government has a role in promoting the language and ensuring services in a irish are available for those who want them.

    Re: the bus stop. Ok so you have found a very very very very rare instance where text is provided in a irish without an English translation. I feel like he response to that is ..... so what? Like, again, a tourist rocks up at the airport and wonders what bus to take. They might ask in the airport in english. They might go to the bus stop and be told by the bus driver of the first bus that rocks up....in English. They might go to the city centre and ask at the information desk on o connell street, in English. They might turn to the person next to them at the bus stop and ask a ginger haired fellow like me (This happens at least twice a week) and I’ll tell them to whete to go and enjoy their trip .....in English.

    The idea that our language policy should be dictated by how confused tourists might be is pretty ludicrous, but that’s my opinion I guess. Every time I go abroad and see that the country in question has kindly provided me with an English translation I am grateful. It’s a nice thing to do. I’m not entitled to it as an English speaker. I’m a translator/ interpreter by trade (not for Irish-English).

    I’m a modern context people look stuff up on their phones before hand and get by.


    https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/bilingual-road-signs-will-put-end-to-long-running-dingle-name-change-saga-223179.html


    The Official Languages Act made Irish-only signage in Gaeltacht areas mandatory. As a result, Dingle disappeared from road signs and was replaced by Daingean Ni Chuis.

    Tourism dropped and the locals objected - see article.

    The best example of the futility of the Act.


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