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What do you think Ireland would be like if we all spoke fluent Irish?

  • 20-05-2023 10:35pm
    Registered Users Posts: 15,331 ✭✭✭✭

    Would we have all the tech companies like Apple, Google, Intel, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter etc like we have now?

    Or would Ireland be like Viatnam a cheap place for manufacturing?

    What do you think?

    Maybe we should be greatful in some ways for what the English did as without English we would not have all these tech companies.

    Would there be less Migrants coming here?*

    What do ye think?

    * Note I have nothing against them.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,366 ✭✭✭Star Bingo

    Irish would be like double firewall protection. But given English not even required we are open to worm attack

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,239 ✭✭✭StevenToast

    We would be bilingual like most Europeans.....

    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." - Fletcher

  • Registered Users Posts: 538 ✭✭✭iffandonlyif

    It’s an interesting thought. I wonder would we be much more confident in our Irish identity and so less keen to differentiate ourselves from the English.

  • Registered Users Posts: 65,715 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady

    Fabulous but as Gaelige

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,772 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    If they thought English as well as they teach Irish we wouldn't. And with our history with England and the power the Catholic Church had until recently our 2nd language would be Latin. So we'd be bi lingual with languages that no one understands.

    As for the OP's question we wouldn't have got the tech companies or the pharma companies. They were attracted to a well educated English speaking country with EU access, companies pay very little tax even in countries with tax rates higher than ours. Look at all the companies that came here purely for the tax breaks, mostly low paid jobs and most are long gone, vs the companies that came for the workforce, Pfizer /Intel have invested billions in the country and Apple /Facebook etc have thousands of high paying jobs.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    Our economy would suffer as one reason international company's come here is we speak English ,English is the international language used in America and many Eu citizens speak English as well as the native language

    I see no upside to everyone speaking Irish

    One of the reasons Irish culture movies TV and music is popular is that we all speak English would U2 enya the corrs be so popular if they sang in the Irish language

    I don't understand why google even offers search in Irish as basically everyone born here is fluent in English

    One example Terry Wogan went to the BBC in the 70s and became a very popular DJ due partly to his neutral acccent. He did not sound posh but he also did not sound common ,his accent was acceptable to everyone

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭spakman

    OP didn't suggest people wouldn't be able/allowed to speak English

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,499 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Our country would be less of a draw for companies to invest in and tourism would suffer too.

    it could be a major drawback or just slightly a drawback …. It’s unquantifiable….

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,742 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Is your question "what would Ireland be like if we all spoke fluent Irish?" or "what would Ireland be like if we couldn't speak English?"

    These are two completely different questions.

  • Registered Users Posts: 338 ✭✭iniscealtra

    That would mean no colonisation by Britian so I would assume more built hertitage as we wouldn’t have been treated as an Agricultural District of Britian to supply them with food at the expense of our progress and a very unequitable land ownership policy. No plantations. No Normans either, so no castles at that stage.

    Very hypotetical question. I would assume more well off . More built heritage. Older buildings : more houses of a higher standard. Stronger singing/music tradition perhaps. Hurling would probably be more widespread in the country. We would have proper historical records, annals, genealogy unbroken.

    Who knows. We might have taken part in WW2.

    A European country with a greater sense of itself.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,914 ✭✭✭Andrea B.

    Chat ups and foreplay would be a nightmare. Pure passion killer with images of Peig and preeeshts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,163 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    Does the OP imply we only spoke fluent Irish or that along with English we all could speak Irish? There's a huge difference in the two scenarios.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    The chances of that happening is zero no more than everyone learning computer programming or how to fly a plane ,right now being fluent in French or German is alot more useful than learning Irish in terms of getting a job . Unless you are a teacher or tg4 presenter Irish is of little use to 90 per cent of people in life after school .how many people speak Irish outside school hours. Very few

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,499 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    If it such wasn’t a cultural, social and political hand grenade…. You’d have people in politics questioning it’s relevance as a compulsory leaving cert subject… ok, if you are of a certain demographic you can apply for an exemption from studying it… immigrant to the country being one qualifier…

    but I’d imagine somewhere as a result of that … in time a more easy and less hardline outlook will emerge regarding the compulsory nature of Irish in schools….

    over a dozen languages can be studied now for the leaving….so id say that will be the beginning of the sounding of the death knell for Irish… it’s not an easy language, has little value in the community and employment sphere barring niche businesses like TG4 or if you want to teach it etc…

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,771 ✭✭✭✭Tony EH

    What do you think Ireland would be like if we all spoke fluent Irish?

    We'd be a backwater nation.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 36,787 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I think the Netherlands is a great comparison. We'd be fully fluent in both languages and open to the world. Instead, we just threw money at the Irish language lobby and never asked for any sort of results.

    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

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    I think Irish people would still speak English as well. The whole world has been taken over by English.

    Pity that Irish has never really been taught properly. I no longer object to it being removed from the syllabus.

    As I said in a previous thread, I think mandatory Irish may have inadvertently increased Irish children's developmental cognitive functioning in the last few generations because of the challenge of being made to try to learn a language with a reverse syntax from English.

    Children don't like it but then children don't like violin lessons either because of the extreme difficulty.

    According to a quick Google search some examples of other languages that have a verb-subject-object word order are Ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Hebrew, Hawaiian, Mixtecan languages, Samoan, Tagalog, Manx and Welsh.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,771 ✭✭✭✭Tony EH

    Dutch is very like German, in fact Dutch is Deutsch. So, right there you have a common overlap with another language. Nothing like that exists for Irish, except other "dead" languages like Breton. Plus Holland is surrounded by other nations that are very close to them. It's easier to be influenced to learn another language and their command of English comes out of a certain necessity, because it's the dominant language around Europe, especially in the business world.

    We're an Island, on the other hand, and while we might be better at learning languages these days (I'd question just how good we are though still), we have always been pretty lousy at picking up other tongues. Even our own past language we've been awful at learning. So, if I take the OP's meaning as Irish being our primary tongue and English an optional endeavour, then I can only see that as a detriment over all to the country.

    Whether we like it or not, the fact that we speak English as a our first language has really opened a lot of doors for this country. Doors that would otherwise be shut because, going on our historical difficulties with learning other languages, I don't see a situation whereby we, as a nation, would be "fully fluent" in both English and Irish. In fact I could see us struggling to learn English in a very real way.

    Now, the flip side to all of this is that because we do speak English as our national language, it may have made us somewhat lazy in respect to learning different languages. In other words, why bother if there's a good chance of a foreigner being able to speak English as well? I know very, very, few people with a good level of conversational language in a foreign tongue.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 36,787 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I think a proper syllabus for both languages would easily result in a bilingual population. The problem is that there is an entrench Irish language lobby which will fight tooth and nail against any sort of reform. I can't imagine that the teachers' unions will be overjoyed either.

    I've a friend here from Tunisia who speaks fluent English, French and Arabic. I don't think the languages need to be similar, just properly taught from an early age.

    I agree completely with the last paragraph. I've just been rejected from a job in Paris that my niche skillset would have been great in. I was picturing myself immersing in French culture and becoming fluent. Alas...

    I work in a research institute and virtually everyone is bilingual except the UK employees. Given that I come from a country with its own language, it's quite embarassing.

    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

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,771 ✭✭✭✭Tony EH

    It ought not to be embarrassing. Irish is useless to everyone other than as a dilettante pursuit. There's no point to learning it for any real world reasons. It's a nice feather to have on one's cap, but nothing more. However, the foreign people you work with speak English as a practical necessity. The know it's a requirement in the world of work and that it's the dominant tongue. I work with people all over the world and they all have a very good command of English. Because they have to. But they're all from nations that have English taught to them from primary level and their countries have had a long history of being bilingual. Speaking English to a high degree means a better job, with better pay, for people in Europe and elsewhere.

    But we don't have that history and we've been pretty much monolingual for hundreds of years. And also, we've been in a kind of isolated position in many ways. It's hard for us to picture now, especially if one is of a certain age, but Ireland was very insular up until probably the 90's. That too has rendered us with a difficulty with picking up second languages. I grew up in the 80's and the only other foreign language widely available to learn in most schools was French and the Irish, as a nation, had a very low key view of ourselves on the world stage.

    As for languages being similar, I don't think they need to be either. But it does help immensely. If someone can speak English, they'll find learning German much easier, because English is a Germanic language. But that doesn't mean it would be impossible to pick up a romance language.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 36,787 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I mean, in utilitarian terms, Irish is definitely useless. Sad but true. The issue for me is one of culture, identity and history and on that score, Irish is once again useless because we allowed it to die out instead of utilising tried and tested methods from places like the Netherlands and Wales where bilingualism is the norm. We're pretty much at the point now where the language is dead because we allowed it to die after a century of self-government.

    I would disagree with your claim that Ireland was insular. We've probably exported more people to the rest of the world than any other European country and now enjoy high prestige and soft power as a result, not to mention FDI. I think we could easily have become a modern bilingual nation but we never gave it a go and now it's too late.

    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

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,495 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Children may grow to see the utility of learning an instrument, music is international, it can be fun, you can engage with people from all over the world, perhaps earn fame and a decent living from it.

    With Irish you can talk to a handful of hobby language enthusiasts, maybe get a job as an Irish teacher or a translator of things no-one will read and that's about it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,771 ✭✭✭✭Tony EH

    Our history of emigration didn't mean we weren't insular as a nation. People having to, reluctantly, get out of Ireland didn't change the fact that we were pretty parochial in our outlook in general. And back in those days, when you left the country, you left the country. There was no flitting back and forth on cheap flights. Not even from England. The emigration of the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's was a very different prospect to what it is today. This is all pre FDI and all that jazz.

    And people that could come back realised just how twee and prospectless much of Irish life was. Coming back over here for Christmas meant you could have a bit of craic seeing your mates again, but you quickly realised why you go the hell out in the first place.

    Also, as far as the Welsh revival is concerned, I wouldn't be so quick to consider them "bilingual". As far as I've been able to make out most Welsh speakers are at a schoolchild's level, if that. There may have been a big push to promote Welsh in recent years, and it might look good on paper, but I'd say that most Welsh people would still struggle to put more than a few fully coherent sentences together. They certainly wouldn't qualify as fluent in any way. Speaking a language is not just about having a few words. It takes a lot more understanding than that. I think the Welsh have been trumpeting their revival for promotional purposes, which is fair enough, but the reality of just how well they can speak Welsh might be another story.

    As for Irish, the language has been dead for years. We've kept it on life support, artificially trying to keep it going in some form. But the language has been a thing of the past for a very long time now. That being said, if people want to try and learn it, they should absolutely do so. Just don't ram it down kids necks and expect great results.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Speaking Irish can be fun too, there is international Irish language scholarship etc. Most music lovers do not try to present music as "utilitarian", it just is.

    As I said I don't object to Irish being taken off the syllabus.

    But it's a part of history now and has harmed no one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,495 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    ... and has harmed no one.

    People who have been though the education system would beg to differ, it has done more harm than good to the language.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 36,787 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I would argue that the education system has did more to destroy it than centuries of occupation.

    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

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭Guildenstern

    It'll still be like Dev imagined, and we'd all still be leaving. The multi nationals would only use Shannon/Dublin to re-fuel before they headed off to the UK/Europe.

    Tourism would be our only hope. While the rest of the world burns, we'd be presenting this Irish version of Brigadoon. So, maybe not all bad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    I mean the language itself has harmed no one.

    You have had nothing good to say about Irish itself. You said it was no fun (a matter of opinion) and effectively useless at loading you up with material advantages (not the fundamental purpose of education).

    Spoiled libertarians, southern unionists and empty-brained "educated" liberals who loathe native culture are the only people who speak about Irish with real bitterness.

    Bonus points if you were a thwarted 12 year old careerist on the make who would be an international CEO by now if you could have taken some German classes instead.

    Education, especially for a young child, is not a simple "What's in it for me materially?"

    The problem is that Irish is/was not taught properly as a conversational language. Apart from that it is not, like Latin or Shakespearean English, in any need of justification.

    All just my opinion of course.