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Thread: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

  1. #16
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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apjp View Post
    I must say your post was open to interpretation. Every language has baggage. Few are as stigmatised as Irish. In fact TG4 estimated BEFORE the recession we spent more money on staplers. Sacred cow hardly. certainly no cash cow
    It has, in my opinion, been something of a sacred cow for the 90 years we have been an independent state, yet the aspiration to rejuvenate the language has been a massive failure.
    Either we change the mindset with a view to instilling a pride in the language among ordinary people with some sort of coherent, measurable strategy. Or we throw in the towel.What we have now, a half-assed appraoch with negligible results is a waste of time energy and resources.

    And maybe TG4 were working to a specific agenda. Then again, outfits like Udaras na Ghaelteachta was always designed to be stuffed with political hacks and the Department of the Gaelteacht was simply a pork dispensary. No wonder it is moribund.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ogiol View Post
    There is, it's called Anseo and it's a smartphone App.. that links Irish speakers, learners, enthuasiasts and also businesses, groups schools all over the country and abroad.. check it out at anseoapp.com
    Thanks. Have registered on the web site, but as I don't do Facebook or Twitter, and have an oldfashioned mobile. havent used it yet.

    Congrats Ogiol on developing this.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Another thread on a forum about a column from the Independent attacking the Irish language and the same old worn out 5hite. It's so predictable. You know, it's the way it's taught. It's the grammar. If only it was made more like English. If it wasn't for the people who actually speak it. It's the politics of it. Them Gaelscoileanna are just full of snobs in Ballymun, Tallaght, Clondalkin, West Belfast. It's white flight , ye know. They're all provos. Look at the word for elephant, I mean , they just make it up. They think they're clever 'cause they've got fadas in their name. Peig Sayers, like. It's so uncool because a [email protected] in the Irish Times told me it was. Somebody tried to use it on twitter, a tweet not in English, God , they really are facists. Sarah Carey heard it a dinner party. If they'd just be less anti-social and not speak the language or intimidate and threaten my human rights by putting it on an ATM machine or make me listen to it on the Luas. I really love the language but I think we should let it die. It's the best thing for it. I'd love to learn it but I hate everything Irish because my opinion formers tell me to. We shouldnt be supplying any services in Irish but yes to Mandarin and Polish and Ulster Scots cause they don't ram it down our throats like them a55holes that love the language and cherish it as a family vernacular. They earn billions for every twenty syllables they translate. We can't afford it like they could during the famine.......bla, blah, blah.......I didn't like my Irish teacher at school because he had a beard and stuff so I'm going to whine and whine and whine and not get over it for the rest of my life.

  4. #19
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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lá an Lúbáin View Post
    Another thread on a forum about a column from the Independent attacking the Irish language and the same old worn out 5hite. It's so predictable. You know, it's the way it's taught. It's the grammar. If only it was made more like English. If it wasn't for the people who actually speak it. It's the politics of it. Them Gaelscoileanna are just full of snobs in Ballymun, Tallaght, Clondalkin, West Belfast. It's white flight , ye know. They're all provos. Look at the word for elephant, I mean , they just make it up. They think they're clever 'cause they've got fadas in their name. Peig Sayers, like. It's so uncool because a [email protected] in the Irish Times told me it was. Somebody tried to use it on twitter, a tweet not in English, God , they really are facists. Sarah Carey heard it a dinner party. If they'd just be less anti-social and not speak the language or intimidate and threaten my human rights by putting it on an ATM machine or make me listen to it on the Luas. I really love the language but I think we should let it die. It's the best thing for it. I'd love to learn it but I hate everything Irish because my opinion formers tell me to. We shouldnt be supplying any services in Irish but yes to Mandarin and Polish and Ulster Scots cause they don't ram it down our throats like them a55holes that love the language and cherish it as a family vernacular. They earn billions for every twenty syllables they translate. We can't afford it like they could during the famine.......bla, blah, blah.......I didn't like my Irish teacher at school because he had a beard and stuff so I'm going to whine and whine and whine and not get over it for the rest of my life.

    Congrats on a wonderful "stream of consciousness" summary on what, I am sure, a lot of people feel about Irish.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lá an Lúbáin View Post
    Another thread on a forum about a column from the Independent attacking the Irish language and the same old worn out 5hite. It's so predictable. You know, it's the way it's taught. It's the grammar. If only it was made more like English. If it wasn't for the people who actually speak it. It's the politics of it. Them Gaelscoileanna are just full of snobs in Ballymun, Tallaght, Clondalkin, West Belfast. It's white flight , ye know. They're all provos. Look at the word for elephant, I mean , they just make it up. They think they're clever 'cause they've got fadas in their name. Peig Sayers, like. It's so uncool because a [email protected] in the Irish Times told me it was. Somebody tried to use it on twitter, a tweet not in English, God , they really are facists. Sarah Carey heard it a dinner party. If they'd just be less anti-social and not speak the language or intimidate and threaten my human rights by putting it on an ATM machine or make me listen to it on the Luas. I really love the language but I think we should let it die. It's the best thing for it. I'd love to learn it but I hate everything Irish because my opinion formers tell me to. We shouldnt be supplying any services in Irish but yes to Mandarin and Polish and Ulster Scots cause they don't ram it down our throats like them a55holes that love the language and cherish it as a family vernacular. They earn billions for every twenty syllables they translate. We can't afford it like they could during the famine.......bla, blah, blah.......I didn't like my Irish teacher at school because he had a beard and stuff so I'm going to whine and whine and whine and not get over it for the rest of my life.
    Actually it wasn't a dinner party, it was a coffee morning.

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  6. #21
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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Irish is way too important as part of our cultural heritage to be allowed die. Killing it off is an appalling idea.

    The problem with Irish has been that it was pretty much taken over after independence by hardline extremists who controlled its teaching, and their aggressive pushing of it alienated generations of people. I remember something that happened to a relative of mine that showed how that arrogance and aggression backfired. A 14 year old cousin, who loved the language and was highly fluent in it, was sent to the Gaeltacht for a month. While paying football he had a bad fall and said "Jesus. My ankle." He was brought to hospital where it was found that the ankle was broken. While lying in hospital in pain, the organiser of the course burst in screaming that he had spoken the foul English when he said "Jesus. My ankle" and was therefore a traitor to the language and unfit to be allowed stay on the course, so was being kicked off the course immediately and never welcome back! The pr*ck of an organiser then came back with all the guy's clothes and possessions in black bags and dumped them in the ward, while roaring at him to get his English possessions out of the Gaeltacht.

    The result? The guy was so disgusted at how me was treated he stopped speaking English. His siblings, all of whom were learning Irish refused to ever use it, and his classmates when they heard how he had been treated when in hospital all decided to quit going to that course. It later turned out that someone else was sent home the next day because they bumped into someone and said 'sorry'. That one word meant they were kicked up, and their family in Dublin was told to come and get their 'West-Brit' daughter out of the course that day. She was practically locked up in quarantine lest she pollute other Irish language students by her politeness in English.

    What happened to my cousin infuriated his parents. They had always tried to instil a love of the language in their children. But they found the force-feeding in the education system created a backlash. What happened on that Irish language course was the last straw with their kids. The kids wanted nothing to do with the language. They were fed up in school and in the Gaeltacht being bullied into doing it rather than inspired to love it. The kids did enough to get passes in the Leaving but the moment the Leaving Cert was over they pretty much dropped Irish. The parents couldn't blame them. They had kept up with their love of Irish in spite of, not because of, the forcefeeding and bullying they had experienced.

    Ernest Blythe, one of the language extremists in the early years of the state, so forcefed the Irish language on the Abbey Theatre he alienated generations of actors from the language. They were denied the chance to act in quality plays frequently and forced to act in substandard ***** that would never have gotten on a stage anywhere but for the fact that it was in Irish. Most of his Irish language productions drew tiny audiences because the plays were so bad no-one wanted to go near them. So instead of encouraging good quality playwriting in Irish, melodramatic mediocrity was encouraged because any old ***** was staged once it was in Irish.

    Another example: in 1973 Erskine Hamilton Childers, former Fianna Fáil deputy leader and Tánaiste, was elected President of Ireland by the people. Childers, the son of Erskine Childers and related to the Bartons, had grown up in the UK and so had an Oxbridge accent and didn't learn Irish in school. Though he tried in adulthood, he couldn't get the hang of Irish. The President in the inauguration has to recite a 'declaration of office' (oath) and can do it either in Irish or English. Because he couldn't speak Irish it was mentioned that he would do it in English. That makes sense. If you are taking an oath it is important legally as you take it you fully understand the legal meaning. But when reports that he would use English came out all hell broke lose. Irish language fanatics issued threats, threatened marches, civil disorder, court actions - everything. Eventually, to calm them down he had to recite the oath phonetically in Irish. It sounded ridiculous for a guy to be forced to say different phrases phonetically that he was struggled with, but all that mattered to the fanatics was that he was forced to maintain the phoney impression that he could speak it.

    In 1990, Mary Robinson was elected president. She had very poor Irish and decided to study it to improve it. But that wasn't enough for her Irish-speaking Secretary told her to sign bills using an Irish language signature. She told him she never had signed her name in Irish and wasn't going to make up a new signature in Irish. She would continue to use her real signature as she had always used it. That wasn't good enough for him who told her that they would 'get back to that', meaning in effect that he wasn't going to let her decide her signature. She was going to be forced whether she liked it or not to adopt an Irish language signature. In the end he was moved to a different posting and a less fanatical secretary chosen for her by the Government.

    A key problem was the Department of Education, which was run by two cabals, an Irish language cabal and a Catholic cabal. They ensured all schools were pretty much forced for force Irish and Catholicism down kids' necks rather than inspire them. That backfired, and left kids alienated in particular from the former. (They couldn't ignore the latter because of the Catholicism elsewhere in society.) I learnt Irish all through primary and second level. I hardly have a word of it. None of my classmates ever use it. Few remember any of it. In my local town, the kids at one school on the last day of the leaving arranged to meet on the bridge over the river and had a ceremonial burning of their copies of Peig. They set them alight and tossed them into the river, and pretty much banished the language from their mind from that moment on.

    Peig was a classic example of the problem. I love history. I love social history. On paper Peig should have been right up my street. But it wasn't because none of my class could make head or tail of it. If we had read it in English, and when fluent in Irish then read it in Irish it might have got us interested. But it was completely unsuitable as a means to learn the language. But it was forcefed to us - and we all hated it. I remember one of the lads being out sick for a week, and when he came back he asked to the rest of us as we waited for the Irish teacher to arrive 'Has that oul' b*tch Peig died yet?' He hoped she had died in the bits we had read while he was away. But no. There was tons more of Peig to wade through painfully, every fuking day. He then asked that hopefully by now all her kids had drowned, or fallen off cliffs, or whatever else seemed to happen to them. But no, her spogs were still around to haunt us every goddamn days for months and months. Everyone one of them did die we all cheered in the class - that was one less fuking kid's stories to hear about.

    When McDonalds ran a comedy ad about Peig buying a big mac, Labhras Ó Murchu, one of the resident Irish language mafia, went apeshyt, complaining. He didn't get it. They weren't mocking the real Peig Sayers, but the Peig Sayers that was force-fed on generations of kids and who came to hate her with a vengeance. She became an example of how to destroy what could have been loved - the fascinating stories the ending of the Blaskets instead turned into a battering ram to forcefeed children, in the process turning them against the stories, the person and the language.

    My local area was still largely Irish speaking in the 1820s. By the time of the Famine it was largely English-speaking. By the 1901 census, less than 1% could speak the language. In the first three decades of the twentieth century a large degree of enthusiasm built up to learn it. By the 1940s that was collapsing and since then entirely collapsed. Why? Because those who learnt it in the first three decades of the century learnt it from choice and enthusiasm. But the force-feeding they experienced later on turned them against it. It no longer became a choice to express their identity but instead a chore that fanatics forced on them. Today more people nominally can speak the language there than at any time since the 1840s. But the key word is 'nominal'. In reality they never speak it - ever. They avoid it like the plague. They don't read anything in Irish. They don't watch anything through Irish. If they watch anyone in Irish they rely on the English subtitles.

    A month ago the parish held a Gathering function. All sorts of local clubs and organisations held a big open day. Large crowds turned up. People flocked to the local history club, the GAA club, the cycling club, the local am-dram, the ICA, and the local cricket club. They watched butter being made. They oohed and ahhed at old photos.

    But two groups there were entirely ignored except by their own members - the Legion of Mary and Conradh na Gaeilge. Around every other group you had 20 or 30 people coming or going. At their tables you have three of four activists and no-one else. And I mean NO-one else. I felt sorry for them. They had piles of information leaflets and displays around, and no-one taking any. I was on the history stand and we faced them across the hall. In the ended, the Legion and Conradh finished up early. They closed their stands and were gone long before anyone else. All their leaflets were put in the recycle bin, unread. The irony is that the people on those stands are decent, ordinary people, but their causes have had their reputations destroyed by hard core fanatics. (As a gay man I have a lot of respect for the Legion. I heard from older gay men who lived in the 40s, 50s, 60s how the Legion was often great support to gay people. It offered shelter to gay teenagers kicked out of their families, brought meals on wheels to elderly gay people living alone, arranged parties and Christmas dinners and never judged anyone. It saved countless gay people in those times from lives of complete loneliness and suicide. It is such a pity it is being tarred with the same brush as other Catholic organisations. The Legion were the good guys.)

    If we are to save Irish, and I hope to God we can, we can only do so by inspiring people to love the language. They must be helped love it, not dread and fear it. Force-feeding it won't work. Fanaticism has backfired. We need to help preserve the language as a spoken language where it still exists, through the Gaeltachtaí tragically are shrinking so fast it is doubtful if there really will be surviving Gaeltachtaí is 25 years time. But for the rest, the task should be to make it a proud part of our identity, not a dreaded one. We won't ever have an Irish-speaking Ireland again. That boat has sailed. It can only survive through the choice of users, not the fanaticism of extremists. If the fanatics win, the future of Irish will end up where future generations ask, as my classmate did about the dreaded Peig, whether it is dead yet, hoping it is. That would be a tragedy for Ireland.
    "Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions." Blaise Pascal.

  7. #22
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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slim Buddha View Post
    Congrats on a wonderful "stream of consciousness" summary on what, I am sure, a lot of people feel about Irish.
    What a lot of [email protected] think. The loudest critics are usually the least informed and seem to take pride in the same.

  8. #23
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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lá an Lúbáin View Post
    What a lot of [email protected] think. The loudest critics are usually the least informed and seem to take pride in the same.
    My own view on this has been given already. If we are to rejuvenate the language, some radical thinking is needed to ensure its success. 90 years of abject failure is an utter disgrace and every political party has to take some of the blame for this. I would prefer to see the language properly revived and see its popularity and everyday use grow. But after the dire policies, the maladministration of successive governments towards the language and the disproportionate influence of nutters in the Irish language movement, it is easy to see why those who have no love for the language can easily make a case for giving it a decent burial.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slim Buddha View Post
    My own view on this has been given already. If we are to rejuvenate the language, some radical thinking is needed to ensure its success. 90 years of abject failure is an utter disgrace and every political party has to take some of the blame for this. I would prefer to see the language properly revived and see its popularity and everyday use grow. But after the dire policies, the maladministration of successive governments towards the language and the disproportionate influence of nutters in the Irish language movement, it is easy to see why those who have no love for the language can easily make a case for giving it a decent burial.
    Irish needs to be everywhere. On the back of Corn Flakes boxes. On all signage. On medical product leaflets. Every ingredient on every package. All small print. Is that radical enough for you? Or am I just a fanatic? Irish needs to be seen and heard everywhere and Irish speakers shouldn't feel the need to be apologetic or listen to **** from self-loathers who are ready , like Charles Vallency, to do everything for the Irish language but learn it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Vallancey

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lá an Lúbáin View Post
    Irish needs to be everywhere. On the back of Corn Flakes boxes. On all signage. On medical product leaflets. Every ingredient on every package. All small print. Is that radical enough for you? Or am I just a fanatic? Irish needs to be seen and heard everywhere and Irish speakers shouldn't feel the need to be apologetic or listen to **** from self-loathers who are ready , like Charles Vallency, to do everything for the Irish language but learn it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Vallancey
    Your attitude and that of other fanatics is exactly what is killing the language. With friends like you, it doesn't need enemies.
    "Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions." Blaise Pascal.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lá an Lúbáin View Post
    Another thread on a forum about a column from the Independent attacking the Irish language and the same old worn out 5hite. It's so predictable. You know, it's the way it's taught. It's the grammar. If only it was made more like English. If it wasn't for the people who actually speak it. It's the politics of it. Them Gaelscoileanna are just full of snobs in Ballymun, Tallaght, Clondalkin, West Belfast. It's white flight , ye know. They're all provos. Look at the word for elephant, I mean , they just make it up. They think they're clever 'cause they've got fadas in their name. Peig Sayers, like. It's so uncool because a [email protected] in the Irish Times told me it was. Somebody tried to use it on twitter, a tweet not in English, God , they really are facists. Sarah Carey heard it a dinner party. If they'd just be less anti-social and not speak the language or intimidate and threaten my human rights by putting it on an ATM machine or make me listen to it on the Luas. I really love the language but I think we should let it die. It's the best thing for it. I'd love to learn it but I hate everything Irish because my opinion formers tell me to. We shouldnt be supplying any services in Irish but yes to Mandarin and Polish and Ulster Scots cause they don't ram it down our throats like them a55holes that love the language and cherish it as a family vernacular. They earn billions for every twenty syllables they translate. We can't afford it like they could during the famine.......bla, blah, blah.......I didn't like my Irish teacher at school because he had a beard and stuff so I'm going to whine and whine and whine and not get over it for the rest of my life.
    Well said.

  12. #27
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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simonsays View Post
    Your attitude and that of other fanatics is exactly what is killing the language. With friends like you, it doesn't need enemies.
    No, it's not. It's the half assed efforts of successive governments, I think you'll find. What's fanatical about any of those ideas other than you saying that they are fanatical?

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    "If we are to save Irish, and I hope to God we can, we can only do so by inspiring people to love the language. They must be helped love it, not dread and fear it. Force-feeding it won't work. Fanaticism has backfired. We need to help preserve the language as a spoken language where it still exists, through the Gaeltachtaí tragically are shrinking so fast it is doubtful if there really will be surviving Gaeltachtaí is 25 years time. But for the rest, the task should be to make it a proud part of our identity, not a dreaded one. We won't ever have an Irish-speaking Ireland again. That boat has sailed."

    This is a view I can live with. I am happy to have an Irish-speaking heritage as long as we do not pretend that there is something wrong with us speaking English as we have done for several generations.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    I don't think that it can be said that the state has made a genuine effort to revive Irish. If it had then it would be in a lot better position than it is now. Some of the most positive forces in trying to revive the Irish language seem to have come outside the state, like the drive by communities to establish Gaelscoileanna and there has been huge appreciation and revival of it north of the border. Although I'm sure many politcians have down through the years saw reviving it as important, the will to revive must have got watered down in the civil service process somewhere.
    I was surprised to read before, that even a few years after independence there were Gaeltachtaí outside the main 5 or 6 regions we know today, spread throughout the country in counties like Clare, Tipperary, Leitrim and Roscommon. Surely it doesn't take a genius to work out either that if national schools had been all-Irish from the start then there would have been a whole generation proficient in using the language. This would have been especially invaluable to keeping alive those Gaeltachts that were allowed die out.
    Immersion really is the only way.

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    Default Re: The Irish Language - Kill it or Rejuvenate it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lá an Lúbáin View Post
    No, it's not. It's the half assed efforts of successive governments, I think you'll find. What's fanatical about any of those ideas other than you saying that they are fanatical?
    In other words, your vision of the language is top-down and controlling. You want the government to control the linguistic skills of the people and blame the government if the Irish people don't behave linguistically as you want. You want the language to be forced on people irrespective of their choice or wishes to putting Irish everywhere whether the population agrees or not. You see Irish not as a choice but as a responsibility that must be enforced on people.

    That is exactly the sort of approach that is killing the language. It alienates the majority. Keep following that pattern and there won't be any Gaeltachtaí left in 30 years. Irish will only survive by choice and that will only happen if you win people over, not bully them or issue diktats.

    It reminds me of a case recently of a company that in a computer changeover ran into a problem with their software that messed up how fadas were being printed on invoices. They pulled technical staff off other things to try to fix the problem. Two key managers were passionate about the language and had convinced the company to devote time and resources to going well beyond the official requirement to prove access to things in Irish, though there was very very little demand for it. Invoices printed out during the technical problem went out without fadas. They were bombarded by abusive calls from jumped up Irish language Napoleons who didn't simply check was there a reason fadas weren't on this month's invoices but just quite literally roared and shouted abusive over the phone. The company checked the law and found they didn't have to have fadas on their invoices, so decided '*** it. We're not going to spend a lot of money fixing a problem that 99% of our customers don't care about, just to keep a few hardcore nuts happy.' So they pulled the plug on using anything other than basic letting on their invoices. As expected, nobody apart from a few extremists complained. The two directors who had been all for getting the fadas back decided after all the abuse from the nuts to abandon the idea.

    The ability of people like you to lose friends and alienate people is killing the language.
    "Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions." Blaise Pascal.

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