The Death of Irish

April 2024 Forums General discussion The Death of Irish

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  • #156217
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Ireland’s Gaeltacht Regions: Transitioning Into Oblivion?

    Only 1.5% (73,803) speak Irish on a daily basis outside of the education system. UNESCO  categorizes Irish as ‘definitely endangered’

    In the Department of Education development grants, which had been paid to aspiring teachers to train and learn Irish were cut. In essence, the resolve to continue to support Irish does not exist and English is viewed as necessarily being the only show in town. In contemporary Ireland, only in the six counties of ‘Northern Ireland’, with its specific political dynamics, does a vibrant and bottom-up Irish language movement capable of challenging the status quo exist.

    #156218
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Interesting and confirmation of an aspect of our case against movements for “national independence”. One of the arguments the Irish Nationalists used was that a separate Irish state was needed to protect and revice the Irish language. It has failed. The most vibrant Celtic language is Welsh and that has surviced without needing a separate State to sustain it.  In other words, language and a state don’t have to be linked, as of course they won’t be the case in socialism.

    #156725
    ZJW
    Participant
    It is exactly as ALB says.
       
    And here is a letter from Nicholas Williams touching on the matter: http://www.cornwall24.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=3896 (Second item on that page.)
    Who is Nicholas Williams? A Celtic linguist and one the main factional leaders in the extremely acrimonious Cornish Revival movement. For our purposes here, the main point of his letter is to show how independence, and also Roman Catholicism, has ill-served Irish Gaelic (and that an independent Cornwall would be of no benefit to the Cornish language but more likely the opposite; though, one might point out, Bretagne in a centralised Fance has done Breton no favors either. Breton is in much worse repair than Irish Gaelic, with a good number of neo-speakers using a form of the language phonologically, lexically, and syntactically incomprehensible to a small body of dying native speakers. This is similar to, but even more severe than, the problem of what’s sometimes called in Ireland ‘urban Irish’ vs native Irish; about which: http://www.gaelport.com/default.aspx?treeid=37&NewsItemID=3726 ; and pp 260~269 of https://publishup.uni-potsdam.de/opus4-ubp/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/691/file/celtic_languages_in_contact.pdf
           
    As for the non-nationalist, seminally Protestant role in the Gaelic language revival, watch this excellent documentary from 2003. In Irish Gaelic with English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCDyCiikEjc&feature=youtu.be&t=22 . (Of course the word ‘Gaeilge’ (‘Gaelic’) is consistently translated in the subs as ‘Irish’!)

    ‘Gaelic’? ‘Irish’? Irish nationalism has come to stigmatise the word ‘Gaelic’ in one specific context: You must never refer to the ‘Irish language’ as ‘Gaelic’ or ‘Irish Gaelic’, either. (Though for American etc audiences concessions may be made.) You can speak of ‘Gaelic football’, ‘Gaelic’ this and ‘Gaelic’ that, and (absurdly) even ‘Scottish Gaelic’ but never ‘ [Irish] Gaelic’. Such use is deemed ‘condescending’, ‘pejorative etc. And here from no less than the ‘Communist’ Party of Ireland: ‘The connotations attached to names derive from the way in which they are used, and by whom. To Irish minds, “Gaelic” is what foreigners call Irish, often with negative attitudes, and this gives it a connotation in Ireland that is completely negative.’ No doubt the real motor behind the attributions of bad connotation is this idea: 
    ‘We are the Irish Nation; our language is thus called “Irish”, and nothing else.’
                   
    Now *in* Gaelic what is the language called? (1) There exist no such words in Gaelic as ‘Éireannais’, ‘Éirinnis’, or ‘Éiris’ (which, if they existed, would translate to ‘Irish [language]’. (2) *in* Gaelic the language is called — from Munster, to Connacht, to Ulster, to Scotland — the very same thing, variously pronounced (as the anglophonic ear will hear it) as GALE-in, GALE-guh, GALE-ik, and GAL-ik (spelled ‘Gaelainn’, ‘Gaeilge’, ‘Gaeilic (Gaedhilg)’, and ‘Gàidhlig’ .(Of which, all the forms used in Ireland formerly contained the silent ‘dh’ before being eliminated in the spelling reform after WW2 — and thus doing harm to the orthographically clear etymological commonality between the language on the two sides of the Moyle Straits ) .
           
    But Pan-Gaelicists in Ireland are happy to use the word ‘Gaelic’. For example, Ciarán Ó Duibhín: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/~oduibhin/alba/ouch.htm .
               
    Those with interest in the history of thwarted Pan-Gaelicism may read with profit ‘Linguistic Pan-Gaelicism: A Dog that Wouldn’t Hunt’ at
    #156726
    ZJW
    Participant

    I meant to type ‘Brittany’, not ‘Bretagne’!

    #156730
    ALB
    Keymaster

    No need to apologise for that. After all the French for GB is Grande Bretagne, which brings out that at one time (before the Romans came) the whole of the British Isles spoke a variety of Celtic languages. Which makes the Irish Nationalists’ objection to the term “British Isles” ironic. It’s not as if they are called the “Anglo Saxon” or the “English” Isles. I imagine that in socialism these “isles” will be a single English-speaking administrative unit off the North West coast of mainland Europe (with minority rights for Welsh speakers) which is what, linguistically speaking, they are now.

    #156735
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I recall the popularity in the past of universal languages like Esperanto (there were others but less common)

    That seemed to have disappeared too with English becoming the lingua franca for many sections of the world’s populations and industries and professions

    I believe more people speak English in India than Hindi, for example.

     

    #156742
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I’m sure there’ll be fanatical Indian Nationalists who want to put an end to that at the risk of breaking up India as the speakers of other Indian languages resist.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by ALB.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by ALB.
    #156745
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Indeed the Hindutva

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindutva

    But many states are proud of their local languages, 22 official ones,  which are guaranteed by the constitution so there are many language nationalisms in India

    #156746
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Our comrades in Calcutta (Kolkata) conduct their meetings in Bengali, a language with a long history of literature. One of them once told me that Bengalis look down on Hindi as a mongrel patois with no historical literature. Having said this, I see from their latest minutes that they just admitted a new member with the questions and answers being conducted in Hindi.

    #158374
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    https://www.dw.com/en/why-is-india-hinduizing-cities-muslim-names/a-46259523

    The ruling BJP’s motives are political – the party is bent on “Hinduizing” India.

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