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Watch Your Language

By Mahons On January 15th, 2020

In Northern Ireland the symbolic is as important in politics as the practical. Hence the fights over flags, place names and language.
It appears a deal of sorts has been made on the use of the Irish language. I’m not a speaker myself, but i admire many of the efforts to preserve it. In a conflict free world there would be no issue as to preserving an ancient language based on heritage concerns, but obviously we dont live in a conflict free world. What are your thoughts?

192 Responses to “Watch Your Language”

  1. Languages are important. Gaelic like Latin should be preserved.

  2. I wish them the success with Irish that the Israelis have had with the now fully revived Hebrew.

  3. I suppose it depends what you mean by preserving language.
    If people want to speak it then it will be preserved, if not then it will die out.
    I personally don’t see a problem with that.

  4. B’fhéidir go bhfuil a fhios agat mo chuid smaointe faoi é

  5. Sorry folks. That says above, you probably know my thoughts on it.

  6. Paul.

    Google translate to the pretty good job on that one.

  7. Mahons

    In a conflict free world there would be no issue as to preserving an ancient language based on heritage concerns, but obviously we dont live in a conflict free world. What are your thoughts?

    Am I being stupid but I don’t really understand what you’re saying here.
    Are people objecting to Irish speakers?

  8. “Are people objecting to Irish speakers?”

    It is a question of identity in Northern Ireland. For many Unionist the greater prominence of Irish dilutes what they see as the British character of Northern Ireland.

  9. Dave – I suppose the objection was to official recognition.

  10. Google translate can be a useful tool for the general gist of a text Dave but it should never be thought of as definitive. I used to run a pub quiz for English speakers over here about ten years ago and one of the rounds was on song lyrics. I’d take the lyrics of a well known pop song, run them through Google translate into Spanish and then run them back through Google translate from the translated Spanish into the English translation to see if people were able to recognise them.

    Of course the language should be preserved and protected. As the indigenous language of the island it not only deserves official protection for historically cultural reasons but also not least because unionism is being absolutely mean – spirited about the issue. Both Welsh and Scots Gaelic have official protection in Britain and as unionists are forever shouting about being proud of their British pride this should also be the case in the wee six?

    As Seamus correctly states above, it’s almost as if the see any IL as a dilution of their Britishness.

    It’s a shame that Seimi was driven away. He really is an authority on the subject.

  11. Mahons.

    It is a question of identity in Northern Ireland. For many Unionist the greater prominence of Irish dilutes what they see as the British character of Northern Ireland.

    The way I see if people want to speak Gaeilge in Northern Ireland then I can’t understand why people would have a problem with that. I don’t think it dilutes Northern Irishness or Britishness.
    But to be fair, I might be missing your point.

    My thoughts in general on any language are that it should just take its natural course. If people still want to speak a language that’s great but I don’t think a dying language should be forcibly revived. For example, not many Welsh people actually speak Welsh fluently, and most of those that do also speak English. But despite this, a disproportionate amount of taxpayers money has been spent propping up the Welsh language in Wales on signs and documents etc. As well as school children being made to learn Welsh in Welsh schools. I think this is wrong.

  12. Paul.

    Of course the language should be preserved and protected. As the indigenous language of the island it not only deserves official protection for historically cultural reasons but also not least because unionism is being absolutely mean – spirited about the issue. Both Welsh and Scots Gaelic have official protection in Britain and as unionists are forever shouting about being proud of their British pride this should also be the case in the wee six?

    Yes, I would agree with you there Paul.

  13. I agree with Paul and appreciate his input.

  14. Praise indeed. Thank you Mahons.

  15. Mahons. Just to confirm, you live in the US not Ireland or the UK?

  16. //any language are that it should just take its natural course. If people still want to speak a language that’s great but I don’t think a dying language should be forcibly revived//

    Does that not apply just the same to a host of different things: ancient texts that nobody reads, old art works that are not popular at the moment, beautiful old buildings that hardly anybody visits……?
    Are we to let all this old stuff go to ruin but because it isn’t popular at the moment.
    Medieval people let all the classical art and learning decay until the people of the Renaissance realised what a treasure they were sitting on.

    What makes each language so important is that we have only limited access to reality, and we break it into perceptible units through the language we think in: thus an English child would group about twenty coloured building blocks as “blue”, whereas the Italian would see four clearly distinct groups in the same lot. Each language is a different window on reality.
    With verbs and structures it’s more indirect but equally strong. There’s even a theory that the American Indians could never have entered the industrial age on their own, as their tense structures doesn’t allow for causation, at least not as clearly as Indo-European languages do. e.g. “After the pin has pressed the lever down, the air inlet is opened and which raises the termperature.. “. Aparently you can’t say that kind of thing without making a big mess in the Indian languages (around California) that were studied.

    A language doesn’t exist only in books and literature: it’s a living thing, constantly changing, taking in new elements from other languages and in turn enriching other languages with phrases and structures. If you let languages die, you are denying your own potential growth.

    One thing I learned recently is that the German word “Glocke” (bell), as in Glockenspiel, and later the English “clock” are of early Irish Gaelic origin.
    It started as Irish “cloc”, meaning “bell”, and was taken by Irish missionaries with their hand bells, when they brought a bit of celestial order to the continent. From there it returned to English in the Middle Ages and became the name for a timepiece after the time of day used to be announced by a church bell ringing.

    Other words of Irish origin are hooligan (well, from where else?), slob (ditto), galore, phoney, keening, bother, hubbub, clan, bog, slogan (meaning battle cry), and of course whiskey.

    Not really words denoting a high point of civilisation, you may think. But dere ye are.

    The English continuous tense is also of celtic origin. Irish “Tá mé ag ithe”, “I am eating”.
    Few other languages have this distinction between a present simple and continuous form.
    The “ag” in the Irish was initially anglicised as “a-“, as in “The times they are a-changin”, “a-fussin an’ a-fightin”, etc., but is now only present in folk songs etc.

  17. T

  18. The use of Irish in Ireland and the use of Welsh in Wales was violently surpressed for decades. Thus recovery of that is not just culturally important but politically important to help right a historical injustice.

  19. *said decades meant centuries.

  20. Correct.

    Was going to say the same thing.

    In many places, languages were suppressed.

    In the recent film about Linda Ronstadt, who grew up in a Spanish speaking part of rural Arizona, she talks of how the teachers would swat you if you were caught speaking Spanish in the playground.

  21. Noel

    Does that not apply just the same to a host of different things: ancient texts that nobody reads, old art works that are not popular at the moment, beautiful old buildings that hardly anybody visits……?
    Are we to let all this old stuff go to ruin but because it isn’t popular at the moment.
    Medieval people let all the classical art and learning decay until the people of the Renaissance realised what a treasure they were sitting on.

    I think you’re missing my point entirely Noel.
    I’m not saying we should let old stuff ‘go to ruin’. (Although sensibly, we can’t preserve everything.) I’m not sure where you got the idea from that I believe that.
    What I am saying is and I’m talking specifically about language is that language evolves all the time, and many languages simply cease been spoken. It would be wrong to suppress or destroy a language deliberately, but it would be unreasonable for society to invest significant resources preserving it. Their value to a minority just doesn’t warrant the society-wide effort required to preserve them.
    And anyway, with our current technology the language would never be lost completely.

  22. Just to point out before somebody accuses me of it, I do not support the suppression of languages. Just the natural evolution.

  23. In Northern Ireland the symbolic is as important in politics as the practical

    Absolutely. This made me chuckle when I read it the other day. It’s also a good demonstration of unionist bloody-mindedness of the issue:

    A UUP councillor says new bi-lingual street signs near Downpatrick have annoyed residents and are “an attempt to divide communities who otherwise live in harmony”.

    Slieve Croob Councillor Alan Lewis branded two dual language signs on the Nutgrove Road at Annadorn, east of Downpatrick, as “utterly ridiculous”.

    https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/politics/council-s-erection-of-irish-language-street-signs-an-attempt-to-divide-harmonious-communities-says-uup-representative-1-9194660

    A UUP councillor from Slieve Croob is complaining about bi-lingual signage.

    – Irony overload. He must really hate giving his address.

  24. Well curry my yoghurt.

    It’s not about keeping a language alive. Proponents of a language Act couldn’t give a stuff about the language, deep down. It’s about the Irish nationalist crocodile demanding to be fed. Once it’s fed it will be back again. It’s about using the issue to further Irish nationalism, that’s all.

    An Irish Language Act as envisaged by nationalists would put Irish on the same footing as English in all state bodies, in the courts, in the police, on all public signs and buildings. It’s about the Gaelificication of a part of the UK.

    In truth Polish is more widely spoken and of more use in NI than Irish.

  25. Polish isn’t indigenous to Ireland though Pete, Irish is. Surely you as a man appreciative of the historical & cultural norms of yesteryear would be in favour of such protection?

    It’s about the Gaelificication of a part of the UK.

    Did the Welsh & Scots Language Acts ‘Gaelificate’ those parts of the UK too? Surely you as a unionist wouldn’t deny your fellow UK citizens in the state of NI what the others in the UK enjoy?

    Or maybe you’re suggesting that the state of NI is a place apart?

  26. Pete used to be a traditionalist…alas no more.

    Not sure why a Slieve Croob councillor is commenting on signs in Dun Phadraig or why they would offend anyone except day-trippers like him.

    On the general point of the post – I agree with all Paul has said.

  27. “Not sure why a Slieve Croob councillor is commenting on signs in Dun Phadraig or why they would offend anyone except day-trippers like him.”

    Slieve Croob is the name of the electoral area, which includes a large chunk of the rural area west of Downpatrick. So Loughinisland for example is in ‘Slieve Croob’ DEA. Here’s a map of the new council areas:

    https://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/newNAM.gif

  28. Ironically, I believe the last native Irish speakers in Co Down lived near Slieve Croob and died in or around the 1930s.

  29. Dave – I live in the USA, outside New York City.

  30. Thanks Seamus. Bit random calling that area “Slieve Croob”. I would have thought “Greater Castlewellan” a more appropriate moniker.

  31. “I live in the USA, outside New York City.”

    Hardly clearing the matter up. There is lots of the USA outside of New York City.

  32. Paul –

    Polish isn’t indigenous to Ireland though Pete, Irish is.

    Being “indigenous” is deserving of advantages over the foreign. Well said Paul.

    I completely agree.

  33. Being “indigenous” is deserving of advantages over the foreign. Well said Paul

    I completely agree.

    Fair play Pete. You’ll have no problems with the Irish language on any part of the island taking precedence over English then?

  34. I would have thought “Greater Castlewellan” a more appropriate moniker.

    Get you, casting off your Dublin urbanite slick metropolitan ways and asserting your parochial heritage 😉

  35. Thank you Seamus. I’ll alert our map makers.

  36. Mahons.
    Cheers. I thought you lived in Ireland, but someone mentioned the other day that you like Phantom lived in the US.

  37. “I would have thought “Greater Castlewellan” a more appropriate moniker.”

    It is the merger of parts two previous DEAs (neither of which’s namesake is in the new DEA). The northern half came from the Ballynahinch DEA, the southern half came from the Newcastle DEA.

    They tend to not like naming the DEAs after towns unless the town really dominates the area. So Downpatrick makes sense (pop. over 10,000). Castlewellan less so (only 2,700).

    They have a tendency to go for geographic sort of names to avoid controversy. To avoid calling South Armagh South Armagh they called it Slieve Gullion. To avoid calling Derry City either Derry or Londonderry (or both) they called it Foyle. To avoid controversy about calling a new DEA the Falls DEA (as a certain amount of the Lower Falls had been put into the Shankill) they called it Black Mountain.

  38. To avoid calling South Armagh South Armagh they called it Slieve Gullion

    Longley’s gem:

    On Slieve Gullion ‘men and mountain meet’,
    O’Hanlon’s territory, the rapparee,
    Home of gods, backdrop for a cattle raid,
    The Lake of Cailleach Beara at the top
    That slaked the severed head of Conor Mor:

    To the south the Border and Ravensdale
    Where the torturers of Nairac left
    Not even an eyelash under the leaves
    Or a tooth for MacCecht the cupbearer
    To rinse, then wonder where the water went.

    I watch now through a gap in the hazels
    A blackened face, the disembodied head
    Of a mummer who has lost his bearings
    Or, from the garrison at Dromintee,
    A paratrooper on reconnaissance.

    He draws a helicopter after him,
    His beret far below, a wine-red spot
    Swallowed by heathery patches and ling
    As he sweats up the slopes of Slieve Gullion
    With forty pounds of history on his back.

    Both strangers here, we pass in silence
    For he and I have dried the lakes and streams
    And Conor said too long ago: ‘Noble
    And valiant is MacCecht the cupbearer
    Who brings water that a king might drink.

  39. “Get you, casting off your Dublin urbanite slick metropolitan ways and asserting your parochial heritage 😉”

    Slick metropolitan ways?!! You nearly made me choke on my skinny, oat-milk macchiato.

  40. Dave,

    “My thoughts in general on any language are that it should just take its natural course. If people still want to speak a language that’s great but I don’t think a dying language should be forcibly revived. For example, not many Welsh people actually speak Welsh fluently, and most of those that do also speak English. But despite this, a disproportionate amount of taxpayers money has been spent propping up the Welsh language in Wales on signs and documents etc. As well as school children being made to learn Welsh in Welsh schools. I think this is wrong.”

    I agree with you (and I am Irish). Also one of the reasons many people including myself do not speak Irish as well as we would like is the sense of having it rammed down our throats, most obviously in school, where many react as you would expect to being made to learn it. It’s only later on when you go abroad and meet genuinely bilingual people that you become more interested in the language, at least in my own case. And still, not that much.

    Most of the people who get very exercised about it are in truth just using it as a proxy for nationalism vs unionism. And in many cases we would be better served if those people just didn’t speak at all or at least talked about something else for a change, given the number of people who have been killed for this nonsense.

    As for the bilingual road signs and census forms, this is just theatre, including in the south. You could offer free taxis and an interpreter to those who can only speak Irish, and it would cost nothing, because the number of people who can speak only Irish is 0. If there were a case for having a second language on the signs at all, there would probably be a better case for making that language Chinese.

    Even the case for road signs at all is shaky enough, given that most people have access to satnav etc and the majority of other signs involve only numbers or pictures.

  41. I went to a primary and secondary CBS in West Belfast Frank and, (in secondary), had the language beaten into me, just as I had English, geography, history science etc beaten into me and it was only a few years after leaving school that I made a conscious decision to go back and learn the language.

    Your tale & mine are probably link countless tales in many parts of Ireland. I really don’t see what connection they have to an ILA.

    As a reasonable Irish speaker no longer living in Ireland I don’t ‘get very exercised about it’ although I would like to see it for the reasons I mention above, official protection and preservation of the indigenous language of the island for historical and cultural reasons but there’s also a political principle involved here, an ILA was a central tenet of the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement. The DUP have stated that they never agreed to such a thing, this is at the very very least open to question.

    If you’ve no iterest in the language no one’s forcing you to take an interest but if you’re so against an ILA as ‘ a proxy for nationalism vs unionism’ I know many many people teaching and learning in Irish speaking schools, working in Irish language cultural centres and working for Irish language promotion and preservation groups who would vehemently disagree.

    As I said earlier, it’s a pity Seimi was driven away. As one of the people I speak about above he really is the person to address any concerns to.

  42. Paul,

    The equivalent to the ILA in the south more resembles Weekend at Bernies than anything to do with protecting and preserving the language.

  43. I love the Irish place names. But some of the Irish personal names are ludicrous.

  44. The dream of Ireland becoming an Irish speaking country is absurd. According to linguists Irish is a dead language, alive only with scholars and hobbyists. I don’t want to snuff it out, but neither do I want to put sizable funds into its revival.

    The idea that it is the indigenous language assumes there was no language before the Irish speakers arrived on the scene, but of course there were people with a culture and language in Ireland before the invasion of Irish speakers.

    I personally think dual signage can be confusing and should be discontinued.

    The Irish speaking enthusiasts are romantic dreamers and perhaps uncomfortable in the twenty-first century. And, of course, as stated above, some use the language for political ballast which is a desecration.

  45. I’ve never been confused by the dual language signs. Probably cause…they are in both languages.
    There are those who champion it for political reasons. So what. They are hardly more sinister than those who for political reasons tried to eradicate it.

  46. Utilitarianism is pretty soulless and short sighted.

    Sectarianism disguised as utilitarianism is even worse.

  47. //I’ve never been confused by the dual language signs.//

    Then you’ve never driven around County Clare. There the road signs sometimes point away from the town indicated, disappear when you get nearer where they are replaced by signs for some other place and even sometimes are placed after the destination they are supposed to point towards.

    /Sectarianism disguised as utilitarianism is even worse./

    !!

  48. Noel – I’ve very been confused by the language of the signs. The positioning of them is another story.

  49. Frank

    I agree with you (and I am Irish). Also one of the reasons many people including myself do not speak Irish as well as we would like is the sense of having it rammed down our throats, most obviously in school, where many react as you would expect to being made to learn it. It’s only later on when you go abroad and meet genuinely bilingual people that you become more interested in the language, at least in my own case. And still, not that much.

    Cheers for your response Frank. I agree with you.
    When I read it I was actually reminded me of when I was in Poland, out with my polish girlfriend. some Russian girls came up to us and asked something in Russian which obviously I didn’t understand. She replied to the quickly and fluently. I was shocked and I said to her you speak Russian? she pulled a face and said, ‘yes, but I wish I didn’t, I hate it. We were forced to learn under communism.’

    if there’s any point I’m making there, I suppose it’s that being forced to learn any language can actually have a detrimental effect in keeping that language alive.

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/20/storm-welsh-only-schools-minority-language

  50. MourneReg,

    Utilitarianism is pretty soulless and short sighted.

    Really? It doesn’t sound too bad to me.

    Unlike other forms of consequentialism, such as egoism and altruism, utilitarianism considers the interests of all humans equally.

  51. The equivalent to the ILA in the south more resembles Weekend at Bernies

    That might be the case Frank but the 26 with its official protection, taking for granted and neglect of the IL can’t be compared with the 6 where every recognition of the Irish language has been fought for tooth and nail.

    Sectarianism disguised as utilitarianism is even worse

    Well said Reg. Any expression of an Irish identity here and NYer is first out of the traps finding some fault with it so I really shouldn’t respond to his unionist trolling, however:

    The dream of Ireland becoming an Irish speaking country is absurd

    Somewhat of a red herring strawman I think. AFAIK of those here advocating for an ILA not one has expressed the opinion of ‘Ireland becoming an Irish speaking country’

    The idea that it is the indigenous language assumes there was no language before the Irish speakers arrived on the scene

    Does it? I thought that it assumed that the Irish language was indigenous to Ireland so, if Irish isn’t indigenous to Ireland where is it indigenous to?

    I personally think dual signage can be confusing and should be discontinued

    If you’re confused by a sign that gives you the place where you’re going to in two languages, one you understand and one you don’t understand then I’d suggest that you’re maybe not hot enough on the old cognitive analytical faculties to be driving in the first place.

    Let’s just be clear on one thing hear, if you don’t want to learn Irish no one is and an ILA won’t force it upon you.

  52. MourneReg

    “Sectarianism disguised as utilitarianism is even worse.” It is a cultural issue, not a sectarian one. Signs are utilitarian by their nature. When I am driving to Belfast I don’t want a mini lesson in Irish, I want to get from point A to point B.

  53. And all road signs going to Belfast will still say Belfast on it. But it would also facilitate those who want signs directing them to Béal Feirste.

  54. Paul McMahon

    “AFAIK of those here advocating for an ILA not one has expressed the opinion of ‘Ireland becoming an Irish speaking country’”. The dream of an Irish speaking country undergirds the Iris speaking movement which the ILA belongs to.

    “Does it? I thought that it assumed that the Irish language was indigenous to Ireland so, if Irish isn’t indigenous to Ireland where is it indigenous to?” Obviously it is indigenous to wherever the Irish speaking people came from before they invaded Ireland.

    Signage should be utilitarian, it should say precisely what is meant concisely. It should not me a mini foreign language lesson or propaganda for some nationalist movement.

    Ireland is an English speaking country. Most of us have little, if any, interest in the Irish language. The Irish language is for scholars and hobbyists, don’t push it on a public which does not understand it and does not want to understand it.

  55. Seamus

    “And all road signs going to Belfast will still say Belfast on it. But it would also facilitate those who want signs directing them to Béal Feirste.” Why should they be facilitated? Don’t they also understand Belfast? Try to live in the real world not one of romantic fantasy.

  56. “The Irish language is for scholars and hobbyists, don’t push it on a public which does not understand it and does not want to understand it.”

    76% of nationalists in the north support the introduction of an Irish Language Act.

  57. “Try to live in the real world not one of romantic fantasy.

    Irish is of the real world, despite the efforts to remove it by bigoted scum like yourself.

  58. I’ll get back to the other comments shortly however,

    Most of us have little, if any, interest in the Irish language.

    Who is ‘we’ NYer? Why would a British unionist from and living in the US have any interest in the IL?

  59. There are many countries in Europe that employ dual language signage.

  60. Seamus

    “Irish is of the real world, despite the efforts to remove it by bigoted scum like yourself.” Can you not make a point without insulting and vulgar language? It is a sign of an unbalanced mind. I did not remove it, the Irish stopped speaking it for many good reasons, and it is not coming back.

  61. “Can you not make a point without insulting and vulgar language? “

    I can. With you I choose not to.

    Can you not make a point without making shit up about another person, forcing him off the site?

    “I did not remove it, the Irish stopped speaking it for many good reasons, and it is not coming back.”

    Being starved into submission is now a good reason…

  62. The dream of an Irish speaking country undergirds the Iris speaking movement which the ILA belongs to.

    No it doesn’t. The dream of the Irish speaking community is to be able to be able to converse freely in any given situation in Ireland, not to have an ‘Irish speaking country’

    Obviously it is indigenous to wherever the Irish speaking people came from before they invaded Ireland.

    You think that Irish was spoken in another country before it came to Ireland?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I’ll tell you what, tell us who inhabited Ireland before the Celts and tell us what language they spoke?

    Signage should be utilitarian

    They are utilitarian. If a sign says Belfast and Béal Feirste it tells you that you’re on the right direction for the city.

    Why should they be facilitated?

    Because unlike you ‘they’ come from Belfast and pay taxes there

    Most of us have little, if any, interest in the Irish language.

    Once more, who is ‘we’ and why would a British unionist from and living in the US have any interest in the IL?

  63. MourneReg

    “There are many countries in Europe that employ dual language signage.” What countries? In Italy are signs in Italian and Latin?

  64. Seamus

    “I can. With you I choose not to.” SO you are facile with the Oppressor’s language?

    The Irish stopped speaking Irish. That is an undeniable fact you ignore, nonetheless it is the most important fact regarding the Irish language. That is why it is considered a dead language by linguists.

  65. Poland, Greece, Spain, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the UK and Turkey all have areas with bilingual signage.

  66. Paul McMahon

    “No it doesn’t. The dream of the Irish speaking community is to be able to be able to converse freely in any given situation in Ireland, not to have an ‘Irish speaking country’”. Wrong. Review the history of the Irish speaking movement.

    “I’ll tell you what, tell us who inhabited Ireland before the Celts and tell us what language they spoke?”. Mesolithic people who built places like Newgrange.

    “Because unlike you ‘they’ come from Belfast and pay taxes there”. I pay NI rates and taxes.

    “Once more, who is ‘we’”. The ‘we’ are sane Irish people wherever they are.

  67. The UK?

    I live here, travel up and down, North to South, I haven’t come across one yet.

    Mahons, could you either a) be talking bollocks, (apart from one or two odd signs here and there) or b) be talking bollocks?

  68. Mahons

    “Poland, Greece, Spain, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the UK and Turkey all have areas with bilingual signage.” What two languages are the signs in Poland, Greece and Germany?

  69. Indeed, Mahons. Romania as well, I believe.

  70. Mahons.

    I also travel rather frequently, and I suspect rather more frequently than you, up and down the German Autobahns, City centrums, from Düsseldorf to Berlin, to Wurzburg, and have never come across one yet.

    The same can be said driving from Calais through to Antwerp to the German border.

    Mahons, stop talking bollocks.

    Sometimes, Google is not your friend.

  71. Harri,

    Or c), Mahons knows more about the UK than you do.

    When I was in Ross-shire 13 years ago, they had bi-lingual signs. I believe they are also found in Wales.

  72. “The Irish stopped speaking Irish”

    No the Irish were forced to stop speaking Irish, by scumbag bigots like you.

    “That is why it is considered a dead language by linguists.”

    You really shouldn’t make shit up. Irish actually isn’t considered a dead language by linguists, not least because it doesn’t meet the features of a dead language. In the Republic over 75,000 people speak Irish every day, with 20,000 people speaking Irish as their daily first language. Another 4,000 using it as their daily first language. There are also geographic areas that it is spoken as a community language.

    There are nearly 7,000 languages on the planet used in daily life. The majority of them have fewer than 7,000 speakers.

    Irish is a living language, despite the efforts of people like you.

    “What two languages are the signs in Poland, Greece and Germany?”

    German & Polish road signs are quite common in Poland. In Greece both are Greek but one is written in the Greek alphabet and the other in the Latin alphabet. In Germany they use bilingual signs in their national minority areas (primarily the Wends/Sorbs).

    “I live here, travel up and down, North to South, I haven’t come across one yet”

    Ever been to Wales?

  73. Harri – Wales is the primary place with blingual road signs.

  74. Seamus

    “No the Irish were forced to stop speaking Irish, by scumbag bigots like you.” You are really facile with the Oppressor’s language! They were not forced. The shoce not to do so for several reasons.

    Name a recognized linguist who does not consider Irish a dead language? It does not matter if a few people in Dublin send their kids to an Irish speaking school because the number of Irish speakers is minuscule for a population north and south of nearly seven million.

  75. New Yorker- Greek signs are in Greek and English. In Poland they have multiple areas with bilingual signs (Polish-German, Polish-Lithuanian being two examples).

  76. Wales?

    That’s a pretty far cry from Poland, Germany, France, and other wayward Central European countries.

    To cut you a break, travelling by road through Austria, you can be directed to Prague, or “Praha” as those one or two signs indicate.

    Yes, you have a singular point, but as for your claim “ road signs are bilingual “ across Europe?

    Sorry, you are talking absolute bollocks.

  77. Wrong. Review the history of the Irish speaking movement.

    Ah, the old’do your own research’ retort so loved by the American right. I don’t need to as I’m very well acquainted with a lot of those involved in the campaign for an ILA, (and there isn’t one home homogonous ‘Irish Speaking Movement’ to review the history of).

    Why not instead provide references to support your claim?

    Mesolithic people who built places like Newgrange

    And tell me what languages they spoke? While you’re at it could you also please tell me what other countries Irish was spoken in before it came to Ireland?

    I pay NI rates and taxes.

    And you think, (if true), that gives you a right to tell Irish speaking Irish tax payers in Belfast or anywhere else what their taxes and rates should be spent on?

    The ‘we’ are sane Irish people wherever they are.

    Self appointed spokesman for ‘Irish people wherever they are’. Hugely inflated opinion of yourself

  78. Ever been to Wales?

    Yep.

    My ex-wife had my out-laws living in North Wales, Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, apart from the incessant rain, I recall no road signs in English.

  79. “Name a recognized linguist who does not consider Irish a dead language?”

    Name one who does. The term dead language has meaning. And that meaning is when the language is no longer the native language of a community of people. Given that there are communities of people who speak Irish as their native language, Irish is not dead.

    “They were not forced. “

    Yeah they were. What did you say earlier? “Review the history”.

  80. “The ‘we’ are sane Irish people wherever they are.”

    You aren’t Irish.

  81. Mahons, on January 16th, 2020 at 8:29 PM Said:
    Harri – Wales is the primary place with blingual road signs.

    Mahon, with all due respect, I had to suffer the indignity of driving to North Wales every year for over 10 years.

    How many times have you driven up the M1, the M6, and onto then A5 to Wales?

    Precisely.

    I rest my case your honor.

  82. Harri – I didn’t say road signs are bilingual across Europe. I listed 9 European countries that have bilingual road signs.

  83. Harri, a cursory glance at t’internet proves Mahons right.

  84. We have bilingual signs in NYC

    In English and in Brooklynese

    https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2016/05/25/heres-where-brooklyns-unique-fuhgeddaboudit-oy-vey-signs-come-from/

  85. Harri – the question was where are there bilingual road signs in Europe. The UK was an example I gave, and specifically in Wales. If you haven’t seen them there I suppose you may have been on the roads of Wales, but you’d have to be in the trunk (boot) not to notice them.

  86. Mahons, on January 16th, 2020 at 8:50 PM Said:
    Harri – I didn’t say road signs are bilingual across Europe. I listed 9 European countries that have bilingual road signs.

    I agree, maybe half a dozen spread about here and there.

    But there are millions of signs.

    Virtue signalling at its finest.

  87. Harri – you seem to be just making things up for the sake of disagreeing.

  88. Actually, come to think of it, the only road signs I have seen in the UK which are bilingual, are from Hangers Lane, North London by-pass, to Golders Green, which read..

    “ Golders Green, 4 miles, to you, 3 miles” it’s a bargain my boy, Oy Vey.

  89. Mahons, on January 16th, 2020 at 9:04 PM Said:
    Harri – you seem to be just making things up for the sake of disagreeing.

    No Mahons, I will, as a European living in Europe, take what you say as Gospel, what goes on in the States, and in particular New York as a whole lot more than I know.

    You should heed the same sentiments.

  90. Mahons

    “New Yorker- Greek signs are in Greek and English. In Poland they have multiple areas with bilingual signs (Polish-German, Polish-Lithuanian being two examples).” Thanks. That is interesting. I can understand Poland as they have communities of Germans and Lithuanians who speak their languages and may not know Polish. But I do not understand Greece having signs in English.

  91. Greece has very many foreign tourists, English speakers as well as others ( Japanese, Chinese ) who often know English well enough.

    The Greeks are smart to have signs in English as well as Greek. Helps everybody.

    Japan has English on its road signs for the same good reason, China too etc.etc.

  92. The world would be a better place if everyone spoke English only 😉

  93. Mahons.

    Driving in North Wales, I used to notice signs “Henoed” which I thought was, Ah, an old age pensioner? I guessed right, because the word was accompanied by a person bent over with a walking stick, what I didn’t notice too much, was one day I was going to be one of them?

  94. Paul McMahon

    “Ah, the old’do your own research’ retort so loved by the American right. I don’t need to as I’m very well acquainted with a lot of those involved in the campaign for an ILA, (and there isn’t one home homogonous ‘Irish Speaking Movement’ to review the history of).” Ok, you know it all and you learned it from guys pushing for an ILA. What a great source! I’m sure they have read Douglas Hyde and filled you in.

    “And tell me what languages they spoke? While you’re at it could you also please tell me what other countries Irish was spoken in before it came to Ireland?”. I don’t think it is known what language(s) the Mesolithic people spoke, but whatever it was it was the indigenous language of Ireland. The Irish speaking people who invaded Ireland it is thought probably came from the steppes of Europe.

    “And you think, (if true), that gives you a right to tell Irish speaking Irish tax payers in Belfast or anywhere else what their taxes and rates should be spent on?”. I can assure you I pay NI taxes and rates but doubt you do or many of the people pushing for an ILA pay. Of course I have the right to say what my taxes and rates are spent on.

    “Self appointed spokesman for ‘Irish people wherever they are’. Hugely inflated opinion of yourself.” It has nothing to do with me. It is a statement of fact. I do not have a problem with my identity, but you appear to have such a problem.

  95. Seamus

    “Name a recognized linguist who does not consider Irish a dead language?
    Name one who does.” Here are two: Aidan Doyle and Donal Flynn. Have you read their books?

  96. New Yorker – I suspect the bilingual signs in Greece are due to the need to accommodate tourists given their alphabet.

  97. Phantom

    I am familiar with Brooklynese. It is a colorful language!

    I see what you mean about countries using English because it is useful for tourists, it is good business.

  98. Harri – there is no need for taking anyone’s statements as gospel. Just accept facts as facts.

  99. NY

    And even for business travelers or those driving through.

    Knowledge of English is an unbelievable / unfair advantage to a person, us included

    There are German and other companies that do a lot of their activities in English now, including major meetings. If you have a meeting with German, Finnish, Japanese and Mexican executives, they’ll all have knowledge of English, while none may know the others’ languages.

    https://www.handelsblatt.com/today/companies/ve-talk-gut-how-german-companies-adopted-english-as-their-lingua-franca/23573406.html?ticket=ST-241106-nZd5QEposPTpiHjyDck0-ap4

  100. “Here are two: Aidan Doyle and Donal Flynn. Have you read their books?”

    Where specifically does Aidan Doyle call Irish a dead language. I can’t seem to find any suggestion of him saying that. Donal Flynn does seem to (repeatedly) but I can’t find any credentials for him that would in any way shape or form suggest he is a linguist.

  101. Ok, you know it all and you learned it from guys pushing for an ILA. What a great source!

    Let’s see what I said:

    AFAIK of those here advocating for an ILA not one has expressed the opinion of ‘Ireland becoming an Irish speaking country’

    Got that? I don’t think that some guy dead over 70 years is advocating for an ILA. As I said, there isn’t a homogenous ‘Irish Speaking Movement’ to review the history of.

    I don’t think it is known what language(s) the Mesolithic people spoke, but whatever it was it was the indigenous language of Ireland.

    So you’re saying that a language you or seemingly no one else knows was ‘the indigenous language of Ireland?’ Sound point.

    The Irish speaking people who invaded Ireland it is thought probably came from the steppes of Europe

    So, you’re saying that Irish was spoken of the ‘steppes of Europe’ (wherever that was) before it came to Ireland? One things for sure, the Celts that came to Ireland, possibly from the Russian Steppes or the Iberian Peninsula didn’t speak Irish. The language was formed in Ireland hence it being indigenous to Ireland.

    You’re confusing indigenous with original

    I can assure you I pay NI taxes and rates but doubt you do or many of the people pushing for an ILA pay.

    Yeah, if you say so. I’m a former contributor to the British Exchequer and am certainly allowed an opinion as such. You’re sneering superiority to alleged non tax payers is noted.

    Of course I have the right to say what my taxes and rates are spent on.

    Yes but you don’t have a right to tell others what their taxes & rates are spent on.

    It has nothing to do with me.

    Then what gives you the right to make such a claim.

    It is a statement of fact

    It’s not. It’s a statement of your opinion which can’t possible be qualified.

  102. Paul McMahon

    “Got that? I don’t think that some guy dead over 70 years is advocating for an ILA. As I said, there isn’t a homogenous ‘Irish Speaking Movement’ to review the history of.” There is an Irish speaking movement, but why does it have to be homogeneous? It is a movement in many countries, how could it be homogeneous? Hyde was one of the founders of the movement.

    “So you’re saying that a language you or seemingly no one else knows was ‘the indigenous language of Ireland?’ Sound point.” How could they not have had a language? They would have had to communicate to build things like Newgrange.

    “One things for sure, the Celts that came to Ireland, possibly from the Russian Steppes or the Iberian Peninsula didn’t speak Irish.” Wrong. The Celts spoke an early version of Irish. They were also called the Gaels.

    “The language was formed in Ireland hence it being indigenous to Ireland.” What does formed in Ireland mean? Languages evolve but evolve does not mean formed.

    “You’re confusing indigenous with original.” Care to define the difference?

    “I’m a former contributor to the British Exchequer and am certainly allowed an opinion as such.” As a former your opinion is no more than man in the street and cannot be equated with those who currently pay taxes and rates.

    “Yes but you don’t have a right to tell others what their taxes & rates are spent on.” Of course I do. I have more right than those who do not pay taxes and rates.

  103. Seamus

    “Where specifically does Aidan Doyle call Irish a dead language. I can’t seem to find any suggestion of him saying that. Donal Flynn does seem to (repeatedly) but I can’t find any credentials for him that would in any way shape or form suggest he is a linguist.” Read the concluding chapter in Doyle’s book on the history of the Irish language. Donal Flynn wrote the book “The Revival of Irish – Failed Project of a Political Elite”.

  104. “Read the concluding chapter in Doyle’s book on the history of the Irish language.”

    He explicitly says Irish is a dead language?

    “Donal Flynn wrote the book “The Revival of Irish – Failed Project of a Political Elite”.”

    I am aware. That doesn’t make him a linguist.

  105. “Of course I do. I have more right than those who do not pay taxes and rates.”

    Nonsense. Are you an Irish citizen (or a UK citizen via Northern Ireland)? Are you resident on the island of Ireland? If both of those questions are no then you have no right to decide how those taxes or rates are spent.

  106. //According to linguists Irish is a dead language, alive only with scholars and hobbyists.//

    Wrong. Linguists wouldn’t really be bothered with the question, but if pushed would not consider Irish a dead language.
    I studied linguistics and the only references to the issue I remember reading all said that Irish almost died but was saved. So, totally against your arguments here: Linguists say that Irish was saved from death by the actions of the Irish government.

    The measures the govt employed in the past were unfortunate and would have been much more successful if someone had done a bit of thinking first (it’s amazing how Patrick Pearse was considered the founding saint of Ireland, but all his writings were ignored).
    But inasmuch as theose efforts had any effect, it was to help prevent the language from dying out.
    But it isn’t an issue of linguistics; languages grow, change, decline and die for economic and social reasons.

    But the mention of linguistics reminds me of another – much more important – thing I remember from all those years ago: Irish should be preserved simply because it alone defies one of Noam Chomsky’s central theories – that of universal grammar, based on deep syntax. Irish is (afaik) unique in that is goes against the thema-rhema scheme of syntactic thought, posited by the Greeks and that Chomsky adopted for several of his theories.
    I remember hearing a German linguistics professor say once that it’s a pity Chomsky never went to Connemara.

    //The Celts spoke an early version of Irish. //

    Nonsense #2, I’m afraid. Proto-celtic is in no shape or form an early version of Irish. It would be much closer to the truth to say that Welsh and Brythonic are earlier forms of Irish, but even that would be totally nonsense. Irish comes from Ireland.

    //Mesolithic people who built places like Newgrange.//

    No, that’s isn’t right either. Newgrange was built much later than the Mesolithic period.

    NewYorker, are you aiming for the Patrick Prize 2020?

  107. I’m going to bed and if needs be I’ll come back to this tomorrw. Two short comments before I go to bed though:

    “You’re confusing indigenous with original.” Care to define the difference?

    Yes, original means first and indigenous means inherent to, hence the Irish language being formed in Ireland.

    The Celts spoke an early version of Irish. They were also called the Gaels

    The Celts had many languages and the Gaels were just one, (later), branch of the Celts.

    This is the level of knowledge that were trying to have a conversation on linguistic etymons with.

  108. *We’re trying to have a conversation…..

  109. Seamus

    “He explicitly says Irish is a dead language?”. Read the chapter and don’t play games.

    If you write a book on language you are considered a linguist.

    “Nonsense. Are you an Irish citizen (or a UK citizen via Northern Ireland)? Are you resident on the island of Ireland? If both of those questions are no then you have no right to decide how those taxes or rates are spent.” The answer is Yes.

  110. Paul McMahon

    “Yes, original means first and indigenous means inherent to, hence the Irish language being formed in Ireland.” Wrong on indigenous and formed.

    “The Celts had many languages and the Gaels were just one, (later), branch of the Celts.” The dominant language of the Celts was an early form of Irish.

  111. “Read the chapter and don’t play games.”

    Not playing games. Simple question. Does he explicitly say Irish is a dead language?

    “If you write a book on language you are considered a linguist.”

    No you aren’t. If you are qualified in linguistics then you are a linguist.

  112. “The answer is Yes.”

    To which question?

  113. Seamus

    You would make a lousy litigator because your game playing is so transparent. Just read the chapter for the answer.

    I doubt Donal Flynn would agree with your arbitrary definition of linguist.

    You need to brush up on the Oppressor’s language. Would you like me to tell you how?

  114. There are songs I love in Irish. Moments where I’ve been among Irish speakers that have been enchanting. And places whose Irish names are part of the undeniable magic of Ireland. To me and to others the preservation of the language is a worthy cause. If there are those who are aggravated it is being preserved, well their aggravation provides me with additional enjoyment.

  115. Wrong on indigenous and formed

    I’m not.

    The dominant language of the Celts was an early form of Irish.

    It wasn’t.

  116. Noel

    A tiny number of people are actually fluent in Irish. If it is not dead, it is on death’s doorstep. Just because some well off folks in Dublin send their kids to an Irish speaking school and scattered hobbyists try speaking Irish does not mean it has much of a future. All studies indicate a year by year decline in fluency, and when fluency ceases, that is the end. One sign of the vitality of a language is if immigrants are keen to learn it. How many immigrants in Ireland do you think are learrning Irish?

    The worst thing was to have the government force a top-down approach: That was sure to fail because language is an organic thing. You cannot force someone to speak a language naturally., as soon as they do not have to they will speak whatever language they prefer.

    “No, that’s isn’t right either. Newgrange was built much later than the Mesolithic period.” Newgrange was built about five thousand years ago before the end of the Later Mesolithic age.

    Finally, what would be the great loss if Irish were used only by scholars and hobbyists? That is where it will soon be.

    I hope you find reading Chomsky rewarding!

  117. Mahons

    “To me and to others the preservation of the language is a worthy cause.” How much a year would you contribute to its preservation?

  118. Paul McMahon

    I thought you were sleeping.

    What are your cogent definitions of indigenous and formed?

    How do you know the language was not an early form of Irish? Can you link to a source of that knowledge?

  119. New Yorker – I haven’t done a cost analysis of what is necessary, but I would think that money going to preserving culture is generally well spent and insignificant to the overall budget

  120. Mahons

    The question was how much would you individually contribute for preservation, not some abstract entity. The reason for the question is that it ultimately comes down to money spent for preservation, money spent on other budget items, or raising more money. People’s opinions can change when they know the cost is coming out of their pocket.

    In NI money is spent on a large amount of translations, printing, web development, signage, and many other things to accommodate Irish speakers. Everybody in NI understands English, so all this is superfluous. I pay taxes and rates (a kind of property tax) there and would prefer the monies be spent on education and health.

    The place names and songs will be preserved with little cost. What this discussion has been covering is much more than that including what I mentioned in the above paragraph.

  121. “You would make a lousy litigator because your game playing is so transparent. Just read the chapter for the answer.”

    And your attempt to evade the question is quite transparent as well. So transparent that I would conclude that Doyle doesn’t actually say that.

    “I doubt Donal Flynn would agree with your arbitrary definition of linguist.”

    So we are expected to change definitions so we don’t piss off hacks?

    “Would you like me to tell you how?”

    I’m pretty well versed in the use of language (which probably makes me a linguist in your weird definition). What I’d really like you to do is go fuck yourself.

  122. “I pay taxes and rates (a kind of property tax) there and would prefer the monies be spent on education and health.”

    And? I also pay taxes and rates. And I want some of that money spent restoring and enabling the Irish language.

  123. // The dominant language of the Celts was an early form of Irish.//

    Saying that the prehistoric language of European Celts was an early form of Irish is like saying Sanskrit is an early form of English.

    //Newgrange was built …before the end of the Later Mesolithic age.//

    No, it wasn’t. The Mesolithic people in Ireland were hunter-gatherers, Newgrange was built – obviously – by farmers. Farming came to Ireland later. You are confused.

    // If it is not dead, it is on death’s doorstep.//

    Well, at least you’ve conceded that you were wrong to say it’s dead. Irish isn’t dead because people speak it as their living, in some cases native, language.

  124. What are your cogent definitions of indigenous and formed?

    I’ve already explained them above, much like English is indigenous to England but not the original language. But, no doubt having your cliams battered obn their substance you’re now going to try to shift it onto the pedantry of definnitions.

    How do you know the language was not an early form of Irish?

    Because the Celts spoke a number of different languages not a singular Celtic language.

    Can you link to a source of that knowledge?

    Yes

  125. New Yorker – I’d be fine with the government dedicating a part of whatever amount of my taxes went to culture and historical preservation to preserving/promoting a native language if I paid taxes there as I do here in the US. A portion of my taxes goes to Native American Heritage and I have no ancestral connection to that). We do individually pick and choose where taxes go.

  126. I pay taxes and rates (a kind of property tax) there and would prefer the monies be spent on education and health.

    I was wondering how long it would take for the emotive education and health red herring to be introduced. The cost of any expense incurred from an ILA will of course be funded by the Stormont Dept for Communities budget.

    Don’t like the idea that your taxes are funding Arts & Culture and prefer them to be spent on education & health? I’d prefer my taxes hadn’t contributed to things like the Sovereign Grant and funding the British Army and would have preferred them to go to education and health but we don’t choose where our taxes go.

  127. Seamus

    “’m pretty well versed in the use of language (which probably makes me a linguist in your weird definition). What I’d really like you to do is go fuck yourself.” You are incapable of disagreeing with someone without using insulting and vulgar language so you need an upgrade – both in English and manners.

    You do not know the books of the two authors I cited other than what you grabbed from a web search.

  128. Mahons

    The question concerns Ireland not the US. As an American what would you contribute annually to the Irish budget for preservation?

  129. Mahons
    The question concerns Ireland not the US. As an American what would you contribute annually to the Irish budget for preservation?

    Do righteous points count?

  130. Paul

    I’m glad you mentioned English. Claiming Irish is the ingenious language of Ireland is equivalent to claiming English is the ingenious language of North America. Both claims are wrong because they were not the languages of the indigenous people in those two areas.

    You said you had a link but forgot to insert the hyperlink.

  131. Claiming Irish is the ingenious language of Ireland is equivalent to claiming English is the ingenious language of North America

    It’s not like that at all.

    Because the Celts spoke a number of different languages not a singular Celtic language.

    Can you link to a source of that knowledge?

    Yes

    The Celts are an Indo-European people who spread from central Europe across the European continent to western Europe, the British Isles, and southeast to Galatia (in Asia Minor) during the time before the Roman empire. The Celtic family of languages is divided into two branches, the Insular Celtic languages, and the Continental Celtic languages. The Continental branch includes the languages Gaulish, Celtiberian, and Lepontic

    https://www.digitalmedievalist.com/opinionated-celtic-faqs/celtic-languages/

    Please provide links which support your claim that the language spoken on the Iberian peninsula was ‘an early form of Irish’ and the same language of that spoken some 1,500 miles away in Ireland.

  132. ” You are incapable of disagreeing with someone without using insulting and vulgar language so you need an upgrade – both in English and manners.”

    I am perfectly capable. You confuse inability with unwillingness. I have disagreed with pretty much everyone on this site. I have been rude to only a handful. They fall into 3 groups. Group 1: Those who are rude first (and if they can’t take it they shouldn’t give it). Group 2: Racists (who are simply scum). Group 3: You. Because you have less human value than pond-life.

    “You do not know the books of the two authors I cited other than what you grabbed from a web search.”

    And? The first is a noted scholar. However nothing in any of his other works would lead me to believe he said Irish was a dead language. So I asked you specifically had he called Irish a dead language. You refused to answer – which was answer enough in itself. The second seems to have published a book, and wrote a few anti-Irish columns, but beyond that I have been unable to find anything to suggest what his credentials are. As such I queried his inclusion in the group “linguists”. You have so far been unable to produce any credentials that would include him in that group. That itself is answer enough as well.

  133. Noel

    “No, it wasn’t. The Mesolithic people in Ireland were hunter-gatherers, Newgrange was built – obviously – by farmers. Farming came to Ireland later. You are confused.” Perhaps I was just wrong. The government OPW website for Newgrange describes it as Neolithic.

    When do you think farming came to Ireland? Did not the hunter-gathers somehow learn to farm over a period of time?

  134. It is largely thought that the earliest inhabitants of Ireland survived by fishing, hunting and gathering. It was not until around 4,500 BC that farming became widespread in Ireland.

  135. Paul McMahon

    Thank you for that link. However, it refers to the languages spoken by many different Celtic peoples (Scot, Manx, Breton, etc) and not specifically to the Celts that came to Ireland.

  136. Seamus

    “You confuse inability with unwillingness.” There is no confusion, you are just another republican cur.

    What books by Aidan Doyle have you read? This is a test of your competency on the subject under discussion. My opinion is you don’t have any and it shows in your juvenile attempt at playing a TV litigator.

  137. This is what you said:

    The dominant language of the Celts was an early form of Irish

    The fact that the Celtic peoples spoke various Celtic languages shows that claim isn’t true.

    What language did the Celts that came to Ireland speak and where did they speak it prior to coming to Ireland?

  138. “There is no confusion, you are just another republican cur.”

    I like dogs so I’ll take that as a compliment.

    “What books by Aidan Doyle have you read? This is a test of your competency on the subject under discussion. My opinion is you don’t have any and it shows in your juvenile attempt at playing a TV litigator.”

    None. And it isn’t a test of competency. If it was then you would know what a dead language meant. Because there is a definition, one clearly, clearly not met by Irish.

  139. In reality the proto-history of Ireland is shrouded in mystery. There are no contemporary sources and trying to piece it together is almost impossible. The P/Q split in Celtic carries some clues. The Celtiberians (in Spain) were Q-Celtic, like Irish. The Gauls were P-Celtic, like Welsh. So the previous thinking that Celts invaded/migrated from Europe to Britain to Ireland would largely have Irish people as P-Celts. That we are Q-Celts would suggest we come from Spain.

    There is the Lebor Gabála Érenn, the Book of Invasions. Mostly myth and written centuries after the events, and thus cannot be relied on. But interestingly the Gaelic invasion of Ireland is led by the sons Míl Espáine, which translates as the soldier of Spain.

  140. New Yorker – what point are you trying to make by asking me if I would contribute to the Irish budget?

  141. Seamus

    “And it isn’t a test of competency. If it was then you would know what a dead language meant. Because there is a definition, one clearly, clearly not met by Irish.”

    What is the definition of a dead language?

    “I like dogs so I’ll take that as a compliment.” Not any dog, a cur.

  142. Mahons

    I am trying to put a dollar figure on how important the Irish preservation of Irish culture is worth to you as an American. As you can appreciate, preservation takes money and right now it is a burden only the Irish budget bears. As an American when I am in Ireland I hear tourists say things like ‘why don’t they do this or that to preserve their heritage’ and I don’t think it unfair for those who appreciate that heritage wherever they live to chip in for the preservation.

  143. Paul McMahon

    “The fact that the Celtic peoples spoke various Celtic languages shows that claim isn’t true.” No. The context was Celtic people who came to Ireland, not all Celtic people.

  144. Oh, I’ve happily chipped in for many cultural and preservation efforts in Ireland. My ancestors are from there and my wife was raised there.

  145. I think you’ll find that there are signifant private fund raising efforts in the US for many such efforts.

  146. The context was Celtic people who came to Ireland, not all Celtic people.

    These are your comments:

    Obviously it is indigenous to wherever the Irish speaking people came from before they invaded Ireland

    My comment to this:

    You think that Irish was spoken in another country before it came to Ireland?

    The Celts spoke an early version of Irish. They were also called the Gaels

    My comment to this:

    The Celts had many languages and the Gaels were just one, (later), branch of the Celts

    That was the context.

    So tell me, where did the ‘Irish speaking people’ speak Irish before they invaded Ireland?

  147. “What is the definition of a dead language?”

    The definition of a dead language is when the language is no longer the native language of a community of people. So if the only people who speak Irish are isolated homes then it would be a dead language. But while there are geographic communities who use Irish as their main language (so the many Gaeltachtaí for example) then Irish remains a living language.

  148. “Not any dog, a cur.”

    How elitist of you. Nothing wrong with a mongrel. And I am a mongrel. 3 of my 8 great-grandparents (3 of my 4 great-grandfathers) had the misfortune of being Ulster Protestants.

  149. Mahons

    “I think you’ll find that there are signifant private fund raising efforts in the US for many such efforts.” I know of several fund raising organizations but not one specifically for preservation of Irish heritage in Ireland. If there are, more funds are needed.

    I’m testing the water to see if there is much interest in Americans contributing to such a specific fund which might or might not be run by the Irish government. I’m just doing this informally and not for any organization or government.

  150. Paul McMahon

    “So tell me, where did the ‘Irish speaking people’ speak Irish before they invaded Ireland?”. I already did. The steppes of Europe.

  151. Where are the ‘steppes of Europe’ and what language did they speak there prior to going to Ireland?

  152. Seamus

    “The definition of a dead language is when the language is no longer the native language of a community of people. So if the only people who speak Irish are isolated homes then it would be a dead language. But while there are geographic communities who use Irish as their main language (so the many Gaeltachtaí for example) then Irish remains a living language.” Where is that definition from, please provide a link to the source. Other than the Gaeltach areas, where are there such communities? And, how many people have to be speakers of Irish as their main language to qualify?

  153. Seamus

    “How elitist of you.” Do you have a problem with an elite? Not everybody is an egalitarian because the world does not work that way.

  154. Paul McMahon

    “Where are the ‘steppes of Europe’ and what language did they speak there prior to going to Ireland?”. The Western Steppes in the greater Black Sea area. They spoke what became the various Celtic languages.

  155. “Where is that definition from, please provide a link to the source.”

    The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics

    dead language

    One that is no longer the native language of any community. Such languages may remain in use, like Latin

    https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199202720.001.0001/acref-9780199202720-e-799?rskey=GN3YxZ&result=801

    “Other than the Gaeltach areas, where are there such communities?”

    Nowhere. By definition any community or area that speaks Irish as a community language is a Gaeltacht.

    “And, how many people have to be speakers of Irish as their main language to qualify?”

    How long is a piece of string? How big is a community?

  156. “Do you have a problem with an elite? Not everybody is an egalitarian because the world does not work that way.”

    There are plenty of things that exist that shouldn’t. Rapists for one. So I guess because rapists exist in the world, and we likely can never rid ourselves of them, that they are ok as well?

  157. Western Steppes in the greater Black Sea area.

    You are referring to the Eurasian Steppe?

    They spoke what became the various Celtic languages

    So, they didn’t speak Irish then?

  158. “They spoke what became the various Celtic languages.”

    And the various German languages (including English), the various Romance languages, the various Slavic languages, and the various Indo-Iranian. And because it was a common ancestor to all those languages then it means that it would not have sounded like any like language we currently use on this planet.

  159. Seamus

    “One that is no longer the native language of any community. Such languages may remain in use, like Latin”. By that abbreviated definition Irish is a dead language because other than a very few people, if they still exist, who learned Irish as their first language, it is not the native language of anyone.

    Some people pretend that there are Gaeltachts in other places than parts of Donegal or Kerry but they are no more than make-believe Gaeltachts.

    “How long is a piece of string? How big is a community?”. Nice try, no cigar.

  160. “By that abbreviated definition Irish is a dead language because other than a very few people, if they still exist, who learned Irish as their first language, it is not the native language of anyone.”

    It is only a dead language if you exclude the people who learned it as a native language. If that makes Irish a dead language then so is English, Germany, French etc…

  161. Some people pretend that there are Gaeltachts in other places than parts of Donegal or Kerry but they are no more than make-believe Gaeltachts

    Not according to the Irish Government:

    There are currently Gaeltacht areas in seven counties (Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Meath

    https://www.coimisineir.ie/faoin-teanga?lang=EN

    Wrong again.

  162. Seamus

    “It is only a dead language if you exclude the people who learned it as a native language. If that makes Irish a dead language then so is English, Germany, French etc…” You need to explain what seems like a nonsensical statement. Millions of people learned English, French and German their native language whereas only very few learned Irish as their native language.

  163. “You need to explain what seems like a nonsensical statement. Millions of people learned English, French and German their native language whereas only very few learned Irish as their native language.”

    Yes and it is the presence of those, albeit few, people that make Irish a living language. You want to declare Irish a dead language by excluding native Irish speakers. Well if someone excluded native French speakers then French would be a dead language as well.

  164. Seamus

    “There are plenty of things that exist that shouldn’t. Rapists for one. So I guess because rapists exist in the world, and we likely can never rid ourselves of them, that they are ok as well?”. Rapists exist and it would be wrong to deny it. But elites exist because that is the way the world operates: Someone is better than others in sports, academics, business, etc. You may not like elites because you don’t belong but they exist and will continue to do so.

  165. “Someone is better than others in sports, academics, business, etc. You may not like elites because you don’t belong but they exist and will continue to do so.”

    Someone is better in sports, academics, business. That is a meritocracy. That is different from elites.

  166. Paul McMahon

    You still have not been able to rebut the analogy of English in North America and Irish in Ireland. Both languages brought by invading hordes and certainly not indigenous.

    To your 8:49 above, I was referring to Eurasian Steppe but more specifically to what is considered the Western Steppe. The Celts who came to Ireland spoke what became Irish, if you need a name, call it proto-Irish.

    To your 10:36 above, the Irish government does not include Dublin, Belfast or any urban area which is where you will find the make-believe ones.

  167. At least he’s jettisoned that ridiculous ‘it is indigenous to wherever the Irish speaking people came from before they invaded Ireland’ rubbish.

  168. Seamus

    “Yes and it is the presence of those, albeit few, people that make Irish a living language. You want to declare Irish a dead language by excluding native Irish speakers. Well if someone excluded native French speakers then French would be a dead language as well.” Just because a few people in remote areas have Irish as their native language does not qualify Irish as a living language when all the indications are soon there will be nobody who has Irish as their nati8ve language.

  169. “Just because a few people in remote areas have Irish as their native language does not qualify Irish as a living language when all the indications are soon there will be nobody who has Irish as their nati8ve language.”

    Yes it does. If in a few generations those communities don’t speak Irish then Irish would no longer be a living language. But until that happens it remains a living language.

  170. Seamus

    “Someone is better in sports, academics, business. That is a meritocracy. That is different from elites.” The top rung of any meritocratic is an elite. Nobel prize winners in science are the elite of scientists.

  171. “The top rung of any meritocratic is an elite. Nobel prize winners in science are the elite of scientists.”

    An elite is entrenched. The opposite of a meritocracy. So if someone occupies that position because they are the best in sports, academics, business etc.. then that is meritocracy. If they occupy it because their daddy or grandda was the best in sports, academics, business etc… then that is elitism.

  172. Seamus

    “Yes it does. If in a few generations those communities don’t speak Irish then Irish would no longer be a living language. But until that happens it remains a living language.” You are beating a dead horse. It sounds like you are preparing an application for a grant for Irish speakers which will end up in your bank account.

  173. ” You are beating a dead horse. It sounds like you are preparing an application for a grant for Irish speakers which will end up in your bank account.”

    Otherwise known as presenting superior arguments that you can’t refute. So you are playing the man, not the ball.

  174. The analogy of English in North America and Irish in Ireland

    English was spoken in England before it came to America and has existed essentially in the same form to the present day. That’s where your analogy is rebutted.

    The Celts who came to Ireland spoke what became Irish, if you need a name, call it proto-Irish

    No, let’s call it Irish, unless of course you’re suggesting that Irish was spoken millenia ago on the Eurasian Steppe and then spread throughout central and western Europe to evolve into different languages?

    The Irish government does not include Dublin, Belfast or any urban area which is where you will find the make-believe ones.

    But that’s not the claim you made. You claimed Gaeltachts only existed in parts of Donegal or Kerry and any other places which had a Gaeltacht were only ‘make believe’

  175. Seamus

    “Otherwise known as presenting superior arguments that you can’t refute. So you are playing the man, not the ball.” Who is the man?

  176. Paul McMahon

    The English spoken in the 17th century was quite different than the English spoken in the present day. The analogy holds and is not rebutted.

    OK. Call it Irish.

    The subject was clearly the make-believe Gaeltachs. Learn to read the Oppressor’s language.

  177. The English spoken in the 17th century was quite different than the English spoken in the present day

    That’s why I used the term ‘existed essentially in the same form’. Are you in fact suggesting that the English colonisers to America in the 17thC didn’t speak English? The English colonists didn’t speak English in the 17th C yet the Celts from the Eurasian Steppe spoke Irish?

    Interesting view of historical linguistics.

    Irish is and was indigenous to Ireland. All your bluster and smoke and mirrors doesn’t change that and you’ve only served to make a fool of yourself by trying to insist it does.

    The subject was clearly the make-believe Gaeltachts

    This was what you said:

    Some people pretend that there are Gaeltachts in other places than parts of Donegal or Kerry but they are no more than make-believe Gaeltachts

    As usual it was wrong. Thee are a further five counties were Gaeltachts are officially recognised.

  178. Paul McMahon

    “Irish is and was indigenous to Ireland. All your bluster and smoke and mirrors doesn’t change that and you’ve only served to make a fool of yourself by trying to insist it does.” It is not ingenious, it is one of several languages the people of Ireland have spoken over millennia. You have failed to show how the analogy is in error. Who is the fool now?

    Your associates pushing the ILA should drop the false indigenous claim and just say Irish is spoken by a few hundred hobbyists in NI. Your associates are, not unsurprisingly, making a grandiose claim rather than speaking truthfully.

  179. Paul McMahon

    “As usual it was wrong. Thee are a further five counties were Gaeltachts are officially recognized.” You really are quite dense!

  180. I don’t know exactly what the forthcoming Irish Language Act proposes but I think it would be best if it concentrated on cementing laws and funding for a vigorous promotion of the language in terms of education and community learning and usage including place name signs and to help with publication of books and media (film etc) to make the language a growing living entity. Where I would disagree is if it emulated the strict Canadian bi-lingual laws and mandated all and every official documents, signs, publications, forms, technical guides etc to be produced in Irish as well as English. That would be unnecessary, wasteful and an unjustifiable use of scarce public funds. The Irish language should be promoted with official and legal backing but as there is not a population in Ireland unable to speak English there is no need for everything to be mandated in both languages.

  181. //Just because a few people in remote areas have Irish as their native language does not qualify Irish as a living language when all the indications are soon there will be nobody who has Irish as their nati8ve language.//

    That reminds me of the famous “bring out yer dead” scene in The Holy Grail. He’s still alive but if we kill him he can already be considered dead now.

    NewYorker, your “arguments” here are among the most bizarre I’ve ever read on this site, and, boy, that’s saying something.

    You point out that there are no native Irish speakers apart from native Irish speakers.

    Before that, you explained how there are no Irish-speaking communities outside all the Irish-speaking communities.

  182. It is one of several languages the people of Ireland have spoken over millennia. You have failed to show how the analogy is in error. Who is the fool now?

    You still are.

    The New World colonists brought the English language with them to America in the 17thC. At that time variants English had been spoken for at least 1,000 years in Britain:

    It was during the early 17th century that we saw the establishment of the first successful English colony in what was called The New World. Jamestown, Virginia, also saw the dawn of American English with English colonizers adopting indigenous words, and adding them to the English language

    https://www.oxfordinternationalenglish.com/a-brief-history-of-the-english-language/

    See that last sentence there? Look at the final three words of it.

    That’s how the analogy is rebutted and why you are still the fool.

    Irish is indigenous to Ireland. Your claim that it:

    is indigenous to wherever the Irish speaking people came from before they invaded Ireland

    And was consequently spoken on the ‘steppes of Europe’is truly, truly hilarious.

    You really are quite dense!

    So, now that you’ve been bested in debate and are unable to refute the evidence before you’re eyes you’re going to resort to mild insults as you did with Seamus above?

    This is what you said:

    Some people pretend that there are Gaeltachts in other places than parts of Donegal or Kerry but they are no more than make-believe Gaeltachts

    Donegal & Kerry are two Irish counties. This is what the Irish Government say

    There are currently Gaeltacht areas in seven counties (Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Meath

    I’m going to draw the curtains over this particular conversation now as it’s seemingly impossible to debate with a wilfully obtuse dolt.

  183. Noel

    You have to remember New York sees his entire raison d’etre here is to be the anti Irish nationalist. Almost his entire presence on ATW is to attack ‘Irishness’ and those Irish who are here defending their political cultural and national independence.

  184. //Almost his entire presence on ATW is to attack ‘Irishness’ and those Irish who are here defending their political cultural and national independence.//

    I’ve no problem with people attacking Irishness or who are simply anti-Irish; in a perverse way, I sort of enjoy it.

    But these lines of attack are so all over the place they honestly look like they were written by a drunk.

    Another strange thing I’ve noticed is that when NY is talking about Trump or modern education or whatever, I tend not only to agree with a lot of what he says but also find the arguments lucid. The same is true for other contributors who comment on a range of issues.

    It’s all a bit uncomfortable and makes you (me) unsure of my own judgement. I like to think of myself as being objective at least, but is it really true that our opinions colour even our judgement of the logic of another person’s arguments?
    I mean, you can see that happening with a lot of people here every day, but never thought I’d fall for it too.
    Sort of like when you like to think you are immune to the power of a cheap advertising etc.

  185. Well written point Noel. His is an example of how a thoughtful person can succumb to a prejudice on a particular topic that makes them lose their mind.

  186. Food for thought Noel although there’s one point I’d disagree on:

    I like to think of myself as being objective at least

    There are things that I’m not objective on but I consider myself reasonable and if compelling evidence is offered to the contrary I’m absolutely willing to at least listen.

    There are a few things that NY’er has said in the past that I’ve been four square behind. Indeed, very occasionally I’ve found myself in the rather uncomfortable position of agreeing with some things Pete has said!

    I come here to discuss my opinions on various issues, to be challenged on them and to challenge those challenges. Unfortunately there are some who have absolute tunnel vision on some subjects regardless of the facts and will attempt to use other tunnel visionaries opinion as fact to bolster it regardless of what’s staring them in the face.

    Some of the comments above truly are bizarre.

  187. Paul

    There are things that I’m not objective on but I consider myself reasonable and if compelling evidence is offered to the contrary I’m absolutely willing to at least listen.

    Along with myself, you’re one of the minority of people on ATW who will change their minds when presented with compelling evidence. I respect that.

  188. Colm

    “You have to remember New York sees his entire raison d’etre here is to be the anti Irish nationalist.”

    That is not accurate. It is accurate that I am anti-Irish republican and its militant tendencies. I am against using any form of violence and militarism for political or any objectives. I think the Easter Rising was undemocratic, a tragic mistake, and that independence would have been better achieved by non-violent means. The Easter Rising and subsequent violence brought about a country that suffered over fifty years of poverty, misery, isolationism, restriction of rights and necessary emigration instead of engaging modernity and the attendant benefits. I oppose Irish republican militancy both in politics and on cultural issues. I also deplore unionism that has been used to stifle the just rights of citizens. I’m not anti-Irish, just anti-Irish republicanism in its many forms. I believe Irish republicanism has been and continues to be a negative factor in Irish affairs. It is extreme nationalism which unfortunately has also appeared in other European countries such as the AfD in Germany, the National Front in France and Brexit UK.

    In the present discussion Irish republican militant tendencies are employed to advance an agenda that encompasses more than just the Irish language which, I believe, should be opposed and I have attempted to point out weaknesses in the arguments advanced. I don’t like nationalism shoved down my throat and I hope you do not like it either.

  189. New Yorker

    I think your hostility stretches to more than just being against Republicanism, violence and ‘militancy’. I think its a viewpoint you have that sees ‘irishness’ as inferior to ‘Britishness’ and a belief that the Irish were weaker and less capable and should never have opposed the position they had as a part of the United Kingdom. That they needed the rule of the superior larger island to guide them through the 20th century which their own talents and abilities and cultural identities would have failed. While their are good reasons to oppose the Easter Rising I think the core of your opposition to it is a belief that the Irish should have quietly and obediently allowed their British masters to guide and determine the timeline of change and eventual independence. Your views on the Irish language alone indicate a dismissive contempt of anything in Ireland that is not British in origin or that is independently Irish.

  190. New Yorker’s views are almost a dead-ringer for

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

    Hey NY what did you make of the film

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_That_Shakes_the_Barley_(film)

  191. I read Ruth’s book ‘The faithful tribe’ about Unionists and what a ridiculous OTT wildly biased caricature portrayal it was. Unionists were invariably portrayed as saintly hard done by honest, decent hospitable straightforward, slow to anger and baffled by nationalist hostility. Nationalists were almost invariably devilish impossible to please, embittered, calculating, uncooperative, militantly anti-Unionist and only hospitable to further an agenda or curry favour. It was a joke of a book. I laughed through most of it at her cartoonish and unbelievable portrait of the 2 communities.

  192. That’s a good summary of the useful idiot’s book Colm. It’s easy to see why Kurt would compare NY’er with RDE.

    She really has a venemous hatred for the memory of Pat Finucane. Some of the insinuation and innuendo she was writing on Twitter prior to the GE when Finucane’s son John was standing in North Belfast really was bitter and sly.

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