Gaeltacht place names in Irish only…

GAELTACHT place names in Irish will have legal recognition from today, after the Placenames Order is signed. This will also prevent English being used on road signs, and anglicised forms of Irish place names are likely to disappear from use.

  • smcgiff

    Counts to 10… decides maybe 1,000 may be more suitable.

  • maca

    Well it’s one step, but they really need to control the amount of English speakers moving there, it’s the only way to protect the Gaeltachts, stop the tide of English speakers sweeping over those areas.

  • unionist_observer

    Well thats a shrewd move by the Irish gov. Tourists to the republic are now going to be even more confused by street signs

  • unionist_observer

    maca

    that sounds suspeciously like ethnic cleansing with that If your not Irish, get out sentiment.

    With Ireland becoming more and more involved with the EU, that is completely unrealistic.

  • peteb

    maca

    Echoes of Canute?

  • Ringo

    unionist_observer
    Tourists to the republic are now going to be even more confused by street signs

    In fairness, the west of Ireland doesn’t exist to give tourists a place to go on holidays. And this move will make sure that the maps the poor befuddled tourists have will match the placenames on road signs.

  • maca

    UO
    “ethnic cleansing”
    “If your not Irish, get out sentiment.”

    Stall the ball there UO. Don’t get carried away …. it’s Irish people who would be excluded! Note I said “English speakers” (which includes me!), this refers to anyone of any nationality.
    It’s a very logical move in my opinion, protect the Irish speaking areas by imposing certain restrictions which attempt to limit the number of non-Irish speaking people moving into the area.

    “With Ireland becoming more and more involved with the EU, that is completely unrealistic.”

    Why?
    We wouldn’t be the only EU country to do such a thing.

  • unionist_observer

    The idea of only a certain percent of the population being allowed to live in a place reeks of fascism to me. What happens if an Irish speaker meets an english speaking person and marries them…will the couple then be banished from the area?

    With further integration into Europe you will inevitably have more people coming to live in Ireland so you are restricting where they can live,

    Finally, what other country in the EU has done this?

  • maca

    “What happens if an Irish speaker meets an english speaking person and marries them…will the couple then be banished from the area?”

    Having one Irish speaker in the family maybe they can live there…??
    The Gaeltachtaí are being destroyed, maybe this won’t help, maybe it will. But perhaps it is one thing which could be looked it. just one often mentioned idea.
    Don’t worry UO, it may never happen.

    “Finally, what other country in the EU has done this?”

    Finland.

  • unionist_observer

    what language did the Fins do this with?

    I thought the Gaeltaches were on the rise from what friends who hail from these areas have told me.

  • Keith M

    I have no problem with this measure even if I thionk it is little more than tokenism. I would agree that limiting the number of non Gaelic speakers in the Gaeltacht would probably have a bigger impact.

    However I do think we should also stop the nonsense of having bilingual road signs throught the country. Every city or town should have one official name only. In the Gaeltact this should be the Gaelic, and in the rest it should be the English version. We should also do away with having bus lanes in Dublin maked out in Gaelic. In short we should have real parity of esteem between our two national languages.

  • maca

    “what language did the Fins do this with?”

    Swedish in Åland.
    The Welsh have often discussed it too.
    For any language to survive it needs to be spoken as a community language. Without this it has no chance to survive, hense the essential survival of the Gaeltachtaí.

    “I thought the Gaeltaches were on the rise from what friends who hail from these areas have told me.”

    Quite the opposite as far as I know. Young people are leaving and the Gaeltachtaí are being over run by non-Irish speaking people (Galway is a good example).

    I can understand why you think it is facist. It’s a difficult issue, trying to balance the protection of an endangered language on one side with peoples rights on the other.

  • slackjaw

    ‘The idea of only a certain percent of the population being allowed to live in a place reeks of fascism to me.’

    It’s not fascism. The percent of the population would not be limited by such a measure, as anyone can learn Irish if they so wish. If I were moving to Poland, I would make damn sure I learned Polish. It’s a shame that people have to contemplate restrictions to preserve their local language due to an unwillingness among others to learn it.

  • Ringo

    unionist_observer
    The idea of only a certain percent of the population being allowed to live in a place reeks of fascism to me

    That’s very simplistic.
    Here are a few other places in the Republic that I can’t live aside from about the 20 acres(I’m exaggerating, it is actually less if I am not mistaken) in the entire island designated for these sort of schemes:

  • Local authority housing schemes – I don’t qualify
  • Halting Sites – I’m not a member of the travelling community
  • Much of the countryside – Fortunately for me I
    bult my house before the planning was restricted to people with a family connection to the rural area or those who worked in the area.
    I’d also like to add:
  • Dublin – I can’t stand jackeens
    but that would be taking the piss.
  • And unlike some of the restrictions above I can always upgrade my standard of Irish to qualify. And so can you and the other 99% of the inhabitants who don’t speak Irish and don’t suffer from a learning disability. In fact a basic level of Irish and an expressed desire to learn the language will suffice.

  • maca

    Keith
    “In short we should have real parity of esteem between our two national languages”

    I don’t see how this is “real parity of esteem”.
    There are more Irish speakers living in Dublin than in the Gaeltachts yet you would remove even simple things like Irish from the bus lanes?

    The Gaeltachtaí are not fixed, they may expand in areas or shrink in other areas. Do you suggest we monitor this and modify road signs accordingly?

    Why are bilingual signs nonsense? Other countries think it is worth doing.

  • maca

    p.s. good to see you back Séamus.

  • willowfield

    Are there any people left who can only speak Gaelic, or can all Gaelic-speakers also speak English?

  • The Dog

    This seems all and well in itself. Irish names tend to have a ric meaning and give a clear sense of place but surely the priority should be in ensuring that the economy of these areas flourishes and that there is enough of a vibrant community to encourage young people to stay (and keep their linguistic heratige alive) and also to attarack the hundreds of new Irish speakers that come from the north.

  • Keith M

    Maca, Åland is a unique situation that does not correspond to the Gaeltachts. Because the Åland islands were disputed between Finland and Sweden an agreement was reached whereby the Swedes ceded the islands to Finland, on condition that they retained autonomous and that the Swedish culture of the islands was protected.

    There is no similar exclusion of Finnish speakers from the (much larger) Swedish speaking part of mainland Finland and I do think that trying to introduce such a clause in this country would be unconstitutional.

  • Ringo

    Are there any people left who can only speak Gaelic, or can all Gaelic-speakers also speak English?

    I was selling my car there last year and I had a couple of prospective buyers from the depths of Connamara all of whom spoke Irish as their fist language but I remember one lad who had his uncle with him and he translated everything I said into Irish for him. It is a rarity, they do exist – but I doubt there are any children like that now.

  • maca

    Keith
    “Åland is a unique situation that does not correspond to the Gaeltachts”

    But there are restrictions in place there. I, for example, could not go and by a house there. Yet, their culture or language is not under threat like Irish in the Gaeltachtaí.

  • unionist_observer

    why not just let Irish die out? latin died out quite peacefully, they still teach it in schools but they don’t enforce areas where people must speak only latin. You could do the same with irish

  • maca

    UO
    “why not just let Irish die out?”

    I think i’ll go for a very long walk, maybe the sub-zero temperatures here might cool me down.

  • slackjaw

    “why not just let Irish die out?”

    Do your views on languages mirror your views on wildlife?

  • unionist_observer

    sorry maca, I honestly wasn’t trying to be insulting, the equivalent language for me – Ulster Scots means absolutely nothing to me, if I never heard mention of it again I probably wouldn’t notice.

  • Ringo

    You could do the same with irish

    We could, but we think it is worth protecting.
    We could also allow aspects of our flora and fauna to die out too, but most of us can see the value in that diversity too.

  • Keith M

    Maca, “There are more Irish speakers living in Dublin than in the Gaeltachts yet you would remove even simple things like Irish from the bus lanes?”. The comparision is not between Gaelic speakers in an outside the Gaeltacht area, but rather the size of the minority lanuage speakers in the corresponding areas. There are proportionally far more English language sperakers in the Gaelteacht ares than there are Gaelic speakers in Dublin. There is no one in Dublin who only speakers Gaelic. The road signs (wqhich are there for everyone’s benefit) should benefit the biggest number of people possible rather than being some linguistic totum polls.

    “The Gaeltachtaí are not fixed, they may expand in areas or shrink in other areas. Do you suggest we monitor this and modify road signs accordingly?”. There is a census every 10 years. The amount of road signs that need to be changed every 10 years would be quite small.

    “Why are bilingual signs nonsense? Other countries think it is worth doing.” Actually very few countries do. In Belgium roadsigns in the North tend to all be in Dutch/Flemish and French in the south. Only around Brussels to they tend to use both languages and then sparingly. In Switzerland the road signs tend to use the language of the canton only. I’m just back from South Africa (11 national languages!) and again road signs tend to reflect the language of the local area. When I weas south of Cape Town the road signs werte in English and in Afrikaans when I was north of the city.

    In Ireland we are lucky. We have already got disignated Gaelic speaking areas, and in the rest of the country English dominates. Signage would therefore be very easy to simplify and administer.

  • unionist_observer

    slackjaw – its probably nature taking its course.

  • slackjaw

    slackjaw – its probably nature taking its course.

    The same could be said of cancer.

  • Keith M

    Maca “I think i’ll go for a very long walk, maybe the sub-zero temperatures here might cool me down.”, or you could actually answer the question.

    Though I’m not in favour of simply letting the language die out, there is a very good arguement that as the primary reason for language is communication, the sooner that everyone speaks the same language the better. This is especially the case in a situation where pouring money into some linguistic glasshouse does not show the desired results.

    A question that should be asked is why has Welsh Gaelic done relativly much better in the past 80 years than Irish Gaelic, despite not being regonised as a national language and having nothing like the same amouth of taxpayers money poured into it.

  • slackjaw

    Keith M

    ‘The sooner that everyone speaks the same language the better’

    Missing from this is the need for new vocabulary to adapt to new experiences and environments. To this end, all languages borrow and develop words from other languages. This results in new ways of communicating. If in the year say, 2525 (if man is still alive) everyone speaks the same language, this will cease, and we will all be trying out new ways of using our eyebrows.

  • Davros

    How are you getting on with the “Who Needs Irish?” Maca ? It discusses quite a lot of relevence to this thread.

    Are the Gaeltachts to be fenced off with a versu=ion of apartheid? What do people do for employment ? They can either limit themselves arts and crafts ( making little toy donkeys with creels of turf for tourists etc , or else they have to attract businesses. If they attract businesses, from outside Ireland especially, the workplace environment will be in English which in itself damages the language. Catch 22. To survive as living entities they have to have outsiders, but the outsiders dilute the Gaelic ethos. Do they become like the Fremen Museum in Dune ?

  • Ringo

    Keith
    Welsh Gaelic done relativly much better in the past 80 years than Irish Gaelic, despite not being regonised as a national language and having nothing like the same amouth of taxpayers money poured into it.

    Indeed, whatever the Welsh did would be worth examining – but I am not so sure about the relative sums of money spent – I heard that Scottish and Welsh equivalents of TG4 are far better funded, but I don’t know for sure.

    I do know that a lot of the money earmarked for Irish and the Gaeltacht has been squandered over the years – by both a Dublin-based Irish language industry and also by groups in the Gaeltacht.

  • Davros

    there is a very good arguement that as the primary reason for language is communication, the sooner that everyone speaks the same language the better.

    Diversity is wealth, Whorfian determinism and all that .

  • Ringo

    Davros –
    Are the Gaeltachts to be fenced off with a version of apartheid? What do people do for employment ?

    There is a misunderstanding here – normal planning restrictions apply to almost all of the area covered by a Gaeltacht – as in it doesn’t matter what you speak, you won’t be able to build here.

    Galway County Council have adopted a measure to try and restrict certain new housing estates (at the moment I think it is at most 2 – in An Spideal) to Irish speakers. I think there may be one similar scheme proposed in Kerry. These housing estates might have 20 houses in them.

    And as for employment – and An Spideal is almost a suburb of Galway at this stage.

    If people really want to get worked up about a native minority group being ghetto-ised in the Republic you should start with the travellers – but that would have little resonance on Slugger.

  • Davros

    No misunderstanding , I was musing Ringo.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    So what about an Ulster-Scotstacht in North Antrim, with new laws to prevent anyone from ootside from buying a second/holiday home?

    Would that be a good way to stall the decimation of established communities in Portballantrae and Portstewart?

    :o)

  • alex s

    Minister Ó Cuív said that this move will actually benefit tourism by lessening confusion for tourists as signage in the Gaeltacht has been primarily in Irish for decades.

    As a ‘tourist’ who got lost in the Connemarra hills years ago I am not so sure

  • Davros

    RIP Brian O’Nolan.

    Another little ditty (a limerick to our eyes) is based on O’Brien/Nolans disregard for the Irish language pundits prevalent in his time.
    He was a native irish speaker, not speaking english until he was seven years old or so.
    But, as with everything, if the cow was sacred, he shot it.

    Said a Sassenach back in Dun Laoghaire
    “I pay homage to nationalist thaoghaire,
    But wherever I drobh
    I found signposts that strobh
    To make touring in Ireland so draoghaire.”

  • James

    unionist_observer doth said:

    “Well thats a shrewd move by the Irish gov. Tourists to the republic are now going to be even more confused by street signs”

    What street signs? Escape from Dublin would be a snap if the routes were only well marked.

    Now for the rest of you guys who obviously don’t get out in the Gaeltacht much:

    Firstly, this year I have found this to be a fait accompli. If you travel in the Aran Islands, Connemara, Donegal, Mayo, expect to see a lot of signposts in Gaeilge only. This is a change from my first trip through these areas in the last century when the signs were bilingual but the language nuts had spray painted the English out.

    Secondly, understand that until the bars open you are the only entertainment in town other than Coronation Street reruns. I have encountered many signs that were twisted to point in the wrong direction or, in some cases, destroyed. Then there are those Irish moments like my treasured photograph of the intersection in the Boyne Valley where the signs are pointing 180 degrees apart to the same destination.

    And you wonder why I keep coming back.

  • smcgiff

    ‘p.s. good to see you back Séamus.’

    Thanks Maca, although this is one of those rare threads where I disagree with you and even more rare in that I agree with some of what KeithM said. I do, however, disagree with the, lets leave it die out argument. But, disadvantaging English (my language)is one, to my mind, heroic measure (medical term?) too far.

    ‘It also prevents the use of English placenames on road signs.’

    Will this positive discrimination really help the Irish language? Would it have made me be more interested in that book ( the destroyer of Irish), Peig? I don’t think so.

  • smcgiff

    ‘And you wonder why I keep coming back.’

    Mmm, *Mental note* Try plan B! 😉

  • Moses

    Keith M,

    Welsh is not a gaelic language.

    I also thought speakers generally refered to the language as ‘Irish’ and not ‘Gaelic’. Often people who know little or nothing about the language will call it Gaelic..others will say stupid things like ‘why don’t we just let the language die out?’ or ‘it’s a dead language’

    *duh hyuk…*

  • maca

    UO
    “I honestly wasn’t trying to be insulting”
    Don’t worry, I was just on my way out anyway 😉

    “or you could actually answer the question.”

    Keith & UO
    That’s much too big a question for liddle ol me to answer, I can only give you a few reasons which may not even satisfy you, some of which are very personal.

    1. a language is probably the most important part of any culture. We have a wealth of stories & poems in Irish which will be lost to all but scholars if the language dies out. I have very fond memories of some of the short stories we learned in school.

    2. bilingualism: the benefits of bilingualism have been proven worldwide, having a second language available and doing nothing with it is plain silly. it would be a great advantage to any child to grow up with two languages

    3. identity: I may not be a native Irish speaker but I strongly believe the Irish language is part of my identity, which I would hate to lose

    4. communication: yes Irish can also be used for communication, maybe not internationally but what does that matter. communication through Irish could be more rewarding as we have some great ways of sayings things, it’s a colourful language

    5. diversity: I really dislike and don’t understand this whole ‘lets speak just one language’ thing. Why?? Diversity is one of the few good things about humans. We are all individuals, why fight against that and try to make us all the same? What will all speaking the same language accomplish? Nothing in my opinion. So communication will be better … and? Yeah they are advantages for international business, travel etc but there’s a limit to all that. We’ll lose more that we’ll gain by letting minority languages die.
    This is related to “there is a very good arguement that as the primary reason for language is communication”. I’ve never heard a good argument for all speaking one language.

    Road signs: some good pooints Keith however I just don’t see the point of changing the signs. Personally I think it adds a bit of character to the place and the signs are not there just for Irish speakers, I want them there too.
    And as I said a number of other countries do it, you’re list is not comprehensive.

    Davros
    “How are you getting on with the “Who Needs Irish?” Maca ? It discusses quite a lot of relevence to this thread.”

    Only read a few chapters.
    Yeah i’m aware of all the things you mentioned. As I said it’s not an easy issue this. The Gaeltachts must be maintained IMO.

    Smcgiff
    ” although this is one of those rare threads where I disagree with you “

    I’m not saying this is a magic solution, it may even be a very bad idea. But one thing is for sure, without there being communities where Irish is the primary spoken language Irish will die out.

    “‘It also prevents the use of English placenames on road signs.'”

    They should do it like in other countries, just reverse the languages.

    Moses
    “I also thought speakers generally refered to the language as ‘Irish’ and not ‘Gaelic'”

    They do. “Irish” is the correct name, “Irish Gaelic” is often used in situations where “Irish” might be confusing. Some choose to use just “Gaelic” for various reasons (better not go down that road).

  • unionist_observer

    Maca

    “1. a language is probably the most important part of any culture. We have a wealth of stories & poems in Irish which will be lost to all but scholars if the language dies out. I have very fond memories of some of the short stories we learned in school. “

    The richest Irish literature is already read and appreciated only by scholars as it is in old Irish. That point was conceded to me by one of my lecturers at college who otherwise is an Irish language enthusiast

    “2. bilingualism: the benefits of bilingualism have been proven worldwide, having a second language available and doing nothing with it is plain silly. it would be a great advantage to any child to grow up with two languages”

    Absolutely, I agree with that, knowing one language makes it easier to learn others but why Irish, why not latin which is the root of many other languages including English, or Spanish, French, Cantonese, a language that will forever be useful to a child in places outside of Ireland as well as in.

    “3. identity: I may not be a native Irish speaker but I strongly believe the Irish language is part of my identity, which I would hate to lose”

    fair enough, that is your choice but why force your choice onto others as is currently the situation in the Irish education system – you must have Irish to go to university, join the police, teach or even work in the civil service. In this way you are making Irish a chore rather than something a child is learning out of choice. I know countless people from college who now resent Irish after having it forced upon them at school. Why not make it an option at school?

    . “communication: yes Irish can also be used for communication, maybe not internationally but what does that matter. communication through Irish could be more rewarding as we have some great ways of sayings things, it’s a colourful language”

    hmmm, that one is dubious, the only time people I know use what little Irish they have is to convey things to eachother so that non-Irish speakers won’t know what they are saying.

    As for road signs, I have nothing against them being in two languages, indeed, its fascinating on a long drive to look at them and learn something, however having road signs only in Irish and not in English also is unrealistic and exclusive.

    I have no malice against Irish, god knows I have to study enough of it in my course at college, but I think it has been hijacked and used as a political tool which is wrong and quite understandably gets peoples backs up. Also the current policy of making it mandatory for entry into police, army, teaching etc is going too far.

  • Davros

    U-O – Whorfian determinism!

  • maca

    UO
    As I said these are personal, I don’t expect people to agree with them.

    “The richest Irish literature is already read and appreciated only by scholars as it is in old Irish.”

    There’s a lot more to Irish literature than literature written in Old Irish. I am thinking of some of the wonderful authors we have had over the past hundred years or so, which we read in school.

    “why Irish, why not latin”
    It’s an indigenous language, it’s the language many of us identify with, we have a wealth of resources available already, we’ll never put enough resources in to any other language so that people can become fluent. Can you imagine latin-medium schools? But there are Irish-medium schools. It’s ties us to our culture… I could go on but am short on time.

    “fair enough, that is your choice but why force your choice onto others as is currently the situation in the Irish education system”

    No-one is really being forced. I have never bought this argument. We are forced to go to school and learn other subjects. Few people really resent Irish because of this, in my opinion.

    “the only time people I know use what little Irish they have is to convey things to eachother so that non-Irish speakers won’t know what they are saying.”

    C’mon. That’s not much of a counter. I know many people more comfortable talking in Irish and use it because it’s simple natural for them.

    “having road signs only in Irish and not in English also is unrealistic and exclusive.”

    I don’t agree.

    Sorry I had to cut my answers short, just jumping in to the car for a 300+ mile drive.

    Happy X-Mas!

  • unionist_observer

    “No-one is really being forced”

    yes they are, if a child wants to go to uni he/she needs Irish, same if he/she wants to join the guards, teach etc

    “having road signs only in Irish and not in English also is unrealistic and exclusive.”

    I don’t agree.

    So how pray am I supposed to know where the frig I am going to Ireland if all the roadsigns are in Irish?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Read your map which should point you in the right direction. After all if you’re looking for Gweedore you should be able to figure out that it’s Gaoth Dobhair on the roadsigns and on your map. As you would if you were in France looking for Nice or wherever.
    Remember that the translation of the placenames from their original Irish into English is the problem which is being corrected here.
    Incidentally this has been the case with roadsigns in Gaeltacht areas for over 30 years.

  • Ringo

    Unionist_Observer –
    The Garda requirement for Irish is under review – for this read: will be changed in the near future. I would imagine the Army requirement will follow suit – this is even less of a necessity.

    As for teaching – while Irish is the official language of the state Irish it is likely to be an integral part of primary schooling.

    I think there are some interesting beneficial side effects to this that are probably better understod in the context of this forum than many others:

    As all primary students of all races and creeds learn Irish with the same ease there is no sense of exclusivity and alienation from the most fundamental plank of our brand of Irish culture. The end result is that while almost every child from a non-Irish background will drop the language as soon as possible – and so will the majority of kids with a local background. And they end up viewing Irish in the same way as the majority of the population – dismissed as something outdated, of no use for employment and something only for mad mountainy men from the west and slightly unhinged urbanites.

    But crucially they don’t view it with suspicion, probably because they’ve been exposed to it and probably bored by it. And that’s where Unionists differ. Like the GAA, the Irish langauge is ‘owned’ by on side and shunned by the other, and it appeaers to me that both sides are quite happy with the deal. But this exclusivity is the problem.

    So how pray am I supposed to know where the frig I am going to Ireland if all the roadsigns are in Irish?

    I’d say you’d manage just fine….

  • Young Fogey

    Interesting and fairly civilised thread, folks.

    I am torn here – on the one hand, I want to see Irish supported, on the other hand some of the bits of tokenism that go on annoy me. I am really, really, wound up about Irish becoming another official language in the EU. As someone who has to work with the EU institutions on a daily basis, this will simply add to the length of time it takes to get anything done in Brussels. Already legislation is being seriously delayed since the new 10 joined in May.

    A few random thoughts:

    Latin didn’t exactly die out – ask any speaker of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or Romanian. It simply evolved.

    Wales has bilingual road signs, as does Brussels (though not elsewhere in Belgium) and Valencia.

    And if anyone comes up with an Ulstèr-Scotchtacht I am going round to their house with a motorbike chain. One might argue about the level of support Irish should have, but it is a real language. Ulster-Scots is a cunning scheme to get government grants for talking like a culshie.

  • Davros

    One thing puzzles me – SF had purple fits when it was announced that the Irish requirement might be dropped for Gardai. So how come there isn’t an Irish Language requirement to join Sinn Féin ?

  • Moses

    “Remember that the translation of the placenames from their original Irish into English is the problem which is being corrected here.”

    Good point.

    Why stop at the Gaeltacht regions? Why not revert to the Irish names for all those places which were translated into English. I think bilingual signs would be needed outside of the Gaeltacht and I’m partly torn about not having any English signs within the Gaeltachts.

    Why did it take so long to get legal recognition of these placenames?

  • unionist_observer

    “And if anyone comes up with an Ulstèr-Scotchtacht I am going round to their house with a motorbike chain.”

    I might join you in that!!

    Newtownards got Ulster Scots for welcoming people into the town, I find them hugely annoying, nobody asked the residents of the town whether they should be put up. Its part of this whole attempt to inflict Ulster Scots on Northern Ireland – I wish nobody had ever brought anybodies attention to that ridiculous dialect/language!

    “After all if you’re looking for Gweedore you should be able to figure out that it’s Gaoth Dobhair on the roadsigns and on your map”

    er, not really Gweedore/Gaoth Dobhair – they are really not that similar, not to someone without any knowledge of Irish anyway. I reckon some warped campaign to rename every Irish town back to the original Irish name will confuse every visitor to Ireland, map makers around the world, residents of those towns etc etc. But if youse feel it necessary…

  • James

    “So how pray am I supposed to know where the frig I am going to Ireland if all the roadsigns are in Irish?”

    Exactly the same way you would if you drove in California if you lived long enough to get off 101. I used to travel north on El Camino Real to get to the Alameda De Las Pulgas in San Mateo to help a friend empty a fifth of Wild Turkey. To get to my place in San Jose you have to turn off El Paseo; no kings or fleas here.

    When I travel in Ireland, the Collins map gives English/Gaeilge for major towns and the Ordinance Survey road atlas gives me English/Gaeilge for every jerkwater village whose name has been anglicized.

    Don’t the Sluggettes get out from behind those keyboards at all?

  • James

    And, No, the Spanish place names are not translated on the road signs either.

  • Davros

    Would the biggest problem not be for the People of Ireland ? I remember Chaos in Dublin when new road signs by accident were put up in Irish only. The locals hadn’t a clue what was happening.

  • Liam

    To my mind, the Irish language is not going to survive or fall depending on the road signs in the Gaeltacht.

    What is needed is a brand new Curriculum by the Department of Education which actually allows children to learn conversational irish. The present curriculum has failed miserably – kids are learning Irish as a compulsory subject from the age of 4 – 17, and then leaving school unable to hold a conversation in the language!?

    The flippin Dept of Education don’t even acknowledge that their curriculum is a disaster – the sooner the Irish Govt is taken over by some Northern brains the better!

  • Davros

    Has anybody looked at what % of kids being taught in Irish in the Gaelschoil system continue to speak the language (as opposed to read the language)outside of school and after they leave school ?

  • PS

    So how come there isn’t an Irish Language requirement to join Sinn Féin ?

    It would be very much encouraged and I know that in my own cumann the topic of every member taking irish lessons has been discussed. Personally I feel ashamed at how little Irish I’ve spoken in the past year and a half.

  • Davros

    Thanks Paddy. How goes the studying ?

  • PS

    As well as can be expected! Looking forward to a holiday spent with the subtleties of land and criminal law, as well as the problems faced by deeply divided societies!

  • Davros

    I Must remember to scan that exam paper – Rob, Loot and Pillage decided to carry out a ban raid etc etc 🙂 I’m wading through “Heritage as Knowledge: Capital or Culture?” If the weather wasn’t so bad I’d go to the pub!

  • maca

    Sorry to reopen but i’ve been away

    UO
    “yes they are, if a child wants to go to uni he/she needs Irish, same if he/she wants to join the guards, teach etc”

    Since almost all Irish (ROI) children learn Irish how is this a problem? The standard required is low. And I know students who went to school in Ireland but did not learn Irish and were still able to go to uni.
    As for the Gardaí, the government is committed to providing services in Irish, nothing wrong with that. Should we cater to people from outside the state? Does any other country?

    “So how pray am I supposed to know where the frig I am going to Ireland if all the roadsigns are in Irish?”
    How would you manage in any other country?

    Liam
    Curriculum – dead on.
    Although if all primary schools were Irish medium then we wouldn’t have such a problem. 😉

  • Davros

    Maca- hope you had a good Christmas.

    Were you home for the chaos a few years back when there was the Dublin fiasco when instructions for a major diversion were accidentally put up in irish only and chaos ensued as hardly any drivers understood what they were on about ? 🙂

    The language requirement for the Gardai is an unnecessary barrier that should be done away with and Garda training should include an Irish Language course. IMO .

  • maca

    Davros
    “hope you had a good Christmas.”
    Grand thanks and yourself?

    “Were you home for the chaos a few years…”
    I don’t remember that, doesn’t surprise me though. 😉

    “The language requirement for the Gardai is an unnecessary barrier that should be done away with and Garda training should include an Irish Language course. IMO .”

    To be honest I don’t see why.
    Where is the barrier do you think? Almost all Irish people learn Irish and the standard required is quite low as far as I know.

  • Davros

    We were snowed in so no trip to the sisters for turkey dinner, Quiche Lorraine and salad 🙂

    Almost all Irish people learn Irish

    Why exclude those who don’t, even if they are only a few ?
    I know that most People raised in the ROI learn some Irish, but immigrants including quite a few Northerners don’t. Wouldn’t it be better to have everybody eligible to join, and then have all New Gardai learning a better standard of Irish , including spoken Irish, as part of their training ?

  • maca

    “Why exclude those who don’t, even if they are only a few ?”
    I’d guess the number is so small as to be insignificant, but I could be wrong. It would be interesting to know how many people are genuinely excluded because of the Irish requirement.

    “Wouldn’t it be better to have everybody eligible to join”
    I suppose.
    The Gaeltachtaí need to be provided for of course.
    And the Irish government need to decide if they actually want to cover all such services in Irish. Should an Irish speaker in Dublin be able to get help from the Gardaí through Irish?

    From the Gardaí website:
    Educational requirements:
    Have obtained a grade not lower than D at Ordinary Level in at least five subjects, including Irish, English and Maths. in the Established Leaving Certificate or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme,

    Or

    A grade not lower than D at Ordinary Level in at least three subjects, including English, together with a grade not lower than B at Foundation Level in Mathematics and a grade not lower than C at Foundation Level in Irish in either the Established Leaving Certificate or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme,

    Or

    The Merit Grade in the Leaving Certificate Applied.

    Or

    Like grades in another examination, which, in the opinion of the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, is not of a lower standard than the above.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Maca”, and half-wits of your ilk, give your mates ROBERT MUGABE, SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC and SADDAM HUSSEIN a shout!
    I’m sure your sad attempts to eradicate the Britishness of the Ulster-Protestant/Loyalist community would go down well with those despots that you obviously admire!!!

  • maca

    Concerned Loyalist – you give new meaning to the word moron.

  • Biffo

    Well, if that’s the “road” they go down in ROI, why don’t we do it here. Bilingual road signs in Ulstèr-Scotch (Ulster Scots for those monolingual English speakers, including republicans, not familiar with the language).

    Of course I am sensitive to the fact that people like unionist_observer may have initial difficulties navigating. But life is not just about getting from A to È (A to B) in a motor car.

    unionist_observer – expect to see sign posts to the following major cities and towns

    Bèlfast = Belfast
    Ballymonèy = Ballymoney
    Edinburghdèrry = Londonderry.

  • Biffo

    Concerned Loyalist – let me assure you we are just as fed up as you with these Chinese people putting up their crazy Chinese signs on their food outlets. We are currently working on acceptable Ulstèr-Scotch (Ulster Scots) alternatives which don’t ” eradicate the Britishness of the Ulster-Protestant/Loyalist community”. But bear with us, inventing a languages takes timè an monèy (time and money).

  • BeanShide

    Well that’s just fine and dandy but maybe a tad inconsiderate and perhaps taking patriotic fervor just a step too far. We live in a multi-lingual society and lest we be accused of language bias should we not cater also for those who have single language capability, i.e. english or some other foreign tongue, sounds reasonable and considerate to me, or am I missing the point of the exercise?

  • maca

    “I missing the point of the exercise?”

    Hmmm, maybe.

  • Davros

    This is a wonderful story of what can be done.
    ( I hate Mobile phones with a passion! )

    Whistling children save ancient language

    (Filed: 03/01/2005)

    Pouring from a classroom window of the primary school in San Sebástian came a sound similar to the chirping of caged song birds.

    A glance inside the room, however, revealed not an aviary but a room full of eight-year-olds, each with a knuckle in their mouth, whistling the islanders’ ancient language of silbo.

    It has been bought back from the edge of extinction and the Canarian island of La Gomera is to host its first silbo competition later this month.

    “It was about to die and, incredibly, for once officialdom did something about it,” said Eusebio Darias, a silbo teacher. “Five years ago silbo was made obligatory in schools and the children have taken to it. Now it is here to stay.”

    The language evolved as a means of communicating across the island’s jagged terrain thousands of years ago. La Gomera, a lump of volcanic rock west of Tenerife, is riven by barrancos (ravines) that make communication of any kind arduous. Silbo is thought to have arrived with settlers from the Atlas mountains of North Africa 2,500 years ago and it is far more complex than a few simple signals.

    Lino Rodriguez Martin, a speaker from the language’s stronghold in the north of the island, said: “It is limitless because it follows normal speech. An experienced speaker can say anything.”

    Mr Martin was taught it by his grandfather. “We lived in houses that were spread out over the mountains so to get by you had to learn. ‘Bring me this goat. Don’t forget that spade,’ my father would say. There are still places where there is no mobile phone coverage and the barrancos carry the sound over four kilometres.”

    The silbo competition is causing excitement on the island. “There are one or two really good silbadores,” said Mr Darias.

    The competitors will stand 100 yards apart. One will whistle a message provided by the judges, the other will make his interpretation.

    The Telegraph set its own test. Mr Darias stood at one end of the classroom with his back turned while Mr Martin whistled “lift your left leg”. Mr Darias turned and, with a look of scorn, followed the instruction.

  • maca

    Very interesting, thanks Dav!

  • Davros

    I thought you would enjoy it. Thinking about it – is the difference that the youngsters can see an obvious and practical use for the language ?

  • maca

    It must be one of the differences anyway, Irish people aren’t taught the practical uses of Irish!