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Bliain na Gaeilge - an exercise in official delusion?


FloatingVoterTralee

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May 8, 2009
Messages
997
Personally, I've always been sympathetic to the Irish language to the extent of having an interest in acquiring a degree of fluency, occasionally contributing to the Gaeilge forum, and defending TG4 against accusations of being a white elephant. Yet, I cannot help but feel that official campaigns such as Bliain na Gaeilge do little to promote the language, being rather dutiful exercises preaching to the converted, when the majority of linguistic revivals (Welsh, Maori and Hebrew) come about to popular groundswells of cultural opinion. Yes, businesses play a pro-active role in developing bilingualism, but unless individuals decide to take an interest themselves, such official initiatives will founder on the bedrock of popular indifference.
 


DuineEile

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Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
14,939
Personally, I've always been sympathetic to the Irish language to the extent of having an interest in acquiring a degree of fluency, occasionally contributing to the Gaeilge forum, and defending TG4 against accusations of being a white elephant. Yet, I cannot help but feel that official campaigns such as Bliain na Gaeilge do little to promote the language, being rather dutiful exercises preaching to the converted, when the majority of linguistic revivals (Welsh, Maori and Hebrew) come about to popular groundswells of cultural opinion. Yes, businesses play a pro-active role in developing bilingualism, but unless individuals decide to take an interest themselves, such official initiatives will founder on the bedrock of popular indifference.
I think I'm with you on this. Very keen on the language, but very wary of official (and semi official) attempts to promote the language. They are usually impractical wooden attempts. I went to a Gaeilge Tweetup organised by an official body, and it was nothing like any other tweetup I've seen. More like a press conference, which sadly, didn't surprise me.

Here's hoping for better, but fearing for the worst.

D
 

florin

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May 17, 2008
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1,366
One could argue that Irish might be stronger if we never got independence - that way, learning Irish could be a way of defying authority; as it is, ignoring Irish is a way of defying authority
 

FrankSpeaks

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Apr 18, 2008
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blokesbloke

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Jan 13, 2011
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23,287
Personally, I've always been sympathetic to the Irish language to the extent of having an interest in acquiring a degree of fluency, occasionally contributing to the Gaeilge forum, and defending TG4 against accusations of being a white elephant. Yet, I cannot help but feel that official campaigns such as Bliain na Gaeilge do little to promote the language, being rather dutiful exercises preaching to the converted, when the majority of linguistic revivals (Welsh, Maori and Hebrew) come about to popular groundswells of cultural opinion. Yes, businesses play a pro-active role in developing bilingualism, but unless individuals decide to take an interest themselves, such official initiatives will founder on the bedrock of popular indifference.
Seem fair. I do think every effort should be made to make Irish learning accessible for any Irish person who wants it, and there should be enough publicity of the services offered so everyone knows it is there, but ultimately it is up to individuals. I've seen enough antagonism against the Irish language on the forum to know that no amount of advertising will persuade some people to learn Irish and whilst I think that's a bit sad, it has to be up to them.

I also think any use of taxpayers money to persuade people to learn Irish (as opposed to making Irish language instruction available to all who want it) is counter-productive, because often people who dislike the language object to taxpayers money being used to promote it. So such campaigns aren't merely ineffective, but actually make things worse by entrenching prejudices against the language.

Ultimately Irish will live or die on the basis on Irish people and their decisions about the language.

I am hopeless at languages myself so I do sympathise with people who struggle to learn Irish, because I know from experience how difficult I found other languages at school.

Some people just don't have an "ear" for languages and I do think that people should encourage them, and not judge them if they fail and decide it's not for them. It's not their fault they weren't brought up Irish-speaking, and some people just find it more difficult that others.

Smugness from people who were lucky enough to learn Irish from Irish-speaking parents, or who perhaps found Irish easy at school, which I have also seen on this forum, probably does more to put people off than anything else too. If you were brought up speaking Irish you were lucky - it's not an achievement on your part.

I can't say how I'd feel if I was Irish but I suspect I'd try to learn it - but I also suspect I'd be one of the ones who hated it at school and was put off, however much I might have wanted to learn it.
 

Mushroom

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Nov 27, 2009
Messages
15,761
Ever try watching TG4, I doubt it, if you did you would find there are some fantastic documentaries on it.
There certainly are. Furthermore, the vast majority of them are subtitled, so lazy buggers like me who have absolutely no wish to improve their Irish can watch and enjoy them. I just wish that TG4 would subtitle their Rabo rugby games; although having Jerry Flannery delivering his "análís" as bearla is great!
 

Niall996

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Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
12,127
People tend to react badly to being bullied into doing things. I think there are a lot of simple little things that could be done to elevate the Irish language but it's management seems to be in the hands of an extremist fringe.
 

Deep Blue

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Jul 4, 2012
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2,422
Seem fair. I do think every effort should be made to make Irish learning accessible for any Irish person who wants it, and there should be enough publicity of the services offered so everyone knows it is there, but ultimately it is up to individuals. I've seen enough antagonism against the Irish language on the forum to know that no amount of advertising will persuade some people to learn Irish and whilst I think that's a bit sad, it has to be up to them.

I also think any use of taxpayers money to persuade people to learn Irish (as opposed to making Irish language instruction available to all who want it) is counter-productive, because often people who dislike the language object to taxpayers money being used to promote it. So such campaigns aren't merely ineffective, but actually make things worse by entrenching prejudices against the language.

Ultimately Irish will live or die on the basis on Irish people and their decisions about the language.

I am hopeless at languages myself so I do sympathise with people who struggle to learn Irish, because I know from experience how difficult I found other languages at school.

Some people just don't have an "ear" for languages and I do think that people should encourage them, and not judge them if they fail and decide it's not for them. It's not their fault they weren't brought up Irish-speaking, and some people just find it more difficult that others.

Smugness from people who were lucky enough to learn Irish from Irish-speaking parents, or who perhaps found Irish easy at school, which I have also seen on this forum, probably does more to put people off than anything else too. If you were brought up speaking Irish you were lucky - it's not an achievement on your part.

I can't say how I'd feel if I was Irish but I suspect I'd try to learn it - but I also suspect I'd be one of the ones who hated it at school and was put off, however much I might have wanted to learn it.
Very insightful post, Blokesbloke. You're the epitome of the type of Englishman I've always loved - open and broad-minded in your views. (And you know what Leaba means, so you have a couple of words yourself.);)

Remember many of the posters here would speak a different kind of idiomatic English to yours in their normal conversation - myself included; so our native language shouldn't really come so hard to us.

I love Irish although am rusty now, and have to admit I brushed up a little on it when living in the UK. When phoning home I spoke a few 'code-words' here and there - much to the annoyance of the office eavesdropper who berated me
for "talking Forren". I wonder how she's managing with all the E.Europeans now!
 

Campion

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Jun 4, 2011
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[video=youtube;e-xb-0I9eXU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-xb-0I9eXU[/video]
 

bye bye mubarak

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Feb 2, 2011
Messages
3,454
Remember the say GRMA to the bus driver campaign, thought it was great, and always say it to everyone. New Year's Resolution, to caint a beag more
 

Niall996

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Dec 5, 2011
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12,127
This is what I would suggest to breathe some life back into the Irish language. Which is virtually the opposite of almost everything done. But what would I know?

1. Remove any mandatory requirement for the language for state employment except Irish teaching (at a push).

2. Remove all the Irish from state communications, revenue bills, Garda fines, court summons, etc etc. All that grim stuff.

3. Present the language in school as a fun thing, not a formal language to learn, not as some sort of cultural linguistic fascist thing from the era of Dev and some Archbishop from the 50's. Leave out poetry, prose etc which is all cultural stuff people can find for themselves if they want. To get a D is pass Irish (not sure what the modern equivalent is) you need to know 200 words. That's it. And they can be your own words. Just having a vocabulary regardless of grammar and cultural stuff would be a hundred times more than what Irish people have now. It won't please the purists but it could be a lot more fun and a lot more effective.

4. To retain vocabulary and add gently and humorously over time: every place name or thing in Ireland that currently has a sign - replace it with a new one where in brackets under the Irish, is the actual translation. For example DALKEY DEILGINIS (thorn island). There, you've just learnt two new Irish words and they're always there, around you but in an interesting way I think. I'd start that particular project in Northern Irieland.
 
R

Ramps

Better still: accept reality and remove the status Irish is given in the Constitution. If people want to learn, speak, or promote the language, they can do it on their own dime.

We'll soon see how many people truly consider it important.
 

FrankSpeaks

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On the back of Bernard Dunnes Bród TV programme I decided to give Irish another try, however I feel that I'm struggling to achieve fluency because I have no opportunity to speak the language to other people. Tralee is no more than 50km from the Gaeltacht in Dingle but I don't know of any place in Tralee where I could go and speak the language with others.

One suggestion I made recently was that government and local authorities have Irish Speaking windows only, lines on these windows would be short and consequently Irish speakers would have faster access to the service. The same would apply to phone access. The government could also subsidise similar initiatives in the private sector for example banks and shops. Fluent Irish would not be necessary to access the services but I would expect the person to be able to say more than Dia Duit, I would expect to make to make a reasonable attempt at conversing as gaeilge.

The government could offer free Irish language classes to adults who want to learn the language, it should promote it by an ongoing advertising campaign on all media. All government advertising should be in Irish and English. For example road safety or anti smoking should be recorded in both Irish and English and shown alternatively; if the ad was shown 10 times per week on a particular channel then 5 would be shown in Irish and 5 in English, all the ads on TG4 and RnaG would be in Irish only. There could also b subsidies for ads made by he private sector in Irish.

People respond when there are financial incentives, make it worthwhile and when money is involved people will make the effort. Give tax breaks to people who educate their kids in Gaelscoils, give Irish speakers priority.
 

Niall996

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Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
12,127
On the back of Bernard Dunnes Bród TV programme I decided to give Irish another try, however I feel that I'm struggling to achieve fluency because I have no opportunity to speak the language to other people. Tralee is no more than 50km from the Gaeltacht in Dingle but I don't know of any place in Tralee where I could go and speak the language with others.

One suggestion I made recently was that government and local authorities have Irish Speaking windows only, lines on these windows would be short and consequently Irish speakers would have faster access to the service. The same would apply to phone access. The government could also subsidise similar initiatives in the private sector for example banks and shops. Fluent Irish would not be necessary to access the services but I would expect the person to be able to say more than Dia Duit, I would expect to make to make a reasonable attempt at conversing as gaeilge.

The government could offer free Irish language classes to adult who want to learn the language, it should promote it by an ongoing advertising campaign on all media. All government advertising should be in Irish and English. For example road safety or anti smoking should be recorded in both Irish and English and shown alternatively; if the ad was shown 10 times per week on a particular channel then 5 would be shown in Irish and 5 in English, all the ads on TG4 and RnaG would be in Irish only.

People respond when there are financial incentives, make it worthwhile and when money is involved people will make the effort. Give tax breaks to people who educate their kids in Gaelscoils, give Irish speakers priority.
I'm sorry but I think your suggestions are pretty much the same as before - how do we coerce people? A turn off straight away.
 

bye bye mubarak

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Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
3,454
On the back of Bernard Dunnes Bród TV programme I decided to give Irish another try, however I feel that I'm struggling to achieve fluency because I have no opportunity to speak the language to other people. Tralee is no more than 50km from the Gaeltacht in Dingle but I don't know of any place in Tralee where I could go and speak the language with others.

One suggestion I made recently was that government and local authorities have Irish Speaking windows only, lines on these windows would be short and consequently Irish speakers would have faster access to the service. The same would apply to phone access. The government could also subsidise similar initiatives in the private sector for example banks and shops. Fluent Irish would not be necessary to access the services but I would expect the person to be able to say more than Dia Duit, I would expect to make to make a reasonable attempt at conversing as gaeilge.

The government could offer free Irish language classes to adult who want to learn the language, it should promote it by an ongoing advertising campaign on all media. All government advertising should be in Irish and English. For example road safety or anti smoking should be recorded in both Irish and English and shown alternatively; if the ad was shown 10 times per week on a particular channel then 5 would be shown in Irish and 5 in English, all the ads on TG4 and RnaG would be in Irish only.

People respond when there are financial incentives, make it worthwhile and when money is involved people will make the effort. Give tax breaks to people who educate their kids in Gaelscoils, give Irish speakers priority.
You'll drive all those who would rather kill our language, than support it with tax money, absolutely mad.
 

blokesbloke

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Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
23,287
On the back of Bernard Dunnes Bród TV programme I decided to give Irish another try, however I feel that I'm struggling to achieve fluency because I have no opportunity to speak the language to other people. Tralee is no more than 50km from the Gaeltacht in Dingle but I don't know of any place in Tralee where I could go and speak the language with others.

One suggestion I made recently was that government and local authorities have Irish Speaking windows only, lines on these windows would be short and consequently Irish speakers would have faster access to the service. The same would apply to phone access. The government could also subsidise similar initiatives in the private sector for example banks and shops. Fluent Irish would not be necessary to access the services but I would expect the person to be able to say more than Dia Duit, I would expect to make to make a reasonable attempt at conversing as gaeilge.

The government could offer free Irish language classes to adults who want to learn the language, it should promote it by an ongoing advertising campaign on all media. All government advertising should be in Irish and English. For example road safety or anti smoking should be recorded in both Irish and English and shown alternatively; if the ad was shown 10 times per week on a particular channel then 5 would be shown in Irish and 5 in English, all the ads on TG4 and RnaG would be in Irish only. There could also b subsidies for ads made by he private sector in Irish.

People respond when there are financial incentives, make it worthwhile and when money is involved people will make the effort. Give tax breaks to people who educate their kids in Gaelscoils, give Irish speakers priority.
Wouldn't you have to amend the Constitution to formally give Irish priority over English in government services in this way?

Also seems a bit unfair to give priority to people who have Irish because they were taught it from the moment they learnt to speak. That's giving one citizen priority over another citizen for state services based purely on an accident of birth. Not much like a Republic.
 

FrankSpeaks

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Apr 18, 2008
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I'm sorry but I think your suggestions are pretty much the same as before - how do we coerce people? A turn off straight away.
My suggestions are not coercion there is no compulsion but there are incentives to speaking the language.
 

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