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Can the Historical English takeover of Gaeilge be a future lesson to all the little languages across the Planet ?


Spirit Of Newgrange

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Can the Historical English takeover of Gaeilge be a future lesson to all the little languages across the Planet ?

Ireland's struggle to revive the dead auld teanga are well documented. Tons of money, thousands of hours of schooltime, official sanction etc etc all culminating in an Ireland where the Irish language is little more than a minor hobby. Who cares Irish is gone ? Maybe we benefit from now speaking the 'world language'.
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Looking forward into the twenty-first Century, lets think of the little languages. Languages not strong enough to have a big movie industry. Languages that increasingly import English words for all new technologies and whatever else is new ( civil partnerships maybe). Latvian, Albanian, Danish, Greek, Africaans, Nepalese...... will they all get polluted and eventually consigned to the dustbin of history ?
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So, what lessons can all these little nations learn from the Irish experience ? Please keep the discussion polite and respectful at all times.
Irish language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Riadach

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I think that once a language gets associated with wealth, power and status then the battle is no longer external, it's internal.
 

cyberianpan

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Other than causing many linguists , translators etc to be employed....what good are many languages ?
 

Campion

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Look at Israel and the revival of Hebrew. Hebrew was a classical language by the time of Christ-- it was no longer spoken, but was a liturgical and scriptural language exclusively. Yet Israel revived the language and made it a living national language in a generation, a remarkable feat. In part the revival was facilitated by the fact that those immigrating to Israel did not have a common language-- they spoke many languages when they arrived in Israel, so Hebrew represented a new language that virtually everyone could read but which no one spoke.
The revival of Irish is different. English IS a common language spoken universally across the country, so there wasn't the need to create a common language in order to sort out the Babel, as it were. But most importantly, the failure to resuscitate Irish seems due to social and economic issues that the language revival could never surmount. The fact that generation after generation of Irish people knew from childhood that they were most likely going to emigrate to English speaking countries placed a premium on English. Children knew that you didn't need Irish in Liverpool or New York. There was also no socio-economic incentive in Irish-- the Irish economic system has spoken English for hundreds of years now. no matter how many years of compulsory Irish there were, Irish work was and is done in English.

If not for the Gaeltacht subsidies Connemara would have moved en masse to Boston by 1990.
 

Riadach

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Other than causing many linguists , translators etc to be employed....what good are many languages ?
Other languages show us that our first language prejudices our thought processes, and that our linguistic world view is just one possible interpretation.
 

Deep Blue

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I believe the Irish experience was unique. No matter how globalised we are today,or influenced by immigration,other cultures etc; I can't see any other minor language being decimated in the way that Irish was.

Post-Famine, and with the introduction of the National Schools and mass emigration, the economic conditions made the obliteration of the language a doddle.

I knew older people who remember hearing of their grandparents being beaten and mocked for their use of Irish in school. It was seen as backward and regressive.

Astonishingly this was all accomplished in a very short time.

To illustrate, there is a (true) story of a young Connemara boy in the late 19th Century, taken to hospital in Galway where he died. Among his last words were :

"Deoch Uisce, Deoch Uisce"

.....and nobody there knew what he was saying.
 

Riadach

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very wittgensteiny ...but in practice , what benefit ?
Are you talking just about financial benefit?

If not, knowing other languages, other literatures, etc allows you to reconsider reality and removes barriers to the truth.
 

cyberianpan

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Are you talking just about financial benefit?

If not, that knowing other languages, other literatures, etc allows you to reconsider reality and approach the truth.
Any tangible benefit in the progress of mankind type zone
 

Riadach

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Any tangible benefit in the progress of mankind type zone
Multilingualism contributes to diversive thinking which contributes to creativity which contributes to invention which is key to the progress of mankind.
 

Riadach

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Can you cite any invention which came of it ?
I can cite papers which say that bilingualism contributes to creativity, therefore one can say it had a role in any inventions produced by bilinguals.
 

Campion

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There were many cases in the 19th c. where monolingual English speaking children could not communicate with their own monolingual Irish speaking grannies. A similar thing happened among immigrant families in America (from many countries).
 

cyberianpan

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I can cite papers which say that bilingualism contributes to creativity, therefore one can say it had a role in any inventions produced by bilinguals.
Yes but bilingualism isn't a necessary condition for creativity , nor I suspect are a high portion of creatives bilingual !
 

Campion

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Are you talking just about financial benefit?

If not, knowing other languages, other literatures, etc allows you to reconsider reality and removes barriers to the truth.
I have posted this before-- but being able to think in Irish, English, and Latin allows me to approach a problem or a decision from several different perspectives.
 

Riadach

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Yes but bilingualism isn't a necessary condition for creativity , nor I suspect are a high portion of creatives bilingual !
No, but that's not the question you asked.

You asked what benefit are languages. I said they improve creativity. That is not undermined by the fact it is possible to be creative otherwise.
 
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