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ATT. ATCH: About things Irish & sundry....

5 Sep 2016  #1

You suggested switching to off-topic so here goes. I view Irish culture, history and folklore as an uncommitted but curious and sympathetic observer. But if I were Irish I'd be quite upset with my compatriots for what they did to their ancestrał tongue, allowing it to slip away and evolve into hwat is now - a cultrual sideshow or museum piece. Jews had been wandering the globe stateless for thousands of years, but were able to create a small state, resurrect a dead, strictly liturgical language and turn it into a living means of communicaton and source of ethnic pride. There were many arguments agaisnt it - most Jews speak Yiddish, Hebrew is only used for sacred scriptures and prayer, no-one will want to learn Hebrew as a living daily language, etc., etc. But they did, went ahead and today it is Israel's main tool of communication. What was lacking in the Irish heart and soul that they so readily capitulated and forsook their birthg right? When Ireland was struggling for indepdnence, was there any movment to reinstate the Irish langauge (we call it Gaelic in the Statesw)? If, so. Why did it fail.

6 Sep 2016  #2

Hi Polly. I've discussed this a few times in the past in other threads and I don't have time this morning to give the subject the attention it deserves so here are two links for you which give an accurate summing up of the situation, if you can take time to read them - and I do mean read them, not speed read them, as is so often your wont! They're relatively short and very informative.

This one explains why the language went into decline:
And this explains the state of the language today which is quite good, as you'll see:

The one thing I will say is that the Irish language is most certainly not a cultural sideshow. The language is taught in school from the age of four until school leaving age. Many people such as myself do actually know Irish, they simply don't speak it very often. Irish is very much a part of everyday life in various forms.

You can't really compare Yiddish and Irish as the Jews were not subjected to colonisation in a small island for hundreds of years.

readily capitulated

Irish survived for centuries of occupation by the British and only went into serious decline during the 19th century.

There was a revival movement, the Gaelic League, in the late 19th century, ironically led by the Anglo-Irish Protesants, and that did a lot to save the language. It still exists today, known as Conradh na Gaeilge. Since we regained independence succesive governments have made huge efforts to encourage people to use the language. The idea would be for everybody to be bilingual.

What was lacking in the Irish heart and soul

I don't think there was anything lacking in the heart and soul of a people who resisted colonisation for nearly eight hundred years and repeatedly took up arms against the might of the British Empire. In the War of Independence, for two and a half years from 1919 to 1921, an Irish force comprised of 15,000 ordinary farmers, workers, etc took on and defeated a professional British force of 45,000. That takes quite a bit of heart and soul.

My paternal grandfather was only a teenager when he joined the Irish Volunteers and reading his account of how difficult it was for them to obtain guns is quite an eye opener. They had to arm thousands of farmers, railway workers, bank clerks, shop keepers, ordinary people with no military background. One of the ways in which they got guns was to hold up trains, take British officers off the train, take their revolvers and go through their luggage for anything extra they could find. Imagine trying to arm a rebel force in that painstaking manner.

6 Sep 2016  #3

here are two links

Many thanks. I will read the links closely to educate myself and have already found a universal theme applying to all nations: it is the poor, rural folk living in remote palces that carry on any nation's genuine ehtnic traditons: linguistic, cultural or religious. Better-to-do townfolk are more receptive to passing foreign fads and fashions and bring about cultural dilution.

No hurry. There are few truly intelligent interlocutors on PF, but many smart alecks and wiseacres.*

* Is "wiseacre" to you an exotic-sounding Americanism or do you also use it in the Isles?

6 Sep 2016  #4

You can't really compare Yiddish and Irish as the Jews were not subjected to colonisation in a small island for hundreds of years.

You mean Hebrew, not Yiddish.
The Irish had an advantage over the Jews (in terms of preserving their language) because they were concentrated in one island and they had much more stability over their history. The Jews were much more vulnerable to outside influences and were under more pressure to accept the language of the majority. And the fact is that until about 100 years ago most Jews were not able to converse in Hebrew. The reason it was successfully revived is that A- You couldn't practice the Jewish religion without reading Hebrew and understanding at least some of it, so it never really disappeared, and B- Its revival was a core part of the Zionist ideology which meant that non-religious Jews also adopted the language as an expression of national identity, and C- Israel as an immigrant country brought together Jews from all over the world who couldn't speak to each other in any other language but Hebrew, so it became a necessary part of daily life.

6 Sep 2016  #5


Still, itwas an amazing feat. Developing an archaic liturgical language into a modern vehicle of communciaton. Words for such things such as radio, gramophone, telephone, telegraph, motor car, aeroplane and many others had ot be created from scartch. It's quite staggering.

On the other hand, the Yiddish option coud have also been chosen. Most Jews in diaspora spoke it although there were variatons from place to place.

Maybe the fact it was a dialect of German had something to do with it in the immediate post-war era?

11 Sep 2016  #6

On the other hand, the Yiddish option coud have also been chosen. Most Jews in diaspora spoke it although there were variatons from place to place.

Not really. Yiddish, because it was a dialect of German mixed with other languages, was thought of as the language of exile. It had no connection to the land of Israel. Zionist ideology was specifically against it for that reason. People in Israel called it "jargon." Going back to the original homeland meant going back to the original language.

Hebrew was also pronounced differently in different parts of the world. But in writing it's the same language everywhere.

16 May 2017  #7

[moved from]

the IRA and their supporters

What ever has become of them? Are they still visible in Irish society? Are they admired by most Irish as brave freedom-fighters like the AK in Poland, or like the KKK is in America and former SB agents in Poland?

16 May 2017  #8

The 'old IRA' who fought the War of Independence back in the 1920s are admired. The boyos up in the North are not never have been in the Republic except by a tiny group of rabid nationalists. The only time there was ever an obvious mood of sympathy towards the IRA among the general public down South was when the hunger strikers died back in the 1980s. I can't really speak for people in the North of Ireland nowadays but I think pretty much everyone just wants peace at this stage.

16 May 2017  #9

old IRA

buíochas a ghabháil leat go mór - wielie dzięki!

stick to the English only please

16 May 2017  #10

buíochas a ghabháil leat go mór - wielkie dzięki!

Profuse thanks for your as always clrear and insightful explanation.

17 May 2017  #11

"stick to the English only please"

I'm afraid I must politely decline that command. Telling an Irish person that they're not allowed to speak Irish on a thread about things Irish (which incidentally was not started by me but by a Pol-Am) ........

I will respond to any communication I receive in the Irish language, through the Irish language but will provide a translation, that's a fair compromise don't you think?

I'm absolutely serious about my right to respond in Irish if someone addresses me in Irish, regardless of the Forum rules. People literally sacrificed their lives in order that I might have that right and I can't dishonour them. Are you aware that the administration in the North of Ireland has consistently refused to acknowledge the Irish language with an Irish language Act although such an Act exists in Scotland and Wales?? So colonialism is still alive and active in my homeland.

@Polly, Ná habair é - don't mention it :))

17 May 2017  #12

buíochas a ghabháil leat go mór

Profuse thanks for your as always clrear and insightful explanation.

I can see that Irish is much more concise than English!

17 May 2017  #13

Most languages are:-)

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Off-Topic / ATT. ATCH: About things Irish & sundry....top