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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (July-September) » 2003 (July-September) » Gaeilgish « Previous Next »

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Gavin (144.141.194.4 - 144.141.194.4)
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello again,

I posted that "why us" a while back and I never imagined I would get so many replies on it. So let me say thank you to everyone that responded.

I don't remember which post it was but someone used the term "gaeilgish" or something to that effect to describe when English words seep into Irish. I had never heard the term before and it made me laugh, but now that I think on it a little it has raised another question.

How do people here feel about the mixing of Irish and English?

For instance, here in the States I will be listing to Hispanic people talking at a hundred miles and hour and then out of nowhere they throw in English words. Once when I asked one of them why they were mixing the two, their response was "no Spanish word for it, so we use the English word for it."

Does anyone see this as a potential future for Irish, or do you think we should take a paranoid Swedish approach and make new Irish words to keep out foreign words?

Gavin

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Al Evans (208.188.101.145 - 208.188.101.145)
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

> How do people here feel about the mixing of Irish and English?

I imagine you meant mixing English words into Irish, but we've got plenty of Irish words mixed into American English...

"So long, see you later!" (Slán)

The pot hit the ground and broke into smithereens. (smidirín)

"Stop right where you are, bucko!" (buachaill)

He went on a spree and didn't come home for three weeks. (spraoi)

There are plenty more, these are just some that came to mind right now.

--Al Evans

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Gavin (144.141.194.4 - 144.141.194.4)
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 08:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes, I was referring to mixing English words with Irish...

If I were to say find the Irish word in "So long, see you later," would someone readily be able to connect "so long" with "slán."

I mean it's one thing to have to introduce a new word into a vocabulary...I mean come on, new things or being discovered and new events are happening everyday.

The Greeks saw this problem some 2500 years ago when the Romans were developing new words everday just like we are and their method to "keep their language pure" was to create new words using exiting words hince words like "phenome." Swedish also went through this little scare but their answer was to create completely new words from scratch. Both methods have been studied by people smarter than I and found to be extremely effective in preserving their language.

My question is this...is Irish capable of growing with the times? Or is it like Japanese where it has an extremely developed vocabulay but has a growing number of loan words barrowed from other languages and changed to fit thier phonetic capabilities?

If so this is a scary thought because I have read Asian linguistic studies saying that the use of foreign lone words has become more and more popular because of the ability to communicate with the major world languages. Some are speculating that the gorwing use of foreign loan words into a language's vocabulary could be the death of languages as we know them and the start of something new.

Could Irish be following this same pattern?

Gavin

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miriam loraditch (63.201.88.64 - 63.201.88.64)
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 08:37 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Don't forget smashin'! Is maith sin!
The thing about language is that it must evolve...you don't find many people speaking Middle English anymore (more's the pity). If a language doesn't take in new words from the cultures it bumps into, it stops and becomes a dead language. In fact, a language like English has borrowed so many words from ,say, French in particular that a French nobleman once claimed English should be known as a dialect of French. So, if we've got to borrow some Bearla to keep Gaeilge going and growing in the mouths of its speakers, it's all to the good.
Mo dha phingin :)
Miriam

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PAD (12.89.174.202 - 12.89.174.202)
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 09:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Right you are, Miriam.In a living language new words are constantly appearing, both original and "borrowed". They may or may not be permanent additions. Better a few scattered words of Bearla or any other language to ensure a lively conversation than a stilted textbook language no one uses.

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Oliver Grennan (217.155.45.120 - 217.155.45.120)
Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 10:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Irish is well equipped for dealing with neologisms because it borrowed heavily from Latin and Greek through the scholarly work in the monasteries from the 5th-11th centuries.

Most technological words seem have roots in those languages.

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 06:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ní hiad na bricí an ailtearacht, ní hiad na focail an teanga (Bricks are not the architecture, Words are not the language).

a) When native speakers use an English word, they frequently give it a special twist e.g. "Bhí mé an-happy" is not the same as "Bhí athás mór orm".

b) I'm far more irritated by apparently Irish words being forced into English syntax - the "Tá mé fear" problem.

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Jen (63.100.108.20 - 63.100.108.20)
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 11:05 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Aonghus, a chara,

Pardon my ignorance, what do you mean by Irish words being forced into English syntax?

Le buíochas,
Jen

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Aonghus (62.77.191.130 - 62.77.191.130)
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 12:02 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I gave an example: I am a man - Tá mé fear (recteIs fear mé).
There are examples of stock phrases in English which crop up in Irish (journalese)e.g. on the record - ar an dtaiféad

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Jonas (62.80.130.186 - 62.80.130.186)
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 05:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Mhuise, ní thuigim an cacach seo in aon chor, Gavin. Cad ba mhaith leat a rá???

Gavin, perhaps you would like to explain for one of the regulars on this bord what a "paranoid Swedish approach" is?

I have to remarks on this subject.
1. Trying to avoid all loanwords is just stupid becuase it can't be done. Luckily, no-one can control which word people pick up. On the other hand, someone who consistently mix two languages is rarely a good speaker of either of them. I know many people who speak more than one language really well, but they hardly ever mix the two. I alos know many who do mix two languages are they are normally uncapable of speaking either of them really well. When someone says such a standard thing as "I use this word (perhaps an English one) because there is no Spanish (or Irish, Swedish, French etc.) word for it." that person is almost definitely someone who does not speak either language. Of course there are some unique words in every language, but what these people should say is "I guess there is a Spanish (etc.) word for it but I don't know it". I know plenty of Spanish speakers who don't have to use English words since they speak perfect Spanish.

2. If you mean to say that Swedish is a language that avoids using foreign words you absolutely wrong. Icelandic invents its own words instead of borrowing, Finnish do the same. The French try to avoid English loans. At the other extreme you'll find the Swedes, there is no European nation so eager to use English words in its own language. Sadly.

A language that becomes mixed up with a stronger language (=stronger in the area where it's spoken - English is stronger than Spanish in the US, Spanish is stronger than English in Belize) is doomed. I hope Irish will never take that certain road to extinction.

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Jonas (62.80.130.186 - 62.80.130.186)
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 05:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Sorry Gavin, I missed your second remark. From the first one I got the impression you favoured mixing languages but I guess I was mistaken. Then the first of my two points was needless, my mistake.

As for the second point, it looks ever more like you are confusing Swedish (my own language) with either Finnish (my second language, completely unrelated to Swedish) or Icelandic (related to Swedish but not mutually comprehensible).

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Gavin (209.77.18.34 - 209.77.18.34)
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 06:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas...

Let me be the first to apologize, I was saying Swedish and I was refering to Icelandic...I won't lie West Germanic Languages are not my cup of tea. My area is mostly concentrated on Sino-Tibetan Languages.

The "Paranoid Swedish" comment stays though, nothing intended against Swedish because in truth I don't know very much about it to be making such a statement, however, this came straight from a friend of mine from Storuman, so if I am wrong am sorry, it was because I was mislead.

Also...I am really not for or against anything really. Because lets face it languages have to mix and match in order to survive. Even if the Celts were alive and well today I am sure they would be doing the same.

I am just curious how people see the Celtic branch of languages as they exist today. Let's face it, of the six languages, non gets more attention both good and bad than does Irish. Don't ask me why, but for some reason Irish has become its own issue.

Gavin

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Jonas (62.80.130.153 - 62.80.130.153)
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:07 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Gavin, the "Paranoid Swedish" comment may well stay. My language is Swedish, but I belong to the Swedish speaking minority (350.000) in Finland. So my nationality is Finnish and we Finns just love a little joke on the Swedes... ;-)

I agree that languages has to borrow words from each other (at least it's natural for them to do so). Unfortunately I've seen to many cases of mixing Swedish and Finnish and ending up being incapable of any deeper knowledge of either. This mixing is almost always a transition from one language to another. In a community where a language has been dominant (like Swedish in Helsinki) but another language (Finnish) takes over in that area it is normal that many speakers of the original language will start mixing it with the stronger during the transition phase. Unfortunately, this is always a sign of language death - many sociolinguistic words have examined the phenomena and even though the languages have been different the result has always been the same.

I guess that the reason that Irish gets more attention than the other languages is that Ireland is an independent state which has marketed (heavily) itself as "the Celtic nation" for the past 15 or so years. Another reason, I guess, is that there are so many of Irish descent in the USA, Canada, Australia etc. and they tend to keep to their roots. I think those are the reasons that more people know of the Irish language than Welsh language although Welsh is incomparably stronger.

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Cáit (192.19.195.27 - 192.19.195.27)
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 07:59 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Mo chairde,

Earlier in this discussion it was mentioned that young Irish people felt that a derelict language was forced upon them.

To a large extent this is true. Mainly because of HOW the language is taught. The curriculum is too old-fashioned. Don't you all remember groaning aloud at having to read 'Peig'? My grandfather studied that book when in school! It has no meaning for teenagers today.

In primary schools the curriculum is much more suitable for the age group - you learn interesting things like a trip to the sea-side, halloween parties etc. But from the day you enter secondary it's more like an Irish history lesson (Peig, the poetry etc.). There is no connection to the modern world. Young people lose all interest.

I can claim to having a better standard of Irish leaving primary school where the curriculum was interesting (conditional tense and all). But during secondary school my level of Irish dropped significantly!

On our first day in secondary our Irish books started with 'Dia dhuit', 'Is mise Áine', 'Conas atá tú?' etc. There's no credit given for studying Irish for the past 7 or 8 years in primary. By the time the inter-cert had come around we'd forgotton all the difficult stuff that we'd been proficient with by age 12!

Okay it's been a while since I left school, but from talking to my nephews - not much has changed!

I firmly believe that drastically revising the secondary school curriculum for Irish would be a huge leap forward in promoting the language. It needs a fairly hefty 'make-over' before being seen as 'cool'.

Is mise le meas,

Cáit.

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Oliver Grennan (217.155.45.120 - 217.155.45.120)
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 09:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It's not that I thought Peig was irrelevant, I just hated her tone of sanctimonious fatalism. It sounded false and hypocritical to me. Mind you I was a teenager. Maybe Fiche Bliain ag Fás would be better?

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Jonas (62.80.130.222 - 62.80.130.222)
Posted on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 08:00 am:   Edit Post Print Post

It would indeed, it's a totally diferent book, especially in its tone. While I admire the language in "Peig" I do admit that the fatalism can be somewhat disturbing. Culture-clash I guess. I think Fiche Bliain ag Fás is the best by far of the Blasket books.

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Cáit (192.19.195.27 - 192.19.195.27)
Posted on Thursday, August 07, 2003 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

You've piqued my interest - I'll try to get my hands on 'Fiche Blian ag Fás'.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

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niamh (80.6.231.48 - 80.6.231.48)
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 03:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

i agree that sometimes you have 2 use english words in irish sometimes. when i myself speak irish and i throw in the odd english word its mainly because i dont know it in irish!!!hopefully ill improve
le grá,
Niamh

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Tomás (198.22.236.230 - 198.22.236.230)
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 05:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

You know folks, they have a bureau at An Institiúid Teangólaíochta devoted to coining and/or approving neologisms. "Ríomhaire" and "idirlíon" being but two examples.
-- Toma/s

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.200.92 - 65.128.200.92)
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 07:15 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Thomáis, a chara,
I know An Institiúid can be found at www.ite.ie , But in what area would I find the section for the info that you've just given? Their site is very large and somewhat complex if you don't know exactly where to go.
Go raibh maith agat, roimh ré.
Le meas,
-Maidhc.

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Oliver Grennan (217.155.45.123 - 217.155.45.123)
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 09:30 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

There's a good source of technical terms at http://www.acmhainn.ie

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Antaine (138.89.90.141 - 138.89.90.141)
Posted on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 07:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Another good source is here http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaeilge/foclora/abhair/riomhaire.html

New technology represents the front line for language growth. What do you do when something is created which has never existed before?

As described above, the French have a special body to take English loan words (ie "le walkman") and force a new French word (ie "le balladeur," instead) by regulating publications and ads.

When I was in Tomás Henry's class the last time I was at Esopus, we listened to a tape where this old old man was telling a story about Colm Cille. And he used the words "publisháilte," "phublisháilfeadh," and "chopyáil," in addition to "sentence."

The man was on the tape because he had spoken mainly Irish for all of his 90-some-odd years and maybe even was a monoglot, I can't remember. But the point is, that even HE used Gaeilgish (or Gaeirla, as I prefer;o) and once even an outright English term. Does this represent cracks in the foundation of Gaeilge? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

My point is, there will always be some mixing. A language that doesn't respond to the times and demands of the modern lives of its speakers is doomed. To respond to something said much earlier in this thread, "How many people do you find speaking Middle English?" Scores of millions. Middle English didn't die. It changed a tiny bit every day for six hundred years, and now we call it something else, but there was no point (realistically, linguists assign a date for reference purposes) at which Middle English "died" and was superceeded by this "uberlanguage" called Modern English.

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