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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (July-September) » Archive through August 22, 2004 » Revival and Teaching « Previous Next »

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Daithí O'Grádaidh (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 80.6.231.182
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Is it just me or is the Irish language going through a revival? I think TG4 have been elemental in bringing about this new energy within the language. It seems attractive and desirable to learn now. That is why I would argue that the school system needs to be revamped. The way they teach Irish is disgraceful. It does the language no justice. I failed ordinary Irish in the leaving cert. through lack of interest and work in the boring course as it presently stands. I want to learn Irish over the next few years by myself and repeat. Would you agree with me on both accounts i.e. the revival and the manner of teaching?

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 05:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Dhaithí,

As an American I can't really speak to the Irish system of education with regards to the Irish language. However, from all I've read and from all I've heard from those who were educated in the Irish system, I would have to agree with you.

As a contrast, I would point to the way Welsh was re-introduced. Children's programs and an energetic non-pedantic (if that's the correct use of the word) approach has done wonders in Wales. With the apparently new-found enthusiasm for Irish, it would be a shame not to learn from the Welsh success story.

Do you see any evidence of a focused targeting of the youth? As an adult, how easy are you finding it to "re-learn" the language?

Le meas,

James

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Daithí O'Grádaidh (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 80.6.231.182
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 07:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Firstly James, I think the Welsh coppied the old way in which Irish was thought here. Why they changed it here I don't know.

Secondly, I'm 18 and have just left the education system by just a couple of months. The reason I asked was there a revival is because I feel there has been a recent energy boost to the language but as a young person I can't compare it to 20/30 years ago. I would say yes, there has been a focused targeting of the youth. Hector from TG4 with his hilarious travel programmes has done wonders. People tune in just to watch him. If you look at TG4's weather it's always presented by beautiful women. But in my view all this effort is being ruined by the education system. It has done nothing for my interest in my own culture. It's all theory and no practise. What way is that to teach a language??? But now that I have my leaving out of the way I'll have more time to devote to the language. Does anyone know where I can get inexpensive night classes???

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Maidhc (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 65.54.98.157
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Knowing first where you're at might help us with finding something near you.

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OCG (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 82.69.43.128
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 08:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi Daithí,

I'm glad to hear you made it through the Irish educational system with your love for Irish still intact. I think you're right about a slight surge in interest in Irish, I think the decline of the power of the church might have a little bit to do with that.

The Irish language, the Catholic Church, the GAA were the three pillars of Irish life, and Irish was totally identified with those values in the minds of many. Along with rejecting the church they rejected the Irish language.

Just a theory, there might be something in it though.

There are loads of Irish lessons you can take online, if you can't find any courses near you.

Fan i dteagmháil linn.

Ádh mór ort.

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Poetaster (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 12.75.204.108
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 08:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

OCG - I think your reasoning is a little skewed. Rejection of the church is a much more recent thing than rejection of the language. And revived interest in Irish doesn't mean revived interest in religion. And why then does the GAA still go on? Sounds like apples and pears to me.

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Diarmo
Member
Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 4
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:25 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Uunfortunately the problem with Irish is that it was and still is (in some quarters ie the GAA, Sinn Fein, La etc) attached to nationalism...the fact that TG4 has a modern content indeed has done wonders...if only something more could be done to encourage young people to use it more...I for example live in Dublin and find it hard to find young speakers (indeed it easier for me to practice French and Spanish here than Irish!!)...

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 39
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Diarmo

beidh failte romhat chuig Ciocail Díospóireachta san Café Trí D ar sráid Dawson um 18:30 an Déardaoin beag seo, agus gach ré Déardaoin. Bíonn meascán mhaith de aoiseanna ann.

Agus beidh club sult ag tosnú arís mí mhéan fhomhair.

The GAA goes on because it is a genuinely popular, grass roots organisation, at least outside Dublin.


And as an Irish speaker, I don't think the irish language has been a pillar of Irish life since the battle of Kinsale in 1601! Certainly there was a certain amount of "cúpla focal" -ism for a while.

And the Roman Catholic Church was hardly a help to the language (speaking as a practising, some woul say conservative, Catholic). Certainly, some priests and religuous were enthusiasts; but the Church in general was sceptical of Irish, partly as some Evangelical protestants used Irish to teach the Protestant faith. The first book printed in Irish was a Protestant Cathechism and Reader.

It is true that Irish is perceived as belonging more to the Nationalist Tradition, especially in the North. And that Sinn Féin sometimes instrumentalise it. However, that is mostly perception.

There are even Unionists who speak (and write) it - one example being Ian Malcolm, a Unionist journalist who regularly writes a column for Lá, and is (I Think) sub editor of the Newsletter.

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Diarmo
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Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 7
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:23 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I did see a loyalist writing in La alright! However I think that paper isnt really interesting for someone from outside the North as it is not an All-Ireland paper funnily enough! -the articles are all about the RUC and loyalist parmilitaries not about Rip offs or the Westies ;)

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Daithí O'Grádaidh (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 80.6.231.182
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 12:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

OCG
I wonder does your theory about the Irish language and the Catholic Church have anything to do with their dominance within the education system up until recently. I, myself, am a humanist and disregard the church altogether and at the same time have a love for Irish. Therefore, I would disagree with your opinion. In my view the church conformed to the people and not the other way around. I, personally, think the European Union didn't help the language as people thought on a bigger geographic scale. This attitude of 'Irish isn't going to do anything for me' has crept in. European languages have become a must have and Irish has been put on the back boiler as a result.

Again, does anybody know where I'd get inexpensive night lessons in Irish?. I would class myself as a beginner/intermediate and living in S. Dublin.

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Cormac
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Username: Cormac

Post Number: 19
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 01:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Regarding the impact of the catholic church on Irish, I've read that the establishment of Maynooth seminary by the English gov. in the 1800s to stop trainee priests going to Europe for their education (where they might also pick up revolutionary ideas), effectively anglicised the catholic clergy...and I suppose their congregations...

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 397
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 03:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm rather convinced that if Ireland had become protestant when England did, the position of Irish would be incomparably stronger than it is today.

As you all know, Ireland in the 16th century was almost completely Irish speaking despite having been ruled by England for hundreds of years. In fact, the Irish language was advancing - areas that had been English speaking were become Irish speaking again. The reformation, however, changed the relationship between England and Ireland. With the religious wars going on in Europe and Englands main enemies for most its history - France and Spain - being Catholic, Ireland became a potential backdoor for England's enemies. The difference in religion (at thims time no-one cared much about nationality) meant that England felt it had to strengthen its grip on Ireland. This provoked the rebellions, which in turned promted England to further try to strengthen its position. This bad circle ended, as we know, with that dreadful battle in Kinsale and the plantations. The rest is history.

My guess is that if Ireland had become protestant the Irish language would be even healthier than Welsh. There would have been no need for such a rigid controll of Ireland and no plantations. Of course the English would have used education to stamp out Irish in the 19th century (as they did in Wales) but I'm not sure they would have been that succesful. If Ireland had been protestant, then the church would have preached in Irish (instead of Latin) and encouraged people to learn to read. (Being able to read the Bible is essential to protestantism). With Ireland being further away from England than Wales is - and without the coalfields attracting English speaking workers - I'd say that at least 25-30% of the population would be Irish speaking, especially in the West and in Ulster.

Of course, I'm not in any way blaming the Catholic church - the crucial part was not that Ireland didn't turn protestant but that Ireland and England ended up with different faiths. If England would have remained Catholic the Irish language would also have prospered - although the literacy thing wouldn't have been brought in.

Here is my unscientific estimates:
1. If Ireland and England would both have turned protestant, at least 25-30% would speak Irish.

2. If Ireland and England would both have remained Catholic , some 10-20% would speak Irish.

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OCG (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 82.69.43.131
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:04 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Poetaster -

I think rejection of the Catholic church has gone on in Ireland since at least the 1950's, at least among the urban opinion-formers; those who could have helped to make Irish desirable as a language.

They rejected the Irish language as it was seen by them as part of the insular "backward-looking" package of Church, Gaeilge and GAA. Now that the power of the Church has receded, people are seeing the Irish language in a new light, in a new Ireland.

It's just a theory....

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 41
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 05:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Diarmo; I don't think Ian Malcolm would take kindly to being called a loyalist, any more than someone from the SDLP would appreciate being called a provo.

Certainly, Lá is a West Belfast based Newspaper and it shows. However, they are setting up an office in Gaoth Dobhair, so we will see more stories from that Gaeltacht. (Michille Nic Pháidín was in Dublin, but has moved home).

The best thing about Lá is that they have interesting columnists, from all over, talking about all subjects under the sun. Considering the shoestring budget they operate on, they do a good job.

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Diarmo
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Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 9
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 10:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I bought La yesterday and I considered some of its content a bit too radical--One whole page on Chavez in a positive light-then there was also an article on Basque activists coming to Dublin from the banned parties..these are the kind of articles I would expect to see in An Phoblacht...decidely left wing the paper is...I would like more Dublin based content and more mainstream politics...it could increase their sales too!! I'll have to improve my Irish and write some articles for them!!

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 43
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 10:14 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Bí cinnte go bhfoilseofar iad, má tá siad fiúntach.

Let's face it. Nobody in Dublin managed to organise a daily paper in Irish - Inniu tried in the sixties, but failed. The people in West Belfast have been trying for 20 years, and never gave up - so we have Lá. Certainly, it could improve. But it's there.

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OCG (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 82.69.43.128
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 02:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Yes, Lá certainly has a radical, anti-American bias, which is sad to see really. I'd like to see a newspaper of record, and leave the proseltysing to the columnists.

No wonder they call it Lá Jazeera.

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Diarmo
Member
Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 10
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 04:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I have never heard that! funny!

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Tomás (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 198.22.236.230
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Would Aonghus or somebody else in the Dublin area please answer Dáithí's original question and give the lad some advice on where to find some evening Irish classes at reasonable cost? I believe Sult will be offering them on site again in September. Check their website.

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Aonghus
Member
Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 48
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't go to classes; so I don't know!

I believe all classes are fairly dear. I know Scoil Chualann in Bray runs classes directed at parents, but accepting anyone, for (I think) 50 Euro a term. (I know of some German au pairs who went to learn there).

http://www.clubsult.com is another good place to look, as Tomás mentioned.



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