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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through December 12, 2004 » Gaeilge = Gaelic or Irish « Previous Next »

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Declan (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 57.66.154.2
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 10:12 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Can you help me in a bit of bar stool debate I'm having with some Northern Irish colleagues here in Brussels.

They always use to term "Gaelic language" when referring to what I've always called Irish, when I suggest that the term "the Irish language" is better term (to differentiate or Gaelic cousins) they disagree.

Does "as gaeilge" mean "in irish" or "in gaelic" wen translated into english?

Thanks for kind assistance and may I compliment you on an excellent site!

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Tomás (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 198.22.236.230
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 10:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

In Great Britain, the term "Gaelic" generally means Scottish Gaelic. For example, The "Teach Yourself" series of language books has "Teach Yourself Gaelic" as the title for its book and recordings on (Gaidhlig) Scottish Gaelic, and "Teach Yourself Irish" as the title for its series on Gaeilge. So, "Irish" is the generally preferred term for Gaeilge simply to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic (or its extinct sibling Manx Gaelic). The distinction is of particular importance in Brussels, of course, because of EU policies attendant to the issues of "working" languages of the EU and minority languages. Linguistically speaking, they arguably are simply distinct dialects of the same Gaelic language.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 78
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

originally Gaeilge, Gàidhlig, and Gaelg were all one language. Distance and isolation facilitated what were originally dialects into mutual unintelligibility, meeting the linguistic definition of separate languages. "Gaelic" is the catch-all for the family of languages that include Irish, Scottish, and Manx. In looking at it, it appears that all the languages call themselves "Gaelic" in their own way - but this goes back to a time when there was but a single "Gaelic" tongue...there are now three, and so a distinction must be made. The Scots have claimed the term "Gaelic" to mean ScotsGaelic. Irish and Manx are properly called just that "Irish" and "Manx." I once used the term "Irish Gaelic" in an attempt to be understood by an audience who didn't know Ireland spoke anything other than English and wound up getting yelled at and starting a fight.

I see what your friends are saying - Gaeilge is quite obviously "Gaelic" and not "Irish" (which would be something like Éireannais). You can tell them, however, that Irish-American is Gael-Méiriceana and so "Gael" obviously does carry an "Irish" meaning in some circumstances - "Gaeilge" being one of them.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 490
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 11:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Many (most) Irish speakers object to the language being called Gaelic. Every now and then, a heated debate erupts. We see the use of Gaelic as an attempt to diminish the language.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 491
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Depending on which tradition in the North the people you are discussing with are from, you are probably wasting your time.

The dictionary will not help much:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=irish

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Irish%20Gaelic

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Gaelic

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Declan (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 57.66.154.2
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 04:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks.. seems that it's unlikely I'll be able to win over my colleagues

Aonghus hit the nail on head in respect of tradition so I think I'll avoid bringing up the discussion in future!

Go raibh maith agat

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Ultán
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Username: Ultán

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 06:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Declan were the guys you were speaking to speaking in English? When I did Gaelic lessons in Belfast years ago I was taught to refer to them as Gaelic lessons but I do not remember anything about being taught to say Gaelic Language. For the Northern Irish only one group spoke/speaks or learnt/learns Gaelic and they may say Irish Language, the other non-Gaelic Béala-speaking group I think would use the term Gaelic Language. Of course I may be wrong.

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Natalie
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Username: Natalie

Post Number: 93
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 07:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't know who said it but when talking to people that have no idea that Ireland has another language and you use the term Irish, they look at you wierdly and begin to wonder. The minute you explain to them that Irish is Gaelic they understand. I know I'm not from Ireland, nor does my opinion really matter, but I like "Irish" as opposed to "Gaelic" because I think of Scottish Gaelic when I say "Gaelic" and for some reason, "Irish" sounds better to me. :)

Natalie

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Dearg
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Username: Dearg

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 07:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm in the US (originally from the East Coast, now in the Midwest). I had never heard of 'Irish' as a language until I started taking lessons last year. I always thought it was Gaelic.

And whenever I tell anyone--whether family on the East Coast or friends in the Midwest--that I'm taking Irish lessons, they always say, "Oh, you mean Gaelic?" I have to show them my books to prove to them that, yes, it's called Irish not Gaelic.

Not sure where this urban legend of Irish people speaking Gaelic came from, but it sure is widespread.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 81
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 08:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

see my explanation above. "Gael" is what the celts called themselves around the time of the romans. Hence, the celtic peoples they knew of were called Gaels, Gauls, Galicians, Galatians etc. They spoke Gallic, Galician, Galatian, and Gaelic. Over time, the Insular version of the language remained the strongest (Gaelic). Due to english domination, it drifted into three languages (gaeilge, gàidlig, and gaelg). they seem to be calling themselves "gaelic," and indeed the family of languages is known in linguistic circles as "gaelic." Insofar as that, it is not an "urban legend," and those in the US who say "the irish speak gaelic" have a leg up on those who say, "i thought they just spoke english"

The problem lies in the politicization of the issue where "Gaelic" has come to be synonymous with Scottish alone. I've also seen "Erse" being attributed as a language of Ireland along with English, but have never heard the name used in real life.

I wonder if, after Scotland legislates its independence and Irish is quite a bit healthier, if both won't drift closer together thru radio and television broadcasts and once again be dialects of the same language, or if scottish is too far gone for that.

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Lúcas
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Username: Lúcas

Post Number: 71
Registered: 01-2004


Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 12:20 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Antaine, a chara,

As I understand it, the word 'erse' was originally a derogatory reference to Scots Gaelic. However, Brendan Behan is said to have referred to a fainne óir, or the person who wears one, as an erse hole. ;-)

(Message edited by lúcas on December 01, 2004)

Mise le meas,

Lúcas

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Tj_mg
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Username: Tj_mg

Post Number: 11
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 12:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I currently live in the US and in my experience, Gaelic almost always referred to Scottish Gaeilic in the US. Though, when I was in Ireland last week, for the first time I actually heard Gaelic used as referring to Irish. Though, in the US, most people seem to think that Ireland never had its own language. I think the term "Gaelic" should be avoided in referring to Irish simply because the Scots seemed to have claimed it and it is just easier to avoid the confusion.

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Jonas
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Post Number: 540
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 06:04 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde

They spoke Gallic, Galician, Galatian, and Gaelic. Over time, the Insular version of the language remained the strongest (Gaelic). Due to english domination, it drifted into three languages (gaeilge, gàidlig, and gaelg).

The English occupation is of course the reason that Irish isn't the first language of Ireland today (in practice), but to blame the English for the perfectly natural development of dialects into languages seems somewhat exagerated. Should I blame someone that the original language of my ancestors have drifted into Swedish, Danish, German, Dutch, Icelandic and many more. And who is to blame for the development of French, Italian, Catalan, Portuguese?

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Diarmo
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Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 74
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 06:53 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Just to make a point about the words Gael and Gaul-they have completely different origins! Gael comes from a Welsh word Gweyeddel meaning Wild! The Wild Irish! ;)

Gaul/Galicia/Galatian is a the romanised spelling of a word originating from the Germanic langauges spelt sometimes like Wall (from where we get the words Welsh and Wales, Wallachia,Wallonia)..the Germanics used this word to describe foreigners!

So the English called the Welsh foreigners, the Germans called the French speaking Belgians Wallons,the Germanic speaking Romanians called the Southern Romanians Wallachs or Vlachs etc...

Interestingly in Irish the word 'gall' is used also to describe foreigners! mar shampla baile gallda..a town under foreign influences!It may come from the name used by the French for themselves when they visited in Roman times!!

A very interesting word!

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 495
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 07:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Etymology is not an exact science: be careful!

The romans and greeks came in contact with Celtic peoples before they came in contact with Germanic ones; so I'm not sure I buy "Gaul == Wales"

And there is St Pauls letter to the Galatians (in modern Turkey; and who still spoke a celtic language at the time of St Jerome)

From Mac Bain

Gall
a Lowlander, stranger, Irish Gall, a stranger, Englishman, Early Irish gall, foreigner; from Gallus, a Gaul, the Gauls being the first strangers to visit or be visited by the Irish in Pre-Roman and Roman times (Zimmer). for derivation See gal, valour. Stokes takes a different view; he gives as basis for gall, stranger, *gallo-s, Welsh gal, enemy, foe: *ghaslo-? root ghas, Latin hos-tis, English guest. Hence he derives Gallus, a Gaul, so named from some Celtic dialect.


And according to my quick browsing, the Etymology of the Germanic word "Welsch" is based on a particular tribe - the Volcae.

More etymology: (from http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=gaul&searchmode=none)
Gaul
1563, from Fr. Gaule, from L. Gallia, from Gallus "a Gaul."
Gallic
1672, from L. Gallicus "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls," from L. Gallia "Gaul" and Gallus "a Gaul" from a native Celtic name (see Gaelic), though some connect the word with prehistoric W.Gmc. *walkhoz "foreigners" (see Welsh). Originally used in Eng. rhetorically or mockingly for "French." Gallicism "French word or idiom" is from 1656.

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 299
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 08:12 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"Dún na nGall" is a good example, "Fort of the Foreigner" I would translate it as.

Anyway, I've heard the Irish Language referred to by many aliases... I don't bother keeping track of them anymore. Here's a few:

Gaeilge
An Ghaeilge
Irish
Gaelic
Gaolainn

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 496
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 08:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

and note that the "Gall" in Dún na nGall probably refers to the Vikings, rather than (as one might expect) the English.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 83
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ethnologue attributes Erse to Ireland, hence my confusion

as far as blaming the english...my understanding of the situation is as follows

shortly after the roman occupation of britain ended, the irish colonized the isle of man and scotland, displacing or absorbing the picts, caledonii, etc. They brought with it their language.

Now perhaps I'm mistaken, but I was under the impression that the Gaelic brought to these places remained mutually intelligable (ie - dialects of the same language) until somewhere in the 14-1600s. This being due to the fact that a wide, unbroken swath spoke gaelic from cork to the east coast of scotland.

english encroachment created linguistic "islands" in western ireland, man, and the highlands of scotland. the gaelic speaking areas were now isolated from each other and began to drift unchecked, giving us our current situation.

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Máirín
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Username: Máirín

Post Number: 3
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 12:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I believe that there are 6 Gaeilge Languages.
Irish=Gaeilge,Manx=Gaelg,Scots=Gáidhlig,Breton=
Brezhoneg,Welsh=Cymraeg,Cornish=Curnoack/Kernewek.
At least there were 6. There is a book by Marion Gunn, Dá Mihi Manum. In the book there is a word comparsion for the 6 languages. The Irish, Scots,
Welsh have many simular words the spelling can be
very different. Breton,Welsh and Cornish are some what simular. Cornish ahs 3 different subdivisons common, unified and modern. I quess the Cornish can't agree.
Máirín

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 84
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 01:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

irish, scottish and manx are the goidlic languages. welsh cornish and breton are brythonic languages. manx and cornish have died out, and are being revived in modern times, but all speakers of these languages speak them as second languages. scottish is the languages with the greatest push of new learners, welsh is the most secure (as secure as it gets) and breton is on the brink, with a real possibility of extinction within a generation or two.

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 542
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Antaine, a chara

A most interesting topic :-)

Now perhaps I'm mistaken, but I was under the impression that the Gaelic brought to these places remained mutually intelligable (ie - dialects of the same language) until somewhere in the 14-1600s.

No-one can say. I doubt a farmer from Cork would have had much success in communicating with a fisherman from Sunderland. Older documents from , most importantly the Book of the Dean of Lismore, show that the most features of Gaelic dialects are very old.

This being due to the fact that a wide, unbroken swath spoke gaelic from cork to the east coast of scotland.

Very true, but that does not say that much about which language is spoken. If you start walking from Algarve in South Portugal and walk slowly to Trieste in East Italy you could, depending on your route, pass areas where Portuguese, Galician, Asturian, Spanish, Catalan, Provencal and Italian are spoken. This whole area also constitute an unbroken swath of spoken 'Romance'; no-where will you find a sharp linguistic border. The same applies with the Slavic languages between Slovenia and Bulgaria and the Germanic languages ranging from Nordkap in Norway down through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany (and the Netherlands) into Austria and finally the north of Italy. The point is that although there are no linguistic borders in these areas, the two end-points are very different.

english encroachment created linguistic "islands" in western ireland, man, and the highlands of scotland. the gaelic speaking areas were now isolated from each other and began to drift unchecked, giving us our current situation.

As I've tried to show, the same situation have appeared in every major European language group (Romance, Germanic and Slavic) despite there being no islands. The fact that the Gaelic dialects (in the widest sense of the word) were pushed back into the small areas where they are spoken today is a fact I lament for a number of reasons, but in this case I don't think the situation would have been much different.


I believe that there are 6 Gaeilge Languages

No, there are three. Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic. Welsh, Cornish and Breton are Brythonic languages.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 86
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 03:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

true, but as far as romance languages are concerned, you had invaders bringing to bear their influence on the latin of the area. Frankish+latin+1000years=french, gothic+latin+1000years yields spanish/italian. time is not the only factor. why did spanish and italian diverge as much as they had despite having a common influence on a common language? they were "islands" of a sort, separated from eachother by franks, lombards, and burgundians...

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Jonas
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Post Number: 543
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Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 03:56 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

True, but having no outside influence at all is very much the exception, not the norm. However, in the case of the Germanic languages there were no such occupations - apart from the fact that we occupied each other at times :-) Still the languages ended up being different.

Even if both Ireland and Scotland had managed to fight off Norman / English invasions they would still have been two different countries. I'll agree that the influence of English was most instrumental in bringing about the Manx language. If there had been no outside influence, I'd suppose that Irish and Scottish Gaelic would still have ended up as two different languages while Manx would be a dialect of one of them.

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Antaine
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Post Number: 89
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Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

see...that's what I don't know about...it's my understanding that until it had been isolated from ulster by greater and greater distances over a long period of time, they had been largely related dialects. come radio and tv, and with a separation of only 18 miles, I don't think they would have drifted more than british english and irish english have...

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Dearg
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Username: Dearg

Post Number: 15
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 12:29 am:   Edit Post Print Post

In terms of language variation over short distances: I took an Irish class in Connemara a couple months ago, and one of the teachers was explaining the nuances of Connemara Irish. She then explained that in *her* village--all of like 3 miles away--they said certain words differently than where we were (An Ceathrú Rua). So 18 miles can be pretty significant, especially if there are physical, economic, or political barriers that hinder language exchange. Heck, even today, people in Harlem (NY City) speak differently and use a different vocabulary from people on Wall Street.

Also, there is a very interesting book called "The Power of Babel" by a professor at Berkeley. He argues that the difference between a language and a dialect is mostly political, and many "languages" today are more like dialects. For example, he says the Scandanavian languages are--more or less--mutually intelligible (either by sound or by spelling), as are Russian and Ukrainian. Very interesting read. If it hadn't been for Irish unification, the Irish dialects could very well have evolved into different languages--even without foreign intervention. (...said like a true armchair expert!)

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 93
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 12:39 am:   Edit Post Print Post

oh, very true... all of what you said, but the man on wall street and the man in harlem and a man in london can all watch the same tv program in english and understand it (barring exclusionary technical vocabulary, of course).

another example of the political definitions of language is that I had a linguistics professor state that the only reason Spanish is a "language" is because Spain is a country - else it would be considered a distant dialect of Italian...

go fig...

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Jonas
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Post Number: 544
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Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:10 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The case of English is quite different. The English language has only been spoken in Australia and America for about 400 years; in other words, the same time that Gaelic had been spoken in both Ireland and Scotland around 750. Language change takes time and the Gaelic languages have been spoken in different countries for much longer than English has. It is true that English in England and Ireland remained very similar, but that case is quite different from Gaelic and Irish. In Ireland, English was never the language of most people for the first 700 years it was spoken there. English was only spoken in the Pale around Dublin and that area was under the English crown, populated by many Englishmen and looked to London for its influences.

it's my understanding that until it had been isolated from ulster by greater and greater distances over a long period of time, they had been largely related dialects.

On what is this understanding based? As I already said, older documents in both Irish and Scottish Gaelic point to the opposite.

another example of the political definitions of language is that I had a linguistics professor state that the only reason Spanish is a "language" is because Spain is a country - else it would be considered a distant dialect of Italian...

That professor in linguistics cannot have been a professor in Romance linguistics. He would have a hard time trying to explain why Catalan and Provencal are considered languages then... :-)

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Antaine
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Post Number: 94
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Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 07:11 am:   Edit Post Print Post

the prof didn't maintain that politics was the only reason for calling something a language. she kept with the mutual intelligibility definition, but added that in political cases, where a group *insists* that their dialect is a language the lingusts usually defer to that. She also cited two groups of american indians who could understand each other in speech, but insisted that their languages were not dialects of each other, and so "officially" you will find them listed as separate though related languages

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Jonas
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Post Number: 545
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Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 07:15 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Very true, of course. I have no problems understanding standard Norwegian but there are Swedish dialects I don't understand. Serbs, Croats and Bosnians understand each other perfectly well but insist that they speak three different languages while all Germans don't understand each other and yet claim to speak the same language.

Moving on to the Gaelic languages, speakers of Islay Gaelic and Lewis Gaelic usually have to change to English to understand each other, according to the leading expert on Islay Gaelic. Someone from Ulster would have almost no problem at all with Islay Gaelic and I know a number of Ulstermen who have communicated perfectly well with speakers from Skye.

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Aonghus
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Post Number: 505
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Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 07:58 am:   Edit Post Print Post

It lookslike they need Radio nan Eilean, then.

Radio na Gaeltachta has done wonders for mutual intelligibility here.

Maidir leis na Gearmáinaigh, they all (even the Swiss) share a standardised written language; and I believe that is what they base the claim of the same language.

But they have up to 250 dialects, which they call Mundarten i.e. spoken types of language

More here http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa051198.htm
quote:

Linguists divide the variations of German and other languages into three main categories: Dialekt/Mundart (dialect), Umgangssprache (idiomatic language, local usage), and Hochsprache/Hochdeutsch (standard German). But even linguists disagree about the precise borderlines between each category. Dialects exist almost exclusively in spoken form (despite transliteration for research and cultural reasons), making it difficult to pin down where one dialect ends and another begins. The Germanic word for dialect, Mundart, emphasizes the "word of mouth" quality of a dialect (Mund = mouth).


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Jonas
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Post Number: 546
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Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 08:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Very true, a Aonghuis a chara,

it's interesting to see how the Bosnians, Croats and Serbs are changing their written language away from the standard that once existed. Put simply, the Serbs have remained true to the old standard, the Croatians have adopted the Icelandic way of introducing old Slavic words and to get rid of many international words that existed in the Serbo-Croat standard and replace them with new words formed from old Slavic forms. The Bosnians have also got rid of many words from the old standard and replaced them with loans from either Turkish or Arabic. In this way the standards are becoming more different each year, although most people continue to speak the way they always did.

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Ó_diocháin
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Post Number: 51
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 06:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
This is a topic on which any number of linguists have written over the years.
I find the clearest and most readable over-view of how dialects "evolve" into "standard languages" to be Einear Haugen's article "Dialect, language, nation", first published in American Anthropologist, Volume LXVIII, (1966), pp. 922-935 - since re-printed in a number of places.
His basic argument is along the lines that, in theory, any dialect can end up as the standard language of a nation if it undergoes a four step process: selection of norm, codification of form, elaboration of function and acceptance by the community.
Although this is quite often a political process, or is at least a process which effectively requires political support, all sort of factors can affect which variety of a language is selected as the norm (first stage) - the most important tend to relate to socio-economic prestige. In some cases, however, a specific variety is developed (Norwegian, Hebrew) to become the national standard.
Irish has never really gone through all four stages of this process - although the development of the Caighdean Oifigiuil, certainly was Haugen's second stage. The language seems to have stalled somewhere in stages 3/4.
Aontoim leat, a Jonas, there is little reason to believe that a farmer in Cork would have understood a fisherman in Sutherland very well, even at the time when Scots Gaelic and Irish were using the same "standard written form".
There are, nevertheless, good examples of languages which have national standard status in areas where there are lots of dialects - referred to as dialects of that language - which are to a large extent mutually unintelligible. The example of this phenomenon which I know best is Italian.
So, if history had only been different... if the Tudors had never usurped the throne of England... if James VI & I had never inherited their throne in 1603 and extended Scotland's borders to the Channel... we might have a Gaelic nation stretching from Cork to Wick, with a single written standard today. Speakers in Cork, Connemara, Donegal, Antrim, Argyll, Islay, Lewis and Sutherland might each have their own dialects pretty much as they are, but in excess of 10 million of us would be fluent in our "national language"... and we might then be happy to call it Gaelic... níl a fhois agam!
Slán beo!
Chris

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Diarmo
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Post Number: 75
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 08:51 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Another example I know which is interesting is that of the Romanian spoken in Moldova..The Russians eager as ever to divide and conquer (see Ukraine,Belarus,Lituania etc etc etc!!) decided to put the langauge into Cyrillic (after WW2) they then decided to put Russian words into the langauge and call it Moldovan! The majority of Moldovans rejected this and still insist that their langauge is Romanian! Example of how the politics and divide and conquer dont always work!

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 547
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 08:58 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Exactly, and a very good example. It's the same thing with Finnish. The dialects spoken to the east of Finland are now called the Carelian language, and under the Soviets it too was written in Cyrillic. The funny thing is that our national epic, the Kalevala, is based on those dialects - as are large parts of the Finnish literary language ;-) Of course there are differences, but I can understand Carelian with ease. An even more absurd example is the so-called Tornedalian, the Finnish dialect spoken in Sweden. It is now claimed that it is a language of its own even though it is closer to standard Finnish than most Finnish dialects are. So indeed, politics matters a lot when it comes to languages.

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Diarmo
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Username: Diarmo

Post Number: 76
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:52 am:   Edit Post Print Post

anyone know any good books about this kind of Russian Imperialism?? the history of this divide and conquer policy which goes back especially to Stalin (and before???) it seems very relevant at this moment with what is going on in the Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus..



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