Irish language is far from dead, linguist claims
There's an interesting article in today's Irish Times about a new study of dialectical differences on the Aran Islands.
"Dr Séamus Ó Direáin (77), whose grandparents emigrated from Inis Mór to Boston more than a century ago, believes rumours of the death of the Irish language are “greatly exaggerated” .
However, he warns that people must be “allowed to play with the language” if it is to survive. That “playing” includes allowing people to choose their own dialect – as happened with the southernmost island of Inis Oírr, which opted to speak Munster Irish, despite its neighbours Inis Mór and Inis Meáin opting for the Connacht version.
For instance, the negative form of “to do” presents as “ní rinne”, “níor rinne” or “ní dhearna” on Inis Mór and Inis Meáin, and “ní dhéan”, “níor dhéan”, “ní dhein”, “níor dhein” or “níor dhion” on Inis Oírr."
Read the rest of the article here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/irish-language-is-far-from-dead-linguist-claims-1.2384395
Go raibh maith agat don t-alt. It may take me some time to read Dr Ó Direáin's study, though.
Doesn't a male noun begging with a vowel after the definite article get a t prefix? I also don't see why do doesn't work for for.
Not in the dative, which is what the above is - preposition + definite article.
And, no, do can't always be used for 'for'. In fact for is a very complicated thing in Irish with no single translation covering all the English uses. For 'for' coming from go raibh maith agat you either use as + whatever or as ucht + whatever (genitive).
But it's not after the definite article - it's after a preposition and the definite article. Whether the preposition is as or do, it takes the dative, and apparently the t-prefix isn't used in the dative.
Or maybe it's just that these prepositions + the definite article cause eclipsis, and you can't eclipse a vowel?
(No, I don't know this stuff, I have to look it up whenever these questions are brought up, which is why my post takes so long to prepare that Galaxyrocker gets in before me :- )
I don't believe his study supports the heading at all. All it was was a dalectal survey of the language - it doesn't show that kids are learning and using it, for example. Nor that the rate of decline is decreasing. I'm still more inclined to agree with the 10 years left study over this sensationalized title.
In fairness, I think the headline is based on Ó Direáin's comments about the language in general, on the occasion of the launch of the study, rather than on the contents of the study itself. The study does demonstrate that the language is sturdy enough to cope with a large degree of variability even in a small geographical area, and Ó Direáin seems to suggest that resources like RnaG and TG4 and now various internet sites are allowing Irish to grow and thrive outside the traditional Gaeltachtaí, which will probably be gone in 10 years, as other studies suggest.
But is Irish surviving? People attending Gaelscoileannaí is no answer. Just because they're using it in school doesn't mean they're using it outside, or that they will pass it on to their kids. I wonder how many Gaelscoileannaí kids are still fluent 10 or 20 years later? And how much like Irish it actually is, and how much Tá sé fear stuff is there.
And large dialect variation doesn't mean anything in this case, because it's somewhere that's had millenia for it to change. Native speakers are just all going to stop speaking their dialect because it's dying. Now, if it was an area like Dublin where this was true, he might have a more valid point.
I think kids in Gaelscoileanna today are probably in a better position to maintain their Irish than they would have been 20 years ago, because there are simply more opportunities to use their Irish outside school today, whether it be content on TG4, social media, or the availability of social activities in Irish outside the traditional ones.
Tá sé fear is what those of us who didn't go to Gaelscoileanna churn out - I doubt you could make your way through full time education with Irish at that level. But I wouldn't worry about Gaeilge briste like that killing off "real Irish" - it might fill a vacuum left by the death of "real Irish", but I think there are more than enough speakers of good Irish making it through the Gaelscoileanna (and even a few in the non-Gaelscoileanna) that that won't be a problem.
But, as I keep rehashing, are they using their Irish? I haven't seen jt, honestly. Sure, they night watch TG4 and listen to RnaG, but most, I feel, don't actively use their Irish after leaving school.
Also, because I feel like being pedantic, Gaeilge bhriste. How many remember to lenite after feminine nouns? How many know about the syntax change to make emphasis? How many can use these in normal speech? All of that goes on top of the fact it's just not really being used (to make no mention of horrible governmental support)
Now you can't blame an botún sin on the Gaelscoileanna! Using Irish outside of school is all about critical mass, and that's a situation that is improving year on year. The key question is whether there'll be enough speakers of decent Irish to ensure that the standard of Irish being spoken is acceptable, and my own Irish isn't good enough (as evidenced by my previous post) to judge that. You don't think it is acceptable, Professor Ó Direáin thinks it is.
I hope that he's right and you're wrong :-)
Either the article is slightly misrepresenting Dr Ó Direáin or he made some contradictory statements as there seems to me to be a disconnect between encouraging linguistic play and seeing libraries as important for 'weeding out' the 'bad stuff'.
As Galaxyrocker has argued in other discussions, it isn't necessarily "bad stuff" when a "skilled practitioner of the art" (as they say in Patent Law) does it, but it can be when learners do it because they don't know they right way to do it. So it is important that learners and non-native speakers be continually exposed to "good Irish", but that shouldn't mean that the language can't grow both naturally and (nowadays) quite quickly as lots of new terms are introduced to our everyday language.
There is a balance to be struck here. Some of the totally new terminology will legitimately come from speakers of "new Irish" rather than from the traditional speakers in the Gaeltacht.
I am studying a poem by an irish poet Máirtín Ó Direáin called 'Fear Leasta Lampaí' there must be some kind of relation as Máirtín is also from Inis Mór (NOTE: this may be mentioned in the article but i haven't read it)