All Irish People Should Watch This Video
I am sorry if this video has been posted before. It is a really sad story, and shows just how much a language can mean to someone. I know a lot of Irish people argue that it's just not "practical" to try to revive Irish, but I think that is just an excuse for not trying. Yes, it would be really hard to revive Irish to become the actual language you hear everyone using on the streets of Dublin, but I think it's a far stretch to say it's impossible or impractical. Hebrew had no native speakers for over a thousand years, but it is now the native language of millions of people. Vietnam was a colony of China for over a thousand years, yet the Vietnamese people never gave up their native language. In the 19th century, Finnish was was continually fading out of use, and had virtually no prestige as a written language. Through the concentrated efforts of several individuals, however, written Finnish was modernized, and it has become the primary language in Finland. It is up to the Irish whether the fascinating piece of human culture encapsulated in the Irish language will live on or die out as has tragically happened with so many languages native to the Americas. It is certainly difficult and uncomfortable to switch to communicating in a language that is not your native tongue. But that does not mean that it is impossible for Irish to become the language that young people chat with their friends in, the language that parents teach their children first.
My thanks to all the people here on Duolingo who are trying to improve their Irish.
The problem the Irish language had until roughly the Nineties was that every discussion concerning its revival took heavily delineated political undertones. Even those in favour of the language were divided into two groups: the "Irish Ireland" camp, such as De Valera, who dreamed of turning back the clock and making Irish the primary tongue, at the expense of English. They tended to mythologise the Gaeltachts, but did little to convince the rest of the country to adopt Gaeilge. The second group were bilingualists, who sought to raise the number of second-language speakers, but this remained a minority view until the beginning of the Gaelscoil movement. An unfortunate association with republicanism during the Troubles, and a grammar-heavy teaching method were further hindrances. Since then, however, the Gaelscoil teaching system has seen a greater oral emphasis, TG4 has modernised public perceptions, and because this revival has been led by individuals, rather than the State, the number of declared speakers is on the rise (even if the Census question is notoriously broad).
I really do hope that the people of Ireland decide to prosper along with their beautiful language. I am confident that Duolingo definitely helped Irish out in that regard.
Same with Breton, a language I have also taken up. France is notorious for being quite centralised and a bit linguistically chauvinist, the echoes can be found even in the 21st century. You can't compare the situation of minority languages in France ad, say, in Spain. Only one example of any: Breton is the only (living) Celtic language not officially recognised by the government. Thankfully there are local efforts which aim at reversing the decline, and I hope this will be also the case for Irish, Cornish, and many other minority languages throughout the world.
The good news is that France is looking into changing their constitution to allow for the recognition and promotion of minority languages (which they need to do, since they haven't ratified the Charter - which is now mandatory for EU admission; too bad it wasn't when France joined), so hopefully, somehow.
I think the bigger issue is that so many people feel it's an either/or style thing, and, y'know, bilingualism don't real.
So many smaller European languages had a similar story, but Irish is the only one that even the government has seemingly given up on. :/
I sometimes wonder... how things would have worked out for the Irish language if England and co. had lost WW1. Well, you probably know how it was in the Hapsburg Monarchy - the Pan-Slavic anthem "Hey, Slavs" was written by Slovak Samuel Tomášik when he visited Prague in the mid 1800s and saw that German was more commonly spoken than Czech. If the Monarchy hadn't been on the losers' side and fallen apart, would we all be speaking German now? And if the UK had lost, would it have crumbled in the same way, and would the Irish language revival have made it the same way Czech, Slovak, etc. succeeded...
Great, I really enjoyed it. The moment when the old man realizes that he is speaking Irish is worth the entire movie, who knows what he was thinking, maybe memories from the past... and then he sees that he is not Irish at all! :D
But I wonder... what could have thought the other guys if they knew he was speaking Irish? What would an Irishman think/feel about a foreigner speaking their forefathers' language? You know, it's not a language that one would learn just for the need to communicate...
"Here, did you know that aul' Paddy could speak Chinese?". Now THAT was gold!
Well, honestly, the Irish he was using would have been recognized by the two Irishmen at the bar. The hostel owner, maybe not, since he was (IIRC) Australian. But the bar people would have recognized it; the situation is overplayed a little in the clip.
Wonderful story! Good performances. I lived there for several years in the late '70s. I married an Irishman, Patrick (of course), and we moved to Ashland, Oregon. I miss the beauty of County Galway's coast and regret never traveling up to County Donegal. So glad the Dubliners contributed to the score! One funny thing happened to me when I was traveling with a companion through the Gaeltacht region of County Kerry: While my friend went into some ruins to, um, do her business, an old farmer came around the bend. We started talking and although I found it a little difficult to understand him due to his thick brogue, we were doing okay. Then my friend walked out and we said our goodbyes and went on our way. She asked me how I could understand him since he was speaking Irish. I never forgot that. We may be from different countries but we're the same all over the world!