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an béal bocht

Grrrr. In today's Grauniad, Manchán Magan (whom I have interviewed, and who is extremely nice) writes about his attempt to travel around our native land speaking only as Gaeilge, to the general confusion and, surprisingly, wrath of his (and my) compatriots. No, this isn't what has provoked my growling. What annoyed me was the subhead, in which, despite the fact that Magan refers to the language as 'Irish' throughout the piece, our supposed native language is refered to thus:
Gaelic is the first official language of Ireland, with 25% of the population claiming to speak it. But can that true? To put it to the test, Manchán Magan set off round the country with one self-imposed handicap - to never utter a word of English

Except of course Gaelic isn't the first official language - Irish is. God! I know that lots of people in Britain think that the language is called Gaelic, but they're not going to learn anything by being given inaccurate information.

Interesting piece, though. I was surprised by how hostile people apparently were to Magan's Irish-speaking - it seems very odd that people would get so aggressive when asked for a drink as Gaeilge, and I don't really think it's becasue they're so ashamed of their lack of Irish. But I have no idea whether these reactions are typical or not, as, like most of us, I've never spoken Irish to strangers outside of the Gaeltacht.


Jan. 5th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
I always end up in an awkward situation over that one - I said to my schoolfriends at Christmas that I was learning Irish, and the Supermodel said, "What do you mean, Irish? Like, talking with an Irish accent and Irish words, or actually Gaelic?" And it's really difficult for me to say, "Actually, everyone calls it Irish" without sounding really know-it-all. aaargh!

Also, I was in the pub last Tuesday and asked for a glass of water and an old bloke (to whom, had I been learning what the Supermodel thought Irish was, I would refer as "an ould fella") turned to me and said, "Uisce! Uisce!" So, apparently, Brogans on Dame Street is the place to go...
Jan. 5th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
Also, I really want some Gaelscoileanna-slang speaking children now.
Jan. 5th, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
I think I'd clarify by saying "The Irish language".
Jan. 6th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
This summer in Reading I was asked much the same sort of thing, the questioner not seeming to get the hang of "actual language" till I said (as Gaeilge) "Irish is a real language, with words!" At least I think I said that. Anyway, there was much goggling all round, including by me, as a lot of dhrink had been taken by then, and even English was failing me.


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