Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Bhí bua maith ag Baile Átha Cliath Dé Domhnaigh in éadan Chill Dara i gCraobh Laighean. Bhí go leor conspóide ag baint le deireadh an chluiche, ach fós féin bhí an bua tuillte ag na Dubs.
Seo an dara huair le trí bliana anuas go bhfuair Baile Átha Cliath an ceann is fearr ar Chill Dara agus 14 fear ar an ngort acu.
I gcluiche ceannais Laighean i 2009 cuireadh Ger Brennan den pháirc go luath sa chéad leath ach d'éirigh le Bleá Cliath an lámh in uachtar a fháil ar fhoireann Kieren McGeeney.
Rinne siad aithris ar an taispeántas sin Dé Domhnaigh tar éis gur cuireadh Eoghan O'Gara den pháirc don dara cárta buí.
Theip ar Chill Dara an deis a thapú tar éis an eachtra sin agus bhí BÁC ceithre chúilín chun cinn le dhá nóiméad fágtha agus an cosúlacht go raibh rás Chill Dara rite.
De bharr droch-chosaint ó Bhaile Átha Cliath scóráil Cill Dara 1-1 chun an scór a chothromú áfach.
Bhí mí-ádh ar Chill Dara faoin 'feall' a rinne Aindriú Mac Lochlainn ar Bernard Brogan ag an deireadh, ach is beag údár gearáin atá acu faoin gcluiche ina iomlána. Bhí fear breiseadh acu don chuid is mó den dara leath ach is beag tairbhe a bhain siad as de bharr nach bhfuil tosaithe láidre acu.
Déantar go leor gearáin faoin 'hype' a bhaineann le foireann Bhaile Átha Cliath, ach an fhírinne sa chás seo ná gur le Cill Dara a bhain an 'hype' le blianta beaga anuas. Tá siad ag déanamh dul chun cinn faoi McGeeney, agus bhí mí-ádh orthu in éadan an Dúin anuraidh, ach theip orthu ardú céime go Roinn 1 a bhaint amach sa tsraith i mbliana agus go dtí go bhfuil Craobh Laighean buaite acu ní féidir a rá go bhfuil siad i measc príomhfoirne na tíre.
Ó thaobh na Dubs Dé Domhnaigh bhí na cúlaithe an-mhaith ar fad, go háirithe an líne lán chúl, an líne is laige a bhí againn le blianta beaga anuas.
Tá go leor athraithe ar bun ag Pat Gilroy ar an bhfoireann agus nílim cinnte an rud maith é sin faoin tráth seo. Ní féidir le Eoghan O'Gara agus Diarmuid Connolly imirt le chéile, tá siad ró-chosúil mar imreoirí, seachas gur féidir le Connolly cúilíní a scóráil.
Bronnadh Laoch na hImeartha ar Alan Brogan ar an Sunday Game dá thaispeántas sa líne leath-thosach, ach measaim féin go bhfuil sé níos luachmhara sa líne lán-tosach in éineacht lena dheartháir Bernard.
Ní raibh cluiche iontach ag Connolly nó ag Michael Dara Macauley i lár na páirce, ach tá súil agam go mbíonn siad ar ais ar a sheanléim arís gan mhoill. Deá-sceál a bhí ann go raibh Eamon Fennell aclaí le himirt óir bíonn gá le fear mór i lár na páirce anois is arís chun seilbh a fháil ar an liathróid.
Is rogha na coitiantachta iad Baile Átha Cliath don chluiche ceannais in aghaidh Loch Garman ach táim ar nós cuma liom faoin toradh.
Bhuaigh BÁC cúig chraobh cúige as a chéile le déanaí ach i ndeireadh na dála cén mhaitheas a bhí leis? Níl ach craobh amháin á lorg ag lucht leanúna peile Bhaile Átha Cliath.
Malairt scéil atá ann ó thaobh iománaithe an chontae áfach agus iad ag ullmhú le haghaidh a thabhairt ar Chill Chainnigh Dé Domhnaigh seo chugainn.
Bheadh sé deacair shamhlú go bhfeadadh siad an ceann is fearr a fháil ar na Cait don tríú uair i mbliana, ach má éiríonn is éacht stairiúil den scoth a bheas ann.
Táim ag leanúint peileadóirí Bhaile Átha Cliath mo shaol ar fad, agus níor imir mé iománaíocht riamh, mar sin, ní bhíonn na mothúcháin chéanna ag baint le bua do na hiománaithe agus bua do na peileadóirí.
É sin ráite beidh mé i bPáirc an Chrócaigh Dé Domhnaigh beag seo agus an ceann ina diaidh – is nach mór gairm lán-aimseartha é a bheith i do thacadóir de chuid Bhaile Átha Cliath na laethanta seo!
Thursday, 23 June 2011
One of the most prominent entries on the seemingly endless list of things that “put people off the Irish language” is Peig Sayers.
Her autobiography, Peig, is said to have turned thousands of Irish students off the language due to its miserable and depressing storyline.
Any online discussion of the Irish language will invariably include a few references to the book and its author.
Just recently our most well known Irish-hating media bigot, Kevin Myers, compared her to the serial killer Fred West, who raped and murdered at least 12 women and young girls.
Generations of "poor blameless citizens" had their childhoods "ruined" by having to read this book in school, according to Mr Myers.
Her "geriatric babblings” were an “educational purgatory” for hundreds of thousands of children.
Ok, Kevin Myers' stock in trade is hyperbole and courting controversy (always from an anti-Irish perspective of course, never an anti-English one), but it's no exaggeration to say that people in Ireland have a unique obsession with this book.
I've never read it and don't know if it's even studied in schools these days, but the idea that having to read a book you don't like can make you hate the language it's written in, and not just the book itself, is ludicrous.
I had to study Charles Dickens' Hard Times in school, and I hated it. I was also utterly bored by French in school, I spent six years learning verbs and essays off by heart, hardly spoke the language at all, and can barely string two words together today.
Do I hate English or French because of this? No. I don't like a book in English I was forced to read or the way I was taught French, not the languages themselves.
So why the obsession with Peig?
Basically Peig has become a metaphor for all the neurotic hangups people have about the Irish language.
Peig is old, rural, poor and depressing. In the minds of people who harp on about the book, Irish has the exact same attributes. It is “associated” with poverty and backwardness.
Some people reject Irish because they genuinely don't have an interest in it, others reject the language because they're afraid people will slag them about being poor and backward in some way if they speak it.
Isn't it time for people to grow up, build a bridge, get over their fear and leave this old woman alone?
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Bhí deá-scéal i nGaelscéal an tseachtain seo caite go bhfuil tithí do phobal Gaeilge nua ar tí tógáil i mBaile Munna.
Tá Comharchumann Tithíochta an tSeachtar Laoch ag beartú 38 teach a thógáil mar chuid den fhorbairt seo. Tá 34 duine ar an liosta do na tithí, agus táthar ag lorg ceathrar eile sula gcastar an fód ar an togra Gaeltachta seo, atá faoi stiúr ag Glór na nGael Bhaile Munna.
Tá tacaíocht faighte ag na ceannródaithe taobh ón Roinn Comhshaoil agus Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath agus táthar ag súil go mbeidh na tithí réidh go luath i 2012.
Is féidir éisteacht le hagallamh le duine de hurlbhraithe an togra, Dónal Breathnach, ag an nasc seo.
Is Gaeilgeoirí iad 90% dóibh siúd a bheas ag bogadh isteach sna tithí, ach cúis imní amháin áfach ná go bhfuil an plé faoin bpobal Gaeilge ar leathanach Facebook Comharchumann Titíochta an tSeachtar Laoch ar fad i mBéarla.
Tá an-ghaisce déanta ag muintir Bhaile Munna ó thaobh na Gaeilge de le dhá bhunscoil agus meánscoil lán-Ghaeilge tógtha sa cheantar.
Má fhásann pobal Gaeilge macasamhail Gaeltacht Bhóthar Seoige i mBéal Feirste ón togra seo níl aon dabht ach gur céim ollmhór chun cinn a bheas ann don teanga i mBaile Átha Cliath.
An rud a rinne Gaeltacht Bhóthar Seoige ná gur thóg sé dúshraith fíor-láidir faoi phobal na Gaeilge i mBéal Feirste.
Thug sé misneach do lucht na Gaeilge sa chathair agus sa chuid eile den tír.
Go n-éirí go geal le muintir Bhaile Munna, agus níl aon chúis nach bhféadfaí tograí dá leithéid a bhunú in áit nó dhó eile i mBaile Átha Cliath amach anseo.
Monday, 20 June 2011
It was during the Presidential election in 1997 that I first began to have misgivings about the reasons we choose our head of state.
It seemed odd that we had gone from a situation in 1990 where we'd never had a female president before, to one where four out of five of the candidates were women.
Having elected Mary Robinson in 1990, we had an orgy of self-congratulation about how liberal we were, how her election was a symbol of progress and inclusiveness.
A thought briefly crossed my mind in 1997, that the Presidency might be becoming a tokenistic way of making us feel good about ourselves. However one election was not enough to prove the theory one way or another.
This idea began to surface again a number of years ago, when speculation on Mary McAleese's successor began. I started to suspect that the Presidency was becoming a way for us to feel as if we're more inclusive to groups who have been excluded from power traditionally.
Thus, before Fianna Fáil's implosion, Munster MEP Brian Crowley, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, was the favourite to win the election.
Until the recent controversy over his interview with Helen Lucy Burke, David Norris, who is gay, was the favourite to become President. The fact that he is gay has been mentioned as a reason we should elect him, to symbolise, like we did with Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, that we are an inclusive society.
Unfortunately this is all a sham, as the Presidency is a powerless position.
Brian Crowley is a very articulate politician, but he should be aiming to become Taoiseach, not President.
David Norris may be a bit eccentric for the Dáil, but we should not vote for him purely as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the gay community. If we want to improve the rights of the gay community we can do this in a real way without tokenistic symbolism, by giving them equality in law regarding marriage and any other areas in which they are discriminated against.
It is now over 20 years since Mary Robinson's election. For all its symbolism, that victory did almost nothing for women in politics.
We have one of the lowest percentages of women in parliament in the Western world. We have never had a woman Taoiseach. We have never had a female leader of any of our major parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour. In fact, we've never even had a likely female contender for leadership of those parties.
What we have shown since 1990 is that we are prepared to elect women to a powerless, symbolic position, and nothing more.
When you compare Ireland to other countries, you can see how ludicrous our self-congratulation on electing a woman to the Presidency is.
Below is a list of some of the countries that have elected a woman prime minister or executive president. Among them are countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan (recently declared as the third worst county in the world for women).
The Philippines, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have, in fact, elected two female executive Presidents.
Compare that to Ireland and our achievement in electing two women as figurehead presidents isn't all that much to boast about.
The Government's recent announcement on gender quotas is a welcome development and should increase the number of women in the Dáil.
While Presidential elections may make us feel good about ourselves, the day we have a female, gay or disabled Taoiseach will be the day we can say we are a truly inclusive society.
Friday, 17 June 2011
Bhí mé ag scríobh Dé Céadaoin faoin gcinnearacht lag atá in Éirinn faoi láthair.
Níos déanaí an lá sin d'fhógair an tAire Airgeadais Michael Noonan go raibh sé ag iarraidh sealbhóirí bannaí sinsearacha neamhurraithe* Anglo Irish Bank a 'dhó', rud a shabháladh €3.5 billiún orainn (b'fhéidir gur léigh sé mo phíosa, GOA*).
Tá tacaíocht faighte aige don mholadh seo ón IMF, an cheist anois ná an nglacfaidh an ECB leis. De réir tuairiscí ní bheidh an ECB sásta an polasaí atá acu ó thaobh na sealbhóirí bannaí sinsearacha ó thús na gearchéime a athrú.
Má dhiúltaíonn siad do mholadh Noonan (thuas, le hUachtarán an ECB, Jean Claude Trichet) an mbeidh rialtas na hÉireann sásta na sealbhóirí bannaí a dhó ar aon nós, nó an ngéillfidh siad arís?
Mura bhfuil siad sásta déanfar damáiste do cháil an rialtais, agus cuirfear an cheist cén fáth gur thosaigh Noonan ag bagairt ar shealbhóirí Anglo Irish mura raibh sé sásta beart a dhéanamh de réir briathar agus an rogha 'núicléach' a ghlacadh.
*Unsecured senior bondholders.
*Gáire ós ard.
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Reading Fintan O'Toole's article on Ireland's deference to the EU and IMF got me thinking again about how far the country's leadership has fallen in recent decades.
It makes you wonder sometimes how the Republic even got independence in the first place given the lack of backbone displayed by our political leaders.
We lost some of our sovereignty last November when we took the EU-IMF bailout, sovereignty that took centuries to achieve.
People killed and died for that sovereignty, but you'd have to wonder what has happened since then, when did we change from being a people who defied the world's largest empire to one that will meekly accept the terms and conditions laid down by our EU 'partners'.
We are being expected to cover the tens of billions of losses Irish banks have made through insane lending policies – policies that were enabled by reckless loans from European banks and the blind eye turned by the ECB.
Not only that but the EU has decided that we have to pay a punitive rate of interest on the bailout – as an 'incentive' for us to reduce the deficit and get back into the markets as soon as possible – as if we needed an incentive to do that.
Ireland is in the third year of economic catastrophe - unemployment is close to 15% with the prospect that it will remain over 10% for years to come – with the inevitable emigration that will follow.
While the Minister for Health, James Reilly, has denied it will happen, the very fact that health managers are contemplating cutting immunisation schemes for children, possibly the most basic part of any country's health system, shows how far we have fallen as a country and society.
So where did it all go wrong?
It's hard to say, but the rot had certainly set in by 30th January 1972, Bloody Sunday. That night Taoiseach Jack Lynch rang British Prime Minister Ted Heath about the atrocity.
Remember that the British Army had just murdered 13 civilians in Derry, a fact that is now acknowledged by the British government.
Here is a transcript of that humiliating conversation, one in which our prime minister allowed himself treated like a buffoon.
I generally try to avoid saying I'm proud to be Irish or ashamed to be Irish, but reading the transcripts is one of the few occasions where I can say the latter.
The same type of deference was show when both Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny asked Tony Blair an David Cameron to release files on the Dublin-Monaghan bombing, the biggest crime in the history of the state.
They told us to go and jump, and our leaders backed down. All the while they've refused to co-operate with our efforts to protect our citizens, we've been congratulating ourselves about how great we are at co-operating with Britain's security forces to protect their citizens.
What has happened here in recent decades is that our leaders have reverted to a type of Neo-Redmonism.
The closest echoes of our current deference to other powers is John Redmond's deference to Britain.
His belief was that Ireland should plead with Britain to give us something we were entitled to as a right. When they said no he backed down, or even worse, sent tens of thousands of men to their deaths in the First World War in an incredibly naive, horrific and wasted attempt to curry favour with Britain.
The expected Greek default will give our leaders one last chance to redeem themselves and to put the interests of citizens before the interests of the banking sector.
At the moment the markets won't lend to us because they don't believe we can pay the debts back. Critics of default argue that burning bondholders would shut us out of the markets for years.
The thing is we don't have a choice, we can't cover these debts, so it's going to happen one way or another.
If and when the Greeks default Ireland will have a chance to say enough is enough, that sacrificing the Irish people for the sake of banking investors is no longer acceptable, and to reclaim some of our lost dignity.
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Thug mé srachfhéachaint le déanaí ar na logainmneacha i mBaile Átha Cliath atá curtha ar logainm.ie le fáil amach an raibh tréithe canúna le brath iontu.
(Tá comhartha ceiste leis na cinn thíos nach bhfuil leagan oifigiúil Ghaeilge acu go fóill).
D'fhéach mé ar léarscáil de chuid na Suirbhéireachta Ordanáis cúpla bliain ó shin agus chonaic mé go raibh samplaí ann a thug le fios go raibh na tréithe seo a leanas sa chontae.
Thug mé an méid céanna faoi dheara i gCill Mhantáin freisin, mar aon le mh='V'.
Tá ceithre logainm i mBaile Átha Cliath a léiríonn go ndúirt daoine i mBaile Átha Cliath 'Croc' seachas 'Cnoc' tráth;
Crooksling=Cnoc Sline (le feiceáil sa ghrianghraf thuas).
Crockaunadreenagh=Cnocán na nDraighneach
Crocknabrookey=Cnoc na Brocaí
Mar aon le sin bhí dhá fhocal Gaeilge i gcaint na ndaoine sa chontae sa 20ú hAois; Cnag ('a light blow with the knuckles') agus Cniog ('to beat'), ach is 'Cregg' agus 'Crig' a dúradh.
Tá ceithre cinn a thugann le fios gur 'doo' seachas 'duv' a dúradh freisin.
Lugdoo=Log Dubh? (Black Hollow i mBéarla).
Bhí 'drimmindhoo' ag daoine i mBaile Áth Cliath ar 'Droim Fhionn Dubh' ach is ainm amhráin atá anseo mar sin ní fios an fhuaimniú dhúchais atá sa sampla seo de 'dubh=doo'.
Ó thaobh 'mh' de bhí A Mhic (Avick), A Mhuirnín (Avourneen) agus dhá leagan de Lán a'mhála , 'Lawnawalla' agus 'Laun a valla,' i gcaint na ndaoine. Is ó Sheanchill a tháinig an dara leagan.
Tá áit darbh ainm Glaise an Mhulláin i mBaile Átha Cliath ach is Glassavullaun an leagan Béarlaithe atá air. Mar aon le sin tá áit darbh ainm Askavore. D'fhéadfaí sé gur 'easca' atá i gceist le 'Aska' – an t-aon fhadhb le sin ná gur focal firinscineach atá ann dá bhrí sin is Easca Mór seachas Easca Mhór a bheadh air i nGaeilge – é sin nó bhí 'easca' baininscineach sa cheantar, mar atá 'contae' i nDún na nGall mar shampla.
B'fhéidir gur Eiscir Mhór atá ann ach go dtí go dtagann Coimisiún na Logainmneacha ar leagan oifigiúil ní bheidh ann ach buaile faoi thuairim.
Tá cúpla logainm eile atá spéisiúil ó thaobh foghraíochta de. An Béarla ar Abhainn an Dothra ná Owendoher, b'fhéidir go gciallaíonn sé sin gur 'owen' an bealach a dúirt muintir an chontae 'Abhainn' fadó.
Tá 'Coill' aistrithe ar bhealaí éagsúla i mBaile Átha Cliath, idir Kyle, Kil agus Colie agus tá Kelly agus Cullia do 'Coille' le fáil freisin.
Kylemore=An Choill Mhór
Kylenabrone=Coill na mBrón?
Kilmore=An Choill Mhór
Coliemore=An Choill Mhór
Ballynakelly=Baile na Coille
Barnacullia=Barr na Coille
Tá go leor de na tréithe logainmneacha céanna le fáil ó dheas i gCill Mhantáin freisin.
Crocknalugh=Cnoc na Log?
Inchavore River=Inse Mhór?
Tá áiteanna darbh ainm 'Crockaun' (Cnocán) aimsithe agam i gCill Dara agus Longfort chomh maith a léiríonn go raibh an fuaimniú céanna sa dá chontae.
De réir eolais ón nasc seo, an Ghaeilge ar Dairy Hill i bparóiste Achadh Bhó i gContae Laoise ná "Doire a'Chrocain".
Cuireann na logainmneacha atá luaite agam leis an teoiric gur Gaeilge Chonnacht nó Uladh a bhíodh á labhairt i mBaile Átha Cliath. Chuirfinn m'airgead fhéin ar Ghaeilge Chonnacht.
Monday, 13 June 2011
Pat Kenny had an interesting discussion today on his radio show about Marxism. The SWP's Kieren Allen argued in favour of socialism and economist Jim Power spoke against it.
Both made some good points, Allen said that workers should have more input into how their workplaces are run, in fact from what I gather he would say workers should control the businesses or organisations they work for in conjunction with the state.
It's hard to argue with people having more of a say in how their workplaces are run and if it can work in practice then there is no reason it should not be encouraged.
Jim Power's main argument is that people are motivated by self-interest and that is what drives innovation and progress in society. Socialism would remove this outlet and leave everyone poor, he argued.
He mentioned medical developments as an example of this incentive at work. He could have picked better ones to prove his points however, as far as I know the people who came up with vaccines for killer diseases weren't doing it for the money, but to save lives.
The amount of money spent on cures for baldness, cosmetic surgery, obesity and other symptoms of consumerism and vanity, while a million people die of malaria every year, also suggests that pure capitalism is not the best system to rule the medical world.
Capitalists argue that people are motivated by self-interest while socialists argue that people are motivated by the common good. The truth lies somewhere in between – people are motivated by both self-interest and improving the lot of humankind.
The whole point of socialism is to create a society of equals, but if not all roles in society are equal, how can this be?
One question I would have of socialists is who would do the nasty jobs if their preferred system was in place? Who, for example, would clean the toilets in a socialist utopia?
Hollywood may have led us to believe that things will work out fine if people follow their dreams, but in reality this does not happen for everyone. There are winners and losers in capitalism, but in socialism everyone is meant to be a winner.
Let's say, under socialism, you had a large state-run enterprise with thousands of employees. The workers control the company, but who gets the dirty but vital jobs needed to keep the business working?
If no one wants to clean the toilets for example, how do you incentivise people to do this job apart from appealing to their better natures. Pay them extra, give them less hours?
This issue may seem like a minor one in the grand scheme of political economy and human development, but if socialism can't ensure equality in all aspects of life then it won't be able to do what it is meant to.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Cúpla bliain ó shin bhí fógra ar TG4 do chomórtas damhsa ar an sean nós de chuid an Oireachtais. Níor bhain siad úsáid as ceol traidisiúnta san fhógra áfach, ach ceol damhsa. I Like The Way You Move a bhí ann fad is cuimhin liom.
An rud spéisiúl faoi ná gur snaí an ceol agus an damhsa le chéile – sé sin, damhsa ar an sean nós le ceol damhsa.
Ní saineolaí ceoil nó damhsa mé ach chuir sé mé ag smaoineamh an bhféadfaí rud nua a chruthú anseo a bheadh dílis don chultúr ach go hiomlán nua-aoiseach ag an am céanna.
Níl a fhios agam an oibreodh sé ar chor ar bith, ach mholfainn d'éinne le spéis sa damhsa é a thrial - d'fhéadfaí 'damhsa ar an teic-nós' a ghlaoch air.
Bain trial as seo, seinnt an dá fhíséan seo thíos ach múch an fhuaim ar an dara cheann – sílimse go dtéann siad le chéile - céard a cheapann sibh?
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
The debate over Ulster Scots is often mired in controversy. Opinions vary on what it is; a language, a dialect, or someone speaking in a Ballymena accent. More times than not opinions are divided along political lines, with most support for Ulster Scots coming from Unionists and most opposition and derision coming from Nationalists.
Because of this a rational debate on the nature of Ulster Scots is almost impossible to have as it usually ends up as yet another chapter in the never-ending one-upmanship debate between the two communities in the North.
One way of taking the local politics out of debate on what exactly Ulster Scots is to look at its parent, Scots.
You may not realise it but you know a bit of Scots already – and have probably uttered a few words of it shortly after midnight on New Years Eve, when Auld Lang Syne is sung. The term Auld Lang Syne is known worldwide, but it's clearly not standard English. Even if it's 'translated' into English – Old Long Since, its meaning (roughly, 'a long time ago') still isn't clear.
When reading something written in Scots what at first looks like phonetic spelling of English turns out to have a long history. Scots has a literary tradition going back hundreds of years and can argue that its spelling is just as legitimate as that of standard English, which itself was only codified a few centuries ago.
There is no simple answer to whether Scots is a language, as its interaction with English means there is no clear dividing line between the two. If one takes the view that languages diverge along mutual intelligibility, then Scots is not a language from what I can tell. Have a listen to the examples on this website set up by the Scottish Government, I can understand all of the speakers, apart from one from Caithness, so overall Scots would fail the intelligibility test.
Indeed, while 85% of Scottish people say they can speak Scots, most of them do not believe it is a language, although whether this is a fact-based opinion or the result of centuries of being told it's 'bad English' is unknown.
Not all languages are divided on intelligibility, however. My brother who lives in Gothenburg informs me that the differences between Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are about the same as the differences between Ulster, Connacht and Munster Irish, while Slavic and Romance languages are mutually intelligible to varying degrees by all accounts.
Some 'languages' are purely political constructs with no basis in linguistics, such as Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin, which were all known as Serbo-Croat twenty years ago. (There should be some craic in the EU Parliament's translation booths if all four countries become part of the EU).
Others, such as Arabic, have dialects which are not mutually intelligible.
If Scotland had remained independent Scots would probably have resisted assimilation by standard English and be recognized today as a language. Having hitched their wagon to England's star, however, Scotland's native languages were always going to come under pressure from its much larger partner in the Union. While Scots and English may have developed independently from Anglo-Saxon, what is now known as Scots was in fact called Inglis (ie English) until the late Middle Ages. In more recent times their similarity has led to Scots being gobbled up by its southern cousin.
Scots was brought to Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries and later developed into Ulster Scots. If Scots' claim to be a language are not that strong, then Ulster Scots' is even less so. Despite numerous searches online I have never come across a recordings of Ulster Scots that would suggest it is anything other than a dialect of English.
Ulster Scots is certainly not just a Ballymena accent or a made up “DIY language for Orangemen.” It is a valuable part of Ireland's heritage and should be supported by the state in both parts of the island. It should not be used, however, merely as a means to stymie the progress of the Irish language. This has been attempted by the DUP's Nelson McCausland among others, whose argument as NI Minister for Culture was that Irish and Ulster Scots should be treated equally. However, if it's ok to treat Irish and English differently, there is no reason Irish and Ulster Scots can't be treated differently too.
The classification of Norwegian and Croatian (for example) as languages, is political, to boost those countries' claims to self-determination. The same thing may be happening with Scots.
In recent decades Scottish, Welsh and English identities have become more pronounced in the UK compared to the wider British identity. The rise of Ulster Scots may be the result of a desire to emphasise a regional identity in Northern Ireland which is not 'Irish'. This might explain the odd promotion of Scottish dancing, music, games and dress from the Gaelic-speaking Highlands as Ulster Scots culture, when the Ulster Scots people originated in Lowland Scotland.
It could also be that the Anglocentric forces suppressing Scots and Ulster Scots are simply getting weaker and that Scottish and Ulster Scots people have more confidence in their identity.
We should also remember that politicisation of languages is not a one way process used by marginalised groups to aid their cases for self-determination – languages are also politicised when they are suppressed by powerful groups who wish to deny subject peoples that same right, something seen in Tibet and Kurdistan at present.
Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Irish were all suppressed or discouraged for political reasons, to make is easier to argue that as the nations in the UK shared the same language, English, and the attendant culture that comes with it, they should be part of the same political unit. It is no coincidence that Scots started to go into decline the moment Scotland united with England.
We might all be better off, whichever language or dialect we speak or cherish, to leave the politics out of it altogether.
Friday, 3 June 2011
Go minic cloistear daoine ag rá go gcaithfear an Ghaeilge a dhéanamh 'cool' chun daoine a mhealladh chun na teanga.
Dar ndoígh má táthar ag iarraidh an Ghaeilge a dhéanamh 'cool' ciallaíonn sé sin go bhfuil sé intuigthe é i measc muintir na hÉireann go bhfuil sé 'uncool', go bhfuil rud éigin cearr nó olc leis an teanga.
Nílim ag plé na ceiste sin inniú áfach, ach an cheist faoin nGaeilge ar an bhfocal é féin.
Roinnt blianta ó shin bhí comhrá agam le dhá fhear Ghaeltachta faoin ábhar seo. Bhí 'cúláilte' cloiste agam le blianta fada agus thacaigh an bheirt leis.
Níor thaithinn sé liom ar chor ar bith, áfach, dá mba rud é go raibh mé chun an stró a chur orm féin an dara teanga atá agam a dhéanamh im' chéad theanga, ní theastaíonn uaim foclaí atá díreach tógtha ón mBéarla ar nós 'cúláilte' a úsáid, go háirithe nuair atá leagan níos dúchasaí ar fáil.
Bhreathnaigh mé san fhoclóir le féachaint cén Ghaeilge a bhí ag de Bhaldraithe agus eile ar 'cool' – fionnuar a bhí aige.
Tar éis don teacht ar an bhfocal seo chuala mé é á úsáid ag duine nó beirt i mBéal Feirste chomh maith.
Ní raibh an dá fhear Ghaeltachta ar aon intinn liom faoi 'fionnuar' áfach. Níor theastaigh uathu é a úsáid sa chomhthéacs sin ar chor ar bith.
De réir an léimh a bhí acu ar an bhfocal, rud fuar, neamhtaithneamhach a bhí i 'bhfionnuar' agus bhí 'cúláilte' sa chaint le blianta fada.
Má fhéachann tú i bhFoclóir Uí Dhónaill an sainmhíniú atá ar 'fionnuar' ná : Cool. (of air) cool, refreshing. (of temperature) cool, moderate. (of disposition) calm, serene.
Tráth dá raibh bhí dhá bhunbhrí le 'cool' sa Bhéarla, ceann a bhain le teocht agus ceann le mothúcháin (a cool response, reaction srl). An chéad seo caite tháinig brí nua chun cinn áfach, an ceann atá faoi chaibidil agam anseo.
Is féidir le brí nua teacht chun cinn i dtaobh 'fionnuar' chomh maith, agus dar ndóigh, má úsáideann go leor daoine an focal beidh an brí sin aige sar i bhfad.
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
The Dublin footballers have their first outing of the Championship against Laois on Sunday and hopefully they can repeat the hurlers' successful start to the summer.
Pat Gilroy's men were unbeaten in the league until the final and only lost by a point to Cork so they are hot favourites to win.
If Diarmuid Connolly can rediscover the form that saw him score a hat-trick against Mayo in the league then we could have the makings of a 'dream' full forward line with Alan and Bernard Brogan.
Barry Cahill is a great attacking half-back but I'm yet to be convinced about him being at midfield – the area we got cleaned out by Cork in the league final.
Mossy Quinn is on the bench so it looks like Stephen Cluxton will be taking care of long range frees, it's a bit unorthodox to get the keeper to do this but if he puts them over the bar like he did last year then who cares?
Regarding the championship as a whole, Cork won't have the same hunger as last year, and Kerry and Tyrone are still in transition, so the Dubs mightn't get as good a chance to go all the way for a while. Anything less than an final appearance would be a disappointment.
Dublin's main problem in recent decades hasn't been a lack of footballing talent, it's a lack of mental strength.
I've lost track at this stage of the amount of big games we've lost by a point in the last few years, some of them games where we were well on top.
This isn't just a feature of the last decade however, the 1990s were as bad. Dublin were ahead in most of the four clashes against Meath in 1991, including being up by five in the second half of the last game, yet still managed to throw the leads away.
They lost against underdogs Donegal in 92, should have beaten Derry in 93 and Down in 94, and jut about scraped over the line in 95.
Last year's campaign offered some hope that Dublin may have conquered whatever mental demons that were holding them back.
After the shambolic and shameful collapses against Tyrone and Kerry in 2008 and 2009, finally beating one the 'big' teams, Tyrone, was a welcome relief.
I have to admit I wasn't a fan of Pat Gilroy at all before the win against Mickey Harte's men, due to the absolutely terrible performances against Wexford, Meath and Tipperary which followed on from the drubbing from Kerry in 2009.
The team began to turn things around against Armagh and then hit full stride against Tyrone.
Ok, we lost by a point against Cork, but at least the team went down fighting unlike the two previous years.
The jury is still out on Gilroy, but if my first impressions of his management turn out to be wrong I'll be delighted to say so!