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Thread: Irish is a Dead Language

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    Politics.ie Member b.a. baracus's Avatar
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    Default Irish is a Dead Language

    Who has not heard the oft repeated mantra that "Irish is a dead language"? The following article, which appears to be one of a series on "coping with anti-irish language opinions", disputes this assertion:

    Irish is a dead language - InsideIreland.ie

    Irish is obviously not a dead language but it is in trouble.

    Very interesting point in the article is that the median number of speakers per language in the world is 7,560. Irish is certainly not alone in being under severe pressure and while endangered is certainly not on the "critically endangered" list, yet.
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    Irish is spoken so it is obviously not dead. Dead means not spoken.

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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    It's a good article, with a realistic view of the problems facing the language. He's kind of creating a strawman though with the word "Dead". No report has said it is. Unesco only list it as "definitely endangered" which is the second lowest rating out of 5. UNESCO Culture Sector - Intangible Heritage - 2003 Convention :
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    Default Irish is alive in the same was as tigers survive in Zoo's

    Quote Originally Posted by Culann View Post
    Irish is spoken so it is obviously not dead. Dead means not spoken.

    Irish is alive in the same was as tigers subspecies survive in Zoo's

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    irish is the first language of about 80% of the population of Gweedore its not dead up here.

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    Default It has died on Achill

    Quote Originally Posted by charley View Post
    irish is the first language of about 80% of the population of Gweedore its not dead up here.

    It has died on Achill

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    Politics.ie Member A Voice's Avatar
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    I got spam this morning in Irish from two different sources - one Danish and one Dutch. Both the usual phishing expedition, wanting my email password etc.

    The Irish was poor, probably an online translator. But the telling point is that there is an awareness out there that Irish is being used, and that it is deemed necessary or useful for internet hackers to communicate in it for their purposes.

    A perfect illustration to me that Irish is not dead yet (as if any illustration were necessary).

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    Default Still hope

    I wouldn't say that the Irish language is dead. It's always going to be hard to bring it into mass everyday use as the natural line has been so broken up. Plus I think that a certain proportion of the Irish population don't really consider their native language or culture as being that attractive , they're more interested in when the next boom is coming so they can go back to hitting B & Q and upgrade the A5.

    I detested learning Irish by book in school and didn't like the way in which it was taught by teachers. I've taken a keen interest in the last 3-4 yrs in the language especially in old traditional songs , I find I need to be interested in the subject as an incentive to learn. It might sound a bit abstract but I think there's a frustration and conflict in Irish people in that while being proud of being Irish they have an aversion to learning Irish academically and wish they could have learned it in their own kitchen in which case they'd have an emotional attachment and a sense of real ownership. So I think there's a kind of a 'Sulk' there

    I'll admit in the past I've been frustrated at hearing Spanish and Italian people speaking Irish in cafés , when I should be flattered that they are interested. I think that unless Irish is used organically in peoples homes in a non contrived way it's hard to see it being widely used. I sometimes see upper crust mummies speaking as Gaeilge in loud tones in shopping centres using the language as an aggressive statement trying to cover the fact that they're overcompensating that they don't really have any real Irish character. While poor little Oisin stands there looking bewildered.

    Then there's the area of the old Irish language as opposed to the Norse\Latin\Gaelic fusion we have now. Can the old language be resurrected? Now that's something I'd like to see. Turning around to the ************************* pontificating in Irish for everyone to hear at the country market and mocking him in a language that seems vaguely familiar yet alien to him. I'm not bitter!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Culann View Post
    Irish is spoken so it is obviously not dead. Dead means not spoken.
    Well actually the linguistic definition of a dead language is one that has no native speakers left (i.e. those raised with the language from birth). Latin is a true dead language as it has speakers, but no native ones. But that just illustrates again that Irish is not a dead language, even if the definition that a lot of people have for a dead language is "I don't like it or speak it and neither do my mates".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommythecommy View Post
    Irish is alive in the same was as tigers subspecies survive in Zoo's
    Quote Originally Posted by Tommythecommy View Post
    It has died on Achill
    I find it varies significantly from Gaeltacht to Gaeltacht.

    Here in Cork, you'd be doind well to hear Irish spoken in Ballyvourney or Ballingeary. You'd have some chance in Coolea and the surrounding countryside, but they account for a small fraction of the population of the official Gaeltacht.

    Yet when up in Connemara recently, I was struck by the fact that once you went west of Rossaveal, it really was the living language that was spoken by people doing their day to day business.
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