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Thread: Seachtain na Gaeilge (4-17 March): Does it unintentionally marginalise the Irish language?

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    Politics.ie Member diy01's Avatar
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    Default Seachtain na Gaeilge (4-17 March): Does it unintentionally marginalise the Irish language?

    The annual Irish language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge began yesterday and runs to the 17th.
    http://snag.ie/

    Does it unintentionally marginalise the Irish language by treating it as something to be used for a couple of weeks each year? Something to be trotted out for ceremonial purposes, like a sentence i nGaeilge at the beginning of a speech, or the switch to Irish-language forms of names in certain contexts?

    I would argue that the normalisation of language politics in Ireland is in the best interests of Irish, and will ultimately lead to a moderate increase in the number of habitual speakers. Seachtain na Gaeilge reinforces the peripheral position of Irish in Ireland, and further links the language in the popular imagination with tokenism.

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    Who's behind it? If it's a Government sponsored exercise you can almost certainly write it off as part of the official token effort to pretend that it's a living language.

    On a related subject, I enjoyed the first episode of "Scúp", a new drama series on TG4 about an Irish language newspaper in Belfast. Probably the first time I can ever say I enjoyed watching an Irish language programme.

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    Blian na Gaeilge?

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    Politics.ie Member diy01's Avatar
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    It's linked with Bliain na Gaeilge as well as 'The Gathering' this year, but Seachtain na Gaeilge has been an annual event since 1902.

    Who's behind it? If it's a Government sponsored exercise you can almost certainly write it off as part of the official token effort to pretend that it's a living language.
    It was founded by Conradh na Gaeilge ('The Gaelic League') over a century ago, and is now sponsored by the all-island language body Foras na Gaeilge, however SnaG is a non-profit organisation.

    I'm not suggesting that the event isn't important to many Irish speakers, but I believe the impression it gives to the essentially monoglot English majority in Ireland is counterproductive in terms of increasing the number of individuals who speak the language daily in a meaningful, organic way.

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    Politics.ie Member diy01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Preacher View Post
    as part of the official token effort to pretend that it's a living language.
    But Irish is a living language! It's just a minority living language. If Irish wasn't living, I doubt you'd be able to watch any TV programmes in the language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diy01 View Post
    But Irish is a living language! It's just a minority living language. If Irish wasn't living, I doubt you'd be able to watch any TV programmes in the language.
    Only due to the life support of subsidy.When you have a commercial Irish language channel,then you might have a point.

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    It's intentionally marginalised the other 50 weeks of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DT123 View Post
    Only due to the life support of subsidy.When you have a commercial Irish language channel,then you might have a point.
    That's hardly an important distinction. Diy is basing his claim on the fact that having a native speaking Irish community allows one to have television programmes. Commercial viability of language programmes has nothing to do with it.

    It would be nice if people could stick to the topic of the thread though.

    Although I see how one could consider this an exercise in circumscribing use of the language, I'm still glad to see the effort that many go to, especially those whose language capacity is limited.
    Last edited by Riadach; 5th March 2013 at 11:25 PM.
    "Only by applying the most rigorous standards do we pay writing in Irish the supreme compliment of taking it seriously." - Breandán Ó Doibhlín.

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    i think the idea behind it is good as its more than likely seen as a promotional tool, but i think a bit more effort and thought is needed to promote the language long term

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    Politics.ie Member diy01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DT123 View Post
    Only due to the life support of subsidy.When you have a commercial Irish language channel,then you might have a point.
    That doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Native Irish speakers have been bilingual for generations. If it was strictly about money, they'd have dropped Irish altogether years ago. The last generation of monoglots died in the 1960s, and even a century ago well over 90% were already bilingual, yet many have retained the language down through the years. And it's not because of subsidies. For example, when Scéim Labhairt na Gaeilge was in existence (it was discontinued in 2011), it amounted to only 300 euros per year. Hardly a fortune!

    People generally have an attachment to their mother tongue.

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