Monday, 3 March 2008

Glen Hansard la New York Times:

For some Irish people who watched the Oscars last week, pride was tinged with shame when their countryman won the Academy Award for best song — and promptly botched an attempt to say “thank you” in his nation’s native tongue.

Glen Hansard, a native of Dublin who won for the song “Falling Slowly” from the Irish independent movie “Once,” tried in his acceptance speech to say “thanks a million” in Irish, the ancient Celtic language known to Americans as Gaelic.

But, in addressing the thousands of Academy members who had voted for him and the many millions of people worldwide watching on TV, Mr. Hansard said “thank you” using the singular form. That would be similar to addressing the French with “merci à toi,” rather than “merci à vous.”

Considering that Irish schoolchildren must take at least 12 years of Gaelic, it’s not as if he never had the chance to learn.

“He said, ‘Go raibh míle, míle, maith agat,’ but he should have said ‘agaibh’ ” as the final word, said Mary Haslam, a native of Limerick who teaches French at New York University. “I was cringing a bit because I’m a language teacher, but nobody seems to have picked up on that.”

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