Sunday, 13 April 2008


An eminent Irish language literary figure said to me last week that she had been startled recently to realise what a deep and widespread hatred there is of the Irish language in this country. She was absolutely right; there is: although this is seldom acknowledged by the small core of those who wish to promote Irish.

The conventional approach among Irish language proponents is to claim that everyone loves the language, regards it as their first and native tongue, and would wish to use it daily if only they had the opportunity. Equally, they claim that everyone has at least a reasonable smattering of the language, and the majority of people have a working knowledge of it. In their minds, those who don't speak Irish, therefore, are bloody-minded, anti-national, negative bigots.

And that is exactly why there is such a hatred of Irish. Its politically-minded proponents (as opposed to those who just speak Irish fluently and gracefully without using it as a weapon) refuse to accept the irrelevance of the language in most people's lives, and by their antagonism towards that majority view, have gone a long way to institutionalising negativity towards the language...

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