Monday, 24 August 2009

Declan Lynch

…de la Irish Independent:

Listening to a debate on the Irish language on the Pat Kenny radio show the other day, it struck me that we aren't giving ourselves enough credit here.

Because when you think about it, our resistance to the Irish language, and everything associated with it, can only be regarded as heroic.

Truly inspiring.

In fact, it is almost beyond human comprehension that we have held out so steadfastly against it, given the odds that were stacked against us. They say that Mandarin Chinese is one of the most difficult languages to learn. Yet if any of us had been taught Mandarin Chinese for an hour a day, five days a week, for about 14 years, it would be inconceivable that we would emerge from that with almost no ability to speak Mandarin Chinese, or to write it, and no desire to acknowledge its existence in any way.

Yet for generations, in vast numbers, we Irish have managed to do that in relation to our "first" language. Our resistance has not wavered in any way -- if anything, we grow more resolute.

How do we do it? How do we keep hating the Irish language with such integrity?

Because let us dispense with the usual pretences here, the pious aspirations, the lies. And let us talk about this hatred of ours, this deep and implacable hatred which we feel towards the native tongue....

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