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Another Gaelic question
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Author:  Redwolf [ Sat May 30, 2009 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another Gaelic question

aisling_si wrote:
Perhaps this has to do with the fact the Scots had a working relationship a part of the UK and were able to record in English and in books about their language at a time when Irish engagement with their own language would result in transportation to Australia as a convict or some such punishment.

That quirk of history does not give a default right for Gaelic to be interpreted as a prima face reference to Scottish. Books written in English do not prescribe or restrict references for a language. That rests on the speakers.


Right or wrong, love, all I can tell you is that if you run out tomorrow to find a dictionary or learning method for the Irish language, it better say "Irish" on the cover, or it's Scottish Gaelic you'll be getting, regardless of what you prefer to call the language yourself. Hair-splitting or not, it's a fact Irish speakers and learners have to live with.

I didn't invent the convention, just passing along the information.


Author:  aisling_si [ Sun May 31, 2009 1:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another Gaelic question

Well then, according to your default reading, this site would be attracting a lot of prospective Gaelic learners to Ireland thinking that they were going to learn Scottish Gaelic.

You know, someone should be telling them fellas that they’d be breaching the Redwolf’s convention on the usage of Gaelic….

But of course it is correct and I have admitted that it is a quirk of history that the majority of books written about Gaelic were written by the people studying the language of our brethren over the Irish sea, in Scotland.

But no one is going to correct a book on Irish Gaelic named “Learn Gaelic in 20 easy lessons” or some such thing…. Or Welsh for that matter….

And what’s more you will see that just doing the net search so many of the books on the Scottish Gaelic clearly say “Scottish Gaelic” in the title….. Now that would not be a tautology…. Would it now…. I mean to say, Scots, I found to be minimal with their words….

You know I agree with the Chas fella - this is hair splitting… And how many people just buy a book on the title without perusing the contents somewhat?

Author:  MTGuru [ Sun May 31, 2009 3:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Another Gaelic question

Hi there Dreamy ...

First, if that's a chip you're carrying on your shoulder, I suggest you leave it at the door. This board is a community with zero tolerance for trolling. If that's not to your taste, you can look elsewhere.

Second, this new forum was started primarily as a resource for existing Chiffboard members drawn here by the music, but interested in learning more about the Irish language. In that context, engaging in hair-splitting sociolinguistic sophistry as a form of argumentation is inappropriate.

Third, Redwolf's clarification is directed at etic, nonautochthonous learners, not native in situ speakers. So the usage of our matrilingual relatives is not necessarily germane. The fact that "Gaelic" needed to be clarified upthread here is prima facie evidence of its ambiguity. Redwolf has already acknowleged the variability of usage.

Fourth, others here can toss around ethnographic, folkloristic, and Latin jargon as well. So that won't work as a form of intimidation.

Fifth, as a matter of practical advice, the trend in English language pedagogy and published materials has been to identify Irish Gaelic as "Irish", and to reserve Gaelic with or without "Scottish" qualification for the Scottish variety. That is the sole intent of Redwolf's point.

Empirically speaking, I have on my shelf at the moment the following from Irish, British, and American publishers, with not one mention of Gaelic in the titles:

Learning Irish
Teach Yourself Irish
Progress in Irish
Language/30 Irish
Irish on Your Own
Irish-English Dictionary

Perhaps the situation is different in Australia. But go to any bookstore here in the US, and you'll find these alphabetized under "I". If you're looking for Scottish Gaelic, however titled, you'll need to look under "G".


MTGuru, pissed-off Moderator

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