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 Post subject: A Rant!
PostPosted: Wed 04 Sep 2019 1:39 pm 
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I tried to listen to one of the podcasts on C. Leabhar where people talk about books, and it made me feel depressed. As a learner who listens in order to learn and who cares about the future of the language he is learning, it depressed me.

The presenter had two guests on, one was Tristan Rosenstock who it said was a broadcaster with Radio na Gaeltachta and TG4, and the other was Niamh Ní Shúilleabháin, Programme Co-ordinator with Raidió na Life. She has an Irish degree from University College Cork and an MA in Applied Irish from Dublin Institute of Technology so although I know how bad Radio na Life is from listening to it before, I figured with the qualifications and experience of the guests on display the standard of speech would be good. But I was wrong.

TR had a strong D4ish accent and spoke Irish exactly as he would speak English (with the ch sounds intact at least, fair play for that).

Niamh, degrees and Masters in Irish. From Cork originally (though accent was more Dublin, which has become a standard accent. I rarely meet a woman under the age of 30 with a regional accent these days, and plenty of us men are following suit too).
She used some Munster dialect forms like 'i naon chor' and other little Munsterisms probably picked up from her time in UCC, but for all her years in University and the Irish second name, she didn't even try to pronounce things correctly. All K's instead of CH's, all English R's, - and not just the broad one's were replaced by English R's.

How is it possible that people who have spent years in University studying and gaining qualifications in a language, people who's lives appear to be in some way invested in the language, how is it that there are beginners who can't even hold a basic conversation in the language who have a far better grasp of the phonetics of the language than they do? That can actually make out and make the sounds of the language?

I had just previously watched a video while browsing, of an American woman showing how to pronounce Irish, and she did a good job! It sounded right.

I then come back to a podcast made in Ireland. In Irish. Featuring people involved in Radio. People who have degrees and even Masters qualifications in Irish. Who think it's ok to ignore all of the correct pronunciations. Who think it's okay to just speak Irish the exact same way they speak English.

In any other language that's called butchering it. But here it's more like 'No it's my oirish. That's how I speak it, it's mine.'

We have native speakers. We have individuals who teach themselves and who treat Irish as any other language with respect to it's rules, accent, everything. Some of these individuals reach a high level, and some don't to varying degrees. And then we have the Gaelscoil graduates, the University graduates, the primary and secondary school teachers (not all), who seem to have learned a completely different way. Who don't differentiate between the way they speak their first language and the way they speak Irish.

I am just baffled. Come on Universities! How are your students finishing four years of study without knowing that there's no English R in the Irish Language? Without seeming to think it necessary to practice even the very basic of the languages sounds! They can write and read sure. But up your game universities, you have a responsibility to this minority language. There is a vicious cycle because some of these students probably become lecturers and teachers and are they going to pass this aspect of the language to their students if they can't or never bothered with it themselves? No of course not.


We need to start using high quality audio of native speakers and training in phonetics for teachers and their students or years from now Scots Gaelic will be the only authentic Gaelic dialect left.

If every student was given audio and transcripts with translations and pronunciation instructions such as those in Learning Irish then even if their teacher couldn't show them, they'd hear real Irish regularly and actually know how it should sound and they'd have a chance to learn properly if they wished.

There is too much reliance on teachers of varying quality and enthusiasm. If the curriculum was based around one great and thorough book with lots of great audio for class and for students to take home it would take off a lot of the responsibility given to teachers to demonstrate the language and give the students a chance to have some decent exposure.

Of course, one thorough book is never going to be issued in schools because there is a massive business around releasing new editions of books every year that students families have to buy. All of these books assume a certain level from the start, so if a student is not at that level, these books are useless to them.


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 Post subject: Re: A Rant!
PostPosted: Wed 11 Sep 2019 4:28 am 
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Joined: Tue 15 Nov 2011 7:35 am
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Partially, it's an aesthetic thing -the sounds are alien. Maybe they identify with being 'Oirish' too much to let go.

Partially, it's a group thing -the 'inter-language' they are creating is their own thing. People who feel they own something can be very dogmatic regardless of ability.

It could be a discourse thing -Irish is some sort of badge of nationalism or historic grouping, a symbol, but it doesn't need to be embraced fully to do its job. On the other side, is the 'it's a waste of money' group.

The real language spoke on the western seaboard and the body of historical speakers and texts seemed to be a foreign entity best forgotten about.

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 Post subject: Re: A Rant!
PostPosted: Fri 27 Sep 2019 11:00 am 
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Joined: Fri 27 Sep 2019 10:48 am
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Well now, that is quite the rant! You point is well made, but the other side of the coin comes from a native speaker who also happens to be a university professor. He found it slightly ridiculous that other academics were copying Gaeltacht speakers pronunciation and accent to the extent that they ended up talking like his neighbour, a toothless, seventy-year-old who had had no formal education. The Gaeltacht professor found this adopting of an accent and diction not your own, and at odds with your educational background, to be very strange indeed. He therefore advocated a sort of Caighdeán Lár for pronunciation, a type of BBC Irish.

Now there is a difference between accent and actually pronouncing the sounds of the language correctly. Eeky Why is not really recognisable as oíche mhaith.

Good rant, though. Maith thú!


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