Oh for God’s sake…
“An Englishman gave us back our flag — and now we are reclaiming our own language from extreme republicanism…”
So claims Andrew McKimm in the Westie Independent, latest winner of Ireland’s most sought after prize: the “it’s only cool if foreigners say it’s cool” post-colonial inferiority complex award. Yes, another self-hating Irishman in the Irish news media. Surprise surprise!
“THIS year sees the launch of the revamped Leaving Certificate Irish Paper. It will be a markedly changed exam in which 40 per cent, instead of the former 25 per cent, is being awarded for the oral component of the test. This is the first major change to the Irish paper in about 15 years.
I asked Richard Barrett, who teaches Irish in Blackrock College, Dublin, what prompted such a significant shift in the examination of Irish.
“…I see it as an entirely positive step and one that is very much in keeping with the modern healthy trends in the attitude of students to learning Irish nowadays,” he replies.
I can’t resist the opportunity of playing devil’s advocate. What about the large number of people who claim that Irish is a dead and useless language and that it should be totally abolished from the curriculum? He sighs patiently as this is a question that he has to face almost every day.
“People say to me all the time that, after spending 13 years learning Irish in school, they can’t put two words together. I tell them that I beg to differ. Of course they can put two words together and usually quite a lot more. I can give them a quick vocab test and they can get it completely right. I can speak to them and they can understand me perfectly.”
He adds, “Thirteen years of studying anything doesn’t imply perfect knowledge. Does 13 years of studying maths mean that you’re going to get an A?”
All of which is true. Studying Maths from the ages of 4 to 18 doesn’t make every school-leaver an Einstein or a Hawking. Yet no one suggests removing maths from the national curriculum. We all need maths; we all need to know the basics of maths. But how many of us venture beyond the basics? 1%? 2%?
So why would we expect any more of Irish when we teach it, not as our “national language”, but as just another school subject? And after school is over and done with, where can one use it? In your job? In a shop, pub or restaurant? Dealing with the public services? Don’t make me laugh.
In fact that’s exactly what you’re doing. Talking of which…
“Over the last 30 years, Ireland as a nation has matured and is not trying so hard to prove itself. Irish now exists as part of our heritage, and we accept it. The extreme Republican element in this country had hijacked both the language and the national flag. Ironically, it was an Englishman, Jack Charlton, who gave us back our flag and allowed us to wave it without being viewed as terrorists.”
Hmm. I wonder this: who made up the extreme element is this country that hijacked the English language and the national flag? And insisted on telling us that Ireland is an English-speaking nation and that the Irish language and culture is alien to both?
And when did Republicans in Ireland “hijack” the Irish language? In fact how does one hijack a language? Steal an entire library building?
The media establishment in Ireland. Because even morons need a job.
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