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Foreign Teanga, New Radio Documentary

We'll have none of that Irish shite here! You're Irish! So speak English! (Íomha: An Timire)
We’ll have none of that Irish shite here! You’re Irish! So speak English! (Íomha: An Timire)

A quick post to highlight an upcoming radio documentary, “Foreign Teanga”, examining the positive and negative experiences of seven non-nationals living in Ireland who have chosen to learn the Irish language in Dublin over the course of ten weeks. One major source of the negativity? The Irish themselves.

“At the dinner table when they found out I was going to learn Irish they laughed at me. It wasn’t the best reaction I could have asked for, not the most inspiring”- Maggie, an American student who has decided to learn Irish.

“Irish are proud of their language but I have the impression that people are sad that their knowledge level is not high”- Oxana, Latvia.

“It drives me absolutely mad that I’m learning Irish to promote the language but I don’t know whether I have ever heard…. someone speaking Irish by choice on the streets of Dublin and I find that very confusing.”- David, Wales.

“People in the office looked at me like I was insane. They asked me why on earth would you take an Irish class”- Kerry, USA.

Foreign Teanga, produced by Simon Ó Gallchobhair, is due to be broadcast by Newstalk 106-108FM on Saturday 5th of July between 07:00-08:00 and repeated on Sunday July 6th at 18:00-19:00. I will definitely be listening.

[With thanks to Simon for the heads-up]

23 comments on “Foreign Teanga, New Radio Documentary

  1. Dara O Rourke

    Very sad. Yet Irish people are often annoyed that foreigners don’t know we have our own language. Are they meant to be psychic?

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  2. Thanks for the post. Definitely something I ought to keep in mind, as I’m an American learning Irish and am in the process of fulfilling my dream to live in Galway for three months next year. i want to learn Irish well enough to teach my children, and get strange comments from people over here about how I’m not being practical… it’s sad and surprising that many people living in ireland would have the same attitude toward their language as those in English speaking countries have about me learning it in the first place. maybe I’ll be lucky and find people who speak Irish at home to live with when I go abroad.

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    • an lorcánach

      almost missed that programme, currently listening, sionnach — inspiring stuff, éilis niamh: even someone like me who failed the state’s leaving certificate exams twenty five years ago can go far by ‘unlearning’ the institutionalised nature of languages and other subjects – it really is interest, wanting to learn and in wider sense seeing the Irish language as representative of identity – maith thú!

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      • Go raibh maith agat. Agus tú féin freisin. 🙂 Is maith liom a bheith ag foghlaim. Identity is stronger than nationality. oh and @Sionnach, I just pieced together for myself today what your blog tagline means… Ireland Irish– Ireland free or very similar…without looking up any of the words, which at least to me was exciting. 🙂 I love that your site is in irish, it helps me learn all sorts of new words everyday in context.

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        • an lorcánach

          outstanding – ar fheabhas ar fad! — beir bua 🙂

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          • Beir bua… meaning give birth to (er just looked it up to be sure, probably just “bring”) victory? Is maith é sin! … Is é linn é, I gcónaí. 🙂

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            • an lorcánach

              i knew a guy in school – native Irish speaker – who practically went everywhere with a pocket Irish-English/Eng-Ir language dictionary – my daid is 85yrs old, self-taught and does the same! — http://breis.focloir.ie/en/eid/triumph

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              • Thank you for the links, they’re really helpful! And glad to know I’m not the only one who needs to look things up. 🙂 I’m teaching myself, too. Sorry I have no idea what happened to my acute letters, but they turned into code and that was not intended.
                I meant to say Is maith É sin. Is é linne é I gcónaí.

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  3. an lorcánach

    good online listing of Irish language dictionary resources principally developed by Michal Boleslav Měchura — http://www.lexiconista.com/en/

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  4. Matthieu

    Very true, i don’t always say that i’m learning irish. 99% of the time i get: Why on earth would you do that? Actually it makes it harder for me to learn and practice and i’m a bit stuck in my progression. I must admit it’s better now that i live in Galway instead of Dublin.

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    • just realized i sound a bit harsh. When i sit in cafés with my Búntus cainte. I do meet people who are glad to talk to me in Irish and talk about the language.

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  5. You can hear the program as a podcast here :

    http://newstalk.ie/player/podcasts/Documentary_on_Newstalk/Newstalk_Documentaries/58011/1/documentary_on_newstalk_foreign_teanga

    There’s a fair bit of Irish to be heard, mostly from the teachers, I think I get about 1/2 to 2/3 of it, but it does sound a bit odd somehow, but then I’m used to Scottish Gàidhlig which has it’s own blas. I’m curious how it sounds to the Irish speakers here, does it sound natural to you?

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    • an lorcánach

      nicely done, marconatrix: that newstalk website is messy and not the best – i remember the programme and there was a fair bit of irish, more than i expected for the target audience – the discussion on the day after on marc coleman’s programme really said it all – a fella said the irish language should be banned – such is the duopoly of lobotomised hibernophobe-eurocentrics! – interesting enough i was told by a friend that last weekend a regular on the same sunday show (billtormey.ie – an ideologically neoliberal and anti-republican) said he sent his children to an irish-medium school – not unlike millionaire lawyer michael mcdowell of the former ‘progressive democrats’ who sent his kids for free to my old primary school and then doubtless sent them to the jesuit’s down the road to gonzaga college (state funded private school)…. it’s all about opportunism and two-faced hypocrisies and milking the system — sorry, this weather is too hot for me!

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    • Sounded “natural” to me albeit some had the Irish language equivalent of “BBC English” (what some dismiss as “civil service” or “gaelscoil” Irish). There is a great variety of regional accents in Irish, some less informed by English sounds. The “pure Irish” as they say. Not sure that the distinction is really valid. Like saying Somerset English is more “authentic” than Essex English or whatever.

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