A couple of days ago I was helping my sister complete her online application form for the driver theory test when we encountered a drop-down menu that offered several different language options, including one for “Gaelic“. I was surprised to see this term substituted for the word “Irish” (or “Gaeilge“) on a website serving users in Ireland. While Irish is a Gaelic language, one of the three Gaelic national dialects in fact, it’s rarely referred to by that name in common speech. In many ways it would be like a multilingual webpage offering to translate something into “Anglo-Saxon” instead of English or into “High German” instead of just German. This linguist discrepancy is even more incongruous when one considers that the Welsh language option on theorytest.ie is simply given as “Welsh“, not “Brythonic“, or that all the other languages are offered in their native spelling (“Français” for French, and so on).
So why the rather archaic entry? Could it be this?:
“This service is operated by Prometric Ireland Ltd. on behalf of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). Prometric, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Educational Testing Service (ETS) and a trusted provider of technology-enabled testing and assessment solutions.”
Referring to the Irish language as “Gaelic” might still be the norm in the United States, which is fair enough. However unless people in Baltimore are applying for driving licences in Dublin I think a little consideration for our domestic nomenclature might be more appropriate.
“The Driver Theory Test, Driver CPC Theory Test and ADI Theory Test are available in more than 40 Test Centre locations around the Republic of Ireland as part of the RSA’s driver testing and licensing process, supporting the National Road Safety Strategy.”
I know of the island nation called Ireland, because I live there, and I know that Ireland is a republic, because – again – I live there. However what is this place called the “Republic of Ireland“? Because I sure as hell don’t live there.
This and other minor irritations are brought to you by the good folks at, “Ireland: Home of the Post-Colonial We’re Not Terribly Sure Of Ourselves Complex“.