Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gaelic for punks and hackers for Gaelic

Clachan to those who think that Gaelic can only be promoted by shaving something of the sacred cow that is Taxpayers' Money. Recent days have seen two initiatives that brought a smile to many Celtic faces as well furthering the cause of Gàidhlig in Scotland and Gaeilge in the Six Counties of 'Northern Ireland'.

First of all, we go the wee statelet of Northern Ireland which according to some is the last bastion of Protestant tradition in the whole wide world. I guess that must mean something to someone. As for me, a united Ireland as well as an independent republican Scotland under no god, goddesses or gurus would be a big step forward.

Some in the 'Protestant' or 'Unionist' camps see anything Gaelic as being foreign to their 'culture'. This is strange as many of the original Scots settlers into Ulster were Gaelic speakers. Even until the 1920s there were church services for Protestants in Gaelic on the east coast of Ulster. When Queen Victoria visited Belfast during her reign, she was welcomed with 'Cead Mile Fáilte' on banners. However, in recent years, some Unionists have sought refuge in the recent phenomenon of 'Ulster Scots'. Further to this, Unionist politicians have shored up their tribal status by opposing any measures of support for Irish Gaelic. Unfortunately for them, a Derry based IT whizz who goes by the name of Hector O' Hacktatdawn gave the backward and conservative Democratic Unionist Party a facelift overnight.

Another hack further improved the DUP's street-cred by claiming...
Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.
Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir. This is a public service announcement on behalf of the DUP.
We apologise for the levels of homophobia that exist deep within the ranks of the DUP. We apologise for Iris Robinson who seeks to "cure" gays from their homosexual lifestyle. We apologise for the Reverend Ian Paisley's attempts to save Ulster from sodomy. We apologise on behalf of Maurice Mills who claimed that hurricane Katrina was a punishment for those who engaged in sodomy.
Although, we do appreciate the hypocrisy of all this with Iris Robinson getting severely sodomised by a barely-legal teenager. Catholic at that..  (High-five young chap). What was that Iris said? “There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children” Well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad Iris..
We apologise for Ian Paisley Jnr who is repulsed by homosexuals. The poor chap is trying to deal with being stuck in the closet.
We recognise that what two consenting adults do in their own time is none of our business, and does not affect society in the least. We admit that our views have been asinine, and are working to better ourselves as humans. Evolve if you will..
Irish Language
We have decided to end our childish and archaic mindset towards the Irish language. We understand that it is an integral part of the community, and should be given a similar status that the Welsh and Scottish Gaelic languages have been afforded.
We also agree that as part of the St. Andrews agreement, that both the Irish and British Government came to a very clear agreement with respect to the Irish language.
"The Government will introduce an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and work with the incoming Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language. "
We agree that we have failed to deliver these promises, but were more than happy to champion for the Ulster-Scots language - while at the same time, criticise the indigenous language of this island at every given opportunity. We understand that this was deeply unfair of us, and humbly apologise. Tá brón orainn go léir. Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam!

Back home in Alba, members of Skye based garage punk band An t-Uabhas have also gone down the road of promoting our indigenous Celtic tongue by adding Gaelic for Punks lessons to their online collection of new songs.

Click here to learn how say the likes of: tha an comhlan seo cac (this band is shit), cluich beagan Saxon (play some Saxon) and thalla is cac (away and defecate).

Slán go foill.


Thrissel said...

"As someone with strong interest in both Gaelic and Scots, I'm saddened and exasperated to see the exchanges that break out from time to time in the press along the lines of 'My language is older than yours, so there!' or 'Why should your language get more money from the government than mine?' It would surely be more productive to concentrate on what should unite us rather than the mostly illusory an irrelevant things that appear to divide us."

Angus Watson in the Foreword to his Essential Gaelic-English Dictionary

Divide and rule...

Mac an t-Srònaich said...

Have never really heard these exchanges. However, I believe that one of the many hurdles that Gaelic has to face is that some believe it is not actually 'Scottish' and is relevant only to the Highlands or 'North West'.

'Scots' on the other hand was and still is Inglis/ English/ Anglo-Saxon. That is not to deny its place in our culture - its contribution is obvious. But, almost all of us speak Scots English and therefore it is not in danger. Aye, we may not speak the language of Burns but equally, how many of us Gaelic speakers use a similar tongue to Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair?

Just as Welsh or Irish English is not known at Welsh or Irish - maybe because Welsh English 'never had an army'? - then I don't see why the Anglo-Saxon tongue of Scotland should be known as 'Scots'.

This may not be a popular viewpoint amongst some of a Scots nationalist persuasion but its a valid one. The fact is, the first act of divide and rule that discriminated against Alba's Gaels was to deny us our place in the nations fabric. We are not 'Erse', 'Heelan' or 'Gaylick', we ARE Scots.

Thrissel said...

The problem with Scots is you can see it as a dialect or a language. If you argue it's a dialect, 'Scottish English', one might retort that in that case so are 'Norwegian Danish', Slovakian Czech' and 'Gaeilge Albannach'. If you argue it's a language, one might retort that in that case so are South Jutlandic, [Moravian] Wallachian and Leòdhasais. Point is, if you see it as a language, than indeed it is in danger by being constantly corroded by the 'Southron' English, and because of its similarity to it as much in danger of disappearing (or rather, actually turning into nothing more than a dialect of English) as Gaelic.

(I don't say it's my view, I'm torn between the two - used to consider Slovak a language I tend to see Scots as a language as well, on the other hand I'm totally unable to say where 'Scots' ends and 'Scottish English' begins.)

But of course you're right about the 'first act of divide and rule', in a sense this began even before the Union.

Dòmhnall of the Aisles said...

Firstly (Lowland) Scots is recognised as a language by the Scottish Government, the WasteMonster Govt and the European Union (The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages 1996). It is also recognised internationally via the ISO language standard ISO 639-3 alpha code SCO

Secondly most of us to a greater or lesser degree use and understand Braid Scots

Thirdly it only takes a little learning of Gàidhlig to understand that the two are so inextricably tied together that without Gàidhlig, Braid Scots would not exist. There is more Gàidhlig influence in Scots than there is Modern English