Friday, January 05, 2007

Cá Bhfuil Na Gaeilg eoirí? (Where are all the Irish speakers?)

There's an article in the Guardian by Manchán Magan, whio feature in a programme called No Béarla on TG4 in Ireland. The programme follows a similar format to Popeth yn Gymraeg, as Manchán travels around Ireland using only the Irish language. According to the article, he didn't have as godd a reaction as did Ifor ap Glyn, but as Nic says, it could be down to Manchán approach and the fact that the camera was hidden (well, it seems to be in episode 1, 2 on 3 ar YouTube - pitty the tagging is more consistent!).

Here's a selection of responses (but read the whole artice to get the context)

While trying to buy a map at the Ordnance Survey Office (a semi-public body):
"Do you speak English?" he asked in a cold, threatening tone. "Sea," I said, nodding meekly. "Well, can you speak English to me now?" I told him as simply as I could that I was trying to get by with Irish.

"I'm not talking to you any more," he said. "Go away."
Asking for directions ar the Dublin Visitor Centre:
I explained what I was trying to do. "Well, mate, I don't actually speak Irish, so ... " he paused menacingly and I tried to smile encouragingly, "so, If you speak English, I'll be able to understand what you're saying."

"Béarla only - English only," said his supervisor, standing sternly behind him, repeating it a second time in case I was slow.
There's not a lot about No Béarla on Blogger Blog Search, Technorati or Irishblogs.ie (well not in English anyway), but there may be after the series starts (this Sunday).

While searching, I came across this blogger who's been e-mailing banks in Ireland asking what their Irish language Policy is.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous The Slippery Orange Ballcock said...

I have my own theories on the show and on the presenter. Was going wait until the first episode aired before posting on it….but having seen this dude do other shows I cant but think that a lot of the reactions were to do with Manchán himself and his approach rather than the fact that he was speaking Irish. An Eejit is an Eejit no matter what language he is speaking!!

1/05/2007 3:36 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

As I don't understand any Irish is impossible for me to comments, but it does appear that he's set out more to prove that 'there plenty of negative attitudes towards the language', rather than 'I'm sure lots of people can understand if they were willing to give it a go'. The apporach taken by Ifor ap Glyn in the programme Popeth yn Gymraeg (Everything in Welsh) was very different - he spoke really slowly and was very patient, not showing his emotions when things weren't going anywhere. Even when he used a hidden camera the responses were suprisingly good. It sadly takes a lot of balls to go round Wales, particularly in parts where the language is no longer a community language and attempt to speak in Welsh only ("how dare you" is what you'd get, like in Ireland it seems).

Maybe the series will prove us wrong.

1/05/2007 4:00 pm  
Anonymous The Slippery Orange Ballcock said...

You can catch the show on http://www.tg4.tv/ . Its on now and can be watcged later via their archive...

1/07/2007 9:40 pm  
Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

You may be interested to know that a young Scottish Gaelic singer is nominated fro the prestigious BBC folk musician of the year 2007.

2/01/2007 2:10 pm  

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