Sunday November 19 2006
Sir - In ‘No compulsory resuscitation can ever revive Irish' (SI, 5/11/06) Emer O'Kelly provides a rather facile argument relying on hearsay and well-worn arguments. She is both ill-informed and behind the times. Indeed I am surprised she didn't harp on about Peig. English has an influence on most languages, but just because lexical borrowing takes place, one cannot possibly deduce that the language is dead. It would be equally absurd to argue that English is dead because it has so many words from French and German.
She claims that the language is bereft of 'modern terminology', obviously unaware of any modern words in Irish. One only has to consult a technical dictionary of Irish terms to find that new words are being coined all the time. Indeed in the world of computers, words are continuously coined in Irish while other languages simply use the English term.
Nor does she appear capable of writing Irish words, which is extremely sloppy. She writes druggai (sic) and doesn't appear to be aware that Daingean takes the definite article. The 'Irish language is dead' way of thinking was extremely popular following the publication of Reg Hindley's book The Death ofthe Irish language in 1990.
However attitudes have since changed dramatically yet O'Kelly with her vague reference to a report published in 1991 doesn't acknowledge this. So please if you must produce more anti-Irish language articles, as is your wont several times a year, then do some research and introduce fresh arguments.
Rónán-Gearóid Ó Domhnaill, Gaillimh