For talking rot.

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by lucky number 7, May 19, 2011.

  1. ragerancher

    ragerancher First XV

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    Woolfardisworthy is so detached from how it is written it's a wonder how on earth it ended up that way
     
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  3. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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  4. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    Brilliant, I love linguistics and prob taught English as a foreign language for 4 years, this is right up my street.

    Assume using the English phonemic alphabet is just going to confuse people more (plus might not cover the Welsh/Gaelic sounds), so done with Latin alphabet as much as possible:

    1. froom
    2. Bal-uh-[X]OO-lish
    3. GON-stuh
    4. oh-MA[X]
    5. WUUHD-zwuh-thee
    6. BYOO-lee
    7. BISS-tuh
    8. in-iz-I-buhl
    9. RASH-uhm
    10. CAH-muh (like “Karma”)

    [X] = Scottish ch, like “loch”
    I’ve used “uh” to signify a shwa*, which is that little half-syllable generic vowel sound that is pervasive in everyday spoken English, like at the end of “teacher”.
    Capitals for primary stresses syllable

    To be honest the whole relationship between letter and sound is so messed up in English that it is nigh on impossible to convey phonetic sounds unambiguously (hence why the phonemic alphabet is even a thing....). Hope this is fairly clear though.

    *look it up if you’re interested in English linguistics, it’s weirdly fascinating..
     
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  5. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    I’m giving myself 1,2,6 and 7, although no guide to the stress patterns in the answers (plus it seems to assume English pronunciation, not allowing for the sounds of Welsh/Scottish/Irish native languages). Might need an Irishman to advise me on the pron of the ‘gh’ at the end of Omagh @The Alpha Bro ...?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
  6. bushytop

    bushytop First XV

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    Having ‘known’ a few girls from ‘The Bull’, they pronounce it Un-issa-bull.
     
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  7. The Alpha Bro

    The Alpha Bro Fat Boi

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    Good 1st post there, definitely something I'm interested in and want to research more when I have time, I didn't get close to any of the English or Welsh ones.

    Scottish Gaelic and Irish have a lot more similarities though so I got those two. Omagh doesn't have that [X] sound at the end, in Irish that sound comes from words ending in -ach which aren't all that common and pronounced slightly softer (although @Leinster Fan is the Irish speaker on these boards so I might be wrong there) rather than a whole host of endings that result in agh when anglicised, Omaigh is the Irish translation and it's pronounced Oh-ma in English as a result and there'd be a few Irish pronunciations depending on where in the country you are.

    You also get a few badly anglicised names as well which probably only adds to the confusion. Armagh, pronounced Ar-mah, is Ard Mhaca in Irish and the best phonetic spelling would be Oord-Whaca. (again, different depending on where you are in the country) And worse again would be Fermanagh, ending in ah again, but the Irish is Fear Manach which does have that [X] sound.

    No surprises though, Irish is a really tough language to get your head around if you want to learn it, most of us learn it from age 5 and hardly have a word of it. So the conquering English who wanted to kill the language probably didnt put too much thought into the translations!
     
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  8. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside International

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  9. The Alpha Bro

    The Alpha Bro Fat Boi

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  10. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    The relationship between Gaelic pron, English pron, Irish spelling, English spelling and Latin alphabet is another massive mindfuck - as far as places and names go anyway, which is all the Irish Gaelic words I know apart from pogue mahone and Sinn Fein. I have so little knowledge I can’t even speculate but it’s fascinating to wonder how these various spellings/pronunciations came about. Language is extremely fluid, and when you have two distinct groups with separate languages, always at loggerheads and with a massive power disparity, there are so many ways the language can rapidly develop with words going back and forth.

    Was there a written Gaelic language before anglicisation do you know?

    It happens to be really close to where I grew up so I knew that one. Nothing like the original French pron at all

    A couple of my favourites that weren’t mentioned:
    Towcester
    Belvoir Castle

    Any guesses...?

    Answers:
    Toaster
    Beaver Castle
     
  11. The Alpha Bro

    The Alpha Bro Fat Boi

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    Old Irish would have been written in ogham from at least the 3rd century and some believe it would have been around as early as the 1st century BC. It's fascinating if you want to look it up, inscribed from top to bottom and it's just a series of horizontal lines on one long vertical one.

    Old Irish would have been written in the latin alphabet from around the 6th or 7th century too. The biggest problem with Irish is that it very nearly went extinct around the time of the famine and a lot of its writings were lost.
     
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  12. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    #blametheenglish
     
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  13. The Alpha Bro

    The Alpha Bro Fat Boi

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    We do! ;)
     
  14. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    I’d be disappointed if you didn’t
     
  15. Leinster Fan

    Leinster Fan First XV

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    Like a fair few others this is something that really interests me, I think the whole thing is fascinating.

    As for the difference between the spellings, the sheer level of difference between Irish and English can't be underestimated. The two languages are entirely different in almost every way right down to basic sentence structure, the gap between English and Irish compared to the equivalent difference between English and say French/German is massive. Irish has a bunch of things that are more or less entirely alien to English or any similar language. The English (or Latin or whatever I'm not sure tbh) alphabet isn't really suited to Irish which is why the spelling system seems so alien to non-speakers (as in about 99.9999% of the world's population) although there is actually a certain logic to it once you do understand it. It's an absolute mindfuck to anyone learning the language though.

    Alpha has covered it pretty well, the issue for Irish is that although it is actually one of the oldest written languages out there it's most of the writings are lost (although I'd imagine that understanding most of it would be incredibly hard, it's hard enough to read Shakespeare, just think about going back even further in a language that almost nobody learnt as a first language). As I said, although there is probably more of a logic to Irish spelling than English (which genuinely makes no sense) it is genuinely a just totally different spelling system, Irish doesn't even use a fair few of the letters (j,k,q,w,x,y,z) because those sounds either don't exist or are better covered by combinations of other letters for grammatical reasons that I'll try to explain if anyone is interested but to be honest it's super complicated and really weird. Most single letters on their own make the same sound as in English (with a few exceptions, especially a, which is like the o in pot, and o, which is like the u in put) combinations of letters have basically no relation to their English equivalents, although as I said they tend to be fairly inconsistent in English itself.

    As I said earlier, Irish has pretty much an entirely grammatical system to English, and at times is overcomplicated, I love it and I love being able to speak it but at times it does seem like it was made up purely to be as hard to learn as possible.
    Pretty much spot on, although it's just the
    -ch that forms the sound, it can also come at the start or in the middle of a word.

    What I do think is very interesting is that despite the massive differences between the two languages there is not of similar vocab, especially nowadays where a decent amount of words that Irish, being a language last widely spoken over 100 years, doesn't have are generally lifted from English with a token effort to translate them, although in previous centuries there was some traffic the other way as well.


    And finally, here's a not entirely unrelated sketch on the subject

     
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  16. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    Interesting stuff. From what I understand the Celtic languages* are pretty far removed structurally from Romance or Germanic language groups, surprisingly so given how close they are geographically to their core areas, and particularly how close they are to English - which is a adjacent to both Ireland and Scotland, and us now the dominant spoken language in both places. Funny how history effects linguistics.

    I think the linguistic exchange between Gaelic and other languages came historically very late, largely because the Saxon, then the Roman, then Norman conquests of England (which between them basically defined the hodge-lodge English language - fundamentally Germanic but heavily Latin/French influenced) never reached Scotland or Ireland. While these three linguistic influences (Saxon, Latin, French) intermingled, meanwhile Gaelic was developing pretty much undisturbed. I should caveat that I’m no expert but that’s my understanding.

    *I’m not sure if this is an official linguistic designation? But it makes sense to categorise the two Gaelics and Welsh this way

    Edit: follow up question, do you know how many true native Irish Gaelic speakers there are, and are they concentrated in particular areas? And what is the age range, are there any children born today who speak Gaelic as their mother tongue?

    Edit 2: a bit of google research suggests I shouldn’t be calling your language Gaelic, I should be calling it Irish. Apologies
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
  17. Leinster Fan

    Leinster Fan First XV

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    Haha yeah, it is Irish. More or less everyone outside or Ireland seems to refer to it as Gaelic for whatever reason, I hate to see Irish people jump down throats over it though.

    Also no expert but from what I know you're more or less on point with that summary of how Irish/Scots Gaelic/Welsh developed (and also Cornish and Manx). Not sure of the reasons but there's much more of a similarity between the Irish and Scottish languages than there is to the Welsh/Cornish. I did know why at some point but have forgotten, it either came from Ireland to Scotland or vice versa, might have been when the Celts took over from the Picts but that entire area of history is far from my strong point so I could be way off about everything.

    There are native Irish speakers out there, at a guess I'd say somewhere in the 10,000s. I'd say the demographic skews heavily towards older people though. There are some areas, almost all on the west coast, where Irish is at least in theory the primary language, they've been diluted over the last few decades though, Irish is still used as a language there but you'd hear a fair bit of English as well. Conversely though, Irish is growing as a language in the cities, especially Dublin. Obviously no one lives entirely through Irish but a lot of people do make the effort to use it as much as possible. I'd say the number of native speakers is probably on the decline but the number of people who can actually speak Irish is probably on the rise. There are definitely parents out there who raise the kids through Irish, but it's very rare. I have seen people talking to young kids in Irish around the place but I'd say most people who want their kids to speak Irish do the simple thing and send them to a Gaelscoil (Irish language school), which are becoming ever more popular and between primary and secondary education have something like 60,000 people going to them across the country.
     
  18. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    Glad you’re active in this thread, I figure you could use the distraction right now...

    On the subject of similarities between Irish/Gaelic/Manx and differences from Cornish - I can speak in this topic with all authority of someone who googled it this morning ... the Celtic language family divides into two sub-groups of 3, one of which is Irish/Scottish Gaelic/Manx which are closely related, the other is Welsh/Cornish/Breton which are closely related again. I have to say those divisions seem pretty random, I’d be interested to see the historic context that connects those two sets of three peoples!

    The second part of your post touches on a social/ethical question which interests me - to what extent is it a) desirable and b) useful to artificially “rescue” a dying language? (Through concerted efforts to teach it in schools for example, as has happened with Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh).

    Personally I’m divided on this. On an emotional level I find the idea of a language dying very sad; but on a practical level, I think artificially supporting a language which has no practical use is damaging to the education of children who are expected to learn it at the expense of more useful subjects, including other more useful languages.

    Now, I acknowledge I’m speaking from a position of ridiculous privilege on this, as an English person my native language, the one that represents my culture, is arguably the most powerful language in history! So I’m sure it feels different to an Irishman or Breton or whatever. But I do kind of feel that teaching kids Irish or Welsh, in a world where the only people who speak those languages also speak English, the global language ... is taking up time and energy which would be better spent learning science or engineering or an art, or a more practically useful language like Mandarin.
     
  19. Leinster Fan

    Leinster Fan First XV

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    I don’t know how useful it is to be honest really, unless you want to work for TG4 or the EU there are very few areas of life where speaking Irish is actually going to help you.

    I do absolutely think it’s a desirable thing though, it’s a part of our culture the same way GAA or Traditional music is and for me they’re all worth keeping alive and doing so is a worthwhile way to spend your time. Being educated through Irish never hindered me or most other people I knew, if anything the evidence would suggest it has a positive effect on eduction. I know what you mean regarding other languages, but learning further languages is much easier if you’re already bilingual (didn’t help me though, my attempts to learn both German and French failed miserably). I’m not convinced that foreign languages are all that much more useful either, unless you’re going to live abroad (in which case you’ll learn the language pretty quickly anyway) there are very few contexts where you’re going to end up speaking French/Spanish/Mandarin/whatever, while I do actually end up speaking Irish a fair bit (admittedly all to people who also speak English). It also is genuinely helpful when you’re abroad to all be able to speak a language that nobody else in the city can come close to understanding (although I’ll admit that learning a languages for the sole purpose of complaining about foreigners is probably unnecessary).

    At the end of the day I’d kind of characterize it like learning a musical instrument, both are unlikely to get you anywhere in terms of employment or to do much for your long-term prospects but it doesn’t mean they aren’t a valuable use of your time.

    At the end of the day there’s nothing really there to show that teaching kids through Irish in school is doing them any harm (the opposite in fact). At the same time, although I’m not really qualified to comment on how people learn Irish in the rest of the country’s schools having never gone to one, it doesn’t seem like it’s achieving much good but at the same time I think we’re better off at least making that link than not bothering.

    I do think that it is important to maintain our culture, especially in a country with a history as broken and tragic as Ireland’s, and I think there’s an element of responsibility to keep it going there as well, I’d make an effort to speak as much Irish as possible and if I ever have kids I’d absolutely send them to a gaekscoil in all likelihood.
     
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  20. Every Time Ref

    Every Time Ref First XV

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    Fair enough, it's not really my place to say. And I fully support that there are other reasons than employability for a school subject to be worthwhile, the musical instrument analogy is a good one.

    I suppose my distinction is between having the opportunity to learn the language in school (which I fully support), and the obligation to. As an example, my cousins are Scottish, to a Scottish mother and English father, lived their whole lives there and don't really identify as English at all. My Uncle and Aunt fought against their obligatory Gaelic lessons, because they insisted they considered it a useless skill and would rather they learned a "useful" language. I agree the definition of "useful" is subjective (and when English is THE business language, is any other language actually much use to most people? maybe not ..) but I do see their point, and I do feel they should have the right to decide that for their children.

    I haven't seen (or looked for even) any research on how gaekscoils or their equivalents impact education overall, do you know any (ideally not too dry...)?

    Purely anecdotally, a friend of mine's experience does show an obvious negative effect, although how widespread it is I don't know. He spoke English at home but went to a Welsh-language school in Swansea up to GCSEs, did everything in Welsh. When he switched to an English language school for 6th form, he was immediately at a disadvantage - although obviously he spoke English as his mother tongue, there was actually vast amounts of vocabulary that he had never come across and had to relearn from scratch! Even a word like "textbook" he said, he had never heard in English, not to mention whatever subject-specific words he had learnt - imagine doing a geography A Level having never learnt the words for different types of rock at GCSE! For some that's pretty quick to overcome, but he's dyslexic and not naturally good with language, he is adamant it held back his education.

    Last point is just an observation on this:

    Again, not based on proper research, but I taught EFL for 4 years so on the more reliable side of anecdotal ... my experience was that genuine from-birth bilingual people, Catalans or Moroccans for example, were not noticeably better at learning English. They had some small advantages - for example most people when first learning a language are very confused by the realisation that the grammar of the "new" language is completely different ("I like you" in English as against "je t'aime/I you like" in French for example); if you've never thought about grammar, your own seems like the only possible way of doing it, but if you're bilingual, you're already past that hurdle and much more open-minded to the weird differences between different languages. But overall, I didn't feel they picked up on what I taught quicker than others.

    (As a side note, and only because it's interesting, not because it's relevant - people who were good at music, I noticed, often had better accents. Weird)
     
  21. Rinkadink

    Rinkadink Bench Player

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    Anxiety sucks!

    That is all.
     
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