Saturday, 13 February 2010

Port an Dúnáin Abú!

An interesting article in the Portadown Times (not News, for once) gives an insight into the prejudice against Irish at the most local level. It is clear from its account of a council meeting that some political representatives view the language as the exclusive property of one group (Catholics) and can see no possible benefit or motivation in supporting it outside political symbolism (marking out territory).

And yet Irish is not easy to learn. For those not lucky enough to be raised or schooled through the language, acquiring it will take years of hard work, far more than could be expected of people who merely wished to put one over on someone (Scots is another matter, superficially at least being better suited to instant use, sometimes with dire results). More importantly, Portadown is an Irish name, and one currently only admitted to public life in an English transliteration roughly approximating to the sound but shorn of any meaning. It is therefore no wonder that people should want Irish signage — but it would be a grave mistake to think that erecting such signage was the be-all and end-all of language promotion.

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