Thursday, 10 July 2014

Colonial Mindsets

The Independent reports on a Donegal priest who has made some embarrassing comments about yoga. Unfortunately, it calls him "Padraig O'Baoill", when, as any good student of Irish knows, his actual name is likely to be "Pádraig Ó Baoill". Is that important? Well, if quality newspapers can get the accents right on French words — often French words that are close to being assimilated — surely they can get them right with folk's names.

To treat an unanglicised Irish name as its English equivalent smacks of a colonial mindset. It's bad enough when BBC newsreaders get coaching on how to pronounce the difficult names of Middle Eastern politicians but prove incapable of pronouncing the everyday Gaelic and Scots word "loch".

Indeed, perhaps the Irish and the Scots are just not foreign enough.

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