Thursday, 21 September 2017

Irish language argument is disingenuous

I listened tonight to The View on BBC and was struck by one argument that was made during an item on an Irish Language Act.  It is an argument that has been made before by some Irish language activists but it is a flawed argument.

Linda Ervine said that since there is a Welsh Language Act in Wales and a Gaelic Language Act in Scotland, there should be an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland, because that would bring us into line with Great Britain.

In fact this is a thoroughly disingenuous argument because it implies that Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where an indigenous Celtic language is not empowered through a Language Act.  However that is simply not true and completely ignores the situation in England.

There is an indigenous minority Celtic language in each of the four constituent regions of the United Kingdom.  There is Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland, Welsh in Wales and Cornish in England and all four are recognised by the United Kingdom government, along with two other minority languages, Scots in Scotland and Ulster-Scots in Northern Ireland.

So of the four indigenous Celtic languages, there are languages acts for only two of the four.   There is no common practice across England, Scotland and Wales and it is disingenuous to imply that there is.

Of course we shouldn't be surprised because most of the arguments put forward for an Irish Language Act are disingenuous.

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