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Thread: Northern Ireland = British?

  1. #41
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank78 View Post
    Hello carlosch,

    back in those days Ulster (what we now know as "Northern Ireland") posed the greatest threat to the English. This province resisted most to the English invaders. That´s why the crown decided to plant some loyal (and Protestant) settlers there.

    Wikipedia has some interesting facts:
    36% of the present-day population define themselves as Unionist , 24% as Nationalist and 40% define themselves as neither.[32] According to a 2007 opinion poll, 66% express long term preference of the maintenance of Northern Ireland's membership of the United Kingdom (either directly ruled or with devolved government), while 23% express a preference for membership of a united Ireland.[33] This discrepancy can be explained by the overwhelming preference among Protestants to remain a part of the UK (89%), while Catholic preferences are spread across a number of solutions to the constitutional question including remaining a part of the UK (39%), a united Ireland (47%), Northern Ireland becoming an independent state (6%), and those who "don't know" (7%)

    Note: Unionist=Pro-British, Nationalist=Pro-Irish
    One also has to take into account the fact that the frontiers of Northern Ireland were deliberately drawn to include the largest area over which Unionists could maintain a majority. Some areas, such as Co. Fermanagh and Co. Tyrone had a nationalist majority, but were included because the large unionist majority in other counties could maintain, when taken together, a Unionist majority.
    Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, go on,....go on!

  2. #42
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Perhaps it is correct if you consider that Ireland is a part of the British Isles.

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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smithy73 View Post
    Perhaps it is correct if you consider that Ireland is a part of the British Isles.
    I don't know how many people would agree with you! It also raises the question of why they are called the British Isles; is it purely geographical, meaning the group of islands of which Great Britain is the largest, or is it political, meaning the group of islands over which Great Britain claimed sovereignty?!

  4. #44
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    I for one, and the government of the Republic of Ireland, for two, do not accept the term British Isles.

    It's not a point of political touchiness for me, simply that most countries are lazy with the way the term British Isles is used.

    It leads to confusion and inconvenience on my part that people having lived in Les iles brittaniques for more than a year, cannot give blood in France.

    That's the term that's used on the form, but the problem is that they mean the UK. I live in the Republic, and people having lived a year in the UK are also excluded from giving blood in Ireland. Which means that because someone lazy French person decided to phrase it that way, instead of the accurate way, I was almost excluded from giving blood without reason.

    It's a term which I don't think should exist, because it leads to ridiculous confusion for people unacquainted with Ireland.
    Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, go on,....go on!

  5. #45
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    In my humble and Spanish opinion, I find most useful to have a term (Islas Británicas, in Spanish) to define the isles of Britain, Man, Anglesey, Wight, Ireland, Shetland, etc. where most of their unhabitants speak English as their mother tongue and are citizens of either UK or Ireland.

    I could be wrong but "British Isles" were named because of Britania (the only land the Romans knew from the continent) and not because we think that British people have any right over Eire. I think any poll in Spain will show more simpathy for "la verde y católica Irlanda" than for "la pérfida Albión".

    Moreover, in Spain we use to name all British as "ingleses" (English). If they are from Scotland, N. Ireland or Wales is (apparently) unimportant to us in casual and not so casual speech. The word "británico" is almost unused (in Google, 5.7 m hits -mostly "official" use- against 65.9 m "inglés").

    In the same way, we call all netherlanders as "holandeses". Though I am aware that people from Zeeland or Brabant are not exactly happy, no major conflict has arised (since 1715). Our "fraternal" previous relationship had not any connection with naming.

    Of course, I understand that this is a discussion on the use of terms in English, but they were just my dos pesetas.

    Edit: No offense intended against Irish, Brabanters, Zeelanders, Hollanders, Netherlanders and people from NW Europe as a whole.
    Last edited by Fernando; 14th May 2010 at 6:49 PM.
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  6. #46
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by curly View Post
    I for one, and the government of the Republic of Ireland, for two, do not accept the term British Isles.

    It's not a point of political touchiness for me, simply that most countries are lazy with the way the term British Isles is used.

    It leads to confusion and inconvenience on my part that people having lived in Les iles brittaniques for more than a year, cannot give blood in France.

    That's the term that's used on the form, but the problem is that they mean the UK. I live in the Republic, and people having lived a year in the UK are also excluded from giving blood in Ireland. Which means that because someone lazy French person decided to phrase it that way, instead of the accurate way, I was almost excluded from giving blood without reason.

    It's a term which I don't think should exist, because it leads to ridiculous confusion for people unacquainted with Ireland.


    I have run into precisely the same problem in France, and complained, only to be later told, interestingly, that les iles Britanniques did not actually include Ireland and I was allowed to give blood after all. I'm sure the lady just told me that as she was running low on supplies

    The British Isles is not a recognized term in Ireland, and nor should it be. It's geographically unsound, and politically unacceptable. It's time it was consigned to where it belongs, the dustbin of history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    In my humble and Spanish opinion, I find most useful to have a term (Islas Británicas, in Spanish) to define the isles of Britain, Man, Anglesey, Wight, Ireland, Shetland, etc. where most of their unhabitants speak English as their mother tongue and are citizens of either UK or Ireland.
    You're quite welcome to use the term British Isles to refer to islands under British sovereignty. Most Irish people wouldn't accept being labelled British, or English, however, so the term is clearly unsound, and unjustified, when extended to include us.
    Last edited by Pedro y La Torre; 14th May 2010 at 9:05 PM.

  7. #47
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    I think it is more that, in general, Irish people are totally opposed to anything "British". This is probably due to the illustrious history that we (i.e. Britain) have of slaughtering Catholics in Ireland, and stealing all of their food. I'm sorry for saying "all Irish people hate British people" as it is a generalisation, and I try to avoid using those, but that is why there is this "touchiness". My grandmother (born in NI as a Catholic) has a British passport, she is happy to call the British Isles "the British Isles" and has lived in England for around 50 years.

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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Oddly enough the term "Britain/Britannia" is of Celtic origin.

    Geographically Ireland is for sure part of the British Isles while the Channel Islands are not.

    Quite often, depending on the political climate, countries suddenly appear in another region, e.g. Russia (Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia), Poland and Czechoslovakia became East European countries during the Cold War.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    You're quite welcome to use the term British Isles to refer to islands under British sovereignty. Most Irish people wouldn't accept being labelled British, or English, however, so the term is clearly unsound, and unjustified, when extended to include us.
    So the North is a British isle and the Republic not?
    It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honourably. (Immanuel Kant)

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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smithy73 View Post
    I think it is more that, in general, Irish people are totally opposed to anything "British". This is probably due to the illustrious history that we (i.e. Britain) have of slaughtering Catholics in Ireland, and stealing all of their food. I'm sorry for saying "all Irish people hate British people" as it is a generalisation, and I try to avoid using those, but that is why there is this "touchiness".
    I am perfectly willing to admit that I have an aversion to the British style of government, in the same way as I dislike certain other countries' governments, but they don't have anything to do with me, so I generally don't care in any concrete non-abstract way. It's when it presents practical problems that it bothers me.



    Quote Originally Posted by Smithy73 View Post
    My grandmother (born in NI as a Catholic) has a British passport, she is happy to call the British Isles "the British Isles" and has lived in England for around 50 years.
    It would be a mistake to assume all Catholics feel Irish and that all Protestants feel "British".

    Now, feeling British as she does, living in Britain as she does, why would she have any practical reason for caring about this issue? It has no consequence on her life. It surely matters to her only slightly more than whether that country to the east is still called Yugoslavia or not. But to me and to other Irish people I'm sure, it has had and continues to have annoying and sometimes worrying consequences when people mistake/insist upon being right about what country you live in.

    How can one call it petty/overly touchy to correct someone's mistake, when such a mistake can create ridiculous problems? You may find the idea of someone calling/insisting that you are say, American, risible. But imagine if someone with any sort of authority insisted it was true and started applying the rules differently as if you really were American?
    Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, go on,....go on!

  10. #50
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank78 View Post
    So the North is a British isle and the Republic not?
    Technically, yes. Which just goes to show how absurd the term is.

    If one started labelling Germany as part of the ''French landmass'', or Denmark and Finland as part of the ''Swedish Isles'', one can see how similar misunderstandings might result.

    The British Isles has always been more a political than geographic term, and its reintroduction into English was by an English cartographer, John Dee, who was also a committed imperialist and wished to justify England (later Britain) having an empire abroad.

    Now when Ireland was part of the UK, that was fine. However, nowadays we're not and haven't been since 1922. Hence, the term is outdated and no longer valid. Much like other terms which were once popular and are now considered archaic like negro, Deutsches Reich etc.
    Last edited by Pedro y La Torre; 15th May 2010 at 12:44 PM.

  11. #51
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Government policy in the Republic of Ireland, particularly at the time of independence from the United Kingdom is/was particularly sensitive to they use of the word British in any context. As a result, it is true that British Isles is not a term that is used officially by state institutions in the Republic (although its prominence in general parlance means that it does creep in to some documentation as a quick search on www.gov.ie will show you...).

    A minority subsection of the population in Ireland take a negative view on the term "British Isles", based on the same hyper-correction which is a result of misplacing the origin of the term as one relating to British having a meaning of "relationship to the United Kingdom".

    General parlance in the Republic recognises that British Isles is in fact a geographical term that has no political overtones, and relates to the fact that the majority of the celts that lived in these islands in the period preceding the Roman and Germanic invasions were Britons.

    Note that in Irish, words related to British are used to refer to "celtic" peoples [Bríotánach = Breton, Breatnach = Welsh] whereas the word for "English" is "Sasanach" (which comes from "Saxon").

    The term British Isles is generally not controversial in Ireland [and before you all chime in, I am a died in the wool Republican, Irish, non-British person], save for certain circles which try to be hyper-correct. There is no generalised term that acts as a recognised replacement for the term. Sometimes you hear "Great Britain and Ireland", but this leaves out a number of other islands (Mann, Hebridies etc) or "these islands" which as a turn of phrase avoids the controversy by not being specific at all.

    I know very few Irish people who have been offended by the term Islas Britanicas to refer to the archipeligo where we come from. On the other hand, call me (and/or any other Irish person) Británico or worse still, as used to be regularly used, Inglés, and you will get a history lesson...

    In the same vein, do Portuguese people complain about the term Iberian Peninsula? They are not Iberians, but rather Lusitanian in origin. Nobody calls Portuguese people Iberians, but few would say that Portugal is not on the Iberian Peninsula. It is not a dis-similar situation.

  12. #52
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by elirlandes View Post

    A minority subsection of the population in Ireland take a negative view on the term "British Isles", based on the same hyper-correction which is a result of misplacing the origin of the term as one relating to British having a meaning of "relationship to the United Kingdom".

    General parlance in the Republic recognises that British Isles is in fact a geographical term that has no political overtones, and relates to the fact that the majority of the celts that lived in these islands in the period preceding the Roman and Germanic invasions were Britons.
    With the greatest of respect, you're being disingenuous. Far more than a ''minority subsection of the population'' has a problem with it.

    The term is not used in Irish geography textbooks these days, and hasn't been for some years if my schooling is anything to go by. The government doesn't use it as has already been made clear. It's not used in official circles.

    Most people I know personally dislike it and never use it. Ditto for what I've read from many others online as regards the term. That's far more than a minority subsection.

    Indeed, this recent article from the Guardian sheds some light on what Irish readers think of the term. I don't think they'd be in a minority if you asked the man in the street.

    While I dislike the term for its obvious political overtones (which are there, whatever the origin might be), my main problem with it, like Curly, is the mistaken impression it gives, especially when dealing with foreigners. At times, this mistake can prove highly irritating indeed (see the blood donating issue).

    Quote Originally Posted by elirlandes View Post
    In the same vein, do Portuguese people complain about the term Iberian Peninsula? They are not Iberians, but rather Lusitanian in origin. Nobody calls Portuguese people Iberians, but few would say that Portugal is not on the Iberian Peninsula. It is not a dis-similar situation.
    Were it specifically called the ''Spanish Peninsula'', I'm sure they would. Were the British Isles termed the North Atlantic Isles, I'd certainly have no problem with it, and I don't think anyone else would either.
    Last edited by Pedro y La Torre; 15th May 2010 at 11:22 PM.

  13. #53
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post

    Indeed, this recent article from the Guardian ...
    Quote Originally Posted by "The Guardian
    "Trailing an article that uses the term accurately ("the first world champion from outside the British Isles in 30 years") with an innacurate statement on the front page of the website ("first foreigner to win world title since 1980") shows how it can be easy to lazily conflate the geographical with the political while making poor Ken Doherty a subject of the British crown."
    Even the article you mention describes "British Isles" as the correct term for the collection of these islands including Ireland. The complainant in the article effectively says that suggesting that the Dubliner Ken Doherty is from the British Isles is correct, but to suggest he is not foreign (in the UK) or that he is British is incorrect. I agree entirely with this position.

    The British Lions / British and Irish Lions Rugby team polemic is a different story as they were originally called the British Lions to denote that they were from the United Kingdom. It grates on me (and the couple of guys I know who have played on the team from Ireland both before and after the name change) that they be called British Lions as they, and some of us who support them, are not British.

    While some outside Ireland conflate the geographical term with a political concept, they do so incorrectly. Aside from those that set up the apparatus of the state and Sinn Féin (both of whom have eschewed use of the "British Isles" for political effect, despite its innoccuous non-political origins), those that avoid it today tend to do so (conciously or subconciously) as part of a more general tendancy in today's language to hypercorrect for political correctness. It is a correction that is not necessary, as the connotation that use of the term "British Isles" somehow suggests that we Irish are in fact British is not naturally in the term based on its origin. That connotation is imbued in the term by some, but this is really a recent thing, and you will find that many (I would suggest the majority) people in Ireland continue to use the term despite the State's sponsorship of avoidance of the term.

    I am not seeking to create a debate here with my esteemed countryman Pedro, but rather to make foreros aware that you will not necessarily anger an Irishman by suggesting that Ireland is one of the British Isles.
    You will however create enemies by suggesting that we are British, English, Anglos or Anglo-saxon/Anglo-sajón.

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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    This is an aside and serves only as an example.
    Words concerning nationality are very often controversial. The Canadians would object to being called American because for English-speakers the word American is associated with the USA (unless we say North American or South American, in which case it's a purely geographical term). On the other hand, Latin Americans have the opposite idea and object to the USA's monopoly of the word American.
    Second example: I'm not Irish, I'm from the South-east of England, and yet I too object to the use of the term Anglo-Saxon, unless we're talking historically about the centuries before the Norman invasion. In my case I don't find it insulting, but just a silly piece of journalistic variation (and that's why they rope in the Irish too, who do have a right to be offended!).
    Last edited by Einstein; 16th May 2010 at 2:17 PM.

  15. #55
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by elirlandes View Post

    While some outside Ireland conflate the geographical term with a political concept, they do so incorrectly.
    Knowing that they are wrong does not comfort me particularly. Call me Lithuanian if you want, so long as you mean that I am a citizen of the geographic and political entity that I know as the Republic of Ireland.
    Quote Originally Posted by elirlandes View Post
    I am not seeking to create a debate here with my esteemed countryman Pedro, but rather to make foreros aware that you will not necessarily anger an Irishman by suggesting that Ireland is one of the British Isles.
    You will however anger him if you use British Isles to mean anything more than that collection of islands that starts after France and stops somewhere before Iceland.

    I imagine some geologists might find that term useful, but what does the average person need it for exactly? Can you change your money to British Isles currency? I know I didn't get a British Isles education. Pretty sure I've never paid taxes to the British Isles.

    I could understand if my relationship with the British Isles meant anything but the most abstract thing, for which I can not see there being any purpose. The few bits of my identity that have to do with the British Isles are absolutely unrelated to anything a person would ask me. Except maybe my skin tone, I'll admit, most of us are damned pale.

    But for it's familiarity, it would be as a ridiculous a reference as someone saying, hey, you come from a karst landscape don't you? To which any sane person would respond - er, yes, what of it?
    Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, go on,....go on!

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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by curly View Post
    Knowing that they are wrong does not comfort me particularly. Call me Lithuanian if you want, so long as you mean that I am a citizen of the geographic and political entity that I know as the Republic of Ireland.
    As I and other foreros has stated, none of us have in mind nothing about citizenship.

    For the record, I find most amusing (or rather stupid), the following terms:

    - America (meaning US)
    - North America (excluding Mexico)
    - Latin America (including Belize and Jamaica, inter alia). And not, Julius Caesar did not conquer Peru).

    But I use them assuming everybody understand the right thing and they are used in other language other than mine, when there is a quite different tradition.

    Quote Originally Posted by curly View Post
    I imagine some geologists might find that term useful, but what does the average person need it for exactly? Can you change your money to British Isles currency? I know I didn't get a British Isles education. Pretty sure I've never paid taxes to the British Isles.
    There is something in the world beyond states and nations. As an example:

    You can learn English in Europe, staying for a time in...

    There is an awful and rainy weather in...

    The ashes cloud is covering... and airports are closed in...

    Spanish Armada tried to return to Spain around...
    Only a Spanish speaker. If you need an exact translation, wait for better opinions.

  17. #57
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    As I and other foreros has stated, none of us have in mind nothing about citizenship.
    You might not, but many everyday people do, I have personal experience of it. And even if everyone didn't, many (most?) of us here would still find the term outdated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    For the record, I find most amusing (or rather stupid), the following terms:

    - America (meaning US)
    - North America (excluding Mexico)
    - Latin America (including Belize and Jamaica, inter alia). And not, Julius Caesar did not conquer Peru).
    North America doesn't exclude Mexico, at least in English. And neither does Latin America include Belize or Jamaica. It only includes Latin-speaking countries, and on some rare occasions, Quebec.

    In any case, none of those terms include people who do not wish to be labelled as such.

    Were you to start referring to Canadians as being from ''America'', although it might be technically correct in Spanish-speaking countries, chances are it would provoke a response.

    In any case, there's no need for it to be used, except, perhaps, in some geographical circles. If one wants to refer to England or the U.K., use England or the U.K. There's no need for Ireland to be grouped in with a foreign country, any more than there is an everyday need for Spain and Morocco to be considered as part of one entity, geographic, or otherwise.

    That's my 2 cents.

  18. #58
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post

    For the record, I find most amusing (or rather stupid), the following terms:

    - America (meaning US)
    - North America (excluding Mexico)
    - Latin America (including Belize and Jamaica, inter alia). And not, Julius Caesar did not conquer Peru).

    But I use them assuming everybody understand the right thing and they are used in other language other than mine, when there is a quite different tradition.
    Which is great for you. Apparently most people are aware of the distinction between America and Canada. Not many are aware of the Irish example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    There is something in the world beyond states and nations. As an example:

    You can learn English in Europe, staying for a time in...
    Ireland and the UK, be sure not to mix up the different visas or you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    There is an awful and rainy weather in...
    North Western Europe, as well as god knows where else.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    The ashes cloud is covering... and airports are closed in...
    Most of Europe, including Ireland, the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Northern Italy...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fernando View Post
    Spanish Armada tried to return to Spain around...
    Ireland I imagine. Or generally down the atlantic, around the west of Europe. Perhaps it would be more informative to say who/what they were trying to avoid?

    EDIT: That infallible fountain of knowledge, Wikipedia,(no laughing now, please) tells me that
    the fleet sailed into the Atlantic, past Ireland, but severe storms disrupted the fleet's course.
    That doesn't seem unnecessarily convoluted, does it?

    What exactly is the advantage of using the British Isles over the more accurate Ireland and the UK? The genuine and practical disadvantages have already been shown.
    Last edited by curly; 17th May 2010 at 4:25 PM.
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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    North America doesn't exclude Mexico, at least in English. And neither does Latin America include Belize or Jamaica. It only includes Latin-speaking countries, and on some rare occasions, Quebec.
    The use of the terms is (or should be) the same in Spanish, but SISTEMATICALLY Mexico is excluded in most casual speech. About Latin America is so undefined that I could hardly say which countries are included or not. There are several threads on that,

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    In any case, none of those terms include people who do not wish to be labelled as such.
    Do you think Quebecoises are happy to be considered Latin Americans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    Were you to start referring to Canadians as being from ''America'', although it might be technically correct in Spanish-speaking countries, chances are it would provoke a response.
    I will note down that "British Isles" is not politically correct when used in Ireland.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    In any case, there's no need for it to be used, except, perhaps, in some geographical circles. If one wants to refer to England or the U.K., use England or the U.K. There's no need for Ireland to be grouped in with a foreign country, any more than there is an everyday need for Spain and Morocco to be considered as part of one entity, geographic, or otherwise.
    Marocco and Spain are Mediterranean countries.

    Algeciras (Spain) and Tanger (Marocco) are in Strait of Gibraltar.

    I do not find "Strait of Gibraltar" or "Mediterranean countries" offensive at all.

    As a matter of fact, Gibraltar is a Arab-related word. It means (in one interpretation) "the rock of Tarik", the Arab invader of Iberian Peninsula. We do not find we are endorsing any claim of Arab world on Spain.
    Last edited by Fernando; 17th May 2010 at 5:21 PM.
    Only a Spanish speaker. If you need an exact translation, wait for better opinions.

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    Re: Northern Ireland = British?

    Quote Originally Posted by curly View Post
    Apparently most people are aware of the distinction between America and Canada. Not many are aware of the Irish example.
    I feel it is just the other way around.

    Quote Originally Posted by curly View Post
    What exactly is the advantage of using the British Isles over the more accurate Ireland and the UK?
    Just because it is geographical and not political. I do not mind if Scotland or Wales or Hebrides or Cork get independence. Those isles will stay the same for the next million years.

    The isle of Ireland was the same in 1910s and 1920s and will stay the same if N Ireland (or Ulster, that I NOTICE it IS a politically-charged word) gets a devolved government, gets independence or it forms a union with Greenland.

    Anyhow, I am done. Since my comment referred to Spanish use (Islas Británicas) I am happy to accept a difference in the use in Ireland and in everywhere else, the same way that "América" (Spanish) means something different than "America" (English).
    Only a Spanish speaker. If you need an exact translation, wait for better opinions.

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