purism in Irish/Scots Gaelic

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Gavril

Senior Member
English, USA
Is there a puristic movement in Irish or Scots Gaelic? Many words for modern objects in these languages seem to be taken from English (e.g., Irish teilifís "television" and ceimic "chemistry"), but are there any ongoing efforts to coin native Gaelic terms for new items/concepts?
 
  • L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    I will go along with what Pedro said. I would like to add that I feel many of the scholarly folk who are dead-set against loan-word are themselves at odds with native Irish speakers for whom the language is still a means to an end - ie. every day communication. Most native Irish speakers use an array of loan-words in every day speech. Just as English speaking Irish people use a whole host of Irish loan words.

    post script. Elsewhere on this forum we've discussed loanwords in Irish/Scottish from Norman and Norse, which come from a time when these languages were alive and well ; so why should loanwords be considered a problem now-a-days? Academics get over it!
     
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    Gavril

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Well, television is a French word, of course, while chemistry is a Latin derivative so can we say both teilifís and ceimic come from English? I don't think so.
    I should have mentioned that the -fís of teilifís and the -ic of ceimic are probably not from English.

    However, since English is the majority language in Ireland and Scotland, it seems reasonable to guess that most (recent) international loans in Gaelic came there by way of English.
     
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    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    I will go along with what Pedro said. I would like to add that I feel many of the scholarly folk who are dead-set against loan-word are themselves at odds with native Irish speakers for whom the language is still a means to an end - ie. every day communication. Most native Irish speakers use an array of loan-words in every day speech. Just as English speaking Irish people use a whole host of Irish loan words.

    post script. Elsewhere on this forum we've discussed loanwords in Irish/Scottish from Norman and Norse, which come from a time when these languages were alive and well ; so why should loanwords be considered a problem now-a-days? Academics get over it!
    Quite so l'irlandais. However there is a danger, one equally ever present in Quebec French, that if loan words are consistently used in extremis, the integrity of the language may be threatened.

    No-one wants to see an Irish which is just a direct translation of English. "Bon matin" in Québécois, though widespread, doesn't herald the end of French language here, but without proper surveillance, English will tend to ride roughshod over smaller languages. With Irish, the threat is very much amplified given the small amount of true native speakers in play. Compulsory packaging in Irish and English would be a small move in the fight to give Irish parity of esteem. For if people in British Columbia can put up with getting all their food in French as well as English, surely someone from Dublin can put up with the same as regards Irish.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    For if people in British Columbia can put up with getting all their food in French as well as English, surely someone from Dublin can put up with the same as regards Irish.
    Hear hear!

    It's like this to a very limited sense in Wales, though not too much.
    I was staring at yoghurts and I saw something like that looked suspiciously like a strawberry, but the label had "Mefus" written underneath it, and for a good 30/40 seconds I was looking at it thinking it was a new flavour of yoghurt, but I could swear that it was a picture of a strawberry. Then I asked my friend who was next to me and he just turned it around and it had "Strawberry" written on the other side. I've never felt so dim in my life :p

    So that experience has taught me the Welsh word for strawberry, and I think consistent language on products leads to a wider awareness and is a good tool to promote a sense of linguistic security, always being in plain view and even ends up in the minds of non-Celtic speakers (like myself :)).
     
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