Well, dear reader, I’ve upset someone. I received a very strong message from someone who said, and I quote:
“this is a DIFFERENT country to Britain and it has a different history, a different culture, and indeed a different language, which does not “mispronounce” or mis-spell names but has a different linguistic root to English and therefore does not follow the rules of English phonetics…as you say “go figure”…ie get an Irish - English dictionary and find out that all the apparently “meaningless” names all mean something quite specific in the nations original language”.
Right, now I’m bloody cross. What I would say is this: firstly, I would never, ever be intentionally patronising or insulting to the Irish culture (in fact, I’m always pointing out how damned NICE Irish people are), and am painfully aware of how much of an outsider I am. I DO have an Irish-English dictionary thank you very much and am very much enjoying trying to learn Irish with the help of my sons who are learning it at school. I am also reading Irish history (give me a chance, I’ve been here two months), and am very respectful of the religion, culture, law and values of this lovely country (and every other country) where I consider myself to be a welcome guest. I’ve no idea where on this blog I’ve said that any Irish words are ‘mispronounced or mis-spelled’ but if the gentleman would like to point this out, I’ll happily print a retraction. If my own personal struggle with the pronunciation of the word ‘Baroimhe’ offends him then he should feel free to look away - frankly it embarrasses the hell out of me.
My wonderful, kind, funny, sweet and permanently cheerful Irish friend, J, reads my blog and has never, to my knowledge, found anything to be patronising or demeaning, and I’m sure she’d tell me if she did. If I find Irish a confusing language, aren’t I allowed to comment to that effect (on my own blog) and aren’t I to be commended for perseverance in continuing to try and learn?
Furthermore, my husband is Irish, and I’m sure he’d slap me around the head should I ever get too big for my boots on this crappy little website that has, on average, a whopping TWELVE (count them) hits per day.
Finally I would say, with respect, that this IS supposed to be a humorous diary for my friends back home.
And with that, I’m afraid, I’ve lost the ability to write anything funny. ‘Go figure’.
Edited to include: please take a min to read the lovely comment below - it’s rather - er - pertinent to this gentleman