Do you speak Irish?

Question: Do you speak Irish? 

Paul Muldoon: I speak it now about once every ten years or so. But in fact, when I was younger, when I was a teenager, I learned Irish. I learned it at the grammar school, secondary school, high school and in the way I began to learn Latin or French at the age of 12 or so.

There were a few words before then, of course, that were introduced into our vocabulary, but in a way that was very much underhand. One was not strictly speak--it was not the language of the state if anything. If anything, it would have been perceived in many quarters as being somewhat actually against the state. It was a highly politicized language and still is, for better the worse. I hope actually that will change.

So by the time I was 18, for example, I did much better in my Irish exams than I ever did in my English exams, and studied it for a couple of years at university and was quite, pretty good with it.

But, as I said, I am out of the way, I really don’t have the same kind of facility, not the very huge facility, but a reasonable facility in it.

I still do some translation from Irish, mostly from one particular writer, Enula Negonal. She was the great Irish language poet of the era, so I go back mostly to read her poems, to make sense of them by translating them and so that’s the Irish language experience.

But I went off as a kid, for example, in the way that American kids go to camp, summer camp. We went to language camp, as it were, off to the far flung little areas of Ireland on the west coast, predominantly small, poor areas that had been hard-to-find, out-of-the way spots, islands, peninsulas where the Irish language is still being spoken.

 

Recorded on: Jan 30, 2008

 

 

 

The Irish language was highly politicized in Muldoon's youth.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less