Gaeilge - should we keep it?

Elements of Irish politics want to minimise compulsory teaching of it

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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#121  Postby HughMcB » Sep 28, 2012 4:22 pm

Wikipedia wrote:In Ireland, a public school (Irish: scoil phoiblí) is a non fee-paying school which is funded by the State, while a private school (Irish: scoil phríobháideach) is part funded by the State and is fee-paying. The Irish State pays all the teachers in the private sector just as it pays teachers in the public sector. The State also pays for capital expenditure such as buildings in the private sector. Irish law recognises the right of parents to educate their children as they wish and this choice includes private education. However, private education in Ireland, as we can see, is somewhat misleading. It is not entirely private. The State foot the majority of the cost while the main function of the fee is to reserve this type of education for the elite. The fee, combined with State investment in these schools, gives a distinct State supported competitive advantage to these students in the Irish education system. The Irish Leaving Certificate is a State exam taken by all Irish students before they leave secondary school. This exam is the sole and only factor considered for entry into third level education.Many public and private schools in Ireland teach religion.

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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#122  Postby HughMcB » Sep 28, 2012 4:23 pm

From what I recall, most Irish speaking schools are fee paying. At least all the ones I knew of.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#123  Postby Saim » Sep 28, 2012 7:23 pm

zulumoose wrote:From the wiki page, commenting on the 2011 census information.

Of the 1.77 million who indicated they could speak Irish, 77,185 said they speak it daily outside the education system. A further 110,642 said they spoke it weekly


So just 10.6% of those who CAN speak it, and live in its country of origin, where it is an official language, find a use for it once a week or more, despite artificial promotion of the language. It is less used than Polish IN IRELAND.

Useless and pathetic to force the issue, particularly in a population of 4.58 million, where only 77000 speak it daily, less than 2%. Consider also that those sub-2% of people are largely concentrated in isolated rural areas, making the political promotion of the language among the unwilling (as shown by the high failure rate after 14 years of teaching) in other areas seem particularly false.


The unwilling? Let's look at some actual statistics, shall we:

The above tendency was also confirmed by responses to the statement ‘I think the
Irish language is central to Irish culture and history’. 72.62% responded positively,
22.86% answered ‘not really’ while only 4.52% said ‘no’. This attitude to Irish
correlated to a certain knowledge of the language. The vast majority of respondents
claimed (correctly) that Irish exists in three main dialects and that before the Great
Famine (1845-8) more than 50% of the population spoke Irish natively (see Figures 4
and 5 below). Knowledge of speaker numbers today was also fairly accurate: 5.88%
believed that there were about 500,000 native speakers currently, 31.82% thought this
number was around 100,000 while 62.30% believed (correctly) that the number was
less that 50,000. Future prospects for the Irish language were generally seen
optimistically with 70.26% believing that the language would survive through the
twenty-first century
. This belief was reflected in the statistics for respondents’ personal
assessment of the future for the language: 55.53% would regard the demise of Irish as a
cause for considerable concern, 27.53% for reasonable concern, 10.82% for mild
concern,
while only 6.12% would see it as no cause for concern.


So at very best you can say 4.5% of the population is "forced on" with Irish (those who say it's not at all central to Irish history and culture). On the 70% who have very positive opinions of Irish, how can this be "forcing" just because they're not native speakers?

This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools. That's why I don't really care if Irish instruction is compulsory in English schools, what's important is that there are more Irish schools. Given the opportunity to learn it (most people aren't crazy like me and learn languages in their free time), most Irish would learn the language. So what's wrong with making it easier for people to learn it?

HughMcB wrote:Well to be fair, some are private and some are not. Depends really.

I'm still not too sure how a public Irish speaking school is more of a drain than a public English speaking school.

They still teach the same subjects, give the same certifications, pay the teachers the same money. etc.

I'm wondering the same thing. :scratch:

Scot Dutchy wrote:
HughMcB wrote:I'm not too sure I get your drift here. In societies there are always snobs, these snobs often pay a premium for their children's education. What does it matter if it's some snooty school or an irish speaking school?


The air of superiority they carried with them; "we all speak Irish at home". It is very much who you know gets their kid in.

That's actual a good sign for the language, believe it or not! When a language has prestige, it is more likely to expand and less likely to die out.

Anyway, this phenomenon would exist anyway. In Ireland, just as in other Anglophone countries, there is a prestige dialect of English that is used in the same way you've described Irish here. So why does it matter if it's "the Irish language" instead of "upper-class Irish English" that's being used this way?

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Yes even to me it sounds rough. I understand it alright. A sort of simplistic Dutch. The grammar is less complicated.
I used to read a few Afrikaans rugby books. It quite funny at times.

This is a bit of an aside, but only its morphology is more simple, not it's grammar as a whole. It's a great deal harder to measure how much "grammar" a language has, because grammar isn't just morphology (which is indeed simpler in Afrikaans: ik is, jy is, julle is, hulle is, as opposed to the Dutch ik ben, hij is jij bent, jullie zijn and so on). I think this was talked about this in one of Zwaarddijks posts in the "introduction to Linguistics thread", check it out.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#124  Postby Saim » Sep 28, 2012 8:07 pm

zulumoose wrote:
Some people like doing things that you don't find particularly interesting.


Absolutely, I'm all for free participation, but that is nothing to do with compulsory subjects at school is it?

What would you say to the politically promoted revival of a compulsory school sport which less than 2% of the population have an interest in, though they ALL play and support another sport which is already played at school?

More than 70% actually, and the fact that you'd compare language with sport in that way is really emblematic of your myopic Anglocentric worldview...

Would you support it because playing any additional sport might make you better at a 3rd sport which you might show an interest in some day? Nonsense reasoning.

Well, I do think sport should be taught at all schools...

Many people who support language minorities are internationalists and progressives, fancy that! Is this just "wrongly placed internationalism.

Anyway, off to a Catalan class. Oh wait, that's also misguided nationalism, isn't it?


Yes, it is wrongly placed internationalism to artificially promote a minority beyond reason and utility.

There's no "internationalism" without recognizing that the human race is composed of many different peoples that are all essentially equal, and have the same right to dignity and generational transmission if identity and language without having a foreign one imposed on them. Anything else is chauvinism, not internationalism.


It is a bit like introducing homeopathy as a school subject, because a minority insist it is useful and although there is no evidence that it has practical value, we wouldn't want to be accused of not promoting their interests.

Except homeopathy is bullshit. Irish is an actual skill.

Did you CHOOSE to participate in a Catalan class? How would you feel about forcing it on the unwilling?

Spanish immersion schools are banned in Catalonia. As it should be. Well, I would support mixed medium (Spanish/Catalan) schools, but this situation is still better than the alternative situation - no one in what are essentially Spanish colony neighbourhoods around Barcelona being able to speak Catalan, and Catalan losing its ground even in Barcelona itself.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#125  Postby zulumoose » Sep 30, 2012 6:55 pm

Saim wrote:The unwilling? Let's look at some actual statistics, shall we:

The above tendency was also confirmed by responses to the statement ‘I think the
Irish language is central to Irish culture and history’. 72.62% responded positively,
22.86% answered ‘not really’ while only 4.52% said ‘no’. This attitude to Irish
correlated to a certain knowledge of the language. The vast majority of respondents
claimed (correctly) that Irish exists in three main dialects and that before the Great
Famine (1845-8) more than 50% of the population spoke Irish natively (see Figures 4
and 5 below). Knowledge of speaker numbers today was also fairly accurate: 5.88%
[size=50][/size][size=50]believed that there were about 500,000 native speakers currently, 31.82% thought this
number was around 100,000 while 62.30% believed (correctly) that the number was
less that 50,000. Future prospects for the Irish language were generally seen
optimistically with 70.26% believing that the language would survive through the
twenty-first century
. This belief was reflected in the statistics for respondents’ personal
assessment of the future for the language: 55.53% would regard the demise of Irish as a
cause for considerable concern, 27.53% for reasonable concern, 10.82% for mild
concern,
while only 6.12% would see it as no cause for concern.


So at very best you can say 4.5% of the population is "forced on" with Irish (those who say it's not at all central to Irish history and culture). On the 70% who have very positive opinions of Irish, how can this be "forcing" just because they're not native speakers?

This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools. That's why I don't really care if Irish instruction is compulsory in English schools, what's important is that there are more Irish schools. Given the opportunity to learn it (most people aren't crazy like me and learn languages in their free time), most Irish would learn the language. So what's wrong with making it easier for people to learn it?



Your comprehension doesn't seem to be very objective here. The conclusions you have drawn do not follow from the facts.

Let's say I found a survey that showed only 5% of English people did not think Shakespeare was central to culture and history. Does this mean that 95% of the population would want to study Shakespeare at school, or that their knowledge of it after school would only be poor if the teaching of it were sub-standard? Nonsense.

What people say in an easy attitude survey has little relation to what children are prepared to spend years studying at school, particularly if only 2% of them have any use for it afterwards. To imply that the easy survey answer means 95.5% are willing to study enough to become speakers and fail only because the teaching is poor is really pathetic.

Do you understand now?

Now please point out to me where the survey shows "70% who have very positive opinions of Irish", because I only see "70.26% believing that the language would survive through the twenty-first century" which would have a lot to do with compulsory teaching would it not? The use of the word "optimistically" was not regarding peoples positive opinion of the language, but their estimation of its chances of survival, which would be regardless of whether they loved it or hated it. You have misconstrued again.

Saim wrote:"This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools."


Please back up that statement. I find it absolutely ludicrous that you think a language almost nobody has any use for is only unsuccessfully taught at school as a compulsory subject because the teaching is poor. Kids are kids, and they almost universally hate being taught things they have no interest in or use for, with impractical languages high on the list of things they detest.

I have been through this, with Latin and French classes in the U.K and Afrikaans classes in S.A. My kids now have Zulu classes as well, and I have yet to meet the kid who learns enthusiastically a language unless they already have intentions of using it in the future. A very small percentage indeed.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#126  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 01, 2012 9:39 am

How many of the population speak Zulu?

I will tell you go around Dublin or Cork and ask how many have used Irish since they left school. I bet you it will be a very very small percentage. My wife has an Irish girlfriend who came from the well to do side of Dublin. She does not hardly know any Irish and she says it was common, where she lived and going to expensive private schools, to drop Irish as fast as possible.

I wonder if anyone has calculated the cost of everything that has to printed in two languages? Even the road signs cost a fortune.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#127  Postby zulumoose » Oct 01, 2012 10:26 am

How many of the population speak Zulu?


It is a strange situation. Here in Kwazulu-Natal the vast majority of the population speak Zulu, but we are living in two worlds.

There is a 1st world and a 3rd world component, and the 1st world component of society/business/education speaks English. In the overlaps everyone speaks English, and only in the 3rd world will you find people who cannot communicate in English. It is almost universally accepted that the Zulu language is for cultural purposes, and the English language for practical purposes.

Afrikaans has its little enclaves here and there, particularly in rural or agricultural areas, but is like a foreign language in much of KZN.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#128  Postby tuco » Oct 01, 2012 11:43 am

Saim wrote:

[snip]

There's no "internationalism" without recognizing that the human race is composed of many different peoples that are all essentially equal, and have the same right to dignity and generational transmission if identity and language without having a foreign one imposed on them. Anything else is chauvinism, not internationalism.

[snip]



Indeed. However, it seems the motto of EU: "United in diversity" is beyond capabilities (or willingness?) of many and the only "equality" recognized and understood is equality so to say mathematical ~ identity. In this sense, and as much as I identify with such ideal, such ideas are idealistic rather than realistic. Well, maybe its too much for the hairless monkeys, or maybe in 100 000 years from now .. /shrugs
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#129  Postby Saim » Oct 01, 2012 11:46 am

zulumoose wrote:
Saim wrote:The unwilling? Let's look at some actual statistics, shall we:

The above tendency was also confirmed by responses to the statement ‘I think the
Irish language is central to Irish culture and history’. 72.62% responded positively,
22.86% answered ‘not really’ while only 4.52% said ‘no’. This attitude to Irish
correlated to a certain knowledge of the language. The vast majority of respondents
claimed (correctly) that Irish exists in three main dialects and that before the Great
Famine (1845-8) more than 50% of the population spoke Irish natively (see Figures 4
and 5 below). Knowledge of speaker numbers today was also fairly accurate: 5.88%
[size=50][/size][size=50]believed that there were about 500,000 native speakers currently, 31.82% thought this
number was around 100,000 while 62.30% believed (correctly) that the number was
less that 50,000. Future prospects for the Irish language were generally seen
optimistically with 70.26% believing that the language would survive through the
twenty-first century
. This belief was reflected in the statistics for respondents’ personal
assessment of the future for the language: 55.53% would regard the demise of Irish as a
cause for considerable concern, 27.53% for reasonable concern, 10.82% for mild
concern,
while only 6.12% would see it as no cause for concern.


So at very best you can say 4.5% of the population is "forced on" with Irish (those who say it's not at all central to Irish history and culture). On the 70% who have very positive opinions of Irish, how can this be "forcing" just because they're not native speakers?

This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools. That's why I don't really care if Irish instruction is compulsory in English schools, what's important is that there are more Irish schools. Given the opportunity to learn it (most people aren't crazy like me and learn languages in their free time), most Irish would learn the language. So what's wrong with making it easier for people to learn it?



Your comprehension doesn't seem to be very objective here. The conclusions you have drawn do not follow from the facts.

Let's say I found a survey that showed only 5% of English people did not think Shakespeare was central to culture and history. Does this mean that 95% of the population would want to study Shakespeare at school, or that their knowledge of it after school would only be poor if the teaching of it were sub-standard? Nonsense.

What people say in an easy attitude survey has little relation to what children are prepared to spend years studying at school, particularly if only 2% of them have any use for it afterwards. To imply that the easy survey answer means 95.5% are willing to study enough to become speakers and fail only because the teaching is poor is really pathetic.

Do you understand now?

Now please point out to me where the survey shows "70% who have very positive opinions of Irish", because I only see "70.26% believing that the language would survive through the twenty-first century" which would have a lot to do with compulsory teaching would it not? The use of the word "optimistically" was not regarding peoples positive opinion of the language, but their estimation of its chances of survival, which would be regardless of whether they loved it or hated it. You have misconstrued again.

I was talking about the 72.62% who think it's central to their history and culture. I'd say that's a positive attitude (from the perspective of someone who values minority languages).

Saim wrote:"This 70% hasn't learned the language simply because the quality of Irish instruction is (or at least was) shit in English-medium schools."


Please back up that statement. I find it absolutely ludicrous that you think a language almost nobody has any use for is only unsuccessfully taught at school as a compulsory subject because the teaching is poor. Kids are kids, and they almost universally hate being taught things they have no interest in or use for, with impractical languages high on the list of things they detest.

I have been through this, with Latin and French classes in the U.K and Afrikaans classes in S.A. My kids now have Zulu classes as well, and I have yet to meet the kid who learns enthusiastically a language unless they already have intentions of using it in the future. A very small percentage indeed.

I'm sorry you find it ludicrous, because you're just wrong. Better quality Irish instruction - i.e., Irish immersion universally produces proficient speakers.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#130  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 01, 2012 11:49 am

For what purpose? It is a waste of money. If people want to learn it let them at their cost.

Stop wasting money.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#131  Postby tuco » Oct 01, 2012 12:00 pm

You consider it as waste of money and you have one vote. And indeed, if those who are concerned want to learn it they should be able to since they pay taxes and it is their money, granted they are able to elect sufficient number of their representatives who put it in action.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#132  Postby zulumoose » Oct 01, 2012 12:19 pm

I'm sorry you find it ludicrous, because you're just wrong. Better quality Irish instruction - i.e., Irish immersion universally produces proficient speakers.


Well DUH, what you are saying is it wasn't forced immersion, and that is why they are not fluent. Of course immersion produces proficient speakers, that is not the point at all.

Here is how it works:-

Step 1 - survey asks the public if X is central to the countries culture and history (note - not THEIR culture and history, the difference is important)

Eg - Ask person in England if Shakespeare is central to English culture and history (note not HIS PERSONAL culture and history)

Step 2 - survey declares that 72% responded positively, only 4.5% said no.

Eg - 72% of people in England said yes to Shakespeare question. 4.5% said no.

Step 3 - Saim declares that 70% have a very positive opinion of Shakespeare (which does not follow from the survey), and that only 4.5% would be unwilling to learn it at school (which also does not follow from the survey). If people seem to forget it immediately after school, it has nothing to do with their willingness, or lack of practical use for it, but it is their lack of immersion that is at fault (which is irrelevant, since immersion will make anyone fluent at anything).

The simple truth Saim, is that what the survey indicates would need to be followed up with some very much more specific questions in order to draw the conclusions you seem to think are the result. The Shakespeare example shows, if you think about it, that the real truth regarding peoples willingness to learn the language is quite likely to be the opposite of what you believe. English parents might easily choose to make Shakespeare a compulsory subject, but that does not imply that they think it is important to their own personal culture, nor does it imply that the students would be willing. They could easily do that, thinking they will impose some culture on their children, and at the same time have no intention of ever attending a Shakespearean production in their entire lives. I suspect the same is true regarding attitudes surrounding the Irish language. In both cases the kids will mostly drop it like a poisoned rat at the earliest opportunity.

And the result of forced Irish/Shakespeare?

Over 70% may think that Irish/Shakespeare will survive through the 21st century, but less than 2% will show any interest in it after school (yet most may still choose to have it imposed on their own children).

See my point?
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#133  Postby Saim » Oct 01, 2012 3:50 pm

I'm still having trouble seeing your point. The amount of people who want Irish to be a compulsory subject in English schools is still a majority, AFAIK. Something I don't necessarily support by the way - I would rather the government promote Irish medium schools. I would want Irish immersion to be more readily available to people, as Scot Dutchy is right in pointing out it is a "snob" thing that's available to a very limited amount of students compared to the amount of people who would like to be educated in that medium.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#134  Postby zulumoose » Oct 02, 2012 7:10 am

I think you are battling because you are the rare sort of person who has an affinity for other languages, and do not realise how much of a minority position that is.

What the parents want does not always reflect reality, as I tried to show with the Shakespeare example. Time spent on Shakespeare, reaching very few kids and causing more resentment than anything, is time that would be better spent on more modern literature, unless the students are actually interested, NOT the parents.

The same is true of languages. Who wants to be placed in an immersion school based on a dying language that only 2% of the population manage to find a use for? The parents might have some sort of idea that their children will benefit from culture and history and identity, but I suspect they will be doing them more of a disservice than anything. The kids are unlikely to want it, and may be hugely disadvantaged, as the world around them including the entirety of business, international travel, the bulk of the entertainment industry, science, and the resources of the internet are all in other languages, notably more English than others, a language that is already 100% available in Ireland.

Immersion in English, 100% beneficial and practical.
Immersion in Irish, arguably no benefit at all, impractical, and likely to be resented by many.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#135  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 02, 2012 8:58 am

zulumoose wrote:Immersion in English, 100% beneficial and practical.
Immersion in Irish, arguably no benefit at all, impractical, and likely to be resented by many.


Yes that is a good summary. :thumbup:

It would be far better if the energy put into learning Irish would be put into another modern language like Manderin which in the future will be an important economic language.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#136  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 02, 2012 8:58 am

zulumoose wrote:Immersion in English, 100% beneficial and practical.
Immersion in Irish, arguably no benefit at all, impractical, and likely to be resented by many.


Yes that is a good summary. :thumbup:

It would be far better if the energy put into learning Irish would be put into another modern language like Manderin which in the future will be an important economic language.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#137  Postby I'm With Stupid » Oct 02, 2012 9:14 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
zulumoose wrote:Immersion in English, 100% beneficial and practical.
Immersion in Irish, arguably no benefit at all, impractical, and likely to be resented by many.


Yes that is a good summary. :thumbup:

It would be far better if the energy put into learning Irish would be put into another modern language like Manderin which in the future will be an important economic language.

I'd say it'd be better to put energy into learning a language that we already know is an important economic language, rather than guessing what might become so in the future. In the 80s, a lot of people said the same thing about Japanese as they do about Mandarin today. I'd say French and Spanish are still the better prospects, because they're already important economic languages, but are also spoken by vast numbers of people in emerging economies.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#138  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 02, 2012 9:17 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:
zulumoose wrote:Immersion in English, 100% beneficial and practical.
Immersion in Irish, arguably no benefit at all, impractical, and likely to be resented by many.


Yes that is a good summary. :thumbup:

It would be far better if the energy put into learning Irish would be put into another modern language like Manderin which in the future will be an important economic language.

I'd say it'd be better to put energy into learning a language that we already know is an important economic language, rather than guessing what might become so in the future. In the 80s, a lot of people said the same thing about Japanese as they do about Mandarin today. I'd say French and Spanish are still the better prospects, because they're already important economic languages, but are also spoken by vast numbers of people in emerging economies.


Maybe you are right. Anything is better than Irish.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#139  Postby I'm With Stupid » Oct 02, 2012 9:26 am

Lol. I went to university in Wales, and a minority of Welsh-speakers were ridiculously aggressive. It wasn't enough that the university did most courses in both languages, the mere fact that they were doing any courses in English was somehow insulting to them. You'd see graffiti on stuff all the time basically calling for Welsh rather than English tuition. The real irony was that when someone did go to the effort to learn the language, they wouldn't speak to them. I knew someone who spend a year in the Welsh-speaking halls, and no-one would speak to her because she was from Newport, and had an English accent, despite the fact that she was fluent in Welsh. Having said all that, I had absolutely no problems with the stereotypical Welsh-speakers refusing to speak English to English people, so I think that's a myth, at least outside of up-themselves students desperate for a cause.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#140  Postby Scot Dutchy » Oct 02, 2012 10:45 am

Yes language snobs.
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