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Subject: Re: word help
From: obroin brian eanna <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:obroin brian eanna <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 3 Nov 1994 13:15:41 -0600
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>
> Eh ? how is it possible to determine which forms of a word are more
> correct then others, nobody would presume that old english forms of words
> are more correct thenm their modern counterparts.
> In a language such as Irish it is imperitive to keep the vocabulary
> dynamic and up to date, otherwise it will die !
 
        I fully agree with you, eh..Dr. X, but I wish people would stop
comparing the situation of Irish with that of English. There is room for
experimentation with English because of the massive base the language
has, and standardisation is not reallly an issue there. Consensus of
speakers and power of the media creates new terminology and idiom in
English (walkman, to bump off, gay, green, afro-american...all of these
terms were at one stage or another suggested and accepted), and no
authorities determine what is right and wrong. With minority languages,
new terminology or idiom  either comes from terminology boards or from
other languages. The consensus that goes with new terms in English (which
can be suggested, tried, tested, used, overused and retired inside a
year) does not apply to Irish. Notice how native speakers refuse to
accept "Gaeilge Nua", preferring to speak English instead. It's not the
words they don't like- it's the authority. The same goes for grammar-
there is considerable resistance to the spelling and grammatical reforms
of the fifties and sixties. This resistance is a healthy thing as long as
it goes on WITHIN the language and doesn't involve rejection of the
language. Language is best altered or renewed by consensus between
speakers and authorities. I'll get worried when the authorities cease to
be challenged.
        Brian O Broin

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