> >I would agree with you for the most part - though I think that it is more
> >important that we have Modern Irish translations of Harry Potter or
> >King for the Irish-speaking community...
>If the aim is to even more speedily eradicate a culture, by substituting
>something else, and making thousand-year-old evidence inaccessible to an
>Irish-speaker in a modern country, I would have to agree with you there.
All that I am saying is that modern Irish literature needs to stay current
with the rest of the world and not be locked into only reflecting on its own
I happen to be one of those people that loves reading ancient and medieval
literature, but I realize that I am a minority of readers - not everyone is
interested in 1000 year old stories.
I am not at all saying that medieval Irish texts should not be translated
into Modern Irish - but (realizing that there aren't that many companies
that publish Mod. Ir. books) rather that a balance should be struck between
publishing Mod.Ir. translations of Old/Middle Irish literature and
contemporary works from around the world (unless you would rather have Irish
children reading Harry Potter in English?). Young people want to read what
is popular - not archaic texts that they are told are good for them to read.
Of course, anyone Irish speakers interested in Irish history and mythology
should be able to access good Modern Irish translations - I am all for that
- but we must face reality that the majority of Irish people are never going
to be as interested in the old literature as scholars are.
Finally, we cannot contain a culture in a box and hold it forever - cultures
change over time and we cannot stop this process. From my perspective, the
best way to ensure the survival of Celtic languages (and the culture and
philosophy that is already hard-wired into the various languages) is to make
them fully integrated with the modern world. We need to look at India and
Israel for inspiration to see how cultures with cherished classical
languages and literature can still be modern countries, fully enjoying
popular culture from around the world, while maintaining important ties with
the past and not giving up their cultural identity.
Irish culture won't be destroyed by American and English pop-culture as long
as it is presented in an Irish medium (just as German culture isn't
destroyed by watching dubbed episodes of Star Trek).
- Chris Gwinn
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