Scríobh David Stifter:
> ....It was coincidence that our books appeared almost
> simultaneously (he beat me for a few months), together with a third such
> undertaking, Tigges' and O Bearra's book...
> In any case, I think the situation on the market for texts for beginners
> in Old Irish has very much improved in the past 3-4 years.
With the notable exception of the native Irish, because there is still
no handbook suitable for students coming into university (as I did) from
Irish-speaking schools. This matter came up yet again at a party in my
house this weekend, where some shared sad stories of being either
bullied or subtly discouraged from continuing Old Irish Studies at
university by being made for the first time in our lives to take lecture
notes and write work in English and worse, to quote German references or
else be ignored by people paid to teach us, because their focus was more
on pleasing their peers overseas!
This, for Irish university students who had successfully acquired
competence in French and Latin at all-Irish secondary schools, was a
shock to our systems from which few of us recovered. Many of those who
did "recover", unfortunately, later became captives of that same system
which is still delaying the development of native scholarship in this
It is one thing, as I have said on this list before, to chat affably in
Modern Irish with Old Irish scholars during coffee breaks at seminars
and conferences about all things Old Irish, quite another to see those
same people we respect break eager students' hearts with a snap when
they (un)consciously switch off our language as soon they get to go up
on a podium (or into print).
31 Lúnasa 2009