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Subject: Re: Names
From: mike brown <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:mike brown <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 20 Oct 1998 22:29:39 +1000
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I seem to be having problems with sending yhis message (it keeps getting
sent back to me. I apologise if this posting repeats itself 2 or 3 times on
the list.

Neil wrote:
>   Let's be fair here: in the first place, these names are rendered in
>English phonetics because it's the English that have to use them, just
>as for instance Irish speakers say "An Róimh" instead of "Rome".  And
>in any case, many place-name redunancies and mistakes date to a very
>long time ago when people were not concerned about such things; even the
>idea of a correct spelling standard in English only dates back a few
>centuries.

Sorry, have to disagree with you again Neil! You say these names are
rendered in English phonetics because it is them who have to use them. You
then support this argument by stating that the Irish say "An Roimh" instead
of "Rome". A major flaw: the Irish say their version of Rome only amongst
themselves - they don't force this upon the Italians living in Rome.
Similarly, the French call Wales Pays de Galles, but don't inflict it upon
us. The English however, forced their version of place names upon the
indigenous population of my Country. Also, it seems as though you suggest
that indigenous populations are not concerned about such changes. That
doesn't make sense when the English went to the extremes of building bloody
great big castles in our land, and passed punitive laws against our language
(as in other less powerful countries). Methinks they did this because of the
fierce local opposition to such imperialism - if people weren't concerned
with the changes (then or now) then the English wouldn't have bothered.

>You could say this about many of the placenames in the New World.
>Nevertheless, those place-names are greatly valued by most of the
>current inhabitants.  It should go without saying that history is
>created on an ongoing basis and that names like "Avon River" or "New
>York" or "Londonderry" have their own history.

Usually (but not always)a history of oppression and conquest which may still
be occuring.

>>  Or they spend too much time worrying about little symbolic things
>like place-names, rather than dealing with the issues of substance?

Neil, I must say I find this attitude insulting (I know you don't intend it
to be). To suggest that a movement which tries to restore its original
language (whether through place names, road signs, offical documents etc) is
only worrying about little [petty?]things grossly underestimates what
they're trying to do and what they've achieved. The fact that a Welsman or
woman can now defend themselves in a British court (only in the last couple
of years - so much for equality) using their mother tongue has come on the
back of worrying about these little symbolic things.

Hwyl fawr cyfaill,
Mike.

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