Monday, March 17, 2008

Media Mistakes in Irish, part two.

I link to Manchán Magan's website here and have reviewed his two travelogues in English, so his article today in my hometown paper proved a welcome reminder of his familiar (at least to me) jeremiad on his nation's "first official language," once removed. But, the graphic that went along with the brief summary of Magan's "No Béarla" filmed adventure proved his thesis, albeit unwittingly. A spectacled Manchán manque greets two people, peasantish, and they rear up in anger. "Biodh lá maith agat," he tells THEM. And that's the problem, as my letter below to the L.A. Times sent off minutes ago explains. I doubt if this one, anymore than my previous one to the paper's Sports section mine on Kareem Abdul Jabbar's misguided attribution to Pat Riley of the Boston Celtics' cognomen as Viking warriors, will be printed, however.

Randall Enos's cartoon accompanying Manchán Magan's "Gaelic-- What gall?" (March 17) illustrates, probably inadvertently, Magan's own thesis on the decline of Irish-language fluency. Both the depiction-- one man greeting two people with what's loosely translated as "Have a nice day"-- and Glen Hansard's recent thanks to the members of the Academy for his Oscar delivered in Irish make the same mistake. They both use the second-person singular form of address of "agat" rather than the correct plural form of "agaibh."

[Image: my very first self-taught scan! I did not add in efforts to fend off charges of pedantry that Bíodh was missing its accent.]

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