Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gaelgrrrr!

Having grown up in Canada where bilingualism is the order of the day, it is always a shock to be faced with the second class status of the Irish language in Ireland. My latest experience has me fuming. My daughter participated in the BT Young Scientist Competition/Exhibition this year, with a project done in Irish, the language she is being schooled in. Firstly, there were only English-language application forms to fill out, though many a coláiste (Irish language high school) participate every year. Secondly, not one of her three judges could speak or read Irish so she had to translate her material for them. Thirdly, when I rang the BT Young Scientist office to ask why there were no Irish language judges, the official actually said to me "well, I'm surprised that anyone does a project totally in Irish. I would recommend that they be bilingual." Really, says I, and do you think the English-language projects should be bilingual also? She didn't answer that one. Apparently BT Young Scientist doesn't give a damn about the Irish language. One year, get this, they gave the Irish language prize to an English-language project! Maybe that's the problem with having a BRITISH company running the show? For "BT" stands for British Telecom. So why isn't an Irish company sponsoring the youth of Ireland and the language of Ireland?

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