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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2005-03 > 1112117742

From: "Virginia Beck" <>
Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] In Ireland you've got to read the language
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:35:42 -0800
References: <BAY103-F18BCBB6423DD0B44458732BB450@phx.gbl>

> In an age where many people bemoan English's growing global influence,
> advocates of local languages scored a small victory Monday when Ireland
> enacted a law outlawing English in road signs and official maps on much of
> the nation's western coast, where many people speak Gaelic.
> Locals concede the switch will confuse foreigners in an area that depends
> heavily on tourism, but they say it's the price of patriotism.

This is reminiscent of the "French language only" experiment in Quebec,
Canada. We traveled through the area at that time in a motor home. We wanted
to see the beautiful province, but spoke no French. Amply warned about the
ban against English language (not confined to road signs, but mandatory for
all areas of government & private business, including spoken and written
communication), we stocked up on groceries before we crossed the border, and
prepared to drive through with as few stops as possible. We discovered that,
though many residents stuck to the letter of the law, some who depended on
tourism for a living were
adding little hand-made signs in English to indicate what they offered. We
were saved a long drive into a national park to camp simply because my
husband recognized the French word for "closed" due to childhood insults
exchanged with his sister. She studied French in HS, he studied Spanish,
and they used to tell each other to "close your mouth" in those respective
languages! We found the atmosphere a bit intimidating, and, perhaps
unintentionally, slightly hostile. At Albert Parc, where we stayed
overnight, the attendant spoke English to us, but would speak only French to
our British Columbia neighbors. The impact on tourism and business was
quite negative. I can't recall just how long the ban lasted, but it was
eventually rescinded. Virginia

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