Thursday, September 14, 2017

An Ghaeilge faoi Bhláth

I have already commented, in my post on the Jacobs Archive Exhibition, on the creative use of Irish in the presentations.

I am so fed up with seeing dull, repetitive use of the language as a token genuflection to the first national aim, or, perish the thought, its total misuse and distortion to the point of strangulation.

People seem to forget that the reader will have English, that they will read this in preference, and that repeating the English in Irish simply debases the language and makes its token status crystal clear.

Now this exhibition is a breath of fresh air and understanding. In almost every case, advantage is taken of the Irish to complement the English header, or, as in the above case, to put a bit of jizz into it once the English has done its duty in conveying the factual information.

If I had any influence in the matter I would be recommending Monica in the City Council's Irish Language Unit for a medal. In fact, I would take the medal that Bertie loaned the exhibition and give it to her on the spot. Perhaps Bertie could be persuaded to gazump me on this one.

Regarding the header above: Biscuits at the front is one thing. Brioscaí i mBéal an Chatha has a resonance of biscuits under fire and in the heat of battle.

This, from the general introductory poster for the exhibition, neatly plays to its strength in both languages. The Irish fite fuaite conveys the idea of inextricably bound up with each other, while the English version evokes the various biscuit assortments which mirror history over the years but also coveys an element of heterogeneity. Beautiful stuff.

The Irish here reminds us that the Jacobs archive is now in the permanent possession of the Dublin City Library and Archive.

Here, the Irish reminds us that the missing operative, Jim Figgerty, has not been reported to the police as the operation was simply an advertising campaign by the company, and, a hugely successful one, I should add.

This one evokes the Poet Raftery's long trip west to the Promised Land. It brings a smile to the Irish speaker, or even those just barely familiar with the poem from their schooldays.

For me, there is a wee hint here of keeping up with the Joneses, and Jacobs various Royal selections/assortments would seem to bear this out.

This natty little phrase applies not only to the long saga of the invention and marketing of the perfect cream cracker, but to many things in life, even Beckett's fail and fail again or GK Chesterton's if a thing is worth doing it's worth doing badly. You don't always have to hit your target to get some good out of the effort.

The word impact is sort of neutral. The strains and tensions implied in the Irish give you a sort of preview of the event and its aftermath even before you read the rest of this excellent display.

This is what my primary school teacher, Pimple, would have called píosa filíochta i ngan fhios dó féin or as the English of the day would have it he's a poet and he doesn't know it.

Again the Irish puts a bit of life and humour into a pedestrian English header.

The Irish spells out the health and recreation elements implied in the English title.

Finally, the Irish hints at the necessity for Jacobs to split up into two separate companies to survive the complexities of Irish independence. Interestingly, the problem was to occur again, in slightly different form, with the threat of Ireland's withdrawal from the British Commonwealth of Nations many years later.

And Brexit?

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