Wednesday 28 June 2017

Accepting Hiberno-English as the far superior cúpla focal

'While respecting the rightful place of Irish in our nation’s psyche, let’s be realists and acknowledge the English dialect that has served us very well indeed.' Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images
'While respecting the rightful place of Irish in our nation’s psyche, let’s be realists and acknowledge the English dialect that has served us very well indeed.' Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images

Lorraine Courtney

English is the go-to language for EU institutions - but no state other than the UK has registered it as its primary language. This means that its legal status could be removed when the country finally Brexits, even though English is in everyday use here and in Malta. It will only cease to be used if every member state of the EU votes to abandon it, which is certainly highly improbable.

All the same, shouldn't we finally embrace English as our first official language? Granted, Irish has enjoyed something of a new lease of life due to its popularity in drink-driving cases. But, does it make complete sense to pin our national identity to a language that we don't speak and seldom use?

"We have a regulation... where every EU country has the right to notify one official language," Danuta Hübner, the Polish MEP who heads the European parliament's constitutional affairs committee, told a press conference yesterday. "The Irish have notified Gaelic and the Maltese have notified Maltese, so you have only the UK notifying English." French politicians have, unsurprisingly, also led calls since the Brexit vote for an end to the English language's dominance. "English can no longer be the third working language of the European parliament," said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a French presidential candidate.

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