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Irish really speaks to me

Sir -- Fair play to Marc Coleman and his insight into language development. It is clear from his article (Sunday Independent, January 3, 2010) that he is having fun with Irish and so it should be. We are missing a wealth of opportunities in doing things through Erse other than talking through it.

The Government has published, to be fair, a first draft of a language strategy for 2010 to 2030 but it lacks imagination. As Mr Coleman has discovered, language is all about usage and the digital age provides an infinite variety of ways to deliver language. Mr Coleman alluded to voicemail as one such example. If your voicemail is in Irish or is bilingual, it acts immediately as an identifier.

It challenges people to interpret what is being said and, as Marc has rightly pointed out, 1.8 million people in Ireland have some command of the language. They may not speak it, but many can understand it and that comprehension in itself requires exploitation.

Where is the Foras na Gaeilge competition to incentivise clever, witty, Irish or bilingual business voicemails? I may be a sucker for language, but when I hear or see Irish used as a marketing strategy, it catches my attention. There are many others like me, yet the message has not yet percolated through -- you will sell more in Ireland if you do it through Irish.

Don't take my word for it, ask the people who brand their business in Irish or bilingually.

Let us wake up to Mr Coleman's clarion call.

Vincent Holmes,


Sunday Independent