Talk:Éamon Ó Cuív

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Pro-British Commonwealth speech in Dáil Éireann.[edit]

Does anyone know that Éamon Ó Cuív gave a speech in Dáil Éireann in 1997 that called for Ireland to rejoin the British Commonwealth? If anyone can find the text of this speech, which raised more than a few eyebrows, it would be of interest to a lot of people. (Aidan Work 01:56, 18 November 2005 (UTC))

I've added a profile.[edit]

I have added a profile. See 'External Link.' at the bottom of the article. - (Aidan Work 02:59, 14 December 2005 (UTC))

Irish surname?[edit]

Is his surname "officially" in Irish - because there is no letter 'v' in the Gaelic alphabet. Bastun 00:02, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it is. His father was the one and only Brian Ó Cuív, and his grandfather was John Ó Cuív, a Cork journalist. It was the latter who, in the early 20th century, changed the spelling from Ó Caoimh to Ó Cuív because he favoured a more simplified spelling system. This is according to Diarmaid Breathnach writing in a letter to The Irish Times in the past 18 months. Although personally I remember reading a satirical magazine years ago called The Phoenix magazine. The writer there pointed out that on the ballot paper in Conamara he is down as 'Cuív, Éamon', with the 'Ó' dropped. (statistically, the nearer your surname is to the letter 'A' on the alphabetical listing that is the ballot paper, the higher is your chance of being elected). El Gringo 22:12, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

No 'V' in Irish[edit]

It never ceases to amaze me how many times non-Irish speakers claim there is no 'v' in the Irish alphabet. This is utter nonsense. Words containing 'v' are listed in Ó Dónaill, de Bhaldraithe, An Caighdeán Oifigiúil and in Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí to name a few as well as in thousands of terms on focal.ie. Éamon Ó Cuív's grandfather Seán (or 'Shán Ó Cuív') as he spelled it in his own simplified spelling) published a number of books in his 'Letiriú Simplí'. 'Ó Cuív' is very much the official spelling of the minister's surname and is objected to by none apart from the aforementioned non-Irish speakers. But, as they say, alas, 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. An Muimhneach Machnamhach 17:14, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Who are these non-Irish speakers you speak of? I'm an Irish speaker (well, actually, no, I'm not - but I did learn Irish from 4 to 17). There was no 'V' in the Irish alphabet thought to me by those selfsame Christian Brothers. The Irish orthography article agrees. There are any number of ways of rendering a 'v' sound, but none depend on using a letter 'v'. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 17:39, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
The sorts of people who have little or no knowledge of the language themselves. Who have not studied Old, Middle or Classical Irish. Who have virtually no knowledge of Irish linguistics. Who have no qualifications in the language. People who think that spelling conventions in vogue pre-1958 must still be in use in 2007. These are the people I speak of. I work as a professional translator. I am a first language native Irish speaker. I spend all day every day translating legal documents into Irish. The Irish orthography article states: "The alphabet now used for writing the Irish language consists of the following letters, written in antiqua:

a á b c d e é f g h i í l m n o ó p r s t u ú; Modern loanwords also make use of j k q v w x y z. Of these, j and v are the most common. The letters' names are spelt out thus:"

"Modern loanwords" they may be but they are still integral Irish language words which have been in the language for over fifty years AND are accepted by all of the sources previously mentioned thus making 'v' as much an Irish letter as any other. New words are being devised all the time by An Coiste Téarmaíochta containing v, w, y etc. "Those selfsame Christian Brothers" you speak of seem to have no problem at all listing 'v' as a letter in the Irish language. See for yourself in Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, page 1. On page 121 of Gramadach na Gaeilge agus Litriú na Gaeilge: An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, a detailed account is given of what positions in words 'v' is used.

"There are any number of ways of rendering a 'v' sound, but none depend on using a letter 'v'." I presume you're referring here to 'bh' or 'mh' instead of 'v'. Now there was a very sound historic and linguistic reason for introducing 'v' into Irish in the first place. 'Bh' and 'mh' in Irish exist only as the lenited forms of 'b' and 'm' respectively. Now, are you suggesting that words such as 'vóitín', 'vácarnach' and 'vuinsciú' be spelled 'bhóitín' or 'mhóitín', 'bhácarnach' or 'mhácarnach', 'bhuinsciú' or 'mhuinsciú' in spite of the fact that the phonemes /b/ or /m/ never existed in these words historically/. And how about the risk of 'bh' or 'mh' being mistakenly taken for /w/ by learners? How do you bypass that problem? Are we writing Irish here or Scottish Gaelic? Should we just abandon a spelling convention that has worked without any problems for almost fifty years? An Muimhneach Machnamhach 20:01, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd agree if the language is to survive it needs to change and adapt. No disagreement there. And its 20+ years since I've learnt Irish. Its just a pity the language needs some sort of quasi-official body to decide hey, here's some new letters to use, and (apparently) over the course of 50 years doesn't manage to communicate that to everyone - including primary and secondary school teachers. Because when I was going to school, there wasn't a 'v' or 'y' in Irish. Loanwords aside - there still isn't. As mentioned in a comment above, it was Ó Cuiv's grandfather who changed the spelling of his surname from a perfectly orthodox 'mh' to 'v' - doesn't that warrant some mention in the article? BastunBaStun not BaTsun 13:25, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
"Its just a pity the language needs some sort of quasi-official body to decide hey, here's some new letters to use, and (apparently) over the course of 50 years doesn't manage to communicate that to everyone - including primary and secondary school teachers." Really?! Can this be so? I've never heard this from any Irish speakers I've ever met, and I've spent years working and socialising with Irish speakers from every corner of the country. As for school teachers, most of them can barely utter a coherent sentence in Irish, let alone actually spell correctly. I spent a number of years giving B.Ed. students in a third level college Irish grammar tutorials. I've also had the displeasure of working alongside a number of secondary school teachers in various capacities. In what other country would you find teachers teaching a language that they themselves can't actually speak or write properly? "Because when I was going to school, there wasn't a 'v' or 'y' in Irish. Loanwords aside - there still isn't." Yes, before 1958 the letters 'v', 'x', 'j', 'y' and 'z' were not officially sanctioned in the Irish alphabet. I presume you attended school pre-1958. Very good. However, this is the year 2007. So, you're still claiming there is no 'v' in Irish? So, Niall Ó Dónaill's Foclóir Gaeilge - Béarla, An Caighdeán Oifigiúil and focal.ie, to name a few completely authoritive and reliable sources are all wrong, are they? How can a letter simultaneously exist in a language's orthography and, uh, simultaneously not exist, as you claim?
"As mentioned in a comment above, it was Ó Cuiv's grandfather who changed the spelling of his surname from a perfectly orthodox 'mh' to 'v' - doesn't that warrant some mention in the article?". Uh, yes, indeed it does warrant some mention in the article, however that was not the point that you were originally making. You were claiming that Ó Cuív uses a 'v' in spelling his name despite 'v' not existing in the Irish alphabet. That is patently false and that is why I removed it from the article. Ó Cuív was indeed Ó Caoimh originally, however, it is not for me to dictate to Éamon Ó Cuív on how he should spell his own surname nor for anyone else either. An Muimhneach Machnamhach 19:18, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
One more thing. The rules of spelling used and accepted by Irish speakers today and in use for generations were agreed upon by the Translation Section of the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas and not by "some sort of quasi-official body" as you claim. An Muimhneach Machnamhach 19:33, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
What I stated above was that in the Irish being taught in schools in the 1980s ("And its 20+ years since I've learnt Irish.") the alphabet - as taught to students - did not contain a 'v' - regardless of whether or not words containing a 'v' appeared in any foclóir, translations of Dept. of the Taoiseach circulars, or whatever. A diktat from some Gaelgóir in a government department does not effect common useage, it would seem. Hmm - wouldn't that mean Irish and French are possibly the only two languages in the world to have an official body to decide what is and isn't "official" in their respective languages. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 19:52, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
"What I stated above was that in the Irish being taught in schools in the 1980s ("And its 20+ years since I've learnt Irish.") the alphabet - as taught to students - did not contain a 'v' - regardless of whether or not words containing a 'v' appeared in any foclóir, translations of Dept. of the Taoiseach circulars, or whatever." Really???!! Can it be possible??!! That's not what I remember. And I too went to school in the 1980s. Two things I don't remember ever being taught to us by any of the many teachers I had, firstly the Irish alphabet being specifically taught to pupils and secondly the letter 'v' not being an integral part of that alphabet. What you are asserting here is that the syllabus as laid down by the Department of Education was at variance with the rules as prescribed by Rannóg an Aistriúcháin and in use by lecturers, students, native speakers, the media, the general public etc. across the country. Do you have any evidence to back this up? If so, please produce it for us. And since when did Rannóg an Aistriúcháin translate "Department of the Taoiseach circulars"? Please enlighten us.
"A diktat from some Gaelgóir in a government department does not effect common useage, it would seem." Right, so a spelling system devised in CONSULTATION WITH writers, students, academics, the Irish language media, etc. and agreed upon by all of them can be reduced to "a diktat" from some "Gaelgóir in a government department". I presume you mean "Gaeilgeoir" or just plain old simple "Irish speaker" as us plain folk would say when speaking in English. So, Rannóg an Aistriúcháin is not in fact a section of the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas, strictly independent of any political party but is actually a "government department" made up of some 21 "Gaelgóirs" handing down "diktats" to Irish speakers. Wow. You really are a font of wisdom, aren't you? So, the spelling employed by all of the parties named above, the print and broadcast media, lecturers, writers, students, etc. is not actually "common usage". (Note spelling of usage, please).
"Hmm - wouldn't that mean Irish and French are possibly the only two languages in the world to have an official body to decide what is and isn't "official" in their respective languages."
Uh, no they would not be alone in that regard. English is highly unusual among European languages in not having an official state body prescribing spelling rules. The nearest thing that comes to such a thing would be the editorial board of the Oxford English Dictionary in the United Kingdom and that of Webster's dictionary in the US.An Muimhneach Machnamhach 14:33, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh noes I made a spelling mistake! Please forgive my usage! Gaelgeoir - no, I'm using the usual meaning of English speakers forced to learn Irish via an appalling curriculum - namely, "Irish-language zealot who won't give you any credit for trying to learn or use the language but will condemn you if you get anything the slightest bit wrong." Gaelscoileanna aside - no wonder so few adults speak the language... BastunBaStun not BaTsun 19:11, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

The claim that there is no V in the Irish alphabet is absurd, whatever you may have been taught in school. At best, one can say that the letter V is not usually used in words of native Goidelic origin, and that it wasn't used in Gaelic script. But that fact is far too tangential to the topic of Éamon Ó Cuív to be worth mentioning in this article. —Angr 21:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

To Bastún: Yes, I know full well what "Gaeilgeoir" means and know that it is considered derogatory when used in English and also commonly in Irish. I also believe that anyone choosing that particular word in preference to "Irish speaker" understands all too well the connotations it carries. You implied that the staff of Rannóg an Aistriúcháin are "Gaeilgeoirí" handing down "diktats". So everyone who works there is, in your own words, a "Irish-language zealot who won't give you any credit for trying to learn or use the language but will condemn you if you get anything the slightest bit wrong." I for one find that highly offensive. You have claimed several times that 'v' does not exist in Irish orthography and is not taught in the school curriculum. I have asked you to produce evidence for these bizarre claims and you have failed to do so. You instead come back with the following pearl of erudition: "Because when I was going to school, there wasn't a 'v' or 'y' in Irish. Loanwords aside - there still isn't." So, there you have it. Irish doesn't have 'v' or 'y' because you say so. Nuff said. Case closed. So your antediluvian remembrances are to be valued higher than the work of scholars and translators over many years. Wonderful. And of course it's all rounded off with the typical whinge of the monoglot English speaker: "It's de government's fault I can't speak Irish!! Blame de schools!! Blame de meeja!! Blame de Gailgore zealots!!" etc. etc. etc. An Muimhneach Machnamhach 18:23, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

A) I'm not a monoglot. B) I've already pointed you to the Irish orthography article which states that 'v', 'x', etc., are not present in Irish except in loanwords. C) According to the teacher of one of my children as late as this morning - nope, there is no 'v' in Irish. I'm fully prepared to accept it exists in all those sources you've mentioned above - but the problem is they simply are not common knowledge, even among teachers of the language. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 21:29, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

You seem to be incapable of seeing the incongruity between accepting that headwords beginning with and/or containing ‘v’, ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ are listed in Ó Dónaill and An Caighdeán Oifigiúil and claiming yet again (sigh . . . ) that there is no ‘v’ in the Irish alphabet. The orthography used by Niall Ó Dónaill and in An Caighdeán Oifigiúil IS the orthography of the Modern Irish language!! As for the Irish orthography article stating that ‘v’, ‘x’ etc. only exist in loanwords, that may be true of ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ but not strictly true of ‘v’. In what way is vácarnach a loanword for example? From which language has it been borrowed? Or how about vrác? And the sounds represented by both ‘z’ and ‘x’ and ‘y’ already exist in native spoken Irish (in the case of ‘z’ in West Muskerry and possibly other dialects). And even if most words containing ‘v’ are borrowings from other languages which have been irishised, does that make them any less Irish? If that were the case, we would have to ‘cleanse’ the language of thousands of loanwords such as leabhar, scríobh, eaglais (Latin), buntáiste, saghas, sóinseáil (English), seol, stiúir, sceir (Old Norse), séipéal, seomra (French), Gael (Welsh), síciatraí (Greek), etc. etc. etc.

Who exactly is this school teacher you speak of? What authority does he or she have to dictate to the likes of Niall Ó Dónaill? What qualifies him or her to know more about Irish orthography than a scholar and linguist of his calibre and that of countless other translators, linguists and scholars who work with and through the language every day?

Who are these people who are blissfully unaware of the existence of ‘v’ in Irish orthography? Might they be the virtual monoglot anglophones that make up the mass of the population? Those who who can vaguely remember ‘Dia duit’ or ‘Go raibh maith agat’ from their schooldays and little else? And, tell me this, how many would be unaware of the existence of ‘v’ in véarsa or veidhlín or vóta for example? Have you evidence to back up any of your claims, it would be nice to see some for a change. An Muimhneach Machnamhach 13:47, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

The schoolteacher in question is a qualified teacher in good standing who has obviously passed the Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge. Which - your new example loanwords aside - to me says there is obviously something majorly wrong with the system. Or the people implementing it from their ivory towers... BastunBaStun not BaTsun 00:13, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Right. Let me get this straight. So some school teacher who has passed some sort of certificate for teaching the watered down, pathetic excuse for a language course that is presented to school children is emininently more qualified than Niall Ó Dónaill? According to this mindset, school teachers are oracles of all wisdom when it comes to the Irish language and cannot be contradicted in any way, shape or form. On the other hand, those who actually know what they are talking about, who actually CAN speak the language and DO speak the language EVERY DAY, those who have invested YEARS studying the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language, who translate LEGAL DOCUMENTS into Irish and have postgraduate degrees in the language are all living in "ivory towers", it would seem and must prostrate themselves before the all-knowing, all-seeing school teachers with their certs in hand. The fact that this person might actually be talking out of his or her backside cannot be entertained, of course. Wonderful. Absolutely fecking brilliant. The fact that this person doesn't even understand Irish orthography speaks volumes about the value of the certificate he or she has attained. "There's something wrong with the system", you claim. Really? Now what system would that be? The school system? The teaching of Irish by people who only imperfectly understand the language themselves is a massive joke. Even the dogs in the street know that. I'll toss you an idea, if I may. Instead of coming on here and INCESSANTLY trolling and inserting FALSE information in this article, you and your teacher buddy might actually go and LEARN the language properly. Try one of the adult learner courses that are always in demand in Conradh na Gaeilge, Gael-Linn, Gaelchultúr, etc. all of which are based on modern teaching methods.An Muimhneach Machnamhach 12:11, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
1. Calm down.
2. Stop making such huge assumptions. What I know is that a teacher qualified to teach the primary school curricullum is able to tell me that 'V' is not a native Irish-language letter. And that it exists in loanwords only. I didn't go into this teacher's academic background or upbringing, and for all I (or you) know they might well be a native speaker, as well qualified as you.
3. Don't revert without explanation. You've said above yourself that the information on O Cuiv's surname merits mention in the article. I amended what had been there to reflect your input here. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 14:50, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, amongst other things, I spent three years teaching Irish grammar to first, second and third year students of a B.Ed. course in a third level teacher training college. A college for students of primary level teaching. I now work as a legislative translator. I am a first language Irish speaker. Please do not seek to lecture me on what I know and don't know. I have a masters degree in Modern Irish and have taught many higher level Irish language courses to adults in Conradh na Gaeilge, Gael-Linn and Foras na Gaeilge. The letters j, v, x, y and z are all there in black and white in Ó Dónaill's dictionary and yet you claim again and again that they do not exist in the Irish alphabet. In fact, you seem to be changing the goalposts as you go along. You are now claiming that 'v' is not a native letter which is rather different to claiming that it does not exist in the Irish alphabet. So how long does a letter have to be in use in the language in order to be a native Irish-language letter? You have once more failed to explain how the claims of this single individual you mention should weigh more than that of Niall Ó Dónaill, Tomás de Bhaldraithe, Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí, focal.ie, Rannóg an Aistriúcháin, the Irish language media and accademia etc. etc. You seem to believe that the Irish alphabet and what constitutes a letter within it is a matter to be decided by you and your teacher friend and by you alone. You also claim that the existence of 'v' in the Irish alphabet is not commonly known in spite of it being used widely in print for over fifty years and Ó Dónaill's dictionary being available in almost every book shop in the state, not to mention focal.ie being available worldwide via the internet!!
As for the relevance of the spelling of Ó Cuív, I believe reference to it belongs not here but in an article on Shán Ó Cuív, Éamon Ó Cuív's grandfather who devised his own Leitriú Shimplí and published a number of books in it, including Séadna (which he rendered as Shiàna. See this link here http://www.dinglename.com/articles/article.asp?a=56 Remember it was not Éamon Ó Cuív who devised the peculiar spelling but his grandfather. An Muimhneach Machnamhach 18:41, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Who is seeking to lecture you? What I have done is stated that you do not know the identity, background, or qualifications of the teacher you malign above. (Incidentally, asked another teacher this morning if there was a 'v' in the Irish language, and was again told no. Asked her about 'vóta' and was told that wasn't a native Irish word - but you would find borrowed words using 'v'.) So - a dictionary gets published and/or Rannóg an Aistriúcháin decides there is now a 'v' in Irish based on its use in loanwords - or the late Mr Ó Caoimh changes his name after making up his own spellings - and yes, there is now a 'v' in Irish. Hurray. Problem is - the vast majority of people do not read dictionaries, or circulars issuing from Rannóg an Aistriúcháin - and simply aren't aware of it. Just like I wasn't before our conversation. Indeed, googling this last night, I came across similar discussions in several places, including ga.wikipedia.org, and many assertions all over the place that there isn't a 'v'... (And in some of those places, people were told yes, there was a v, without being subject to personal attack and ad hominem arguments!) Instead - like any other language - its common use that determines what is and isn't included - at least as far as the common people are concerned.
Anyway, as to the original topic - I've readded the information after changing the section somewhat, including the heading, and added some references, including your very interesting dinglename.com one. So thanks for that... BastunBaStun not BaTsun 14:56, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, somebody here clearly has a chip on the shoulder concerning the Irish language. Grow up: your failures are your responsibility. It is not your teachers', and not the system's. Have the courage, character and decency to accept that. Pathetic. If any language is "rammed down" anybody's throat in this country it is English, a point any Irish speaker will attest to when it comes to attempting to use Irish in business with both states in this country. In the minds of the bigot, of course, black really is white. 86.42.98.32 (talk) 03:44, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

O rly? It wasn't me who wrote that Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge leads to a "...teacher who has passed some sort of certificate for teaching the watered down, pathetic excuse for a language course that is presented to school children" - it was the Irish advocate. So it seems I'm not alone in my opinion of the education system 'vis a vis' Irish... I should probably add that like most of my contemporaries, I've no more than a "cúpla focal" despite "learning" Irish from junior infants to leaving cert. - but have an excellent grasp of another European language despite only starting that in secondary school. Odd, that... Oh, and if you intend sticking around WP, you may want to familiarise yourself with our policies, such as WP:NPA. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 14:20, 5 December 2007 (UTC)