Talk:Middle Irish

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Outdated definition[edit]

This is entirely obsolete. "Middle Irish" is today only used for the form of the language used in the 10th to 12th centuries, i.e. after Old Irish but before Classical (Early Modern) Irish. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 195.16.202.19 (talkcontribs) .

You seem to know what you're talking about; can you then edit the article or provide a reference for more information so we can do the same? --Saforrest 17:20, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
The anon is quite right; I'm adding some sources showing that the term "Middle Irish" refers to the language only to the end of the 12th century. —Angr 21:53, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

"All but proven"?[edit]

Thomas Owen Clancy has recently all but proven that the Lebor Bretnach, the so-called "Irish Nennius", was written in Scotland, and probably at the monastery in Abernethy.

What does this mean? It should be clarified. FilipeS 20:21, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

In other words he cannot prove that it was, despite the support of the above writer of this theory:}80.192.59.202 23:29, 19 October 2006 (UTC) The argument that "these manuscripts would never have survived in Scotland" seems a very convenient one for an unproven theory. Pretty spurious really, seeing as how Middle Irish manuscripts have turned up in non Irish speaking England!80.192.59.202 23:33, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Actually, "Middle Irish" mss from Scotland survive only from England too. England's a big place. Anyways, as far as Clancy is concerned, all you need to do is go read the article. Clancy's arguments, which consist mainly of internal evidence (again, go read it), are pretty compelling. Substantial scholarly backing has already been achieved, and despite the intervening years, no counter article has as yet been published (compare Clancy's Ninian argument, which although compelling and now achieving consensus status, provoked several responses very quickly). You haven't actually read it, and have been going around making POV edits (calling Gaelic "Irish" and all the usual nonsense); just go read it. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 00:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Eh um? "calling Gaelic Irish"? Isn't Irish the English name for the indiginous language of Ireland?
84.135.242.170 13:47, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes. Which was prolly why I was using Gaelic to mean "Scottish Gaelic". Sorry, I should have made it clearer. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 15:18, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Hi, I have removed some of the weasel words contained in the opening paragraph. Gal Lass 13:24, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm contemplating whether or not to revert you. I mean, Clancy hasn't just argued this, he has effectively proven it, and that should be in the text. It now looks like it's some fringe, little accepted theory, whereas in fact Clancy (an American) is an one of the world's leading Old Irish linguists and cultural historians, and in the words of Dauvit Broun "Clancy, however, has recently shown that Lebor Bretnach was written in Scotland" (Dauvit Broun, "The Picts' Place in the Kingship's Past", in Edward J. Cowan & Richard J. Finlay (eds.), Scottish History: The Power of the Past, (Edinburgh, 2002), p. 20, n. 32). The point that the comparative lack of Scottish Gaelic mss is probably due to the anglicization of the late medieval Scottish (esp. clerical) elite is both obviou and made by many modern historians. Tell me why I shouldn't revert you? Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 22:51, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Gal Lass's edit. "Prove" is an incredibly strong word, especially outside of mathematics. I haven't read Clancy's work, but no matter how convincing his arguments are, it's just not NPOV to state his conclusions as "all but proven" fact in a way that implies any attempt to argue to the contrary will be futile. The current wording does not imply it's "some fringe, little accepted theory" at all, but neither does it imply that Clancy is the last word on the subject. That's keeping to the NPOV. (I also wonder why you call him "one of the world's leading Old Irish linguists" when to judge from the list of publications given at Thomas Owen Clancy he's never written on linguistics at all.) —Angr 07:08, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, firstly, it never said proven. Secondly, the "The Drosten Stone: a new reading" is lingustic, as is "Annat in Scotland and the origins of the parish" and to some extent "The real St Ninian" and "A Gaelic Polemic Quatrain from the Reign of Alexander I, ca. 1113"; as are his translations in The Triumph Tree: Scotland’s Earliest Poetry, 550–1350 and Iona: the earliest poetry of a Celtic monastery. Maybe the only way one can find that out is by actually reading them! Thirdly, the whole point of the paragraph was to give some kind of explanation as to why so much survives from Ireland and so little from Scotland. So, explain to me why I shouldn't revert? Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 21:41, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I thought all but proven to be weasel words. Why mention the book at all. We don't see this phraseology often on WP, especially in an opening section <re-edited from paragraph>. I very carefully changed it to make it less contentious. Gal Lass 23:08, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

LOL. They weren't "weasel words" as far as I can see. Why do you mention opening paragraph btw? I'm curious ... ? Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 23:20, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

LOL. You have "all but" proven your claim then. You must be "all but right" in claiming its having been proven:}80.192.59.202 11:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

What is the precise definition of "all but proven" by the way? (i thought "all but something" would indicate its absnce rather than its presence.}82.41.4.66 15:49, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I all but disagree :}82.41.4.66 13:17, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Gaelic/Irish[edit]

"Gaelic" and "Irish" do not mean the same thing. Irish is a Gaelic language but not all Gaelic languages are Irish. "Middle Irish" is (historically at least) the most common name applied to the medieval form of Gaelic which was spoken across half the British Isles so even though Middle Gaelic ("Irish" is, of course, an English exonym and "Middle Irish" an anachronism) would be a far more accurate term to use its fairly reasonable to have the article under the "Middle Irish" heading. However there is no reason to mislead by referring to all Gaelic dialects as "the Irish language" in the body of the text. While "Middle Irish" is often used as a blanket term (as inaccurate as this is) for medieval Gaelic "Irish language" is not. siarach (talk) 23:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Nevertheless, the language is called Middle Irish in the literature, and it's not Wikipedia's place to change that. See WP:NOR. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 05:03, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
It is also called "Middle Gaelic" in literature but apparently only literature which a)uses the misleading "Middle Irish" and b) you posess is valid on wikipedia. Quite what you think youre doing posting up WP:NOR i dont know; Unless anything drawn from works or instutitions with which Angr is unfamiliar suddenly constitutes OR? siarach (talk) 12:41, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Google Books gives us 856 hits for "Middle Irish" language and 38 hits for "Middle Gaelic" language, almost all of which are before the middle of the 20th century. At Google Scholar, the rate is 795 to 18. So I should have referred you not to WP:NOR but rather to WP:FRINGE. (Incidentally, "Gaelic" is an exonym too, being a Welsh root with a Greek suffix.) —Angr If you've written a quality article... 18:55, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

How can a word used natively within a language to refer by the people speaking that language to themselves and the language itself be an exonym? Its supposed Welsh origins are absolutely irrelevant as you know fine well and the attempt to suggest that the word "Gaelic" is somehow just as foreign as "Irish" is, from a linguist, both misleading and dishonest. siarach (talk) 19:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

What's absolutely irrelevant is the fact that Irish is an exonym. German, Greek, and Japanese are exonyms too, but no one's complaining that our articles on those languages use those names. What's not irrelevant, however, is that your preferred wording for this page is misleading and inaccurate as it suggests there is a single language called "Gaelic", of which Middle Irish is the medieval form. Gaelic language is a redirect to Goidelic languages, an article about a group of languages, not a single one. Also, when English speakers do use the word "Gaelic" to refer to an individual language, they usually mean Scottish Gaelic. That's why I changed it to say "descendant of Old Irish", which is uncontroversially true. Your suggestion that Irish cannot be spoken outside Ireland is, of course, laughable. It's as if Swiss and Austrian editors would object to the name "Middle High German" on the grounds that it was spoken in Switzerland and Austria too. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 20:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
"What's absolutely irrelevant is the fact that Irish is an exonym. " - No. When it is inappropriate and yet some (you) argue for its use instead of a neutral, more accurate, word drawn from the native languages - Gaelic - its status as an exonym is entirely relevant regardless of how inconvenient this might be to you.
"German, Greek, and Japanese are exonyms too, but no one's complaining that our articles on those languages use those names." - err yeah, as you say no one is complaining in those articles. Relevance?
What's not irrelevant, however, is that your preferred wording for this page is misleading and inaccurate as it suggests there is a single language called "Gaelic", of which Middle Irish is the medieval form. - My "preferred wording for the article" (which i havent even implemented, all ive done is change an explit and blatantly misleading reference to Irish language to Gaelic language) is a damn sight closer to historical reality than yours. You prefer a version which names the entire Goidelic (and as much as you love pedantry over honest debate, lets not pretend theres any valid distinction between "Gaelic" and "Goidelic") as being "the Irish language" which it is not. Referring to the entire family as Gaelic is neutral and accurate regardless of any happenstance socio-political situation within Ireland or Scotland which sees "Gaelic" commonly used to refer to the language in one while in the other country it is considered vaguely derogatory as it is seen as distancing the language from national identity/status (as was successfully achieved in Scotland - hence the fact "Gaelic" is commonly used to refer to Gaelic rather than "Scottish" as was the case throughout most of Scottish history). The language/group of similar dialects sometimes referred to as "Middle Irish" were all Gaelic. They were all dialects of Gaelic. Their speakers referred to them as Gaelic. Middle Irish is a term consisting of an exonym used in an anachronistic manner which gained prominence and is maintained only by a) those of a chauvinistic bent within Ireland and b) those within Scotland who wish to disassociate Gaelic from Scottish identity and c) wikipedia users who arent covered by either A or B yet bizzarely argue fervently in favour of misleading nomenclature.
"Gaelic language is a redirect to Goidelic languages, an article about a group of languages, not a single one." And it is thus because it was created in this manner on wikipedia. "Middle Irish" links to an article dealing with the Gaelic languages in the medieval era and this is thus because it has been created and maintained in this manner on wikipedia. You dont have anything remotely resembling a point here.
"That's why I changed it to say "descendant of Old Irish", which is uncontroversially true." Nope. Old Irish is just as misleading as "Middle Irish" or any "X Irish" which refers to a language which includes dialects which arent Irish. Irish = Gaelic, Gaelic ≠ Irish. No amount of arguing on your part will change this reality.
"Your suggestion that Irish cannot be spoken outside Ireland is, of course, laughable. It's as if Swiss and Austrian editors would object to the name "Middle High German" on the grounds that it was spoken in Switzerland and Austria too." - again even if the situation was comparable ( it isnt ) and the analogy relevant ( it isnt ) having a daft rule dominate in regard to X,Y,Z languages or countries is no kind of justification for maintaining a daft rule in a seperate instance. This argument of yours really is a non starter. As you yourself point out no one is contesting the use of "German" to refer to the German language outside Germany. However you are trying your damndest to impose an inaccurate, misleading and specifically national term which is NOT used by all the countries/peoples affected. If "Classical Gaelic" (and the other non-Irish variations) are good enough for the ancient universities of Scotland then its sure as hell good enough for wikipedia and unlike "Early Modern Irish" it is in no way whatsoever ethnically or regionally biased - unless you want to argue that the Irish language is all of a sudden not Gaelic at all.
The reasoning which classes all dialects of Gaelic as 'Irish' would if applied to other language families - as ive already pointed out - class all Latin languages as dialects of Italian. As the Gaelic languages (apparently) originated within Ireland and the modern form of Gaelic within Ireland is known in English as Irish this makes all dialects of Gaelic (historical or modern) dialects of Irish regardless of the fact that a neutral word drawn from within the languages themselves is present in English; Gaelic. Similarly using this logic as the Latin languages originated within Italy and the modern form of Latin within Italy is known as Italian all dialects of Latin (historical or modern) are dialects of Italian. The difference is of course that most dialects of Latin were and are used as national languages and so any chauvinistic claims by Italians (if they are at all made) would be dismissed as laughable (and rightly so). However the situation with the Gaelic languages is that 2/3 of the descendant languages are, or were historically, in a weak and persecuted/disputed position within national identity which has seen speakers of the other language, Irish, claim them as dialects of their own language and it is thus that terms like "middle irish" etc were commonly used in literature despite their being quite misleading and inappropriate. siarach (talk) 01:08, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
What is or is not an exonym is irrelevant. What is or is not offensive to either Scottish people or Irish people is irrelevant. Your statement, "Their speakers referred to them as Gaelic" is both irrelevant and wrong ("Gaelic" is an English word, so Gaelic/Irish speakers didn't use it; they used Gaoidhealg and related forms). All that is relevant for this page is (1) what things are commonly called in English, and (2) that readers not be taken to unexpected places when they click on a link. —Angr If you've written a quality article... 09:13, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I wont bother repeating myself. Response here. siarach (talk) 12:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)