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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lang5.3. Irish - English Prejudices

Lang5.3. Irish - English Prejudices            level 4-5 15-20 min

GOAL. To become an adventurer in this tricky topic to see its historical implications.


LEAD IN

TASK1. A quick glance at Irish History. Answer the questions below.
Q1.How many stripes has the Irish flag? .......................... Are they vertical or horizontal? ............
Q2. Describe its colours. ........................................................................
Q3. How old is the Republic of Ireland? ........................................................................

TASK 2. Can you explain the following sentence?
The jovial character of the Irish offers a great contrast with her tormented history”
........................................................................ ........................................................................
........................................................................ ........................................................................

TASK3. Read this text and underline the new things you learn about the Irish flag.

Ireland’s flag.
The flag was first introduced by T.F. Meagher during the revolutionary year of 1848 as an emblem of the Young Ireland movement, and it was often at meetings alongside the French tricolour.
The green represents the older Gaelic and Anglo-Norman element in the population, while the Orange represents the Protestant planter stock, supporters of William of Orange. The meaning of the white was well expressed by Meagher when he introduced the flag:
“ The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the Orange and the Green and the trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and Irish Catholic may be clasped in heroic brotherhood.”
It was not until the Rising of 1916, when it was raised above the General Post Office in Dublin, that the tricolour came to be regarded as the national flag. It rapidly gained precedence over any which had existed before it, and its use as a national flag is now enshrined in the Constitution of Ireland.

TASK4. Read the two texts below. The first one comes

TEXT 1: “The luck of the Irish”

  • Englishmen:
  • formal, hard individual, lacking in both flexibility and intelligence;
  • steeped in social traditions: "He's a self-made man who worships his creator."
  • Scotsmen:
  • careful in money matters to the extent of downright meanness and canny (=cunny):
  • " you can always tell a Scotsman but you can't tell him much."
  • Welshmen:
  • cunning and deceitful, descendent of cattle thieves,
  • with a happy veneer (=paint, superficial) of religious observance:
  • "He prays on his knees and preys on his neighbours."
  • Irishmen:
  • a confused mixture of charm, exxageration, lawlessness, alcoholism, kindness & aggression,
  • joy and fecklessness (= unability), capable of extreme daring in no good cause:
  • "The Irishman doesn't know what he believes in, but he's prepared to die for it."


TEXT 2. Pride and prejudice

ENGLISHMEN = ancient, an inbred piety, integrity, good nature and good humour

IRISHMEN = stubborness, conservatism, enormous arrogance, pride of resistance, capacity for taking punishment, laughter, endurance, fatalism, devotion to the past (nouns); contradictory, unpredictable, irrational, illogical, degraded, disordered, immethodic, headlong, violent, mendacious, mad (adjectives).
**Paddy's character=Irishmen=The Irish National Character
**a mass -and a mess- of contradictions:
not influenced by feelings as affect mankind
essence, republican nationalism
**natural predilection for outrage and a lawless life
**afflicted by barbarous spiritual destitution,
moral and intellectual poverty
physical, moral and material atrophy
**different in a most exceptional/unacceptable way.
strange/unusual & defies the modes of argument.
a puzzle/ a bafflement/ an exasperation/ assailed by questions

Britain identifies herself with mankind. Here you have a few expressions which I consider to be worth commenting on. The underlined words are the particularly interesting ones to explain the civilise mission of England towards backwards Ireland..

England reaps at last, in full measure / swallowed Ireland...
well-being, wrong-doing inwards to her very heart and soul
What can you make of the wretched Irishman?
A people that knows not the truth (to speak and to act the truth)
not in his condition only but in himself must the Patient be all changed.
The time has come when England has .. to settle affairs , to set the task

FOLLOW UP. Read annex 3 to learn more about the difficul relationship between British and Irish.




Annex 3.
If you can find the first text, “The luck of the Irish”, published in Speak-up, n102, answer these questions:


TEXT 1. 1. Reading between the lines.
How are they depicted in the text?
Whose perspectives are they deicted from?

2. Defying stereotypes:
Who are the Irish compared with?

3. Culture in the classroom
Look for the references to the following topics:
RELIGION:
POVERTY:
SCOTLAND:
1970's:
WOMEN:




answers: TEXT 1. 1. Reading between the lines.


How are they depicted in the text?
Englishman, positively.
Irishman, not very much on the positive side: “bloody relationship with England”
Whose perspectives are they?
external perspectives to those who are non English.

2. Defying stereotypes:
Who are the Irish compared with?
with every country in the British Isles: (Englishman, Scotsman, Welshman).
Curiously the last two are considered in not very positive terms

3. Culture in the classroom
Look for the references to the following topics:
RELIGION: St. Patrick day (17th March) / 80% Catholics/ missionaries
POVERTY: potato crops failed, famine and hardship, exodus
SCOTLAND: Protestant settlers in Ulster
1970's: Nixon's & Reagan visits/ Eire joined the EC (1973, with U.K. & Denmark)
WOMEN: (NONE!)

The second text comes from the chapter Pride and Prejudice, in Patrick O'Farrell, England and Ireland Since 1800 (London and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975).

Compare what you read above about Ireland with the Irish inner point of view:
"The greatest curse of Ireland has been the exaggeration of Irish virtue , taken to the point where every human quality can become a vice instead of a virtue."

The Irish according to themselves = oppressed and impoverished, the best things of life, domestic happiness, contentment, consciousness of his human dignity, moral and intellectual culture

Below you can find another set of expressions which I consider to be worth commenting on.

ACTIONS (England was underdeveloping Ireland = Ireland being underdeveloped by England)
➢ the task of blending Ireland with the English people;
➢ in 1800 Irishmen were the most oppressed and impoverished peasant in Europe;
➢ nothing can control / very little can be done to change this;
➢ vain are grants of money, or the schemes of politicians.
SELF-IMPOSED TASKS (?):
➢ England has got a Divine mission,
➢ England's destiny to bring all humanity into the happy circle

Cultural note.
London unites Ireland to the English Crown in 1801 (Scotland in 1700, Wales in 1400). At the beginning of the XIX century Dublin was the 6th city of Europe, with more than 200000 inhabitants. Politicaly is a colony, but so close and so ignored!
Translate: En aquell moment Dublin té més de 200.000 persones i era la 6a ciutat d'Europa! A efectes de govern/ser governada, Irlanda és una colònia a "prop" de la metròpoli però tan desconeguda!

ROUND OFF
Two material to start with, the film Michael Collins covers the period (1915-1925) and the play Translations by Brian Friel goes back to 1837, the period before the tragic famine.

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