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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vocabulary. 8.3. The Luck of the Irish. Searching for meaning


Vocabulary. 8.3.  The Luck of the Irish. 
Searching for meaning                                                                          level 4-5                 30 min


TASK 1. How does the writer of the passage know she is right about having ‘the luck of the Irish’?



Grandpa told me the luck of the Irish was with me, that I’d just had to tap into it. Now that I’d found it, it wouldn’t ever leave my side. I would, for years after that, be able to find four leaf clovers the way pigeons find bread crumbs. My Irish senses have never failed me. “No matter what happens, you’ll always have good luck. Even when it seems like things are bad, just remember that from rock bottom, you can still look up and see the light. It’s the luck of the Irish”.


And he was right. Everything in my life has had this amazing web woven through it, of good balanced with bad and I always seem to make it out in better shape than I thought possible. I have the luck of the Irish and I know because my grandfather  passed right down to me from him one afternoon as I sat crouched in the grass near his gard .                       [source  http://pointlessbanter.net/blog68/category/uncategorized/]

answer: ……………………………………………………………….……………………………………..

TASK2. Read these three answers and decide whether the phrase has a positive or negative meaning or both.

  Forum: What is the origin of the term 'Luck of the Irish'?

Answer 1. The saying refers to the fact that the Irish people have come through such overwhelming adversity and have come out on top and kicking! It must be luck... or true perseverance.
 Answer 2. My grandfather explained this expression in this way: if you had good luck one day you could expect bad luck the next. For example when someone dies in the family a new baby will be born into the family. Or if you win a large sum of money one day and get a large bill in the mail the next.
Answer 3. Hello. My Grandmother was from County Cork, Ireland. I was told during my youth, that throughout the years  the saying 'The Luck Of The Irish' was used in a sarcastic tone of voice.
If you had the Luck Of The Irish you had very
bad luck. It was termed, again as I was told, when the potato famine hit Ireland. The farmers were just starting to gain some independence from Britain when infested potatoes were planted and killed the entire crop.
Hope that helps, Erin Go Brah! Forever Ireland!
 meaning1: ………………………………………………………………….…………………………………

meaning2: ………………………………………………………………….…………………………………

meaning3: ………………………………………………………………….……………………………

TASK3. Read these two assertive texts below retrieved from the same forum and underline six negative moments in the history of Celtic people.



4# Jason Spence -State Licenced Investigator and Historian: 
  I consider we need a little story, also involved in history. Saint Patrick, patron of the Irish, is at the origin of the expression.  He was a kidnapped Briton in a Roman colony who was enslaved by the pagan Irish and found God on the hills herding sheep as a slave. He escaped. Became a Bishop and returned to bring the faith to the Pagan Irish who believed in the Druids. He received inspiration from God to use the three leaf clover called a shamrock to explain the Trinity to his flocks. They believed in the ancient druid's religion of magic and many gods of nature.



In modern times, Irish soldiers conscripted into the British army began wearing the shamrock on their uniforms to bring them "magic" and avoid being killed in battle. (Because they were blessed by St. Patrick they believed they were on God's side and protected by God.)  This is known as "wearing the Green".
Now the Irish are descendants of great fighters and invaders: the Celts and Vikings. They truly seem to be lucky because they are good at what they do and fewer get killed because of their natural fighting skills. "The Luck of the Irish" to sum up.  Is all that true? Ask any Irishman.


 5#. It is a tongue in cheek saying, so we take it half seriously. Kind of take it in stride (in good spirits, not getting upset). Let's look at their unlucky history.

Ravaged by Vikings. Conquered by English in the XIII. Potato famine which killed 25% of the population. Half of the remaining left for America. 20 or so times in their history switched from Anglican to Catholic and persecuted the other. Came to America and looked at with great suspicion and took a long time to integrate.
And in the XX century: Daily bombings. Alcoholism. What can I say? It’s Murphy's Law. If anything can go wrong, it will.

TASK4. Find elements of ambivalence or ambiguity in the previous texts. Copy them below.

……………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………..

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………..

TASK5. Which explanation do you find more convincing?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….………

 

TASK6. Do you accept Mr. Bergs contibution a good account for the expression? 

  R. Berg  wrote  on June 15, 2001   http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/9/messages/214.html

"The luck of the Irish" means good luck. People use it when a person of Irish descent inexplicably beats the odds. (Beating the odds isn't inexplicable, it just looks that way, but it surprises observers.)
My guess about its origin: the idea that the Irish people have suffered so many misfortunes that it's a miracle whenever something comes out right for them, and it can only be explained by being blessed with an inherited form of good luck.   

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

TASK 7. Copy nine expressions in bold related to the chances of being (un)lucky

Good  ……………………………………………………………………….………………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….………

Bad ……………………………………………………………………….……………………………………..

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….………

Sudden changes: ………………………………… ……………………………. …………………….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….………

irrational suggestions/beliefs:………………………… ……………………………. …………………….

………..………………………………… ……………………………. …………………….

 

TASK8. Check the meaning of the expression in any reference resource (dictionary or website) ….  and may the luck of the Irish be with you through your days!

  

 

 

Vocabulary. WorkSheet 8.3.  The Luck of the Irish.                                                     KEY
TASK 1. How does the writer of the passage know she is right about having ‘the luck of the Irish’?


Her grandpa told her so. (initiatic  in the way it worked. She really believes it). Being blessed somehow.


TASK 2. Read these three answers and decide whether the phrase has a positive or negative meaning or both.
meaning1: good luck  //  meaning2: both  // meaning3: (in the past) bad luck

TASK 3. Underline negative moments in Irish history
Irish soldiers conscripted into the British army
Ravaged by Vikings. Conquered by English in the XIII. Potato famine which killed 25% of the population. Half of the remaining left for America. 20 or so times in their history switched from Anglican to Catholic and persecuted the other. Came to America and looked at with great suspicion and took a long time to integrate.
TASK4. Find elements of ambivalence or ambiguity in the previous texts. Copy them below.
Ask any Irishman. // It is a tongue in cheek saying, so we take it half seriously. // Kind of take it in stride (in good spirits, not getting upset). [before we read: “It must be luck... or true perseverance”].

TASK5. Which explanation do you find more convincing?  Open (probably text n. 5)

TASK6. Do you accept Mr. Bergs contibution a good account for the expression?  Probably

TASK 7. Copy 9 expressions in bold type related to the chances of being (un)lucky

Good  luck:  They truly seem to be lucky because they are good at what they do and fewer get killed because of their natural fighting  skills. // come out on top and kicking // Even when it seems like things are bad, just remember that from rock bottom, you can still look up and see the light.

Bad luck:    'The Luck Of The Irish' was used in a sarcastic tone of voice. // If you had the Luck Of The Irish you had very bad luck. // overwhelming adversity // look at their unlucky history (…) // It’s Murphy's Law. If anything can go wrong, it will.

Sudden changes:  Irish people have come through such overwhelming adversity and have come out on top and kicking! It must be luck... or true perseverance  // Irish people have suffered so many misfortunes that it's a miracle whenever something comes out right for them // if you had good luck one day you could expect bad luck the next.

irrational suggestions /beliefs: I have the luck of the Irish and I know because my grandfather  passed right down to me from him one afternoon // Because they were blessed by St. Patrick they believed they were on God's side // wearing the shamrock on their uniforms to bring them "magic" and avoid being killed in battle // a person of Irish descent inexplicably beats the odds. // it surprises observers // being blessed with an inherited form of good luck.   // No matter w

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