What is the official language of the European Union?

Criostóir   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 07:56 GMT
Clark: You're welcome! I decided to learn Irish partly because of my ancestry and partly because of the beauty I recognized in it when I started listening to Celtic music. It's become a love affair, I tell you.

Damian: Bore da! Sut ydach chithau? Da iawn hefyd. (Rydw i'n medru siarad yn unig Cymraeg ar lefel y dechreuwyr) [Hi! How are you? I'm fine, but I can only speak beginner's lefel Welsh - I'm still learning!]

Criostóir :)
Clark   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 08:26 GMT
Is "lefel" a written pun?

"I can only speak beginner's lefel Welsh." I only say this because "f" in Welsh in like the English "v."
Criostóir   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 08:58 GMT
No! That was just a typo! Yes, Welsh f/ff, English v/f!

Hwyl fawr,

Boogieman   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 09:13 GMT
I found a "learn to speak Scottish Gaelic" in a pile of junk under my house, it looks interesting. I would like to learn a celtic language but it seems quite difficult.
Ceasrer DeJulius   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 14:20 GMT
Am I the only Native Gaelic speaker here? It is easy for others to learn a celtic language, but Criostóiror or Damien, do you have the connection with your celtic languages which I do. I am probably the most rare, there are few left who speak a celtic language as thier first tongue, from parents who spoke it as their first language, in my case, my mother. Thats why I tend to be more passionate about the revival of Gaidhlig and Gaelige. Most of Irelands Irish speakers all learned Irish in school, and just grew on it and became fluent. Scotlands situation is much different, on our Gaidhealtachta, most speakers of the Gaelic language are native speakers, because the British never got as far the the Isle of Skye or Lewis. We are rare, and I would like to know, what each of your connetions with Irish and Welsh are? You would be amazed, I never learned English until age six. Until Six, I only spoke, read and wrote Gaelic, as my mothr did before me, and my grandfather did before that (my grandmother spoke Welsh), etc. We are one of the last few surving Gaelic families. That is why, when I see people shun the language or let it die, I am crushed.
Damian   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 16:16 GMT
I stayed at the Seaforth Hotel at Steornabhagh. To non speakers (like me! :-( that is Stornoway) when we went to Lewis (my family). The islands...like the Celts....mystical, atmospheric, spiritual, poetic...you know the feeling. I have to go sady but will continue this post later when I have free time. I will get passionate on Celtic sensitivities too. You feel them all around. Later.
Clark   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 16:21 GMT
I only wish that my grandmother spoke a different language and passed it down to me, or that America would have had a different language because my grandmother came from England, and while she passed down to me my love and pride to be English (English-American), the country she came from and the country she came to both speak English. So, Caesar was given Gaelic to by his mother and granfather, but I was just given "pride" from my mother and grandmother.

All right, I will shut up now. I am just getting anxious about my trip to England this September (so that is why I am getting a little bit more "English," if you will). However, I am American, and proud of it!
vincent   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 16:58 GMT
Seriously, I think that, if we want to build a common european nation-state we'll have to choose one common language. In the future, when we identify ourselves as "european", we'll have to prove it. Let's chose a european minority language to be the common european language. A symbolic choice, some suggestions:

1) rumantsch (Switzerland, THE neutral country par excellence),

2) latin (but difficult to learn and already extinct),

3) occitan (my favorite choice as you can guess and also because it was a very cosmopolite language in the middle-ages, there were germen, spanish and italian trobadors who spoke occitan, Dante Alighieri did),

4) welsh (the oldest written european language and still alive),

5) euskera or basque (our ancestors' language, the Basque are the first inhabitants of Europe and 3/4 of our genes come from the Basque, cf. the investigation of german linguist Theo Vennemann),

6) old greek, from which all started (and more neutral of course than modern greek)

Other suggestions?

But nobody inside the european institutions will have the courage to promote such an idea. Unfortunately we all know that they already made the choice for us...
Ceaser DeJulius   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 22:55 GMT
Your idea is wonderful, but because there are so many Europeans who are way too patriotic about both their culture, and thier language, choosing a dying minority language would not work. Latin would be the only thing from your list whcih would work, because it meets all lingusitic needs of the countries with in the European union. It is the mother of six languages, and it has influenced the rest considerably, like Welsh and English, and even modern Irish. Many people want English the the official, yet the problem is that English has been in the spot light for far to long. It has spread to other cultures and countries with in the world through brutal force from the British! That is why, sadly, my mother tongue, Scottish Gaelic is becoming extinct. Manx and Cornish already dead, and Scottish is facing that harshly as the amount of English speakers increase. I think Latin would be most appropriate.
Criostóir   Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 01:21 GMT
Dear Caesar,

I truly admire your commitment to your mother tongue! Would that Irish had been my language from birth, but such a destiny was not given me by the good Lord. I however have been able to learn it, and see it as a heritage left to me by my ancestors who are Irish (along with German, from the other side of my family) and as a cultural treasure of the world. The Celtic languages, while Indo-European and thus related to other tongues of Europe, are quite unique in the world in many ways, most particularly in terms of initial mutations, prepositional pronouns, etc. But the Celtic languages also have a certain beauty of expression which I don't find elsewhere, although by this I don't mean to say that other tongues don't have beauty! Even English has wonderful expressions and sayings! So that's why I learnt Irish and why I love it to this day.

Tá súil agam gur leor leat mo fhreagra :)

Is mise le meas,


ps - An ndeachaigh tú ar scoil ar an Oileáin Sgitheanach? An bhfuil scoileanna lán-Ghàidhlig ansiúd ann? Ní fhiafraím toisc gur féidir leat as Gàidhlig a labhairt 's a scríobh go han-mhaith - chan fheil sé deacair a dhéanamh mura ndeachaigh tú ar scoil as Gàidhlig, cé gurb í an Ghàidhlig do theanga dhúchais.
Ceaser (in a rush)   Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 02:52 GMT
Tha. Tha mi à An t-Eilean Sgitheanach. An toil leat Eilean Sgitheanach? ’S toil leam Gàidhlig agus Beurla. Cuin a thòisich thu Gàidhlig Éireannach? Cò às a tha thu? O, gabh mo leigeul, Tha mise a’ doi dhachaigh a-nise. Slàn.

Oidhche mhath a-nise.
Ceaser   Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 03:45 GMT
Tha mi às an t-Eilean Sgitheanach**
Clark   Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 03:48 GMT
I have been to Skye before when I was young. I cannot remember much of it, though. I know that I did not hear any Gaelic being spoken :-(
Cyfaill   Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 04:55 GMT

Yn Saesneg, os gwelwch yn dda.

(So that we can all understand)
Damian   Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 05:21 GMT
Wrth gwrs... Saesneg yn unig yma! Yr wyf wedi deffro

....but I'm hoping to sleep a bit more presently.

Is that Welsh bit correct? I have a feeling it's not...

Bore da i chwi oll. (Good morning to you all)

This is weird .. I am Scottish but I'm more familiar with Welsh than I am with Gaelic...it's a long story....anyway, Celtic brotherhood.

"O Flower of Scotland, when will we see your like again?"

"Mae'r hen wlad fyn' Nhadau yn anwyl i mi."

An interesting feature of Welsh is the mutation. I wonder if many other languages have the same thing? Initial letters of words change according to what precedes them...I think that's right. I have a good friend from Wales (Anglesey) I met at uni and we have spent hours discussing language. He speaks Welsh as well as he does English and lives in an area of Wales where the majority (about 70%) of the population are able to speak it, some as their first language.