Not for the first time, the makers of mainstream media have provoked me to write something out of rage.
Today, Louise Mc Sharry for The Daily Edge/ The Journal published an article which was not only personally offensive, but also verging on prejudice. Here’s the link: http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/awkward-irish-names-1005409-Jul2013/
The article entitled ‘CHALLENGE: Can you pronounce these baffling Irish names?’, uses examples of Irish names that the author claims ‘are so awkward, even Irish people can’t manage’.
The article lists off Mc Sharry’s choices of ‘awkward’ names, some of which aren’t spelled correctly or phonetically transcribed correctly either. Good journalism, eh?
My name is Siún Ní Dhuinn, and I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked to spell it, re-spell it, and then translate it. I’ll spell, and re-spell, without reluctance, but I refuse to translate it. You see, if I went around asking everyone I met to translate their name into Irish I’d be seen as pedantic and weird, and quite rightly too!
Though I realise that Louise Mc Sharry’s article was probably meant in a light-hearted tone, the name game is one that really makes those of us with Irish names, or an interest, however passing, in our own culture, take offence. The basis of this piece only further alienates Irish-language culture within the national consciousness, and that’s what really infuriates me.
These names aren’t akin to Apple, Harper or Blue Ivy, they’re part of our own culture, a culture that is being squeezed into the margins more and more.
If you’re still not on board with me (and that’s allowed too!), put it this way, I doubt we’ll be seeing a similar article on any respectable publication on ‘awkward’ Chinese, African or Polish names. That would be disrespectful and nigh on prejudice, wouldn’t it?