The Irish language has a special privileged place in the politics of the country. It is important in the maintenance of the myth of Irish exceptionalism. I despise exceptionalism but I love the idea that people work diligently bringing the language of Cúchulainn and Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin into the 21st Century. Now we need bithfhaisnéisíocht, tointeáil spáis and fón póca. Nevertheless more people speak Polish at home in Ireland than Irish. Here are the languages spoken by more than 10,000 people resident in the Republic.
For those whose first language is neither English nor Irish, we have translated public health information into 24 other languages. These include Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Simplified Chinese, Czech, Farsi, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Urdu and Yoruba. We are also working on developing resources in Somali and Eritrean.
How many copies of these will be printed in Albanian and Urdu? And should that paper be better purposed to make more tissues? It is a shame that my love of linguistic diversity is not matched by much facility in the area. Last weekend I was riffing on how Latin was a painfully closed book to me as a child. Later, because I was working and walking in the relevant country, I got some fluency in Nederlands and Portugais but only through hard work. I could at one time read the newspaper in either of those languages (and french) but I'd need pictures now. Here's a sentence from the Portuguese advice on hand-washing [R]. Após tocar em cortes, pústulas ou quaisquer feridas abertas. I saw "tocar" = touch and "aberta" = open and decided it must be about fomites: door handles, counter-tops ["cortes"] and light-switches ["pústulas"]. Nope! It is urging you to wash hands "After touching cuts, blisters and open wounds" which sounds a lot more like Ebola than Corona to me. My Portuguese clearly needs polishing: I could only understand half the words in that short sentence.