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What's a Gael?

Strupag 09 Jan 03 - 07:23 AM
Bagpuss 09 Jan 03 - 07:37 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,steve 09 Jan 03 - 08:30 AM
Strupag 09 Jan 03 - 09:48 AM
Pied Piper 09 Jan 03 - 09:57 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 10:29 AM
Pied Piper 09 Jan 03 - 10:34 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 10:40 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 09 Jan 03 - 10:41 AM
Pied Piper 09 Jan 03 - 10:46 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 10:54 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 11:01 AM
Amos 09 Jan 03 - 11:05 AM
cockney 09 Jan 03 - 11:06 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 11:12 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 09 Jan 03 - 11:14 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 11:21 AM
ard mhacha 09 Jan 03 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 09 Jan 03 - 11:33 AM
Strupag 09 Jan 03 - 11:36 AM
greg stephens 09 Jan 03 - 11:42 AM
Wolfgang 09 Jan 03 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 11:48 AM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 11:57 AM
ard mhacha 09 Jan 03 - 12:02 PM
Jim Colbert 09 Jan 03 - 12:02 PM
Strupag 09 Jan 03 - 12:05 PM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 12:05 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 12:08 PM
Declan 09 Jan 03 - 12:18 PM
Jim Colbert 09 Jan 03 - 12:21 PM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 12:22 PM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 12:23 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 12:23 PM
Jim Colbert 09 Jan 03 - 12:27 PM
Strupag 09 Jan 03 - 12:28 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 03 - 12:31 PM
Declan 09 Jan 03 - 12:32 PM
IanC 09 Jan 03 - 12:41 PM
Strupag 09 Jan 03 - 12:44 PM
Declan 09 Jan 03 - 12:49 PM
ard mhacha 09 Jan 03 - 12:55 PM
Declan 09 Jan 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 09 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM
Mr Happy 10 Jan 03 - 03:49 AM
Strupag 10 Jan 03 - 05:47 AM
stevetheORC 10 Jan 03 - 06:24 AM
ard mhacha 10 Jan 03 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 10 Jan 03 - 07:13 AM
Fiolar 11 Jan 03 - 05:25 AM
greg stephens 11 Jan 03 - 05:37 AM
John MacKenzie 11 Jan 03 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Philippa 25 Jan 03 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,ceejay 25 Jan 03 - 11:11 AM
*daylia* 25 Jan 03 - 02:03 PM
Bellowbelle 26 Jan 03 - 01:07 AM
Strupag 26 Jan 03 - 09:34 AM
Big Mick 26 Jan 03 - 01:47 PM
Strupag 26 Jan 03 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Johnny 26 Jan 03 - 03:00 PM
Big Mick 27 Jan 03 - 07:25 AM
Pied Piper 27 Jan 03 - 08:14 AM
GUEST 27 Jan 03 - 10:05 AM
Big Mick 27 Jan 03 - 01:03 PM
Strupag 27 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 07:52 AM
Big Mick 28 Jan 03 - 07:55 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 03 - 08:13 AM
Aodh 26 Feb 03 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Leòdhas 17 Apr 10 - 04:26 PM
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Subject: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 07:23 AM

What is a Gael?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 07:37 AM

It is a day so windy that it blows your letters out of order.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:01 AM

Strupag, considering that you describe yourself as a Scotsman living in Scotland, I'm wondering why you would ask such a question?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,steve
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:30 AM

As I understand it (and I'm sure others will correct me)a Gael is a person who speaks a language from the goidelic sub-branch of the Celtic languages i.e. Manx, Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic.

A Celt I believe speaks a language from the brythonic sub-branch of the Celtic languages i.e. Welsh, Breton and Cornish.

The goidelic sub-branch is the older version of the language, a form also known as q-Celtic on account that (to take Irish as an example) cúig, five and cuathir, four begin with a hard "c" sound as compared to the younger p-Celtic languages (i.e. brythonic languages) where (to take Welsh as an example) pump, five and pedwar, four begin with a "p" sound. This q/p distinction is one of the distinctive features of the differences between the two sub-branches.

I should imagine that the terms Gael or Celt may still be applied to those who do not speak the Celtic languages as long as they live in areas where such languages are widespread, or feel that they have more affinity with their Celtic brethren, as opposed to their English or French speaking neighbours. However, this is only my opinion!


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:48 AM

Yes Guest,
In other threads I've been proud to inform that I'm a Scot living in Scotland and this is precisely why I fond the whole thing even more confusing.
Does one become a Gael when they have learned the language to a certain standard?
Is a non Gaelic speaking person of Gaelic speaking parents a Gael?
Is it more an attitude that makes one a Gael.
As there was a great merger of Gaels (Scots to their enemies) and Picts in previous centuries, are those of Pictish blood excempt from ever becoming Gaels?
Are Nordo Gaels a less pure version of Gael?
I've no problem in knowing what a Gael was but my original question is in the present tense.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:57 AM

The Gaelic Mac (son of) in Welsh originally Mab shortened to Ap.
I wonder if the Latin Equus and Greek Hippos represent a similar shift.
All the best PP


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:29 AM

Here is the US, we have a love of acronyms. One of my personal favorites is KISS-keep it simple, stupid.

A Gael is a person of Gaelic ancestry, regardless of where they reside or what languages they speak.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:34 AM

What is "Gaelic ancestry"?
pp


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:40 AM

Someone descended from the community of peoples who spoke/speak the goidelic sub-branch of the Celtic languages i.e. Manx, Irish Gaelic and Scots Gaelic, and inhabited Ireland, parts of Scotland, and the Isle of Man for millenia.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:41 AM

Gael is the English spelling of the Gaelic word "Gaidheal". This is the name that this noble race called themselves. Words like Scotti , Celti, Kelti etc. were names given to these people by the Greeks and Romans.
Strupag, as you are using a Gaelic nickname I would guess that you are a Gael. Although my family has been on Cape Breton Island for four generations I still consider myself a Gael.
   Suas leis a Gaidhlig!
            Sandy


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:46 AM

So there is a Gaelic "race" is there.
Stuff and dangerous nonsense, you should no better.
PP


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:54 AM

I agree, any claims that the Gaels are a "race" is inherently racist. I also note they were first referred to as a "race" by their English conquerors.

Because of the Gaelic diasporas, people of Gaelic ancestry live in many places around the world, just as people of French ancestry, German ancestry, or any other ancestry do. One's ancestry is not dependent upon one's current residence, or whether one still speaks the language(s) orginally spoken by one's ancestors.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:01 AM

To answer your questions:

"Does one become a Gael when they have learned the language to a certain standard?"

No

"Is a non Gaelic speaking person of Gaelic speaking parents a Gael?"

Yes, if their parents are of Gaelic ancestry. If they are French and Polish ancestry, but learned the Gaelic language (highly unlikely, unless their family resided in a Gaelic or Manx speaking region), then no.

"Is it more an attitude that makes one a Gael?"

No.

"As there was a great merger of Gaels (Scots to their enemies) and Picts in previous centuries, are those of Pictish blood excempt from ever becoming Gaels?"

No, it just means their ancestral background is mixed, as are many peoples.

"Are Nordo Gaels a less pure version of Gael?"

This seems like a racist assumption, best left alone.

Now, have we cleared it all up for you Strupag?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:05 AM

Guest Steve,

Many thanks for the erudite exposition. Nuggets of quality like that are much appreciated in the roiling flume of Cat threads!

A


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: cockney
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:06 AM

A sweaty sock


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:12 AM

y do u want to kno?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:14 AM

Guest Steve has it right except that the term 'Celtic' covers both the goidelic and brythonic branches.

I use the adjectives deliberately because once you start using the nouns about people you're on the start of a slippery slope towards racial if not necessarily racist mumbo-jumbo.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:21 AM

mm-u have to mind your p's & q's


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:29 AM

Also anyone in Ireland who is connected with, or a fan of The GAA,[Gaelic Sports] Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:33 AM

My father is Welsh, he and, as far as I know, all his forebears spoke Welsh. My mother is Scots, with nothing but Scot in her ancestry. I have rarely been outside Scotland. I have never been to Wales.
Question - Am I a Celt, a Gael or just British.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:36 AM

What is British?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:42 AM

The Gaels called themselves Gaels after they invaded Scotland, but did they call themselves Gaels when they were living in Ireland previous to that? Do we know?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:44 AM

Caesar isn't really a scholar, but he claims in 'De bello Gallico' that the name 'Celt' was how one part of the Gauls called themselves. The Romans called them 'Galli':

tertium qui ipsorum lingua Celti, nostra Galli appelantur

and the third (tribe) are those that call themselves Celts but we call them Gauls

However, the Romans may have extended this name to groups of people who would not have called themselves by this name.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:48 AM

This bullshit gets really tiresome. The reason why the Gaels called themselves Gaels after they "invaded" (though the use of that term hasn't ever been proven--the Gaels have moved between northern Scotland and Ireland for a very long time), is because it was Irish Gaels who did the the majority of moving back and forth between the islands until the time of the Irish plantations. Oddly enough, Irish Gaels spoke Gaelic at home in Ireland as well.

Is it really that hard to figure this out? Why don't some of you pick up a fucking history book.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:57 AM

Or a map, for that matter.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:02 PM

Or a Caman[Hurling stick] or Sliothar [Football]. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:02 PM

Man, are you guys always this caustic?

Geez. What's so funny bout peace love and understanding?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:05 PM

Better still a Strupag (Wee cup of something)


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:05 PM

its the strong draught up scotsmens kilts


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:08 PM

"Man, are you guys always this caustic?"

Some of us do try our best.

"What's so funny bout peace love and understanding?"

Peace, love and understanding can be a helluva lot of fun. However, I sincerely doubt that is the direction the illustrious Strupag had intended this thread to go. Hence, the subsequent caustic remarks.

Apparently you've never been in the middle of a cyber brawl between the pro and anti Gael/Celt camps?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Declan
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:18 PM

Jim,

If you're new around here then Welcome.

It's not always this bad around here but for some reason if anybody mentions Ireland, Irish, Scotland, Scotish, Celtic or Gaelic around here the this obnoxious anonymous guest appears and tries to start a row. Usually some of us are silly enough to respond to the nonsense and we get into useless mud-slinging.

By the way Ard, you're slipping up there a chara ghael. A sliothar is the small ball (hurling)- a football is a caid or a peil, but I'm sure you knew that.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:21 PM

Yes, I am a neophyte here. And no, that doesn't mean i like to sleep with dead people.

I am a mutt... some welsh, irish, british and scots, which I've always thought might explain sometimes my inner turmoils! he he he


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:22 PM

hence Knurr & Pel- [a game- not a PEL]


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:23 PM

sorry-that should be Knurr & Spell- got PEL's on the brane


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:23 PM

Jim, perhaps you've mistaken this thread for the "Who Are You?" thread? he he he


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Jim Colbert
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:27 PM

Oh yeah: "Yes, I am a neophyte here. And no, that doesn't mean i like to sleep with dead people."


No offense intended if some a ya haggis eaters and peat burners do...

(Och, now we've a wee bit too fur!)

Seriously though, thanks for noting that this isn't the norm.

(Norm? Like, the Normans? Ah thought we were talking about the gaels and celts and picts and jpegs, not the bloody Brits... okay, some photoshop humor there at the end, cause talking about the Picts makes me think of the file format pict, as opposed to, say an eps or a jpeg or... ah, never mind. I'll shut up now.)


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:28 PM

What on earth is caustic about suggesting that someone should lift up a wee cup of tea (an strupag)
I thought the threads were pretty good crack (craic) until that guest(11.48AM) used decidedly Anglo Saxon language and suggested that we put our faith in history books.
I remember when Michael Mara was asked on the radio if he got his love of Scottish history in School. He replied "No I had a Scottish education!"


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:31 PM

Well, there are official history books (those used in schools in every nation on earth I am currently aware of) and then there are history books. Then there is the fondness many in internet chat forums have of making up history as they go, according to the prevailing conversation. That is most of what you find here, BTW.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Declan
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:32 PM

Good one Mr Happy.

So if someone suggests we need a Peil to play a game of Peil Gaelach (Gaelic Football) should we send an eMail to our local TD (MP)?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: IanC
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:41 PM

Strupag

Which "Anglo-Saxon" language were you referring to?

bullshit is, as far as I know an American portmanteau word, probably invented around the 19th Century.

fuck does not appear anywhere in Anglo-Saxon literature and is thought to have been introduced from Middle Dutch in the mediaeval period.

Though there undoubtedly were Anglo-Saxon words descibing bodily functions, it is hard to know for sure what they were as the monks that recorded the language for the whole of its written life didn't record them.

;-)


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:44 PM

What faith in history books!
I suppose the American ones gave a fair ballanced view of Cuban History and the Soviet Union books told the truth about the US.
There's also the question of what school books never told, for example the highland clearances, the Irish tattie famine, the red clydeside etc.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Declan
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:49 PM

I suppose it depends where you went to school and when. Our History books were full of the famine and battles against the evil British invaders.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 12:55 PM

Declan, Where I come from we played football with a ball made from stuffing paper or rags into an old sock, or, a hanky ball,thus the saying amongst our ragged assembly, "He`s a great man with a hanky ball,only the boune bates him", and a Sliothar was also used, along with a tennis ball, and the odd dead cat. There was no fancy coaches in them days.Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Declan
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 01:14 PM

Ard,

I never noticed too much fancy about Joe Kernan, but he did the job for you last year all right.

I see we'll be meeting again in Croker shortly.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 02:13 PM

A Gael is a misspelling of Gale which is the name of the honey I used eat at school.

Gimme more Gales honey .. yum yum


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:49 AM

'What on earth is caustic about suggesting that someone should lift up a wee cup of tea'

at first i misread this sentence as:

What on earth is caustic about suggesting that someone should lift up a tea cup of wee!


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 05:47 AM

That made me smile Mr H!


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: stevetheORC
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 06:24 AM

Im a Celtic Orc, the rest is just wind:0)
The honey bit is good though great wiv an elf or two.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 06:28 AM

Yes Declan the Gaels of Armagh and Dublin will gather in their thousands to watch the greatest game in the World, we are looking to this, roll on Feb. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:13 AM

If I say I'm a Gael am I gaelty of racism?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Fiolar
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 05:25 AM

I understood that "Gael" referred to the inhabitants of Ireland mainly and Scotland secondly. I have never heard the word "Gael" used in relation to the Welsh people. The word Welsh is derived from the Germanic "Welisc" meaning foreigner.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 05:37 AM

Welsh does relate to Welisc, but etymologically it's also connected to Gael, which is confusing. The words Gael, Welsh, Celt and Gaul all have the same root, which exists in many Indo-European languages, both the Celtic and non-Celtic ones. Even more confusing the same word Gal turns up in gaelic meaning foreigner or stranger, so you get the curious anomaly of what is the same word meaning both, as it were, "us" and "them". the fact that all thse worfds mean sranger, foreigner, or whatever, suggests that they all originated as names for tribes used by other tribes. Basically the Celts/Welsh/Gaels were named that by others, they used other names for themselves.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:09 AM

I can vouch for Strupag's Scots credentials, and I'm sure that when he started this thread, it was intended to provoke a sensible discussion. This by and large has been the case, apart from a few flippant contributions. The mixture of erudition and pedantry that has also emerged is thought provoking to say the least. I would point out that the use of the term "Anglo-Saxon" to refer to rude, or obscene language, is widespread, and is not a capital offence.
I am Glasgow born, of a Belfast Father, and a Scots Mother, should I be confused?
Giok


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 06:14 AM

CLÍ (Comunn Luchd-Ionnsachaidh) organisation for Gaelic language learners calls itself the voice of the "New Gaels" -- apparently that term covers anyone who learns Gaelic. Not all of us Gaelic learners, who are of various backgrounds and live in various places are comfortable with the term. What do you think?
The background is that the Scots Gaelic word for fluent is "fileanta" but fluent speakers "na fileantaich" is virtually synonymous with native speakers.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,ceejay
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 11:11 AM

It could be said that all Gaels were/are Irish or Scottish but not all Irish or Scottish were/are Gaels. This must have been so for many centuries or why such place names as Dún na nGall'(Donegal) and a plethora of villages and townlands called 'Baile na nGall' (Ballinagaul, Ballynagoul, etc) around the country? The names mean 'Fort of the Foreigners' and 'Settlement of the Foreigners'. However, the Gael seemed to be adept at absorbing the foreigners over time, whether Picts or Norsemen or Saxons, as these places are often in the Gaeltacht districts of today.

Of course its also possible that sometimes the original 'foreigners' that caused the place-name might merely have been interlopers from another part of Gaeldom, speaking a variant dialect of Gaelic.

But what if the Picts were the earlier inhabitants of Ireland as well as Scotland and that Pictish was a language akin to Gaelic. Then those particular place-names could refer to the Gaelic interlopers. It would also explain why Pictish is such a mystery language and why the Picts were so apparently readily absorbed into the new Scottish kingdom, adopting Gaelic and generally leaving so little trace of their separate existance. Scottish Gaelic might even be the result of the new combination,


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:03 PM

IanC - please pardon my language here, but regarding the origins of the word 'fuck' ...

I've heard that in medieval times in Europe, anyone caught having sex out-of-wedlock could be publicly sanctioned by getting put "in the stocks" out in the village square with a sign reading "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" (acronym - 'FUCK') nailed over their heads. That way everyone would know their 'crime' and be deterred from committing it themselves.

Pardon the thread-drift, but I always wondered if that was true!

daylia


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Bellowbelle
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 01:07 AM

Isn't there also a mythical unicorn-type creature called a 'gael?'


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 09:34 AM

There is constant reference to "Gaels" by BBC, Scottish Parliament, An Comumn, Royal National Mod, the Scottish tabloids etc. but nobody ever defines the word. I think, not to do so, is most convenient to many. I do think that it needs defining when it is used as if referring to a group of people like the Scots or English.
Going by previous submissions to this thread, there are two types of gaels; Those who settled on these shores from Ireland and the current undefined version.
To be fair on CLI, I'm sure that their reason for using the term, New Gael, is an honest attempt to say to people that they are welcolme to learn the language and culture and become a Gael.
All broadminded Scots welcome people who come to this country to learn and contribute to our community. They are, and should be, considdered fellow Scots. I think Padraig at CLI is using the same reasoning as regards to being a Gael.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 01:47 PM

It seems to me that being a "Gael" involves much more than language. To be true Gaels one would have to do much investigation. It was a whole lifestyle, involving customs regarding dress, language, art forms, even how furniture was styled. It had daily routines based on very old value systems. One school of thought has it that the death stroke to the Gaelic culture came with the epic flight of Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare. In these days we find it fashionable to call ourselves Gaels as an expression of pride in our shared past, and as an homage to our past culture. I don't see the harm in this, as it leads to investigation of what that means. As a result we see increased interest in the languages, increased interest in our traditional music and story telling forms, I have even seen an Uilleann Piper who took his interest in our common ancestral culture to the next step an started designing and building furniture based on Gaelic design concepts. We see interest in a revival of the Gael culture in a very relevant way to living in todays world.

To answer the original question, I would say that a Gael is a person who identifies him/herself as such and who is attempting to learn and live the culture of the Gael (in all of its manifestations in daily life)in a relevant way today. This is as opposed to someone who is interested in studying the Gaelic culture as a historical exercise.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 02:37 PM

Amen to that Big Mick. I think you have given the definitive definition.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,Johnny
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 03:00 PM

The problem I have with the concept that Gaelic identity is a chosen and/or learned cultural identity, rather than an identity limited to those who are born to it as one's ancestry, is the same problem I have with the concept that Native American identity can be a chosen and/or learned cultural identity.

What then happens to the people whose ancestry it actually is? If you go to any of the areas of Ireland or Scotland where native Gaelic speakers (most of whom are now bilingual) live and work, there is no different mode of dress, the foods eaten are the same as those of the rest of the country, with local exceptions, the religions are the same, etc. So the only significant differences nowadays between a Gaelic speaker and an English speaker is the language. So if someone with no familial ties to Gaelic ancestry decides to walk around playing Druid, what does that make someone with familial ties by birth or by marriage to Gaelic ancestry, whether living in the Gaeltacht or New York City? Chopped liver?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Big Mick
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 07:25 AM

I don't think we are in disagreement, Johnny. My point is that living in the Gaeltacht and being a first language speaker doesn't make one a Gael. It simply means that they are Gaeilgori - Irish speakers. I don't think that the true Gael exists today. While I don't wish to disparage how one seeks to understand the natural world, many of those that call themselves Druids are acting out as they would have liked Druids to be, not as they were/are. And in the last stages of the Gaelic culture/community, more were pagan influenced Christians than were Druidic.

Your analogy to the Native American is a bit flawed. Many of the aboriginal peoples of North America adopted or allowed non members to join and learn the culture and become one with the tribe. And what of the grandchildren of Ireland and Scotland whose families have never relinquished their culture? I think that the real problem is with those folks who try to be Irish or Scottish in a very shallow way.

This is a very interesting thread.

Mick


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 08:14 AM

High Big Mick.
I'm a bit uncertain about the meaning of the phrase "first language". Do you mean Gaelic is your first language, or that Gaelic was the first Language spoken in Ireland (which of cause is not true)?
All the best PP


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 10:05 AM

"My point is that living in the Gaeltacht and being a first language speaker doesn't make one a Gael."

Right. I suppose that makes us French, then.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Big Mick
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 01:03 PM

No, it makes you a Minnesotan and me a Michiganian, and both of us Irish-American. Please stop trying to disrupt a conversation with your inane implications. I don't know why you would imply that you are something you are not. What it makes the person who lives in Ireland or Scotland is an Irish or Scottish person. And it makes those who speak Gaeilge, Gaeilgori. My point is that it would be very hard for one to accurately portray themselves as a Gael when the Gaelic culture, in all its glory, ceased to exist several centuries ago. What we have are cultural memories of that way of life, and influences from it. But I doubt you would find many that would say that Ireland or Scotland are Gaelic societies. I have no problem with those who choose to use the term in a contemporary sense to convey their cultural pride, but I am making the distinction that as a cultural society, with all the influences of language and custom and design and politics, the Gael ceased to exist several centuries ago.

Pied Piper, I apologize for my confusing use of the term "first language". I did not mean to imply that I am a person who uses Irish as a first language. I am not. I am simply someone who has been exposed to the language a great deal in my life, understand more of it than the average person, but in no way could be called a speaker of it. What I meant to convey was "people who speak Irish as their first language". I hope that clears it up.

One thing that occurs to me while I think about this thread. Bear with me a minute here. One of the first thing that is taught about communication is that it can only occur when the sphere of one's experience can overlap with the sphere of anothers experiences. What I mean by this is that if you could imagine all your life's experiences as a being contained in a big circle, and your opponents as the same; and if you could move those two circles together until they overlap to some degreed, it is the area of overlap where one can find agreement. In other words, we need to walk in each others brogans.

For the Irish born person who struggles with the idea that Irish Americans hold onto their cultural identity so strongly, in spite of the fact that they may never have set foot in Ireland, I would submit that this is a by product of the supposed melting pot of America. For many of us, we have been raised to find our identity in this. This is especially true of those of us that were raised in the post WWII era. Such a big deal was made about "fitting in" and "being American" that it left a "culture gap" with regard to the things that other communities taught as a matter of course.

For the American born Irish descendants, can you imagine what it must be like to have such a strong identity and find it being diluted and watered down by a group of people from another country entirely? This being done by those who appropriate only the shallowest of images and then corrupt them (green beer, green hair, pointy ears and shoes), or worse than that, actually excerbate problems at home (such as the troubles) by failing to understand the problems, or reducing them down to phrases for which there is not complete understanding?

Until I came to the Mudcat, I was guilty of many of these things. My cyber friends have given me a very solid education on the reality of things. They have broken many stereotypes that I carried and had no idea that I was guilty of. I say this as a person who has spent a very large portion of my life trying to not do this.


All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Strupag
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM

I think he is referring to the former,Pied Piper, but Mick can answer for himself.
Sadly, there are a considerable number of people who have got Gaelic as their first language but don't value it. I know quite a few people who, when spoken to in Gaelic, will always reply in English.
I would say that it is their choice and right, not to be regarded as Gaels. The corolarry of this is that people with an appropriate desire, understanding and attitude can, in fact, become Gaels. To suggest otherwise would have implications of race or of a separate people.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:52 AM

So, I can become a Gael in my spare time, then? That's grand. Is there a secret handshake that goes with joining the club?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 07:55 AM

There you go. When logic and intellect fail, just fall back on silly oneliners. You sure you don't want to start that with a "oh yeah?"


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 08:13 AM

"Be a Gael in Six Weeks in Your Spare Time" correspondence courses?


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: Aodh
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 11:29 AM

Chuala mi ghaoth's cha n-fhaca mi i.
As a Scots Gael, from the Western Isles, ( You'll notice I've said SCOTS, not SCOTCH!?!) I think of myself as a Gael first and Celt second, but not a "Celt".
Like the saying above, we hear alot about Celtic-ness. In 21c UK the Nuage druids etc are very quick to tell us all about them. Riverdance, and the Highlands tourist board are full of the Enya-esque Tir nan Og. (nothing against Enya by the way!) But we know nothing!
We can feel their legacy but we can not fully see it.
But one word of warning; only the winners write history.

As for being a Gael, we are as much a mix of people as the English,
or any other nation on the face of ther earth. There is a mentality and a wit, that you may not find in other people. As for calling your self a Gael, as long as you can speak the lingo, go right ahead, most Gaels have more pressing concerns then lambasting you for copyright fraud (and would be more intrseted in which Island your from!)
I had better explain my views on "the lingo" befor the GUEST makes some coment.

As a native Scots Gaelic speaker, of Scots and Irish Gaelic history, I feel that the Laguage is the heart of the culture, with out it then there is no Gaeldom, or Gael. Gaelic is the life force, it is our power it binds everything.


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Subject: RE: What's a Gael?
From: GUEST,Leòdhas
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 04:26 PM

A "Gael" is what someone speaking English calls a Gaidheal.


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