Recently, I let fly at a dimwit called Hugh Curran who ‘teaches’ at the University of Maine. I have just found another post by him on IrishCentral, below another of Brendan Patrick Keane’s appalling pieces on Irish. This is every bit as ignorant, badly-written and moronic as the post he left under Keane’s other article on Cassidy’s work. I won’t quote it all, but here is some of it, in italics, with my comments.
I teach a course on Irish (Gaeilge) and one of the exercises given to students is to identify words that they use in everyday speech that are of Irish or Scots Gaelic origin. For instance, they sometimes eat a big Mac (mac=son) at MacDonalds (MacDomnall) and use the Mac computer (MacIntosh=MacTaoiseach=leader) and drive to Bangor (Benn chur=circular hill) by way of Kelly (Ceallach) and Hogan (h Og an) Roads to a Mall to purchase at a sales Galore(go leor=much or big) at Radio Shack (teach=pronounced shack) that is going out of business. A few students live in Derry (Doire=oak) in NH. There are multiple other place names in the U.S. and Canada that have Gaelic or Celtic names that would need much more space than this response even to begin to examine. But it helps students to point out how many names in common English usage have Gaelic roots such as Kevin (Caomhain) Aodan-Aedhan or Aodhan), Kenny & Kenneth (Ceannaidh), Eriin (eirinn), Murphy (Murchu), Duffy (Dubthaigh). Campbell (cam beall=twisted mouth) & Cameron (cam shrone=twisted nose).
Once again, this scumbag is boasting of his abilities in the Irish language. Well, if you teach it, you must be able to speak it, right? Wrong, actually. On his own admission, he isn’t fluent in the language. Though he only admitted that when criticised by me on this blog. I also found this, which certainly suggests a competence in the language which he doesn’t have: Poet and free-lance writer. Translator of old Irish poetry… Teacher of Gaelic and cultural studies.
Of course, all the stuff about names and placenames is completely irrelevant. Did anyone ever suggest that Kevin doesn’t come from Irish, or that Derry in Maine wasn’t named after Derry here? Of course not! What this does show, very clearly, is that Curran doesn’t know anything about the Gaelic languages. Mac Taoiseach? Really? Don’t you mean Mac an Taoisigh? Is beall the Scottish Gaelic for mouth? I thought that was beul (and béal in Irish). And cam shrone is Scottish Gaelic for crooked nose? Not camshròn? And Doire doesn’t mean an oak, it means an oak wood. An oak tree is dair or crann darach. His analysis of the origin of Bangor is shite as well, but I’ll let anyone who’s interested look it up for themselves. Apparently Curran also thinks shack comes from teach. Any evidence? They don’t sound at all similar. Chah, shack. I’m not getting it. Is Che as in Guevara Lynch similar to Shek as in Chiang-Kai? Not a lot … And the opinion of experts like this (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shack) is against shack coming from Irish, but then, Curran is far too big-headed to believe that he knows less than experts who spend their lives researching these things. Here’s some more childish nonsense from this arrogant self-worshipping twit.
Other common words such as: muck & mucky=pig as well as such words as bog=soft, possibly bogy in golf), smashing (is maith sin) are so entrenched in the English language that their sources are forgotten. It is one of the curious features of the English language is how little credence is given to native British=Welsh and Irish & Scots language) that English etymologists have gone to great lengths to derive words from classic sources while neglecting the language that has been alive for a thousand years before the Anglo-Saxon invasion in the 5th century. What is often neglected among etymologists or those who state, rather glibly, that there are only a handful of words of Gaelic origin in the English language is that everyday English speech uses names and place-names rooted in Scots & Irish history.
Which words are these that are ignored by the world of scholarship? Care to give us an example instead of an assertion? If muck = pig is one of them, the similarity between Irish muc (pig) and English muck (dirt) is purely coincidental. Muck is found in Middle Englsh and is almost certainly a borrowing from a Norse word meaning ‘dung’. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=muck) Bog does come from Irish or Gaelic (from bogach, not directly from bog) and ALL the dictionaries agree that this is the case. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bog) The meaning of bogey in golf isn’t a match. So how is any of this relevant? Smashing probably doesn’t come from is maith sin, and there are many expressions in English like a hit, a smash hit, a belter, a knockout, or the English Midlands slang word bostin’ (=busting) which use the same metaphor. Anyway, sorry about this, but here’s more of Curran’s childish bullshit.
English etymologists often have little understanding of lenition (ie nasalization) and eclipsing of initial letters which changes names and words (eg Seamus=shamus=a Hamish when addressing someone with that name) Although the book “How the Irish Invented Slang” is sometimes maligned because a few of the several hundred words are of questionable Gaelic origin, yet the vast majority are correct and the book makes for fascinating reading.
Of course, it makes no difference that people don’t understand lenition, because when you ask an Irish speaker the word for the moon, they will say gealach, not ghealach or ngealach. It’s the basic, unmutated form of a word that tends to pass between languages. (Hamish and Iain in Scotland are rare exceptions where the English version chose the vocative case rather than the nominative.) Cassidy’s daft claims which rely on these mutations to ‘sound right’ like bhuail for whale or n-each for nag are just nonsense. And as for the comment that ‘a few’ are ‘questionable but ‘the vast majority are correct,’ that was around 10 September 2016. By the time Curran posted his other comment on 7 December 2016, he was claiming that Cassidy’s work was 80% plausible and these were apparently right ‘more often than not’, which means that it was 40-50% correct overall (something over half of 80%, in other words). So, which is it? The vast majority correct with a few errors, or half wrong? (The truth, of course, is almost all wrong and the rest plagiarised!) This cretin Curran is obviously just plucking random crap out of his arse and throwing it at the public like a bored chimpanzee in a zoo. Truly, a worthy follower of the Great Fraud Cassidy!
Fortunately, somebody with more sense than Curran then challenged him, but unfortunately this comment has since been deleted, so we don’t know its content. However, we can guess a little from Curran’s reply. For example, this person was obviously right about nasalization and lenition, from Curran’s reply below.
If lenition and nasalization are “totally separate processes” why do earlier (;ie 1930s) books refer to nasalization rather than “lenition”?
This is another piece of evidence that Curran has his head firmly shoved up his arse and knows nothing about linguistics or the Gaelic languages. Nasalization was formerly an inaccurate name used for eclipsis, not lenition. They are two completely different things!(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_initial_mutations)
You also write “a lot of these etymologies are totally speculative”. This is absurd. There are scholars who have devoted their lives to etymological studies, even if their etymologies are calculated guesswork. Read over Partridge’s “Origins”. It might help you develop more understanding of this complex topic that you write off.
Wow, talk about being a pompous shithead! You mean the kind of deep understanding you have, Curran? How exactly does Partridge’s dictionary of etymology confirm any of Cassidy’s ludicrous claims? Got any examples? Any evidence? This is simply a diversionary tactic used by many followers of pseudo-scholarship. When questioned, they mention an irrelevant source which their opponent probably won’t have access to in order to intimidate the opposition and pretend to be experts.
The fact is, there are fantasists and con-men and liars like Daniel Cassidy who make up nonsense and pass it off as fact, and there are real scholars (Partridge included) who follow sound methodology and get it right. And you in your boundless arrogance, Curran, have decided to ignore all the evidence and support an obvious liar instead of the international community of real scholars. God help us, and more importantly, God help any poor student at the University of Maine who gets Hugh Curran as a Tutor-Instructor in Irish Gaelic in the Critical Languages Program.
How the fuck can anyone teach language skills, and critical skills, and thinking skills, if they don’t have any?