Tag Archives: Gaelic-speaking

A Post For Riadach




I have been reading an interesting debate on the forum above where an intelligent Cassidy-sceptic with the username Riadach has a lengthy argument with a pair of eejits called ocianain and Niall996. It is amazing to see the wishful thinking and lack of intelligence of Cassidy supporters in action. Here is part of a post from ocianain:

‘You strive mightily not to understand, and you obviously never read Cassidy’s book, because on page 107 he cites Yale University professor William Ruff (the fella in the Scotsman article) as saying everyone Dizzy Gillespie knew as a kid spoke Gaelic. This is also in the Counter Punch article and the Scotsman article, so to aver as you do that these claims “are far beyond Cassidy’s even” indicates you have not read the book or any of the posts.’

So, I checked out what the Scotsman article actually says, along with the bit on page 107 in the book. The two paragraphs below both come from the Scotsman article. The bit in the book merely copies the second paragraph. This is what the Scotsman article quotes Ruff as saying about Dizzy Gillespie:

Gillespie often regaled his friends with stories of how the Scots had influenced the blacks in his home state of Alabama. He spoke to his long-time collaborator, Willie Ruff, a bassist and French horn player, about how his parents told of the black slaves who spoke Gaelic, the tongue of their masters.

“Dizzy used to tell me tales of how the blacks near his home in Alabama and in the Carolinas had once spoken exclusively in Scots Gaelic. He spoke of his love for Scotland…..”

Spot the difference?  Ruff is saying that Gillespie told him that black slaves had once, at some unspecified time in the past, spoken Gaelic in Alabama. Gillespie knew this not from first-hand experience but because his parents had told him this, though whether they knew this as hearsay or by their own first-hand experience is not clear. To ocianain, the Cassidy supporter with a head full of sweetie mice, untrammelled with reality and boring facts, this plausible little story becomes a new and more exciting story, that Dizzy Gillespie himself was raised in an episode of Na Bonaidean, with everyone he knew speaking Gaelic around him. 

This is just one example of the stupid things that ocianain and Niall996 come out with. This is Niall996 attempting to explain why booze could have come from the Irish uisce beatha.

“So in this packed bar, where the selection is rum, whiskey and gin. The Irish continually ask for Uisce beatha over and over. Is it conceivable that just as we flip words today or develop colloquialisms many took to a snappier phrase ‘buisce?” Or that fellow drinkers from other nationalities flipped it? It wouldn’t it surprise me in the slightest.”

It would surprise me a lot, as a look at the dictionary entries for booze would have shown that under the spelling bouse and bous it has been around in English with the meaning of strong drink since the Middle Ages. It is hard to explain how a bunch of people shouting at a barman in Irish or Gaelic in an American city in the 18th or 19th centuries could have influenced the language of the drinking classes in Medieval London or Ipswich before the Black Death.

Riadach heroically tries to talk sense to them but it is not easy. The argument goes round and round, and however reasonable Riadach’s approach, the other two are not prepared to listen. Ocianain seems to think that Ruff’s claim about Gaelic-speaking black people proves that Cassidy was entirely right, which is a hell of a leap to make when you look at some of Cassidy’s howlers and the fact that we are talking about an entirely different (though closely related) language. 

The other chump, Niall996, says that Cassidy didn’t claim his book was a work of scholarship. Really? A book that classifies itself as Culture, that includes reviews on the back cover from several professors (who seem to have been friends of Cassidy, but the public wouldn’t know that) and which on every page makes ridiculous and unsupported assertions about the origin of English terms. Cassidy doesn’t gently suggest them or say that he might be wrong or try to present the other side of the argument or call the book a work of creative ‘faction’. Cassidy asserts these things, and in so doing, he is obviously pretending that this book is a work of scholarship. Which it isn’t.

Riadach, we know your pain! You have done your best, but there is really no point in trying to argue with people who have never learned to think. Don’t worry about them! Some people prefer to remain ignorant and I’m sure they are as happy as pigs in shite.