I used to teach English.  I had done it for 14 years.  My accent was fine until I hit Europe, now the attitude is "well I would have preferred an actual British person."  The fantasy sold by language schools is still full of Big Ben, Paddington Bear and having high tea in London.  The view of who or what Irish people are is seen through an inherited British colonial lens, if they have actually even heard of the place at all.   

And that is all that it is, a fantasy.  Outside of holidays the UK is closed and hostle to citizens of the Schengen area.  The reality post Brexit is that an EU speaker of English as a second language is either going to work in their ownor another EU country where they will need to speak English.  

The British have closed the door to them and the message is slowly getting through as EU citizens who thought they had a life in the UK get deported.  The British have not closed the door to the Irish who still enjoy full residency rights in the UK and vice versa.  The fact that the British dream is over has not sunk in yet.  The UK has left the EU and it is not coming back in my lifetime.

In the ELT books the only two acceptable places that speak English are London and New York.  There are 58 soverign states with English as an official language.  Two are in the EU.  Most are former colonies. Anyone not from a very specific part of London or the South East of English has the "wrong English accent."  Why is this?  Why do we let it happen and why do we say thanks and take this frankly illegal nonsense when we get treated like dirt?   

He claims to be an aloof urbane Corkman but his surname is very specific to South Kilkenny,  Patrick Freyne of the Irish Times put it best"Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown."  

I have nothing against the students, they take what they are told.  Hiring is a different matter and ends in the sucking of teeth and the rearranging of recieved prejudices about how bad Irish people are percieved to be at speaking English.  Notwithstanding that we are a mainstay on both US and UK TV, radio and cinema.  Cillian Murphy being nominated for an Oscar piled on top of all his other achievments. The list is endless of our contributions to the arts in English.  

The sheer volume of Irish presenters on the BBC is still amazing and it is possible to hear an Irish presenter talking to an Irish reporter on the BBC talking to another Irish person about a news item especially on the World Service.  

Nuala McGovern BBC News

The prejudice is when these people who are not British are faced with an English speaking Irish person in the EU.  They don't know what to with them.  They know from centuries of British propaganda that we're "not good at English" and have a bad accent but when it comes down to it almost none of them can tell the difference.  There is recieved pronuncuation and there are recieved prejudices.  They have taken this propoganda at face value.  

In the 1840s we were depicted as monkeys in Punch magazine.  This is when they weren't presenting us as leprucháins or as hairy knuckledraggers.  As described by a guest blogger on an University of Minnisota Medium post "[the]cartoon depicts the Irish people as a monkey to portray them as inferior to the British, depicted by an imperial lion (Forker, 2012). While Britain’s lion wears a crown, the Irish monkey is depicted in a jester’s hat, ridiculing Irish defiance of Britain — this cartoon was published in the aftermath of the 1848 ‘Young Ireland Rebellion’. The monkey’s spear, compared with Britain’s naval ship, highlights Britain’s military superiority, while developing the image of the Irish as backwards."  This is the inherited, recieved prejudice that we are faced with.  

But we are in 2024.  And Ireland is a booming and much changed country, it has changed in so many ways even since I left in 2010.  

The excellent Yu Ming is anim dom (my name is Yu Ming) Filmed in Dublin in Asia market and Moore street (毛街)

Two of the greatest reporters on the BBC have been Orla Guieran and Fergal Keane

Orla Guieran in NUIG being honoured

You can watch Fergal Keane presenting the Story of Ireland on Youtube

The Story of Ireland part 1

We are here, we are full EU citizens and we are inextricably linked to the English language and culture and in Europe you can take your prejudice and stick it in the bin because it is ugly and diminishes you.  Ireland needs to wake up too and stop doffing the cap and stand up and be counted and back our citizens living in the EU 27 countries.  

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