You are Irish. So you feel like an islander?
“Irish people don’t think much about it…yet, our insularity has been important in the evolution of our culture. Gaelic sports are central to Ireland. There’s music that evolved in isolation for a long time. Poverty…when you come to the continent, you can drive from Brest to Beijing! You take a boat or a plane to get out of Ireland. Gotta go, that’s a big deal. Politically, Brexit has caused huge problems for the islanders. I hope the fall of Boris Johnson improves things.
Have you visited other islands?
” Not much. Osant, when I was young, Groix, Iceland. A big island like Ireland, it’s a country with its own language. I met writers from the Faroe Islands. It’s different: it’s small, they’re part of Denmark, and staying on the island is a big challenge for his young people. Everyone wants to be a fisherman. I don’t want to. The world is expanding. It’s a bit like in Oessant for example. Many people go to study in Copenhagen and don’t come back. That’s a big problem. On Tuesday evening, thanks to this island book fair, I had dinner with people from New Caledonia. We know their island, their language, their culture, the referendum. and talked about. It’s a complicated subject.”
You speak the language more like…
“Yes. When Macron went to Corsica, the question of recognizing Corsican as an official language was raised to him and he said no! I understand the French government, which sees what is happening in Catalonia. But a person who speaks only one language has limited knowledge and understanding of things. Bilingualism in school, I see in Ireland, is good. It is Then helps them learn other languages (he speaks Gaelic, English, French and a little Breton)”.
How can speaking a language prevent you from understanding things? Let’s translate…
“This is a problem for the English-speaking world. She mainly talks about the English speaking world. I often read French newspapers. In general, it is somewhat more universal. There are also links with former colonies. We never talk about Maghrib at home. But also because French is not the dominant language. In a globalized world, having one is useful. But this is a challenge for the Irish as many today only speak English. Hence the importance of bilingualism. It is not just a matter of insularity or nationalism”.
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