I came across a piece of information the other day that set me thinking. It was a piece of information that, even though quite small, in my formative years it hadn’t been passed on. It simply was that the Irish Language doesn’t contain the idea of ‘a’. There is no indefinite article as in English. I was taught that it was a phrase language and so you had to learn the phase to know what information was being passed on. How tiring! How much simpler English appears when you can pick and mix your concepts and jam them together.
What does this mean? It means that while in English you can hold in your mind a concept by itself, in Irish you cannot. In Irish everything is connected to something else. You only come to knowledge of something when you realise the relationship it is in, in regards to something else. It is this basic principle that sets the Irish language apart and why most of its sentence structure starts with a verb and not a subject/object as in English.
Firstly in Irish where did something take place? Past present or future. Placing the emphasis on the state of the world’s existence is the most important thing; Therefore the world is seen to exist externally to yourself. The object/subject only then takes its place in that world. In English because the object/subject has the emphasis the knowledge of the world is built around it. In other words you create the world you exist in, when you have an indefinite ‘a’.
This building of concepts lead me to think about Mereology– Part and Parthood. If no part actually exists in the world then it cannot be thought of – summary of Irish Language. English however supports the idea that whole things are made up of parts and these can be thought of separately.
One can only be reminded of the logic of language building our interpretation of the world about us. PC2015