Last night I was talking to Richard Bonomo and Kathbert, and they were curious about Irish, so I showed them a chart of irregular verbs. It’s always fun to show people these words with a million letters in them and then tell them how it’s actually pronounced. For example, the future tense of “to get” is gheobhaidh, which is pronounced “yoey,” and the negative future (yes, they have different forms for negative and interrogative) is bhfaighidh, which is pronounced something like “wahi.” Kathbert asked why I was studying this language, and I said purely intellectual interest, it’s kind of useless plus it’s dying out. I suppose in a couple of generations it will be extinct. She said, “From the looks of it, it has a death wish.” Actually, according to a couple of native Irish speakers who were teaching at that Irish language weekend I went to back in October, even they don’t understand the spelling. They said it was some sort of compromise between how all the dialects pronounce things, which is another story – don’t get me started on how all the dialects are different. Our teacher is forever saying, “This is how they do it in Connemara. Now if you were in Ulster…” My fellow student says it’s like we’re learning English by studying the Boston accent versus the Deep South accent. Don’t they have a sort of generic Midwestern, let’s-make-news-anchors-talk-like-this dialect? That would sure make our lives easier.