Roger Harty: A Chance Encounter

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I was downtown Tralee recently having a cup of coffee and as I was making my way back up the main street, a stranger asked me as to the whereabouts of a local bookshop.

Knowing the answer, I was delighted to oblige and I was about to walk away when I decided to offer a little bit of chit chat, if only to make him feel welcome to our town.

As the talk continued I found the more interesting it got. He told me he was living in Norway for many years but that he originally came from Ireland and now has temporary lodgings back west of Dingle.

He then, to my great surprise, proceeded to tell me that he was a professor of Celtic linguistics in the University of Oslo with a particular penchant for the Irish language.

I could feel the excitement growing inside of me as I asked him to tell me more, especially with regard to why he put so much importance in the Irish language.

He told me that linguists around the world hold a special reverence for the Irish language as it has a particular uniqueness.

Then, the ‘tour de force’ came when he told me that Irish was one of the most important languages in the world as it is the only language in the world where a sentence begins with a verb.

My eyes lit up as he told me that this fact indeed made Irish a very living language and thus a most effective means of communication.

A verb by its very nature involves movement and thus if we have two human beings (moving living creatures) communicating in this language of movement it is therefore a formidable manner of connecting.

He gave me examples of this such as;

D’éirigh mé ar a hocht  a clog – I got up at eight o’ clock

Fuair mé bróga nua – I got new shoes.

If you examine both of the above sentences you will see that the Irish version begins with a verb and the English version begins with a pronoun.

The point being, that if a language begins with a noun or a pronoun it is by its very nature static, whereas should the language begin with a verb we are already communicating with movement.

My particular interest was heightened because anyone who knows me knows that I have a great interest in all things energetic (Energy is in constant flux !!) – particularly human beings who I often describe as balls of energy.

When we talk to each other, we communicate through sound which is energy – now this sound communication can take different forms (which we call different languages) – to me it makes great sense that if the language has movement in it (as explained above) then surely it is the most effective form of speech communication.

That is why our native cultural language is so important not just from a national point of view but from an international point of view.

Like a precious jewel we should appreciate, protect and mind it.

Next week I am going to write about – What is Grace ?


  1. Margaret Keane says:

    Just to let you know,it is also possible to begin a sentence in Japanese with a verb…mind you,this is the informal version,but very acceptable.

    • Roger Harty says:

      Thanks Margaret – I Suppose my article was written based on a conversation and I have no doubt that there are other languages as well – but it is nice to recognise the hidden beauty that lies within them!