Comedy legend John Cleese has created a stir amongst Irish language speakers after he criticised its use of letters online.
The Monty Python star tweeted: “I love your use of words! But, seriously, if an Irish ‘bh’ is a ‘v’ sound, why don’t you write it with a ‘v’?”
He then completed his tweet with a similar question of the English language, quoting legendary Irish writer George Bernard Shaw. Cleese wrote: “Of course, Bernard Shaw pointed out that in English, the word ‘Fish’ could be spelled G-H-O-T-I.”
I love your use of words !
But,seriously, if an Irish ‘bh’ is a ‘v’ sound, why don’t you write it with a ‘v’ ?
Of course, Bernard Shaw pointed out that in English, the word ‘Fish’ could be spelled G-H-O-T-I https://t.co/HcUkQRRd1V
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) June 23, 2019
The tweet sparked an interesting response with several comments pointing out the numerous inconsistencies found within the English language.
Twitter users posted various language questions such as:
Why isn’t phonetic spelt phonetically?
Why is abbreviation such a long word?
Why does lisp have an s?
Why doesn’t onomatopoeia sound anything like what it is?
Why come up with the word dyslexia for a dyslexic?
Why is there a h in John?
There were also a number of tweets defending the Irish language, and telling Cleese not to be “that guy” who criticises other languages.
Oh no @JohnCleese 😭 don’t be that guy. ‘v’ doesn’t exist in the Irish language. I don’t think the Irish language was made to please upper middle class Englishmen. I’m not Irish, but I’m Welsh & can’t help feel the pain of every country that dares not to be English in the UK.
— Beth Williams-Jones (@bouff89) June 23, 2019
He is that guy. A privileged multi millionaire who was funny aeons ago. Just desperate for attention. Stick to silly walks, Cleese.
— SJ (@StewW4) June 23, 2019
Like WE should spell our names for the convenience of English ppl!!!! Yeah….RIGHT!!!!
— Prof Siob #FBPE #FPHD #FBR (@Sillyshib) June 23, 2019
Imagine not realising that other languages didn’t evolve in the germanic origin, Latin influenced, “English” way
— Kieran Burke 🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@kieranburke83) June 23, 2019
John the irish language is older than the english language. The irish taught the English how to speak their own language when they invaded us and battered us with tally sticks. You are barking up the wrong tree here john. 🤦🏻♀️🤣 #Gaelige pic.twitter.com/gcmhMHqz2A
— Áine Ní Giolla Chomhaill 🤨🦋🤪🤓🐩🐈🕊☘️ (@ainefromderry) June 24, 2019