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John Cleese faces backlash for criticism of Irish language

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’?”

John Cleese faces backlash for criticism of Irish language. Photo copyright Paul Boxley CC2

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.”

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.

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