#Manx #Gaelg

Manx Gaelic, the indigenous language of The Isle of Man is enjoying a bit of a resurgence in new speakers and academic study. Classes are running all the time, there are many conversation groups and some clothes-related surprises coming soon, too. Manx needs to be seen and heard everyday. It isn’t about those people in the corner of the coffee shop any longer, it needs to be commonly seen so it ceases to be a surprise to see and hear it. Whilst Manx is increasingly being heard and seen from street signs to coffee shops, the modern world also plays host to increased usage of Manx through social media.

The mix of people learning Manx ranges from the brilliant to the casually interested and they’re all able to interact using modern internet using Facebook, Twitter, You Tube alongside conventional web sites whenever is comfortable, after work, when the kids are in bed or on the bus using your smartphone.


Facebook has a number of small groups catering for the learners and experts alike. Cowag (chat) is great for friendly banter and an opportunity to interact with experienced and learning speakers. Ynsee Gaelg (Learn Manx) is targeted particularly at the beginner or the casually interested. Regular quizzes and quotes are published engaging users to participate and experiment. Both groups are ideal if you want to hang out or ask an expert a question. It would be remiss of me to remind you that Taggloo also has a Facebook and Twitter feed, featuring a huge selection of Manx phrases posted throughout the day. Facebook is an ideal place to talk amongst friends in Manx, particularly when it can be difficult to get together at one of the many social events on the island – or even if you’re interest is based elsewhere.


The great thing about Twitter is that it allows anyone to “join the conversation”, and there’s no reason why that conversation cannot be in Manx Gaelic. I’m a frequent user of Twitter myself and often use it to tweet in Manx, re-using patterns learnt in class or just having a bit of fun. It doesn’t matter how good you are, the important thing is to use it! If you tweet in Manx, your followers see your Manx and it quickly becomes a feature of local “Tweeps”, adding value to the local and international Twitter community. I’ve had interest in my Manx tweets from Isle of Man and Ireland to as far afield as North America.

The key to tweeting in Manx is to remember to use the hashtags. Hashtags are ways of “tagging” your post with a meme, trend or topic which can be searched upon, identified and aggregated by other users and sites. So, when you tweet, add the #Manx #Gaelg hashtags. I prefer to only use both #Manx #Gaelg if I am tweeting in Manx or about the language, using #Manx on its own suggests it’s more community related. These are just three tweets I found searching on the #Gaelg hashtag:

The #Gaelg hashtag

And don’t forget, adding #Manx #Gaelg extends your tweet into Taggloo, too:

Taggloo aggregating #Manx #Gaelg

Using hashtags can fling your tweets farther than you could imagine. Consider when we hosted the Isle of Man’s Twestival event in 2011. We encouraged everyone to tweet including the #Twestival hashtag, so other Twestival participants across the world saw what our small island was up to. We also tweeted Manx in this feed, adding #Manx #Gaelg to expand the reach of Manx.

Twestival 2011 twitterfall

Stuck for something to say? The Isle of Man has lots to offer the world in terms of stuff to tweet about. It’s the Isle of Man TT at the moment, so I found an additional opportunity to spread the #Manx #Gaelg word to users interested in the bikes who were following the #iomtt feed:

Tweeting on the #iomtt hashtag

The key about using Manx in social media is to use it whenever you can. Use social media to learn phrases or words, follow @TagglooIM on Twitter to learn phrases throughout the day, chat on Facebook with learners and experts and most importantly, be seen to use the language no matter your skill level.

TT 2013 Tweet-up – Thursday 30th May at Velvet Lobster

Social gatheringIt’s TT and time for people to get together and have a bit of a chat in good company. At somewhat short notice, we’re planning a tweet-up on Thursday 30 May 2013 from around 6. Our friends at The Velvet Lobster have kindly held some space for us so we can grab one of their lovely cocktails or a bite to eat.

If you can’t make the usual 3rd Thursday lunch-time meet-ups at Paparazzi, this is the perfect opportunity to meet your online friends … offline! Previous tweet-ups have been a great success, always attracting a friendly crowd.

So we can firm up numbers, drop us a line by replying to this post, letting me know by Twitter (I’m @programx) or on Facebook.

Hope you can join us for chilled out chat and cocktails!

By-election fun! Sefton, bus drivers, economy and Manx Gaelic

It’s by-election time. And I love elections. It’s sort of a do-over from the poor result in the previous Isle of Man General Election which saw Geoff Corkish and John Shimmin get in, despite my feeble attempt otherwise. As a further spit in the face of democracy, Geoff Corkish, a man who has previously spoken against democratic freedom of speech using modern media such as social networks, has been promoted to the Legislative Council – undemocratically.

The four candidates have been out campaigning in the Douglas West ward, some of whom are hoping for better success this time round.

Martin Moore once again put his name forward for election, a welcome move considering his agitation at the way the MHKs are conducting themselves and the island. I like an agitator. However, once again he pulled out. This time, it wasn’t because he filled in the forms wrong, it was because he got cold feet.

That left Clive Dawson, John Skinner, Quintin Gill and Chris Thomas. I sent them all an email asking 4 simple questions:

  1. Sefton. Handled well? What could have been done better?
  2. The island is looking pretty dire economically. How can this be improved?
  3. Bus drivers’ strike generally, and in particular over TT week. Other public workers have similar poorly handled contracts. Are we to expect another set of strikes?
  4. Manx Gaelic investment and support. How will you act to maintain this heritage and educational benefit?

Quintin Gill has relocated from his previous ward of Rushen where he lost in 2011.Perhaps experience would be an asset. With his manifesto citing “earn more, spend less, utilise savings”, it seems pretty usual electioneering. Expansion of existing sectors such as E-Gaming to earn more is unimaginative. Spending less on already inflated salaries is going to be very difficult – when was the last person to quietly sacrifice their inflated package? And utilise savings? Of course, use the reserves – I’m sure they’ve already been spent at least twice. On Sefton he was of the same idea as Clive Dawson, that the case sadly lacked any form of PR competence to involve the tax payer and voter in their explanations. As for Manx Gaelic, he acknowledged the value of Manx Gaelic, particularly as it has such good value for money. Whilst not committing to anything in particular, he did sign off “lhiats”.

Chris Thomas’ manifesto seems to be very well thought out and is the only one to include actual data in numeric and graph form. Some good ideas, particularly his views on The Steam Packet and MEA being brought back into local ownership. Although he says he has a certificate in Manx Gaelic and has strong Manx Gaelic knowledge within his team, no real commitments were obvious other than general support in heritage. I’m looking for something more than just Manx Gaelic as a heritage asset.

John Skinner failed to engage with me last time and didn’t bother to reply to the email this time, either. So much for him. Must try harder. In fact, don’t bother. There’s no room for more tardiness in Tynwald.

Clive Dawson was the only candidate to make the effort to come out and see me after reading the email. A nice guy, seems honest, though he is unapologetically UKIP like. When I challenged him on this, he was quite enthusiastic about removing benefits from immigrants and actively preventing future immigration to the island despite the value of working immigrant people – myself included (though this was apparently a different type of immigration). He suggested the island could get out of the financial problems it finds itself in through attracting charities to use the island as a base, but in the same breath, also Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar – even with their questionable human rights. Clive acknowledged the value of a second language and the value of developing bilingualism in education, but seemed more concerned about other languages than Manx Gaelic. However, I do thank him for his time.

Update – 22 May 2013 – Day before

John Skinner did email me tonight. Perhaps too late to swing my decision. Alas, his response was again a mixture of better PR and a lack lustre assertion of the importance of Manx Gaelic. He did suggest that things are as bad as I made out for the island, which has enjoyed consistent economic performance of 3%. Maybe, but tell that to those who are losing their jobs and seeing small business closed (the bigger ones just get bailed out).


5 finger Kit Kats: we’re through the looking glass now

The food and drink industry has been under fire for some time about portion sizes and questionable marketing tactics. Chocolate bars are bigger, fizzy drinks are sweeter and even supposed ‘teeth friendly’ products have questionable benefit.

The industry’s apparent response is to continue to create large portions but instead use the guilt-loaded, responsibility abdicating verb ‘share’. Packs are share packs, share your bottle of Coca Cola with Ian and reseal that huge pack of Maltesers.

Seems to me the marketing departments have stepped up their game and excused their products from blame should someone decide to eat a whole pack themselves.