The Origins of Gaelic

According to legend, the Scythian king, Fenius Farsa (or Fenius Farsaidh), visited the Tower of Babel shortly after its failure, only to find that that the builders of the tower had already dispersed.



Fenius stayed at the tower, but sent out seventy-two scholars to study each of the seventy-two languages that were now spoken by the builders of the tower. After ten years the scholars returned, and Fenius took the best parts of each language in order to create a “selected language”, which he named Goidelic after his companion Goídel mac Ethéoir. Fenius is also reputed to have discovered four writing systems, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Ogham, and as Ogham was the most perfect of the four it was chosen for writing the Goidelic (i.e. Irish) language.

The fact that there are different languages is the most sinister fact in the world. It means that there are different names for the same things.

All linguistics hides the striving to reduce all languages back to one. The tale of the Tower of Babel is the tale of the second Fall of Man. After losing their innocence and eternal life, human beings wanted to grow artificially to the heavens.

First they had tasted of the wrong tree, now they had mastered its ways and grew straight up. In return, they lost what they had managed to retain after the First Fall: the unity of names.

(Elais Canetti)

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