John McGuinness, table tennis and learning Manx
I managed to miss the races this year as I had a few days in Galway (under the scorching sun) but it was good to hear that McGuinness had won again. There are probably loads of qualities that go into making a successful TT rider but I imagine that perseverance is one of them; to be honest perseverance is probably the most important skill needed to learn Manx.
I don’t buy into the idea (excuses) that I’m too old to learn or that I was never any good at languages at school; indeed, I was never good at languages at school myself having achieved 9% in my last French exam even though I had cheated: there must be a lesson to be learnt there I think!
Ultimately, learning Manx is about commitment, hard work, practice and perseverance. I realise that I’m not selling it very well but to my mind someone who has learnt to speak Manx is the linguistic version of a McGuinness/Dunlop/Anstey (clearly without the life threatening part of the process) and just as the riders are seen as skilled, talented and committed practitioners then so should Manx speakers.
Matthew Syed – ex-international table tennis champion – in his acclaimed book Bounce brilliantly destroys the myth of talent (or I’m no good at languages excuse) and shows that with ‘purposeful practice’, ‘hard work’ and ‘commitment’ a great deal is possible.
I’ll write more about his book later but to all those Manx language versions of John McGuinness out there, don’t worry you’ll get your day on the podium!
Check out here the great new Manannan cartoon produced by the fantastic Gary Myers
Also, if you didn’t catch it the other night then check out Britain on Film here on the iplayer. After about 9 minutes there’s a great piece on Mannin including Doug Faragher teaching Manx in the 1960s
Finally, well done to the Manx Language students who will be attending the International Linguistics Olympiad.