Zen and the art of vocabulary – Interview with Garry Bannister

Garry Bannister is the author of several well-known Irish language phrasebooks, including the latest edition of his Teasáras Gaeilge-Béarla, the Irish-English Thesaurus.

He tells us about his life, how he came to be fascinated by words and dictionaries, how he followed his father’s advice, and how that brought him into contact with Soviet Russia and Zen Buddhism.

Garry Bannister at New Island Books

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1 thought on “Zen and the art of vocabulary – Interview with Garry Bannister”

  1. What an interesting interview! Garry, we share the same interests. The Russian language fascinated me so much I earned a doctorate in it. In the process I spent about six months total time in Russia and the former Soviet Union. I would have spent time there, but then it wasn’t possible. Now, however, I love Irish and hope to become fluent, though I expect it will take me a lot of time. “Irish speaks to my soul” as you say, even though I am not Irish born. My maternal grandparents emigrated to the US from Connemara. Among other things I am grateful you introduced into this interview the notion that the Irish are more prone to use a “poetic” proverb than English speakers who are more inclined to use an idiom. My Irish mother taught us many Irish proverbs, my favorite being “it’s a long road that has no turning.” Thank you, Gary, for the book recommendations and sharing your deep knowledge of all things Irish. Thank you, Bitesize, for arranging this interview. I enjoyed this so much.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 thought on “Zen and the art of vocabulary – Interview with Garry Bannister”

  1. What an interesting interview! Garry, we share the same interests. The Russian language fascinated me so much I earned a doctorate in it. In the process I spent about six months total time in Russia and the former Soviet Union. I would have spent time there, but then it wasn’t possible. Now, however, I love Irish and hope to become fluent, though I expect it will take me a lot of time. “Irish speaks to my soul” as you say, even though I am not Irish born. My maternal grandparents emigrated to the US from Connemara. Among other things I am grateful you introduced into this interview the notion that the Irish are more prone to use a “poetic” proverb than English speakers who are more inclined to use an idiom. My Irish mother taught us many Irish proverbs, my favorite being “it’s a long road that has no turning.” Thank you, Gary, for the book recommendations and sharing your deep knowledge of all things Irish. Thank you, Bitesize, for arranging this interview. I enjoyed this so much.