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Michelle Macleod and Marsaili Macleod

Abstract

Studies of primary school pupils’ Gaelic to date have largely relied on criterion referenced tests to measure attainment against curricular expectations: with only NicLeòid’s (2015) work on student attitudes and Nance’s research (e.g. 2013 and 2015) on comparative phonology bucking this trend. There is a surprising lack of information or research about the language forms and bilingual repertoire of young speakers. A better understanding of young people’s language practices requires the Gaelic research community to develop datasets from spontaneous interactions. This paper draws on a pilot study with a primary 5-6 school cohort in Gaelic-medium education. Using a combination of audio and audio-visual data from the classroom together with data on young speakers’ language attitudes, this paper examines pupils’ determination and strategies to maintain the classroom language as Gaelic. The results of this pilot study can inform the development of new methodologies for collaborative research with the school community on children’s linguistic development and attainment. Such research, it is argued, is necessary in light of the dependency of the Gaelic language planning model on the primary school for the production of new Gaelic speakers.

Open access

Ken George

Abstract

Of the four unrounded front vowels in Primitive Cornish, /i/, /ɛ/ and /a/ remained stable when long in closed syllables, but /ɪ/ had a tendency to fall together with /ɛ/. Jackson (1953) and Williams (1995) dated this change to the twelfth century, but the present research indicates that in most words, the change took place substantially later. An analysis of spellings and of rhymes show that not all words changed at the same time. Most stressed monosyllables in historical /-ɪz/ were pronounced [-ɪːz] in Middle Cornish and [-ɛːz] in Late Cornish. Those with historical /-ɪð/ and /-ɪθ/ were dimorphic in Middle Cornish (i.e. they were spelled with both <y~i> and <e>), showing the sound-change in progress during that time. The process of change from [ɪː] to [ɛː] was one of lexical diffusion. The implications for the revived language are briefly examined.

Open access

Katarzyna Gmerek

Abstract

This paper tells a little known story of the collecting and delivery of signatures of Irish school children from the northern part of Ireland as an act of moral support for Polish students on strike in defense of the Polish language at schools in the Prussian partition of Poland, in the first decade of the 20th century (Płygawko 1991). The bound signatures are in the Czartoryski Museum in Cracow, Poland, but the information about the action has not been found in Irish sources, and the Polish signatures collected in response seem to be missing. The role of the organizer of the initiative, Shane Leslie, is emphasized in this paper. It describes the background of this exchange of sympathy, and discusses possible reasons why the story remains obscure.

Open access

Gilles Quentel

Abstract

This paper deals with the long-debated question of the origins of tree names and the methodological problems related to PIE etymologies. It aims at putting forward some basic principles of etymology, and at applying these principles to the analysis of twelve tree names. It also seeks to demonstrate the relevance of substratic pre-IE languages’ influence on the lexicon, and at isolating geographic areas corresponding to pre-Indo-European lexical stocks lying behind modern Celtic languages.

Open access

Andrew Breeze

Abstract

In a previous issue of this journal, Natasha Sumner of Harvard claimed of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi that the “exact date of composition for the text is not known”; she yet quoted Professor Catherine McKenna, also of Harvard, for the tales as certainly predating the Fall of Gwynedd in 1282. A response to Professor Sumner’s comment thus has three functions. It cites publications on the question from 1897 to 2018; reveals the scholarly disagreement therein; but concludes with evidence to put the tales in the 1120s or early 1130s.

Open access

Anna Branach-Kallas

Abstract

The article is an analysis of the representation of Australian nurses in Thomas Keneally 2012 First World War novel, The Daughters of Mars. Inspired by rigorous research, Keneally fictionalizes the lives of two nursing sisters in the Middle East, on a hospital ship in the Dardanelles, as well as in hospitals and casualty clearing stations on the Western Front. His novel thus reclaims an important facet of the medical history of the First World War. The author of the article situates her analysis in the context of historical research on the First World War and the Australian Anzac myth, illuminating the specifically Australian elements in Keneally’s portrait of the Durance sisters. She demonstrates that The Daughters of Mars celebrates the achievements of “Anzac girls”, negotiating a place for them in the culture of commemoration. Yet, at the same time, Keneally attempts to include his female protagonists in the “manly” world of Anzac values, privileging heroism over victimization. Consequently, they become “misfits of war”, eagerly accepting imperial and nationalist ideologies. Thus, in a way characteristic of Australian First World War literature, The Daughters of Mars fuses the tropes of affirmation and desolation.

Open access

Eugene Mckendry

Abstract

While Modern Languages are in decline generally in the United Kingdom’s post-primary schools, including in Northern Ireland (Speak to the Future 2014), the international focus on primary languages has reawakened interest in the curricular area, even after the ending in 2015 of the Northern Ireland Primary Modern Languages Programme which promoted Spanish, Irish and Polish in primary schools. This paper will consider the situation in policy and practice of Modern Languages education, and Irish in particular, in Northern Ireland’s schools. During the years of economic growth in the 1990s Ireland, North and South, changed from being a country of net emigration to be an attractive country to immigrants, only to revert to large-scale emigration with the post-2008 economic downturn. While schools in Great Britain have had a long experience of receiving pupils from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, firstly from the British Empire and Commonwealth countries, Northern Ireland did not attract many such pupils due to its weaker economic condition and the conflict of the Northern Ireland Troubles. The influx from Poland and other Accession Countries following the expansion of the European Union in 2004 led to a sudden, significant increase in non-English speaking Newcomer pupils (DENI 2017). The discussion in Northern Ireland about a diverse democracy has hitherto concentrated on the historical religious and political divide, where Unionist antipathy led to the Irish Language being dubbed the ‘Green Litmus Test’ of Community Relations (Cultural Traditions Group 1994). Nevertheless, the increasing diversity can hopefully ‘have a leavening effect on a society that has long been frozen in its “two traditions” divide’ (OFMDFM 2005a: 10). This paper will revisit the role and potential of Irish within the curricular areas of Cultural Heritage and Citizenship. An argument will also be made for the importance of language awareness, interculturalism and transferable language learning skills in Northern Ireland’s expanded linguistic environment with a particular focus on Polish.

Open access

Zuzanna Buchowska, Jacek Fabiszak and Tomasz Skirecki

Open access

Agnieszka Setecka

Abstract

Australia features in numerous Victorian novels either as a place of exile or a land of new opportunities, perhaps the most memorable image of the country having been presented in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1861). Anthony Trollope’s writing, however, offers a much more extensive and complex presentation of Australian life as seen by a Victorian English gentleman. In his Australian fictions, including Harry Heathcote of Gangoil (1874), Catherine Carmichael (1878), and John Caldigate (1879), he presents Australia both as a land of new opportunities and as a place where social hierarchy as it is known in England is upturned and social boundaries either disregarded or drawn along different lines. The present article is concerned with the ways in which Trollope’s John Caldigate represents differences in the structure of English and Australian society, stressing the latter’s lack of a clear class hierarchy characteristic of social organisation “back home”. The society of Australia is presented as extremely plastic and mobile - both in terms of space and structure. Consequently, it can hardly be contained within a stiffly defined hierarchy, and it seems to defy the rules of social organisation that are accepted as natural and obvious in England. In Trollope’s fiction success in Australia depends to a large extent on hard work, ability to withstand the hardships of life with no luxuries, and thrift, and thus on personal virtues, but the author nevertheless suggests that it is defined solely by economic capital at the cost of cultural capital, so significant in England.

Open access

Ruben Benatti and Angela Tiziana Tarantini

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyse the relationship that second- and third-generation Italian migrants in Australia have with the Italian dialect of their family. We report on the survey we recently carried out among young Italian-Australians, mainly learners of Italian as a second language. First, we analyse the motivation behind learning Italian as a heritage language. We then move on to describe their self-evaluation of their competence in the dialect of their family, and their perception thereof. Surprisingly, our survey reveals that not only are Italian dialects still understood by most second- and third-generation Italians (contrary to what people may think), but Italian dialects are also perceived by young Italian-Australians as an important part of their identity. For them, dialect is the language of the family, particularly in relation to the older members. It fulfills an instrumental function, as it enables communication with some family members who master neither English nor Italian, but above all, it is functional to the construction of their self and their social identity.