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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

Christopher Lewin

Abstract

In this article the role of different ideological viewpoints concerning corpus development within the Manx revival movement in the second half of the twentieth century is explored. In particular, the work of two prominent figures is examined: the Celtic scholar Robert L. Thomson, who published extensively especially on Manx language and literature, and also contributed to the revival, particularly as editor of several pedagogical resources and as a member of the translation committee Coonceil ny Gaelgey, and Douglas Fargher, a tireless activist and compiler of an English-Manx Dictionary (1979). Broadly speaking, Thomson was of a more preservationist bent, cautious in adapting the native resources of the language and wary of straying too far from attested usage of the traditional language, while Fargher was more radical and open especially to borrowing from Irish and Scottish sources. Both were concerned, in somewhat different ways, to remove perceived impurities or corruptions from the language, and were influenced by the assumptions of existing scholarship. A close reading of the work of these scholar-activists sheds light on the tensions within the revival movement regarding its response to the trauma of language death and the questions of legitimacy and authenticity in the revived variety. Particular space is devoted to an analysis of the preface of Fargher’s dictionary, as well as certain features of the body of the work itself, since this volume is probably the most widely consulted guide to the use of the language today. Finally, it is argued that the Manx language movement today would benefit from a reassessment and discussion of the ideological currents of the past and present, and a judicious evaluation of both the strengths and weaknesses of existing reference works.

Open access

Merryn Davies-Deacon

Abstract

The attribution of names is a significant process that often highlights concerns over identity, ideology and ownership. Within the fields of minority languages and Celtic Studies, such concerns are especially pertinent given that the identities in question are frequently perceived as under threat from dominant cultures. The effect of concerns caused by this can be examined with reference to revived Cornish, which became divided into three major varieties in the later twentieth century; by examining the names of these varieties, we can draw conclusions about how they are perceived, or we are invited to perceive them. The motivations of those involved in the Cornish language revival are equally reflected in the names of the organisations and bodies they have formed, which equally contribute to the legitimation of revived Cornish. This paper examines both these categories of name, as well as the phenomenon of Kernowisation, a term coined by Harasta (2013) to refer to the adoption of Cornish personal names, and here extended to the use of Cornish names in otherwise English-language contexts. Examining the names that have been implemented during the Cornish language revival, and the ways in which they are used or indeed refused by those involved, gives us an insight into the various ideologies that steer the revival process. Within the context of the precarious nature of Cornish and Celtic identity, we can identify the concerns of those involved in the Cornish revival movement and highlight the role of naming as an activity of legitimation, showing how the diversity of names that occur reflects an equally diverse range of motivations and influences.

Open access

Orit Eshel

Abstract

This article surveys two types of Modern Irish presentative constructions. These constructions open with a presentative element and introduce an NP (entity) or a nexus (a situation or an event involving an entity) into the discourse. I describe the constructions’ poetic functions in literary narratives by Pádraic Ó Conaire (1882-1928). The first type of presentative construction opens with one of the deictic-presentative elements seo ‘here’, sin ‘there’ or siúd ‘yonder’. The second type of presentative construction features as a presentative element of various forms of perception and cognition verbs, such as d’fheicfeá ‘you’d see’ and shílfeá ‘you’d think’. Presentative constructions in literary narrative are used in several functions: expression of a point of view, either the narrator’s or that of a character, scene-setting, explication, and signalling boundaries in the text in varying degrees of cohesion and delimitation. The latter is also used to ‘sudden effect’, adding drama and speeding up story time.

Open access

Marina Snesareva

Abstract

This paper focuses on palatalisation in Irish spoken by Dublin-based bilinguals with English as their first language. As opposed to previous researches in Irish phonetics and phonology, this study examines new speakers of Irish, whose speech was recorded in November 2014. All informants were born and raised in Dublin, lived either in the city or in the neighbouring counties and demonstrated sufficient fluency in Irish, i.e. had no problems with reading, could actively participate in conversation and give detailed answers without switching to English. Computer analysis of their data has shown that even though in traditional Irish dialects palatalisation is not position-bound, there is a correlation between palatalisation of a consonant and its neighbouring vowel quality in the speech of Dublin bilingualsdue to English influence andother factors.

Open access

Nicole Dołowy-Rybińska

Abstract

The paper discusses several aspects of immersion and bilingual education systems in Brittany, France and in Lower Lusatia, Germany. Their role in the process of becoming a new speaker of a minority language is exemplified by the Diwan immersion education model in Brittany and the Witaj project in Lower Lusatia concerning the Sorbian people. Taking into consideration the different sociolinguistic situation of both groups, the level and reasons for language shift, the existing language policy in France and in Germany, both educational models are presented. I analyze some factors that influence the possible success or failure of these two models, such as: the linguistic environments, teaching systems, the roles of teachers, the minority language attitudes of pupils, their language practices, the availability of extracurricular activities in the minority language, and the existence of different types of communities of practice. All these factors influence pupils’ language choices and practices. Not all language learners will use a minority language in the future, since it depends on the conscious decision of each person. The distinction between language learners and minority language new speakers can thus be justified.

Open access

Romanas Bulatovas

Abstract

Advance in archaeology in the latter half of the 20th century rekindled interest in Táin Bó Cúailnge as a historical source and put the question of real-life identities of its main protagonists back on agenda. Despite the existing orthodoxy that the saga reflects fifth-century warfare between the southern Uí Néill and the Ulaid, some researchers continue questioning the role of the southern Uí Néill as well as the dates assigned to the events of the tale. In this article it is argued that the Connachta of the saga were more likely to be the northern Uí Néill. Furthermore, genealogical link between the two branches of the Uí Néill is put in doubt. Finally, it is suggested that the events of the Táin took place almost 200 years later than commonly believed.

Open access

Kevin Petit

Abstract

This article presents the results of a small-scale research conducted for a master’s thesis on the motivation to learn Irish on the part of university students and members of the Gaelic society An Cumann Gaelach. In the light of questionnaires’ results and interviews, the emphasis is placed on the links between motivation, identity, and potential key moments in learners’ lives. Using an AMTB-type questionnaire (n=45), the author puts to the test Dörnyei’s Motivational Self System theory (2005) in the context of the learning of Irish by looking at the correlation between the motivational intensity of 45 students and six variables (Ideal L2 Self, Ought to Self, Ideal L2 Community, Instrumentality, Parental encouragement, and Role of teachers). The notion of Ideal L2 Self, or the capacity to picture oneself speaking an L2 in the future, clearly appears to be strongly correlated with the respondents’ motivational intensity (r=.75 p<.01), in accordance with Dörnyei’s model. However results concerning extrinsic factors differ from previous research, putting forward distinctive features of the learning of minority languages. The second phase of the research looks at the language learning narratives of three An Cumann Gaelach’s members through the qualitative analysis of three interview transcripts. The results clearly show that time spent in Irish summer colleges are linguistic mudes (Pujolar and Puigdevall 2015), or key-moments, which triggered the interest in the language for the three students interviewed.

Open access

Marta Klonowska

Abstract

The majority of translations from Polish into Welsh published so far are the works of John Elwyn Jones (1921-2008), who learned Polish in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. His translations include Storiâu Byr o’r Bwyleg, a collection of short stories by two of the classic authors of the Polish Positivist period, Bolesław Prus and Henryk Sienkiewicz. This paper analyses two stories from the collection, Ianco’r Cerddor “Janko Muzykant” and Y Wasgod “Kamizelka”, within a comparative functional model of translation criticism. The texts are analysed in the light of lexical-semantic, cultural and aesthetic codes. A great number of modifications to the source texts introduced in the Welsh translation places them on the border between free translations and adaptations. While some of the alterations are tokens of a specific translation strategy, others can be regarded as translation errors. Although the Welsh version retains the primary message of the original stories, much of their culture-specific dimension, historical context and artistic value is not conveyed in the translation.