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When the translation is provided submissions to the blog will be published in both English and Irish. Please send submissions to the webmaster address shown at the very top of the blog. Please visit us often. This blog is the companion of the Ottawa Comhaltas website:

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Tuesday 22 April 2014

Irish Language - Part 3

Celtic Language Revival

Language revitalization, also referred to as language revival or reversing language shift, is the attempt by interested parties to halt or reverse the decline of a language or to revive an extinct one. Those involved can include parties such as linguists, cultural or community groups, or governments.

A well-known exercise in language revival is that of the Irish Language in Ireland, notably being spoken in certain areas called called Gaeltachtaí. The Gaelic language was banned several times by governments who created cultural stigmatism.  Furthermore, the constant emigration of speakers during, and after, the potato famine fostered the loss of native speakers.  Attempts to revitalize the Gaelic language began in the mid-1800s, with strong efforts in the last few years, due to support from the Irish government and the recognition from the European Union of Irish Gaelic as an official language of the EU on 1 January 2007.

However, the language still has many obstacles to surmount, since those involved with the language revitalization have mostly focused on Irish teaching only in schools, but not in language immersion, necessary for a lasting viability of any language, the day-to-day use of a language, not just in the classrooms. 

Linguist Andrew Carnie in his paper “Modern Irish: A CaseStudy in Language Revival Failure” MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 28:99–114, 1996, indicated that people resent being forced by school curriculums to learn languages, therefore giving the taught language, a negative experience. 

If you are interested in learning what is the strategy of the Irish government in relation to the Irish language, check their publication "20-year Strategy for the Irish Language, 2010-2030."

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