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The shift from Gaelic to English in Ireland By Cassie Wordingham, Lauren Hill, Luke Otley and Gemma Plaza.

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Presentation on theme: "The shift from Gaelic to English in Ireland By Cassie Wordingham, Lauren Hill, Luke Otley and Gemma Plaza."— Presentation transcript:

1 The shift from Gaelic to English in Ireland By Cassie Wordingham, Lauren Hill, Luke Otley and Gemma Plaza


3 History of Ireland Irish people are mainly descendants from the Celts. Celts arrived in Ireland in fourth Century BC. Arrival of Saint Patrick in 432 AD. Ninth Century - Vikings began to regularly invade Ireland. Twelfth Century - Normans invaded and conquered

4 From 1800 1800 - Ireland became part of the UK 1849 – Great Potato Famine - Consequently led to mass emigration and declining population.


6 Independence Late 19 th Century - Desire for independence from the UK became increasingly apparent in Ireland. Emergence of the political movement Sinn Fein, which translates to ‘Ourselves alone’. 1919-1921 - Ireland and England went to war and Ireland was divided. - Today we have Northern Ireland which has remained part of the UK; - The rest of Ireland became an independent state, known as the Republic of Ireland (ROI).

7 Irish throughout history C6th Old Irish – latin alphabet C10th Middle Irish C12th Middle-Modern C13th EM Irish C18th Modern Irish

8 The Statutes of Kilkenny 1366, first example of official oppression Although challenged by presence of French and English after Norman invasions, regained position as dominant vernacular by C15th English prevailed in towns – language of urban administration Drive under Tudors to further English rule in Ireland “We may conceive and hope that the next generation will in tongue, and in heart, and in every way else, become English: so that there will be no difference or distinction, but the Irish sea betwixt us” Strengthening of English in East and North of Country Census figures


10 Irish Language Rights and Policies Bunreacht na hÉireann – Constitution of Ireland (1937) Article 8 1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language. 2. The English language is recognised as a second official language. Official language of the European Union since 2007

11 Irish language rights established in recent decades: Official Languages Act 2003: ‘Where a person communicates in writing or by electronic mail in an official language with a public body, the public body shall reply in the same language’. Statement on the Irish Language, 2006: Main objectives: To ensure that in public discourses and public services the citizen had the choice to use either English or Irish. High quality broadcast services in Irish through the medium of Irish would be ensured Official Languages Scheme, 2009-2012: Official documents published in both Irish and English Bilingual websites

12 Main policies Official Languages Act 2003: “Irish is unique to its country and is, therefore, of crucial importance to the identity of the Irish people” Main objectives: – To increase its use and knowledge – To ensure that most of the citizens are bilingual. – Irish taught as an obligatory subject from primary to Leaving Certificate Level. – The Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region, West of Ireland) will be given special support as an Irish-speaking area and supports to departments which promote the Irish language at a national level (e.g. Foras na gaeilge)

13 20–year strategy for the Irish Language- 2010-2030 Dictionaries: up-to-date dictionaries, corpus resources, dictionaries of spelling, modern terminology, etc. Economy: support and develop the language economy that can provide the required services to the State and to the EU in areas such as translation, interpretation, language teaching, publishing, language consultancy, etc. Development of Education, Media, The Gaeltacht…

14 References 20-year strategy for the Irish Language [last accessed 4/3/2013] Constitution of Ireland 1937 [last accessed 4/3/2013] Ó Cuív, B. (ed.) (1969) A view of the Irish Language, Stationery Office: Dublin Official Languages Act 2003 [last accessed 4/3/2013] Official Languages Scheme 2009-2012 [last accessed 4/3/2013] Statement on the Irish Language, 2006 [last accessed 4/3/2013]

15 Attitudes to the Irish Language Associated with deprivation during the plantation period. Stigmatised as the language of the uneducated and poor. The struggle to survive in Ireland meant English was seen as an economic liberator.

16 Generations chose not to teach their children the Irish language -“Irish will butter no bread” - “Irish is tied to a donkey’s tail” - “Irish belongs to the age of the foot-plough and the sailing ship” (Hindley, 1990:67)

17 ITE Surveys 1973-1993 Irish as an ethnic symbol: “No real Irish person can be against the revival of Irish” (66-72%). “Ireland would not be Ireland without Irish speaking people” (60- 64%). Two thirds of the population wished for a fully bilingual state: - 20% of whom would choose to mainly speak Irish; - 25% of whom would choose to mainly speak English. (Walsh, 2011:61)

18 More recent attitudes Barry Smyth, age 27 from Dublin “Growing up I felt a strong sense of resentment against having to learn Irish in school as I felt it had no purpose. Now I've changed my mind, I feel its important to preserve the language as its unique and is part of the Irish identity. However, it takes up a lot of the available school time that could be better spent on science, maths or other functional learning”.

19 Trióna Kelly, age 31, from Skerries “Irish is an important part of our heritage and it informs the way we speak English today. So I think it's a really important part of the Irish identity. The general opinion of many Irish people (especially school kids who have to study it) is that it is a waste of time as it is no use in the modern world. Until Irish is seen to be "useful" there is a lot of resistance to studying it so it is dying”.

20 References Chríost, D (2005) The Irish Language in Ireland, Routledge: UK Fishman, J. (1997) Reversing Language Shift, Multilingual Matters LTD: UK Hindley, R. (1990) The Death of the Irish Language, Routledge: UK Walsh, J. (2011) Contests and Contexts: The Irish Language and Ireland’s Socio-Economic Development, (Vol. 11), International Academic Publishers: Switzerland

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