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Lecture 1

CLT 3180 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Celtic Languages, Celtic Congress, The Irish News

Celtic Studies
Course Code
CLT 3180

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CLT3180: Celtic Language Promotion in
Celtic Languages
January 12, 2016
Minority Language: spoken by the minority of the population of an area
oLinguistic Minorities
Autochthonous Languages: a language that is native to an area and is spoken by the
indigenous people, and has been reduced to a minority language.
oIndigenous languages are not
often national languages, and vice
oNative American languages
(Ojibwe, Mohawk) in Canada and
the U.S.A are Autochthonous
languages, as they are the native
languages of the area, but are not
national languages of either
National languages
are usually the
languages of the
colonists that took
over the land
English and
French in
The Celtic Languages are spoken mostly in the United Kingdom
and Ireland, but also in some areas of mainland Europe (Northern
France, Northern Spain), the Eastern Coast of North American
(Cape Breton, Maritimes, Massachusetts), Argentina, Australia,
and New Zealand.
Currently only 1.4 million people (less than 1% of the world
population) currently speaks a Celtic Language.
Wales is the only language not currently listed as “endangered” by
oWhat is Wales doing that others aren’t?
oPossibly historic: Wales was the last of the Celtic countries
to be formally taken over by England
Taken during the industrial revolution because of their abundance
of coal, England came in to mine the coal for themselves.

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oThe Welsh government is also doing much more to promote
the education of the Welsh language.
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
January 12, 2016
1992 document
Protects and promotes regional and minority languages in Europe.
Languages that are traditionally used in a state by nationals of that state who make up a
small percentage of the population and is not an official language of the country
oIrish in Ireland cannot be put under the ECRML because it is still written in their
constitution as the first national language of Ireland, even though only it is a
minority language, in practice.
English is the second national language of Ireland, even though it
is the majority language.
Even most Irish speakers speak English as a first language, and
Irish second.
Some countries ratified the charter in respect for their minority
languages under Parts II & III
oThese languages have a certain amount of official government recognition, and
their respective countries are now bound by the ECRML to provide certain
amount of funding towards the promotion/education of the language (through
schools, TV stations, Radio, Newspapers, etc).
Ireland has not (and cannot) ratify Irish into the Charter.
The United Kingdom has ratified all Celtic languages except for
Manx under the charter
oThis however, does not provide regulations and funding for Irish language in
Ireland, but only in the countries governed by the UK (England, Scotland, Wales,
Isle of Man and Northern Ireland)
France has not ratified any of their minority languages (including
oFrance doesn’t recognize Breton as a minority language in their constitution, and
cannot ratify the language under the ECRML unless it is recognized.
oThe only language officially recognized by the French government is French
oFrench schools teach English as a second language, but English isn’t recognized
as an official language of France (or even a minority language of France).
oBecause French is the only recognized language, no other languages spoken in
France can be ratified into the treaty
This may be a financial issue; France not having the funds
available to meet the promotional requirements of the Charter.
oBreton Immersion schools receive no government funding or aid, and are
suffering because of it. Attendance is down at these school, because they don’t
always have the materials necessary for teaching, due to their limited funds.
2008 French Constitution Amendment
oIn 2008, the French government amended their constitution to recognize Breton as
a “Heritage Language”

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Governments are under no obligation to promote/fund heritage
The government is acknowledging the existence of the Breton
language, but isn’t supporting the promotion/education.
The Charter requires countries who have ratified regional or
minority languages to provide certain funding or endorsements to
the promotion and education of the languages (depending on which
part of the charter they’ve ratified it under, the requires vary)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)
oBreton is listed as “severely endangered”
Because France doesn’t recognize the language officially, it isn’t
included in their census, and it is impossible to know the exact
number of current Breton speakers.
The lack of financial aid by the government is currently leading to
the downfall of the language.
oWelsh is currently the strongest surviving Celtic language.
International Celtic Congress
January 12, 2016
ICC promotes the practice and education of all Celtic Languages
Non-political group
Promotes the celtic language/culture in Celtic areas (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, etc.)
An Ghaeilge
January 19, 2016
Irish Free State established in 1922
Irish claimed to be the National Language of the Irish Free State
Reinforced with the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.
The Gaelic League wanted to ensure that Irish language became integrated into the new
oWanted a bilingual Ireland
oIrish was made an official language; Irish signage posted, new coins, stamps and
banknotes featured Irish
oGaeltacht was given economic assistance
oA new ministry was created to attend to its needs
1925: Irish was compulsory for admission to employment in the Civil Service.
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