The status of Irish

© Declan Sweeney

BA dissertation 2008 abstract

Since the Gaelic league era, the restoration of the Irish language has been an intrinsic part of a wider cultural revitalisation in re-defining an Irish identity. The language has been central in re-establishing a perceived continuity between an autochthonous population and their cultural past. The historical Irish language activist, Padraig Pearse highlighted the importance of language as a part of nationhood; "Tí gan teanga, tí gan anam" 'a country without a language is a country without a soul' (Bord na Gaeilge, 1986).

De Freine (1965, p.138) explains the motivation behind the history of Irish language shift as a situation where "people change their language not because it is insufficient for their needs, but because their society is". Since the end of the 19th century Irish restoration efforts have been ongoing to re- establish the position of the Irish language in Irish society. The aim of this study is essentially to determine the current position of Irish in a community in the Northwest of Ireland. The study will attempt to ascertain how members of the community view the language, and what interrelating factors can influence their feelings. Firstly there will be an observation at the main historical processes that have brought about the current situation.

BA dissertation on The Status of Irish (pdf)