National Geographic Article Praises Language Revival

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

A major article in the National Geographic journal has hailed the success of the revival of the Manx language.

A link to the article (together with a video feature) can be found here:

https://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/20/manx-unesco-international-mother-tongue-day/

The article by K David Harrison records:

“Manx dramatically awoke from near dormancy in the 1980s and ’90s with a generation of “new native speakers,” children who were raised by language-activist parents speaking only Manx in the home. These children were soon joined by many more, whose English-speaking parents sent them to an immersion school, to hear and speak Manx daily. Estimates of the current number of Manx speakers vary, but they seem to be hundreds strong, and growing.”

The revival of the language in man is all the more remarkable because because just a decade before its fortunes were turned around Meic Stephens wrote in his seminal work ‘Linguistic Minorities in Western Europe’;

“It is ironic that the Isle of Man, enjoying as it does a large measure of control of its own affairs, to an extent greater than many other minorities in Western Europe, should seem incapable or undesirous of restoring its national language. But that appears to be the case at the present time.”

He went on to quote Lewis Crellin, himself a speaker of Manx saying:

“I cannot believe that the language has any future, except as a minority hobby. The process of anglicisation has almost completely wiped out national identity, a process greatly hastened by immigration. And in any case, why struggle keep a language if our country is lost?

Prophetically perhaps Stephens says;

“Such a hopeless view would no doubt be contested by a few of the young people striving to re-awaken the national spirit of Man”

Fortunately Lewis, a respected Manx nationalist, who for many years contributed articles in Manx and English to the newspapers was wrong about the fortunes of the language.

Manx nationalists having secured the language however also need to secure their country

Source:

LINGUISTIC MINORITIES IN WESTERN EUROPE MEIC STEPHENS (The Gaels of Man pages 103-122) ISBN 0 85088 3628 Gomer Press 1976

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

03/03/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur).

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