Language and Nationalism in Europe by Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael

By Stephen Barbour, Cathie Carmichael

This quantity examines the function of language within the current and earlier production of social, cultural, and nationwide identities in Europe, contemplating the way language could occasionally toughen nationwide identification (as in England) whereas tending to subvert the countryside (as within the United Kingdom).

The e-book describes the interactive roles of language, ethnicity, tradition, and associations within the personality and formation of nationalism and id all through Europe. A pick out staff of overseas participants ponder numerous questions drawing on facts from nearly all of ecu countries.

The ebook concludes with a attention of the present relative prestige of the languages of Europe and the way those and the identities they replicate are altering and evolving.

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In contrast to many other languages of subject nations, by the time Irish became a focus of interest for a local intelligentsia it was already, numerically, in a clearly minority position; a Catholic middle class sympathetic to Irish did not develop until the late nineteenth century, 1 2 by which time famine, emigration, and education through English had very seriously depleted the number of native Irish-speakers. In the contemporary Republic of Ireland there is little or no hostility between Irish Catholics and a Protestant minority, largely because the latter group, though stiU influential, is numerically tiny, and generally now identifies itself as Irisb 1 1 The twenty-six counties were independent de facto as the Irish Free State from 1922.

Thousands of Gaelic speakers emigrated to other conti­ nents or to the new urban industrial centres of England or Wales or of tht' English-speaking or Scots-speaking Lowlands, which experienced rapid industri­ alization in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (see Mitchinson 1982: 375-7). 3 per cent of the population of Scotland (set' Thomson 1994) . The attitude of the Scottish education system to Gaelic language and culture was at best one of toleration; often they were opposed as symbols of backwardness, of Catholicism, or of disloyalty to the state (see Price 1984: 63-4) However, as we have seen above, the Romantic movement elevated selected elements of Highland culture to the status of symbols of a general Scottish iden· tity.

38 Stephen Barbour anyway. Attitudes to the Irish language are favourable on the part of most groups in the population, but, perhaps strangely, favourable attitudes do not include the desire to use the language in everyday life, or even, in many cases, to become reasonably proficient in it. Fluency in the Irish language is the preserve of a small number of enthusiasts, chiefly middle-class intellectuals, and of native-speaking inhabitants of the small areas in the west and south (the Gaeltacht) where the language still is the everyday medium of communication.

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