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Re: Alternative history - a plea!
On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, Raymond A. Brown wrote:
> At 17:26 20/4/98, Padraic Brown wrote:
> >Dead Critical Alive
> >Celtiberian Nova Scotian Welsh ?
> Welsh is certainly alive - no need for the question mark. It is a
> requirement by law that all children in Wales learn Welsh either as a first
> or second language in school. All official documents must be available in
> both Welsh and English. There are Welsh radio & TV chanels. It is
> virtually impossible to be employed in a public position in Wales without
> some knowledge of & ability in the language. It remains strong in the the
> Welsh heartlands of the North & Carmarthenshire in the south; but has been
> increasing in the more traditionally anglicised areas of the south. Have
> no doubt Welsh will enter the 21st century very much alive.
This is good news. I had no idea it was in this strong a position.
> I'm told that Gaelic did survive in Nova Scotia till this century. Has it
> died there?
It's still there, but as far as I know, the area is poor and people leave
when they can -- they usually end up here or other areas of Canada that
would tend to foster Engl. or Queb. rather than Gaelic. Apparently, there
are a lot of dance forms that have died out in Scotland, and are being
relearnt from the Nova Scotians. The language is probably strong in the
"core community" (read as "old people"), like Gullah in the Carolinas, but
fewer young people actively use it.
> But you've omitted the most widely spoken of the Celtic langs - BRETON.
> Despite the efforts of French centralization & the post-war stigma of
> supposed Breton-collaboration, the language has survived & is now
I've heard rumours of that -- and frankly I wouldn't blame them for it. I
didn't know Breton was as strong as this; perhaps it should be moved up to
the 'alive' list.
> experiencing a revival; so much so that the French government now allow it
> to be taught and there are radio & TV broadcasts in Breton. Though it
> hasn't achieved the official status that Welsh has in Wales, the signs are
> that Breton will enter the 21st century alive & well & with more speakers
> than Welsh.
> >Not a pleasant list. Some of the criticals could be "alive", I suppose,
> >but having seen the six or eight "dots" on the map of Irish speaking areas
> >in Ireland, I don't honestly hold out much hope.
> I don't know much about the Irish position, but certainly Gaelic is
> presently experiencing quite a revival in the highland regions of Scotland.
If I'm not mistaken, its "official position" is much like Welsh --
required in school, continued use in official channels, television and
radio use, etc. -- but I don't think it's making much headway. I read a
relatively recent nationwide survey of Gaelic use, and the numbers weren't
encouraging. Unfortunately, it _wasn't_ one of the books I thought to
photocopy from the library when I had it, so I can't give anything more
precise than that. Ah, well.
> So it's not all doom & gloom even *here*.
Better than I thought. Of course this is a country where one side seems
to want to stamp out everything but English; and the other side ignores
everything that can't garner it some votes. Every authority says that
foreign languages would be a Good Thing, but don't support such a
movement, especially in schools.