chapter  8
20 Pages

Langue Sans Frontières: Finding The Irish Language in Canada

In Canada today, Irish-language learners may avail of a variety of formal and informal contexts. A number of higher-level institutions offer instruction in the language. The development of a multiculturalism policy from the 1960s sought a place for Canada’s ‘heritage languages’ and brought about the establishment of the so-called ‘ethnic’ chairs for the study of Canada’s heritage groups other than the British or French and their respective languages. Subsequently, a Chair of Celtic Studies was founded at the University of Ottawa, a Chair of Gaelic Studies at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish and a Chair of Irish Studies at St. Mary’s University, Halifax. Elsewhere, the Celtic Studies programme at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto was born out of a strong research interest in Anglo-Irish literature. The School of Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University in Montreal focuses on both the history and culture of Ireland and ‘the contribution of Irish immigrants in all regions of Canada to the social, cultural, economic, religions [sic], educational and political life of the country’ (Concordia University School of Canadian Irish Studies, http://cdnirish.concordia. ca). Thanks to such initiatives as the Ireland Canada University Foundation Irish Language Programme (established in 2009), Irish can continue to be taught and increasingly offered at Canadian universities.