Irish in a global age
DOI link for Irish in a global age
Irish in a global age book
A number of key issues for the Irish language in its contemporary social context in Ireland can be identiﬁed. These relate to the relationship between local, Irish-speaking communities and language planning initiatives, relationships between language and ethnicity in national identity, and the urban geography of the Irish language. It is argued here that given the diffuse nature of the social geography of the Irish language, whether as networks of Irish-speakers in the various parts of Ireland or as fragmented communities dispersed across the various Gaeltacht areas, there is a necessity for intervention that is community-based in terms of moral ownership, agenda-setting and action. A vehicle for language planning activity is suggested, drawn from comparative experiences. It is also pointed out that, in addition to engagement at a community level, it is necessary for the strategic discourse which informs the policy process to engage with a more nuanced understanding of ethnicity and national identity which more accurately reﬂects the social reality of ethnic identity(-ies) in Ireland. The principal implication of this is a shift from a conception of citizenship in which the Irish language is petriﬁed as a passive totem of Irishness for all towards the acceptance of the language as a dynamic feature of citizenship for Irish-speakers. The third key issue is that of the Irish language in the city. Urban sites are central to much of the social, cultural, economic and political changes which are currently impacting upon Irish society. Developing an understanding of the functioning of the Irish language in Irish cities is identiﬁed here as being crucial to the task of planning for the language and its social continuity. In order that such an understanding might begin to emerge, the critical features of the city and potential points of engagement with language are delineated.