A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘irish language

[AH] Six #alternatehistory maps from Reddit: Irish, Canada, Alaska, Russia, Prairies, South Africa

  • This r/mapporn map shows the scale of the collapse of Irish as a spoken language across most of Ireland. Was this avoidable?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map shows a Canada where the 1837 rebellions were successful, with an autonomous Upper Canada and a Lower Canada with a Patriote state. Doable?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map depicts a common alternate history trope, that of an independent but culturally Russian Alaska. What would it take for this to happen?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map depicts a world where Eurasia, from Germany to Korea, was dominated by a successfully industrializing Russian Empire. Was this common fear of the belle époque actually achievable?
  • This r/mapporn map shows the different proposals for different territorial configurations of the Canadian Prairies. (I like the ones with north-south divisions.)
  • Was a single South Africa covering most of British Southern Africa with relatively liberal racial policies, as Jan Smuts wanted, actually achievable? r/imaginarymaps hosts the map.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • The Crux looks at the australopiths, not-so-distant ancestors of modern humans.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes the interest of NASA in exploring the lunar subsurface, including lava tubes.
  • Far Outliers looks at the politicking of mid-19th century European explorers in the Sahel.
  • io9 notes that the new Joker film is getting stellar reviews, aided by the performance of Joaquin Phoenix.
  • JSTOR Daily explores how, to meet censors’ demands, Betty Boop was remade in the 1930s from sex symbol into housewife.
  • Language Log reports on an utter failure in bilingual Irish/English signage.
  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money shows that a history of slavery in the US (Canada too, I would add) must not neglect the enslavement of indigenous peoples.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a paper studying San Francisco looking at how rent control did not work.
  • The NYR Daily considers growing protest against air travel for its impact on global climate.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the queer romance film Bathroom Stalls & Parking Lots.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how the influence of Russia in the former Soviet Union is undone by Russian imperialism.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers the striking imagery–originally religious–of “carnal weapons”.

[NEWS] Five JSTOR Daily links: doctors & drugs, horses & war, JFK, raisin wine, Irish & Ireland

  • JSTOR Daily notes how early doctors used to party with drugs as a matter of course.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the experiences of horses and donkeys in the US Civil War.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the disaster of the Bay of Pigs changed the decision-making of JFK.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how early 19th century American Jews made use of raisin wine in Passover, and how this changed.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how the revival of the Irish language, connecting Ireland to the rest of Europe, played a key role in leading to independence for Ireland.

[NEWS] Five language links: Armenian, Icelandic, Irish, Ladino, Scots

  • This r/unresolvedmysteries thread asks the question of where the Armenian language, a unique Indo-European language, came from.
  • This Ragnar Jónasson article in The Guardian asks the question of how long the Icelandic language, with relatively few speakers and facing a tidal wave of influence from English, can outlast this competition.
  • The Irish Times notes that the Irish language was heard in the British House of Commons for the first time in a century, spoken by a Plaid Cymru MP asking why this language has so little institutional support in Northern Ireland.
  • Over at the BBC, Susanna Zaraysky takes a look at the Ladino language–a Spanish variant–traditionally used by the Sephardic Jews of Bosnia, and how this language is declining here as elsewhere among the Sephardim.
  • Atlas Obscura takes a look at the Scots language, a distinctive Germanic language that was never quite broken away from English, and how this language persists despite everything.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams takes a look at how new technology makes access to deep-sky astronomical images easier than ever, allowing for the recovery of more data.
  • The Crux considers the factors that make humans so inclined to believe in the existence of god and the supernatural, including our pattern-recognition skills.
  • D-Brief shares the latest research into the origins of the atmospheric haze of Titan.
  • Todd Schoepflin at the Everyday Sociology Blog has an intriguing post performing ethnography on the fans of the Buffalo Bills.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Alexander Harrowell notes one thing to take from the elections in Bavaria is the remarkable strength of the Greens, nearing the CDU/CSU nationally.
  • io9 shares the delightful Alien-themed maternity photos of a British Columbia couple.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at contesting visions of motherhood among American feminists in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Language Hat reports on “The Midnight Court”, a poem written in the 19th century in a now-extinct dialect of Irish.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes one astounding possible defense of Saudi Arabia faced with Jamal Khashoggi, that his death was accidental.
  • Christine Gordon Manley shares with her readers her words and her photos of Newfoundland’s dramatic Signal Hill.
  • The NYR Daily shares the witness of Käthe Kollwitz to the end of the First World War and the German Empire in 1918-1919.
  • Casey Dreier at the Planetary Society Blog criticizes First Man for not showing the excitement of Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on one woman’s search for the Korean cornbread remembered by her mother as a Korean War refugee.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel shares images of some of the most distant objects in the universe images by us so far.
  • Strange Company expands upon the interesting life of early modern English travel writer Thomas Coryat, who indeed does deserve more attention.
  • Window on Eurasia wonders where protests in Ingushetia regarding border changes with Chechnya are going.
  • Arnold Zwicky explores the fable of the forest that identified too closely with the wooden handle of an ax.

[LINK] “Teaching Irish in Newfoundland, the most Irish place outside Ireland”

The Irish Times features an article by one Sinéad Ní Mheallaigh reporting on her efforts to revive the Irish language in Newfoundland, the region in North America that has a very strong Irish linguistic heritage.

Tears prick my eyes as I watch the opening scenes of TG4’s ‘1916 :Seachtar na Cásca’ with my students in Canada. I realise that these brave men who organised the Rising and fought for their country had not been just fighting for the freedom of Ireland, but for the freedom of our culture. Without them, and the formation of a Republic of Ireland, I would not be living in Newfoundland right now, teaching the Irish language to students in Memorial University, St John’s.

The Ireland-Canada University Foundation funds six teachers to go to Canada and teach Irish each year, and I was lucky to secure one of these places for this academic year.

On arriving, I found a land that has many links to Ireland. Named “Talamh an Éisc”’, or the land of the fish, by the many fisherman emigrants who graced these shores in the 18th century, Newfoundland is the only place outside of Ireland that has an indigenous Irish language name.

Many people here refer to Ireland as “the Old Country” or “back home”, despite never having set foot on Irish soil in many instances. When I first arrived I almost felt guilty because of the high pedestal on which Newfoundlanders place Ireland. By comparison, how many Irish people could give you information about Newfoundland, or even point it out on a map?

When the Irish came here 200 years ago, it was quite an isolated place. They were far away from mainland Canada, far from America, and as a result, Irish traditions remained true and strong here within isolated communities. Even elements of the accent remains profoundly Irish to this day, passed down from generation to generation.

There is a strong interest in the Irish language. Irish descendent and farmer Aloy O’Brien, who died in 2008 at the age of 93, taught himself Irish using the Búntús Cainte books and with help from his Irish-speaking grandmother. Aloy taught Irish in Memorial University for a number of years, and a group of his students still come together on Monday nights. One of his first students, Carla Furlong, invites the others to her house to speak Irish together as the “Aloy O’Brien Conradh na Gaeilge”’ group.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm

[LINK] “Talk to me, I’m Irish: Embracing a tricky tongue in Montreal”

Kate Sheridan’s article in the Montreal Gazette looks at an ongoing effort to revive the Irish language in that city. What I particularly like is that this places the current effort in the context of Québec’s long Irish history.

The Irish language, or Gaeilge, is experiencing a mini-Renaissance in Montreal with the help of Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies and Comhrá, a non-profit group that organizes Irish language classes and events.

Siobhán Ní Mhaolagáin has been teaching the language in Montreal since September, when she first arrived to accept a year-long position as Concordia University’s Ireland Canada University Foundation Irish language scholar. Comhrá had restarted its Irish language courses in the summer and when organizers asked if she’d like to teach their classes in the fall and winter, Ní Mhaolagáin said yes.

“People in Ireland sometimes don’t believe that I’m over here teaching Irish,” she said. “I’ll say, I’m heading off to teach Irish in Montreal. And they’ll be like, ‘Why?’ And I’ll say, ‘Well, there are Irish speakers in Montreal.’ And they’ll say, ‘You’re having a laugh.’ “

The Irish language is notoriously complex; the unusual sentence structure and confounding phonetics can create a steep learning curve. It’s also “definitely endangered” in UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. There aren’t many people who speak Irish here — certainly fewer than in Ireland, where 25,000 students attended an annual event in November that challenged them to speak Irish, and only Irish, as much as possible for 24 hours.

In Montreal, about 20 people attended a satellite event, which Ní Mhaolagáin helped organize, to celebrate the Irish language with music, dancing and movies and to speak it as much as they could muster.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm