New speakers of Irish: shifting boundaries across time and space

O'Rourke, B. and Walsh, J. (2015) New speakers of Irish: shifting boundaries across time and space. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2015(231), pp. 63-83.

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While traditional Irish-speaking communities continue to decline, the number of second-language speakers outside of the Gaeltacht has increased. Of the more than one and half million speakers of Irish just over 66,000 now live in one of the officially designated Gaeltacht areas. While “new speakers” can be seen to play an important role in the future of the language, this role is sometimes undermined by discourses which idealise the notion of the traditional Gaeltacht speaker. Such discourses can be used to deny them “authenticity” as “real” or “legitimate” speakers, sometimes leading to struggles over language ownership. Concerns about linguistic purity are often voiced in both academic and public discourse, with the more hybridized forms of Irish developed amongst “new speakers” often criticised. This article looks at the extent to which such discourses are being internalised by new speakers of Irish and whether or not they are constructing an identity as a distinct social and linguistic group based on what it means to be an Irish speaker in the twenty first century.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O'Rourke, Professor Bernadette
Authors: O'Rourke, B., and Walsh, J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Hispanic Studies
Journal Name:International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN (Online):1613-3668
Published Online:18 December 2014
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 O'Rourke, Walsh
First Published:First published in International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2015(231): 63-83
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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