One of the main issues considered by CelticStudies is the meaning of the term “Celtic” itself. From a scientific point of view, the word “Celtic”is primarily a linguistic term, and it refers to a groupof Indoeuropean languages which developped in theEuropean Continent some 5,000 years ago. Science does not consider, up to now, that theterm “Celtic” has something to do with a distinctiveculture, a particular ethnic group, a religion or akind of music.
We do not know wether the Celts invaded WesternEurope or wether they just exported their languagespacifically. The origins of the Celts are traditionally situated in aregion between Switzerland, the South of Germanyand the North of Italy. The Celts disappeared under the pressure of theGermans (from the North of Europe) and the Latins(from the South).
There are two different groups of Celtic languages:a) Continental Celtic (mainly in Northern Spain, France and Germany)b) Insular Celtic (in Britain and Ireland) Continental Celtic totally disappeared, and the onlyCeltic Languages that remain are Insular, includingBreton. Celtic migrations to Armorica and Northern Galicia.
The Celtic Languages today are the following:1) Irish Gaelic.2) Scottish Gaelic.3) Welsh.4) Breton. Cornish and Manx disappeared in the 17th Centuryand in the beginning of the 20th Century respectively.They are now dead languages, although several attemptsto revive them have been made.
2. Some notes about Theenglish language In ireland
The first time that the Anglo-Normans landed inIreland was in 1169, on the request of a local lord. It was in the area around the city of Dublin, knownas the Pale, where Anglo-Norman was spoken forthe first time in Ireland. The first English settlers where quickly assimilatedby the Irish population and during the 14th and 15thCenturies, English was not widely spoken in Ireland. The Battle of Kinsale (Cork, 1601), which forcedthe so-called “Flight of the Earls” in 1607, was aturning point in the history of the Irish language.
During the 16th century the first plantations tookplace in Ireland, and the first people who movedthere were soon assimilated by the native population. In the Ulster, the plantations were very different,since it was common people who moved there, andthey did consequently not govern, but rather displacethe native Irish population. The plantations later included two forms:transplantation and transportation, which were quitedifferent from each other and which had verydifferent consequences on the local population.
During the 18th and 19th century, the nativeIrish population was deprived of education. Onlythe hedge schools provided a means of gainingaccess to education. The Ascendancy, who used to live inBig houses did have a right to be educated. In 1840 the Great Famine took place, whatconstituted a turning point for the Irish language.
Man is a social being. Human societies are foundedon the principle of identity. Identity may be based on ethnic group, religion,language, gender, etc. and it implies both a personalchoice and an external acceptance. Identity as a multidimensional reality vs. powerrelations. The denial of one’s identity.
The problem of identity in nations without a Statein modern Europe: frustrated national projects,identities and the concept of “Nation-State”. Nationalism and identity are usually related to powerrelations within a given society: Catalan, Basque andGalician nationalisms and identities. The bourgeoisie:economical and political power. Power relations in Ireland. Religion and language.
Identity as a historical construction. Identity and myth:The foundation of a nation and the need for myths. Galicia as a Celtic country: discovery or invention?Other national myths: Spain and the “Reconquista”.The American Dream. The French Revolution. National identities founded in contrast to EuropeanState identities: The Catalan and Basque orthography.Catholicism in Ireland.
Language normalisation vs. normativisation. The three main fields of language planningin which the Irish government operated were:Education, the Gaeltacht and the public service. Language and education in Ireland: FromRevivalism to Bilingualism. Similar processes in France and Spain.Theconcept of “lengua minorizada” in Spain.
Language promotion and power relations. Whatlanguage will the children speak? The playtime. Final reflexion: The future of minority languageswithin a globalised world.