One of the main issues considered by Celtic
Studies 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 group
of Indoeuropean languages which developped in the
European Continent some 5,000 years ago.
Science does not consider, up to now, that the
term “Celtic” has something to do with a distinctive
culture, a particular ethnic group, a religion or a
kind of music.
We do not know wether the Celts invaded Western
Europe or wether they just exported their languages
The origins of the Celts are traditionally situated in a
region between Switzerland, the South of Germany
and the North of Italy.
The Celts disappeared under the pressure of the
Germans (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 only
Celtic Languages that remain are Insular, including
Celtic migrations to Armorica and Northern Galicia.
The Celtic Languages today are the following:
1) Irish Gaelic.
2) Scottish Gaelic.
Cornish and Manx disappeared in the 17th Century
and in the beginning of the 20th Century respectively.
They are now dead languages, although several attempts
to revive them have been made.
2. Some notes about The
english language In ireland
The first time that the Anglo-Normans landed in
Ireland was in 1169, on the request of a local lord.
It was in the area around the city of Dublin, known
as the Pale, where Anglo-Norman was spoken for
the first time in Ireland.
The first English settlers where quickly assimilated
by the Irish population and during the 14th and 15th
Centuries, English was not widely spoken in Ireland.
The Battle of Kinsale (Cork, 1601), which forced
the so-called “Flight of the Earls” in 1607, was a
turning point in the history of the Irish language.
During the 16th century the first plantations took
place in Ireland, and the first people who moved
there were soon assimilated by the native population.
In the Ulster, the plantations were very different,
since it was common people who moved there, and
they did consequently not govern, but rather displace
the native Irish population.
The plantations later included two forms:
transplantation and transportation, which were quite
different from each other and which had very
different consequences on the local population.
During the 18th and 19th century, the native
Irish population was deprived of education. Only
the hedge schools provided a means of gaining
access to education.
The Ascendancy, who used to live in
Big houses did have a right to be educated.
In 1840 the Great Famine took place, what
constituted a turning point for the Irish language.
Man is a social being. Human societies are founded
on the principle of identity.
Identity may be based on ethnic group, religion,
language, gender, etc. and it implies both a personal
choice and an external acceptance.
Identity as a multidimensional reality vs. power
The denial of one’s identity.
The problem of identity in nations without a State
in modern Europe: frustrated national projects,
identities and the concept of “Nation-State”.
Nationalism and identity are usually related to power
relations within a given society: Catalan, Basque and
Galician 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 European
State identities: The Catalan and Basque orthography.
Catholicism in Ireland.
Language normalisation vs. normativisation.
The three main fields of language planning
in which the Irish government operated were:
Education, the Gaeltacht and the public service.
Language and education in Ireland: From
Revivalism to Bilingualism.
Similar processes in France and Spain.The
concept of “lengua minorizada” in Spain.
Language promotion and power relations. What
language will the children speak? The playtime.
Final reflexion: The future of minority languages
within a globalised world.