The cultural and language campaigns of the Celtic League were highlighted in the widest selling Irish language newspaper in Ireland yesterday.
In an article titled `Feachtais athbheochana ar siúl ar son teangachamionlaigh Ceilteacha’, journalist Orla Bradshaw wrote that:
“Tá gealltanas tugtha ag feachtasóirí i dtrí náisiúin Cheilteacha go ndéanfaidh siad a ndícheall a dteangacha dúchasacha a athbheochan in ainneoin easpa tacaíochta óna rialtais.”
(“Campaigners in three of the six Celtic nations have vowed to fight to revive their native languages despite indifference from national governments.”)
The article focused on the current situation of the three most unsupported Celtic languages – Breton, Cornish and Manx – and how they are continuing to survive in their respective nations. The journalist asked three language
activists from each nation how they thought the languages were doing, despite little funding or recognition from their governments.
In the article, Adrian Cain, the Manx language officer, is quoted as saying:
“Manx has quite a high profile on the island and young people in general are positive about the language. The problem is that there just are not enough qualified teachers with fluent Manx and we urgently need to change this. We are organising comprehensive language programmes for adults in an effort to encourage an interest in Manx.”
“Over the past 25 years, the government on the Isle of Mann has made special efforts to develop a positive mental attitude towards culture, national identity and Manx especially. However as we are not part of the United Kingdom or the European Union, we are not entitled to any minority language funding. Any money we receive has to be raised internally.”
The League’s General Secretary, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, who set up a Cornish language preschool movement and Saturday school in Cornwall this year, said:
“The Cornish language had died as a community language, but has been revived over the past 200 hundred years. The attitude of the general public has greatly improved since Cornish was recognised as an official language 2002.”
Mr Tal-e-bot added that:
“While revivals of Cornish and Manx have occurred it is important to emphasise that the situation with regard to Breton is very different. Although Breton has over 250,000 speakers it is the only Celtic language not recognised by the European Charter of Minority Languages.”
Finally the League’s Breton Branch Secretary, Gi Keltik, said:
“The French Constitutional Council have refused to sign the language charter. We are struggling and Breton speakers are very upset that the state is not ready to accept another language. The world is moving faster and faster and people are now realising how important it is to have roots and exchange cultures. Hopefully the French government’s attitude towards Breton will change in the near future.”
The Foinse `stand alone’ newspaper has been distributed free every Wednesday with the Irish Independent – the largest selling daily newspaper in Ireland – since the newspaper had to temporarily close in 2009. Before it was distributed with the Irish Independent, Foinse was originally published weekly on Saturdays and was first published in October 1996 until its closure in 2009. The paper closed because it was losing money due to the decrease in advertising revenue over the previous year.
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information