Publisher: The Oleander Press
“A marvellous book which is both readable and scholarly”
The core of this work is an examination in depth of six Celtic languages: Irish, Gaelic, Manx (all correctly called Gaelic by their speakers), and Welsh, Cornish and Breton (three cousins of the first group). It is the core because the rest of the work grows out of it; and its consequently central position is intended to mark the peak between flowering and decline.
Encapsulating the core is an account of Celtic origins, and the story of its origins, and the story of the formation, vicissitudes, and dissolution of the six regions where different forms of Celtic are or were spoken. The decline in the number of Celtic speakers is traced in detail; its causes are examined one by one; the struggle for survival is described wherever it is being carried on; and finally the question is asked: “What is meant by revival?”
The requiem for Manx in these pages is included because its loss is doubly painful for having happened in our own day. It is time that languages were regarded as part of the ecological scene, and the end of one of them felt as deeply as the extinction of a species.
It is hoped that this work will leave the reader in that frame of mind: willing to halt the further decline of the Celtic languages.
Part of the Oleander Classics series, this 1980 title has been reproduced using the highest-quality modern scanning technology. This is in order to keep important works from the Press’s 50-year history from going out of print. In this way, the invaluable resources provided by this and other books in the series remain available for general readers, academics and other interested parties.
It took me two days to read this book. That is how much I loved reading it. It was written in 1980 so there has been of course 34 years worth of historic and linguistic discoveries made BUT what was in this book is still for the most part still valid. I loved the fact that the book started out with a historic overview of the regions these languages were spoken to set the scene for the linguistic stuff, and I love that the author included the Isle of Man, Cornwall, and Brittany in there because a lot of the times these three languages and places are overlooked when talking about the Celts. The language comparison that the author does is very easy to follow and he also gives a good example for the comparison in the text he uses for it. The causes of decline (no matter how painful it is to read them) are also presented by the author and they are disunity, loss of status, shortage of reading matter, lack of instructions in school and university, the loss of language in the religious life, immigration, emigration, the impact of newspapers, cinema, television, and radio, and linguicide. Then finally, he talks about the revival of language…
I really loved this book as I said before and I would recommend it, but I would also recommend checking the information in it for the latest in the fields of history and linguistics.