The Irish Language and the Pursuit of Freedom
- Číslo 59 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLitteraria Pragensia, 2020, 59, 8-25
KeywordsKeywords not found
As evidenced in a number of recent public debates about Irish, the arguments about freedom and choice are often used by those who wish to limit the state support for the language in Ireland. Yet, one can use the same arguments to support the need to protect Irish and other endangered languages. The article first examines the philosophical underpinnings of the Irish language revival and concludes that one can read the legacy of thinkers such as Johann Gottfried Herder not only as conducive to nationalism and language determinism, but as having an emancipatory and “ecological” potential. The article then examines the connection between Irish and various notions of personal freedom in Irish-language literature since the revival. The twentieth-century authors discussed include Pádraic Ó Conaire, Micheál mac Liammóir, Brian Ó Nualláin, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, and Seán Ó Ríordáin. The last part of the article analyses Dave Duggan’s recent novel Makaronik, which takes the connection between language diversity and the freedom of choice as its central theme.