Ireland's Linguistic Traditions


This module will explore the two major language traditions, Irish and English, that historically have been the vehicles for Irish imagination, historical narratives and identity. It will position the Irish and English languages within the wider context of European and world linguistic history. The appearance and the characteristics of the Hiberno-English dialect will be investigated. Particular attention will also be paid to Irish placenames, and to Gaelic and non-Gaelic surnames as elements in Ireland's linguistic inheritance.

Learning Outcomes

  1. outline the nature of language evolution recognising particularly the subdivisions of Indo-european.

  2. account for the historical forces that explain the current positions of the Irish and English languages on the island of Ireland; discuss in particular the evolution and legitimacy of the Hiberno-English dialect and illustrate its most notable features.

  3. differentiate the origins of Irish surnames, illustrating what these origins tell us about Ireland's past and the story of its peoples.

  4. decipher the meaning of many placenames, extrapolating their historical significance.

  5. identify and examine how Ireland's linguistic traditions have been used by creative writers to explore aspects of Irish history and identity.

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