rss_2.0Studia Celtica Posnaniensia FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Studia Celtica Posnaniensia Celtica Posnaniensia Feed and Religion in Tudor Cornwall: The Testimony of<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article is centred around a detailed review of D.H. Frost’s new (2023) critical edition and translation of the Cornish and Latin text <italic>Sacrament an Alter</italic>, in both its theological/historical and its philological/linguistic aspects. First, Dr Frost’s exposition of his text’s remarkable background is placed against the constantly changing character of official Tudor ideology, and the ecclesiological lens through which he views his material discussed. Points from his linguistic analysis (including revivalist reconstructions) are then examined and, prompted by Frost’s portrayal of the state of Cornish-language literacy in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, similarities are adduced with the known situation of near-contemporary Manx Gaelic. Traditional Cornish went into ultimately terminal decline, but Manx went on to receive both the Prayer Book and the Bible in translation; Cornwall’s disadvantage in not constituting a diocese in its own right is suggested as a significant factor in the contrasting fates of the two small Celtic languages in question. Finally, attention is drawn to the potentially striking efficacy of small networks of dedicated scholars, whatever their time and place.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“ᚁ Is Beith and Means Birch” –<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Through an analysis of three selected case studies, this study unveils how Ogham’s integration into contemporary narratives generates fresh layers of meaning and revitalises this ancient alphabet. The chosen focus on Alfredian fanfiction offers a contextualised exploration of the role of this ancient Irish script in shaping novel interpretations, bridging historical languages with the digital age, and shedding light on how fan communities reconfigure cultural heritage across temporal and geographical boundaries within the dynamic landscape of internet culture. By employing a comprehensive approach, this research elucidates the intricate interplay between Ogham, historical narratives, and contemporary fan creativity, providing valuable insights into how this ancient script sparks innovative meanings and propels narratives within the digital realms of fan culture.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Speakers, Language, and Identity<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Manx, the Goidelic language of the Isle of Man, has no extant traditional native speakers. However, thanks to the efforts of language activists and others involved in language revival, there exists a community of around 2200 people who claim competence in the language (Isle of Man Government 2021), of which a smaller portion will have advanced competence in Manx. All members of the Manx speaker community could be described as ‘new speakers’, having acquired this revitalized minority language primarily through means other than first language transmission in the home (O’Rourke, Pujolar, and Ramallo 2015: 1).</p> <p>The members of the Manx new speaker community, despite many having acquired “a socially and communicatively consequential level of competence” (Jaffe 2015: 25) in the traditional language of the Isle of Man, vary in terms of their national, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. Postmodern approaches to sociolinguistics challenge the assumption of a straightforward link between identity, especially national identity, and linguistic practice. The complexity of the relationship between language and identity is especially evident in cases of multilingual minority language communities – such as the extant Celtic-speaking communities.</p> <p>The present paper explores the relationship between identity and language use among Manx new speakers. It discusses the following specific question: How do new speakers of Manx understand and identify with ‘Manxness’? The paper uses a corpus of sociolinguistic interview and ethnographic observation data gathered from fieldwork among the Manx new speaker community as part of the author’s PhD thesis. The researcher, a Manx new speaker herself, spent six months gathering data, both through traditional sociolinguistic methods, such as interviews and questionnaires, and through ethnographic methods, namely participant observation in various contexts. The analysis of this novel spoken corpus offers a much-needed view into identity and language use in a 21<sup>st</sup>-century Celtic language community that lacks extant native speakers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue by Ben Screen, Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru 2021, 266 pp Language Fanfiction in Light of Welsh Cultural and National Identity and Language Revitalisation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>While the field of fan studies is constantly growing, it has been scarcely researched in relation to minority languages and language revitalisation. In this paper we have undertaken to explore the small and previously unexplored realm of Welsh-language fanfiction, focusing on the motivations to read and write it. The aim was to explore the possible role of fanfiction in language revitalisation by investigating a relationship between these motivations and the cultural and national identity of the authors and readers, as well as their attitude towards the Welsh language. The article presents the results of a study conducted in 2022 through the use of online surveys on a sample of readers of Welsh-language fanfiction found on the Tumblr platform, and semi-structured interviews with authors of fanfiction posted on Archive of Our Own. The study revealed that the decision to participate in the fandom was strongly connected to the cultural, and in particular linguistic identity of authors and readers, and to a much lesser extent to their national identity. Two out of three major motivations emerging from the study: a wish to broaden the use of language online and the wish to learn it can be connected with language revitalization. Engagement with fanfiction was perceived as an accessible form of leisure available in Welsh and as a safe space for both learners and native speakers to creatively use the language without fear of criticism, which suggests the importance and possible use of fandom in language revitalisation. However, the study also points to some difficulties in developing a fan community around Welsh fanfiction, mostly due to technical limitations and the small amount of popular media created originally in Welsh.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue in the Writings of the Mac Grianna Family<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p><italic>Clann Mhic Grianna</italic> (the Greene family) are a famous family of writers, poets, storytellers, composers, and performers of traditional songs from <italic>Rann na Feirste</italic> in northwest Donegal.<fn id="j_scp.2022.7.1_fn_002" symbol="2"><p>Coming from a long and accomplished line of storytellers on both sides of their family, <italic>Clann Mhic Grianna</italic> is taken, in this paper, and in general, as the children of Feidhlimidh Mac Grianna and Máire Eibhlín Néilín Ní Dhomhnaill (who had their family in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). The most famous of this set of siblings are arguably Séamus and Seosamh.</p></fn> Their works are widely studied and discussed to this day. Saturated in Gaelic culture, their works draw from a well of language and heritage and they frequently refer to history, pseudohistory, myth, and legends. Among that discussed are traditions around saints and references to the mythological cycles of Ireland. This paper looks at how various members of the family used the tales and poetry of one such cycle, <italic>Fiannaíocht</italic> (translated as <italic>Fenian</italic>, <italic>Ossianic</italic>, or <italic>Finn-Cycle</italic> tales), in their novels, short stories, and autobiographies. They also spoke about the folklore of their area on various occasions and some tales have been recorded by <italic>Roinn Bhéaloidis Éireann</italic>. Some of this material was later published, <italic>Amhráin Hiúdaí Fheilímí agus Laoithe Fianaíochta as Rann na Feirste</italic> (Ó Baoighill 2001) for one example. The multi-faceted nature of their legacy results in several Ossianic tales being discussed in different genres by various combinations of the siblings and these varied viewpoints allow us to raise and discuss a number of questions regarding <italic>Fiannaíocht</italic>. This paper compares sources from a number of these siblings and question what their works tell us about when and why people told <italic>Fiannaíocht</italic> tales.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue O’Rourke, Bernadette and John Walsh. 2020. New York: Routledge. 212 pages. ISBN: 978-1032173634 Disruption and Language Shift – Some Ethnographic Data from Ireland After the 2008 Crash<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper discusses some of the ways in which the “Great Recession” which followed the 2008 economic crash affected the vitality of Irish-speaking (“Gaeltacht”) areas. In addition to a brief discussion of the nature of neoliberalism – the cause of the 2008 crash – and some of the ways in which this ideology stands in contradiction to the requirements of language revitalisation, examples are given to illustrate the way in which the recession affected state language policy. Various microlevel consequences of these macro-level economic and policy developments are then discussed by reference to ethnographic data gathered in the Gaeltacht. Issues such as deindustrialisation, unemployment and the problematic nature of tourism in minoritised language communities are discussed, as is language use amongst young people and the way in which technology can contribute to language shift. The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential for anti-systemic movements and policy proposals such as the “Green New Deal” to create, coincidentally, a macroeconomic regime that would be more favourable to linguistic minorities than that of neoliberalism.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of “Minority Language Writers in the Wake of World War One. A Case Study of Four European Authors” by Jelle Krol, Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities. Palgrave Macmillan 2020, 346 pp Evans Wentz the Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries (1911) Letters from Evans Wentz to Sophia Morrison (1910-12)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz (1878-1965), is known for <italic>The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries</italic> published by Oxford University Press in 1911. Wentz’s personally gathered fairy beliefs in each of the six Celtic lands and the selections that appeared in <italic>The Fairy-Faith</italic> were introduced by a prominent figure in the Celtic Revival. In the case of the Isle of Man, it was Sophia Morrison (1859-1917), a leading light in the Manx Language Revival. Wentz had visited the Island late in 1909 during December. Discarded by Wentz at some stage were the letters, drafts, and proofs of <italic>The Fairy-Faith</italic>. That said, ten letters are extant from Wentz to Morrison and they are presented here in full following an introduction to set them in context and with a brief description of their salient content. They show the work that went into Morrison’s introduction, the editorial to-ing and fro-ing involved, and also the progress of <italic>The Fairy- Faith</italic> itself through Wentz’s own comments to Morrison.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue‘An English Monstrosity’? Evolution and Reception of Manx Orthography<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article evaluates perceptions of Manx orthography within Celtic scholarship. The predominant view is well summarized by Jackson (1955: 108): ‘Manx orthography is an English monstrosity which obscures both pronunciation and etymology’. Similarly, O’Rahilly dismisses Manx spelling as ‘an abominable system, neither historic nor phonetic, and based mainly on English’ (O’Rahilly 1932: 20). The article sets these perceptions in the sociohistorical context in which the system was developed by the Manx clergy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is argued that the system is neither so directly dependent on English conventions, nor so unsystematic and inconsistent, as has been often claimed. Such weaknesses as do exist from the perspective of contemporary scholars and students of the language should not necessarily be viewed as such in the light of the needs, priorities and assumptions of those who practised Manx writing in its original context. It is shown that there was in fact an increase in the phonological transparency of certain elements of the system during the standardization of the mid-eighteenth century represented by the publication of translations of the Book of Common Prayer (1765) and the Bible (1771-72). On the other hand, countervailing pressures towards phonological ambiguity, iconicity and idiosyncrasy are discussed, including the utility of distinguishing homophones; real or presumed etymologies; the influence of non-standard or regional English spelling conventions; tensions between Manx and English norms; and an apparent preference in certain cases for more ambiguous spellings as a compromise between variant forms. Negative outcomes of the received view for scholarship on Manx are also examined, with a case study of the neglect of orthographic evidence for the historical phonology of the language. The wider context of English-based orthographies for Gaelic is also briefly considered.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Context for Gaelic Language Revitalisation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The notion of the ‘new speaker’, and its salience particularly in relation to minority language sociolinguistics, has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade. The term refers to individuals who have acquired an additional language to high levels of oracy and make frequent use of it in the course of their lives. Language advocates in both Scotland and Nova Scotia emphasise the crucial role of new speakers in maintaining Gaelic on both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, Gaelic language teaching has been prioritised by policymakers as a mechanism for revitalising the language in both polities. This article examines reflexes of this policy in each country, contrasting the ongoing fragility of Gaelic communities with new speaker discourses around heritage, identity, and language learning motivations. Crucially, I argue that challenging sociodemographic circumstances in Gaelic communities in Scotland and Nova Scotia contrast with current policy discourses, and with new speaker motivations for acquiring higher levels of Gaelic oracy in North America.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Bellorum<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper will explore the accuracy and intent of the term <italic>dux bellorum</italic>, leader of war, as used in the <italic>Historia Brittonum</italic> with regards to Arthur. A discussion of Post-Roman archaeology, supplemented with contemporary historical documents, will establish that no Roman commands, such as the <italic>dux Britanniarum</italic> or <italic>comes Britanniarum</italic>, survived into the “Arthurian” period of the late fifth or early sixth centuries. A broader search of historical records will indicate that a linguistic cognate of <italic>dux bellorum</italic> was twice conferred on Celtic kings when leading a coalition of tribes in times of mutual threat according to the historical record; one was known to the author of the <italic>Historia Brittonum</italic>. A review of <italic>Historia Brittonum</italic> scholarship will show it came to its present form in c. 829 Gwynedd, ruled at the time by Merfyn Frych. The contemporary historical context was that the British kingdoms had been pressured for decades by the English and were specifically invaded by Wessex at around this time. This will be followed by a discussion of several biases in the history including a focus on Gwynedd’s dynasties and Merfyn in particular and British success against the English when united and failure when they were divided. Arthur was the best example of the latter agenda and because of this the most likely example of what Merfyn hoped to create. A summary of Merfyn’s political career in this context can be used to explain Arthur’s entire description in the work.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“Exile from Ireland Left Him a Stranger Everywhere“: Representation of Dublin in Selected Louis Macneice’s Poetry and Some of the Stories from James Joyce’s ”<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper discusses the representation of Dublin in the selected poetry of Louis MacNeice and some of the stories from James Joyce’s collection <italic>Dubliners</italic>. A close investigation of the city as a representative of urban space is interlinked with an examination of its role from the perspective of psychogeography. Both techniques are applied to show why and how two Irish authors portray the multi-dimensional decay of life in the city. In order to paint a whole picture of the relation between ‘space’ and ‘human’, I will also review the biographies of MacNeice and Joyce. For MacNeice, who was tormented by the experiences of domestic Belfast, going to the South was a promising escape. Yet, the change of urban setting did not bring him the expected result. MacNeice quickly became aware of the dirty, paralysed face of Dublin. Similarly, the childhood and day-to-day reality of the lower-middle-class profoundly shaped Joyce’s perspective of Dublin and, eventually, prompted him to go into deliberate exile in Europe. In his writings, however, Dublin constitutes the focal point of the structure, becoming an active participant in the events. Therefore, Dublin for MacNeice and Joyce is a place characterized by blandness, powerlessness in the face of foreign influences, and suffering caused by inertia.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“Dúthaigh Na Súpanna”: An Insight Into “Souper Territory” from the Folkloric Repertoire of Seán Mac Criomhthain<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>West Kerry storyteller Seán Mac Criomhthain (1873-1955) was born almost a quarter-century after the Great Irish Famine. Nevertheless, his upbringing occurred in a context which included both overt and covert references to the kinds of sectarian divisions which initially had contributed to the famine, and which later were entrenched by it. Sectarian division in the Irish context expressed itself primarily via denominational attachment, and to a lesser extent, along linguistic lines. Such divisions were explored across the country through traditional lore and through song; and in the specific repertoire of Seán Mac Criomhthain, through the medium of a mellifluous ‘brand’ of Munster Irish for which the Corca Dhuibhne peninsula has since become renowned. This article attempts to describe attitudes to sectarian division in the evidence of Mac Criomhthain’s repertoire. With extensive reference to a composition translated for the first time to English, it will be argued that concerns of immediate social pragmatism are afforded much greater importance than those of denominational or linguistic attachments.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Language in a Minority Setting: The Case of Breton<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper explores the use of the Breton language (Brittany, North-West France) in contexts where speakers wish to signal their commitment to social equality through their linguistic practices. This is done with reference to examples of job advertisements which have pioneered the use of gender-fair language in Breton. Linguistic minorities are often portrayed as clinging to the past. This paper, however, sheds a different light on current minority language practices and demonstrates a progressive and egalitarian response to modernity among some current speakers of Breton, in their attempts to assume gender-fair stances.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Vocabulary and Celtic Lexicography: Towards a Taxonomy of Ghost Words<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Most Humanities scholars probably have an intuitive sense of what is meant by a “ghost word” – it is a word that, in one way or another, exists as the result of someone’s unrecognized mistake. However, upon closer examination it becomes clear that the term is liable to be employed so broadly that important distinctions can be lost. For one thing, ghost words are often regarded simply as nuisances that should be deleted whenever they are detected. But in practice they often prove to be too useful simply to discard: this article presents some examples that have made their way into active usage among the Celts. In other cases the etymology may indeed be unnatural, but turns out to be the result of more than a hint of deliberate word-crafting right from the start. A taxonomy is here proposed that distinguishes true ghost words and dead words, on the one hand, from active items that may be described as poltergeist words and even Frankenstein words on the other.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue