ELL: FW: Opening of the first Manx-medium primary school class

Christian PERROTEAU christian.perroteau at FREESBEE.FR
Sun Sep 9 21:19:43 UTC 2001

De : MANACH, Tangi <Tangi.MANACH at eur.crowncork.com>
Date : Fri, 7 Sep 2001 12:03:26 +0100
À : <Christian.Perroteau at freesbee.fr>
Objet : Opening of the first Manx-medium primary school class

FYI ---------- De :  GUILLEMAIN
Claude[SMTP:claude.guillemain at medateams.belgonet.be] Répondre à :
 RBE_international at yahoogroupes.fr Date : jeudi 6 septembre 2001 16:52 A
: Llydaw-Cymry_Breizh-Kembre (E-mail); RBE INTERNATIONAL Post (E-mail) Objet
: RBE Opening of the first Manx-medium primary school class

> Edinburgh 5/9/01 , by Davyth Hicks This month will see the opening of the
> first Manx-medium primary school class on the Isle of Man, a British crown
> dependency. This may seem unremarkable for other minority language speakers,
> but considering that the language was declared 'extinct' in 1974, the
> achievement of the Manx community in reviving their language and opening a
> school is enormous. Furthermore, the survival of Manx and its sister language
> Cornish has a global significance in that they provide a glimmer of hope for
> those languages throughout the world that only have a few hundred speakers.
> Manx is a Q-Celtic language, closely related to Irish and Scots Gaelic. In
> 1765 the British state annexed the Isle of Man, but still the language
> remained in a relatively healthy position up until the mid-19th century, after
> which decline set in. Children born after 1850 were mostly brought up in
> English. By 1875 only 29 percent, or 12.350 persons of the population, could
> speak Manx. In 1961, only 165 people were registered Manx-speakers. The
> reasons for decline, similar to those affecting the other Celtic languages,
> was a loss of status and usage of the language in all domains, as well as
> increased tourism and an English-medium education system.
> The 'death' of the language has been portrayed as being represented by the
> death of Ned Maddrell, who was the last native speaker of 'traditional Manx',
> meaning that he was brought up with Manx as his mother tongue. However,
> despite his death, the language was still used as a community language and
> other speakers survived him, which in turn raises further questions as to why
> Manx has been defined in some quarters as being 'extinct'.
> However, in spite of the continuing decline, support for the language grew
> during the 1960's and 70's. As the interest in the language grew, it produced
> new speakers. In 1971 the total number of speakers rose to 284, and at the
> last count in 1991, the number had risen to 740. A new count is currently
> being done.
> The 1990's saw another increase in activity, this time with the involvement of
> the Manx government, this showing how autonomy can aid language maintenance.
> The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, or even the EU. 'Ellan
> Vannin', as the Isle of Man is called in Manx, is a British 'Crown
> dependency'. This means that the English queen is 'Lord of Man' and has a
> representative on the island. Man is run by its own parliament, the 'Tynwald'.
> This parliament has far more power than both the Scottish Parliament
> (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) and the National Assembly of Wales (Cynulliad
> Cenedlaethol Cymru) and is effectively, in most areas, autonomous.
> In 1990 the government commissioned a survey showing that 36 percent of the
> population wanted Manx as an optional subject in schools. This led to an
> appointment of a Manx language officer and 2 peripatetic teachers. Because of
> initial success, demand for Manx soon outstripped supply with some 40 percent
> of those wanting Manx classes. By September 1992 some 1,400 pupils were
> attending a Manx class in over thirty primary and five secondary schools. This
> was followed with the important establishment of a Manx medium pre-school
> group 'Mooinjey Veggey'. This gained support throughout the 90's and led to
> the Manx-medium primary initiative which is backed by the Department of
> Education.
> The new class will start initially with 9 children, although this could be
> extended to 25, exclusively via the medium of the language. The group behind
> the new initiative, 'Sheshaght ny Paarantyn' (parents for Gaelic Medium
> Education), say that the new class 'will enjoy a certain amount of
> independence' but 'will be within the mainstream education system'. They point
> out that research carried out in the Gaelic units in Scotland has shown that
> children adapt well to an additional language at this stage, listening to and
> absorbing the language first, as with newborns, not questioning points of
> grammar, but simply accepting them within the context of the spoken language.
> The setting up of the class appears to confirm the commitment of the Manx
> government to the Manx language.
> 'The Manx Heritage Foundation (the main language funding agency) has agreed to
> spend over £50,000 (81,341.43 Euro)up to April 2002, having spent around half
> that last year. The main spending will be on 'Mooinjer Veggey', promotion -
> such as the production of series of information leaflets, and possibly a video
> on the language and culture and the development of a central resource centre',
> Manx Development Officer Phil Gawne tells Eurolang.
> Asked about whether government support looks set to continue, Mr Gawne says 'I
> wish I knew the answer to that question. So far so good. There are no signs of
> the support for Manx diminishing at the moment. Politicians are generally in
> favour of language developments, provided they don't obviously cost too much
> and that they don't force people to use Manx - its all about encouragement'.
> Mr Gawne thinks that it is likely that the class could lead to a dedicated
> Manx medium school, provided that the level of parental support is maintained.
> An ambitious Manx language programme is now well underway at various levels in
> the education system. The main impediment to future progress is likely to be
> the ready availability of teaching and support staff with Manx Gaelic language
> skills.

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