[RNLD] Updated: Melbourne Linguistics in the Pub Thursday 9th May: Maintaining minority languages - what does it actually mean to transmit a language to the next generation?

Ruth Singer ruth.singer at gmail.com
Sat May 4 22:24:13 EDT 2019

Announcement: Maintaining minority languages - what does it actually mean
to transmit a language to the next generation?

Discussion led by Dr. Cassie Smith-Christmas (National University of
Ireland, Galway) who will also share with us her research in the Corca
Dhuibhne Gaeltacht, Ireland

Despite the importance of transmitting a minoritised language from one
generation to the next, there is very little critical discussion of this
process actually means—that is, what do language planners, activists, and
parents mean when they talk about whether intergenerational transmission is
successful or not? We will discuss this question in reference to a study
based in the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht in Ireland.

I will argue for the value of thinking about intergenerational transmission
in terms of the Irish concept ‘*saibhreas*’ (‘richness’). This is turn can
be broken down into three main components: children whose Irish is
*saibhir* speak
Irish that is competent (i.e. they use Irish grammatical structures and
vocabulary appropriate for their age); affective (i.e. they use the
language for a range of emotional situations, and most importantly, they
want to use the language); and local (i.e. Irish as it is spoken on the
Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht). In particular, we will centre on the ‘local’
component of *saibhreas* and argue that this emphasis of ‘local’ is
underpinned by an understanding which takes into account Standard Irish;
other dialects; and the ubiquity of the English language.

Date:       Thursday 9th May 2019
Time:       6:00 - 8:00 pm
Venue:     Function room
                Naughton's Hotel
Address: 43 Royal Parade, Parkville

Dr Ruth Singer
Research Fellow
Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity Project
College of Asia and the Pacific
The Australian National University

Honorary Fellow, School of Languages and Linguistics, University of


Wellsprings project:
Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL):
ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL):
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