Mitchif vs. French vs. English

Henry Kammler henry.kammler at STADT-FRANKFURT.DE
Tue Mar 9 15:23:45 UTC 1999

>         Silver Donald Cameron a (now) well-established Cape Breton writer,
> though from Ontario originally, said he got his introduction to Cape
> Breton when he went to a country music fair just after he moved there. A
> comedian got up on stage and told a joke in Gaelic and 500 people
> cracked up laughing.
>         I was at a cigar dinner in Halifax a few years ago where the guest
> of honour was a Scottish baronet. He was president of a distillery and
> gave a speech about its history and how the whiskey is made. They were
> able to get him for the dinner because he is a Gaelic preservationist and
> flies to Nova Scotia frequently to meet the Gaelic speakers. A baronet by
> birth, he's been knighted in his own right for his work preserving the
> Gaelic language.

If Gaelic is so vital in Canada it would seem logical that Celtic Canadians
help the Irish preserve their language for in Ireland Gaelic is *endangered*
and facing extinction. Three dialects are still spoken (which are not all
represented by the compulsory school Gaelic -- and this in turn is apparently
not too popular among the students) and there are even some children that
speak it but on a whole the number of L1-speakers probably does not exceed
20,000. The fact that Irish is one of the official languages of the European
Community (you find Gaelic text in every European passport) and that it is
taught in Irish schools sheds some light on how strong processes of language
assimilation are and how hard it is to reverse them.


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