Celtic academics from across the world prepare for major international conference

Celtic academics from across the world prepare for major international conference

Issued: Wed, 08 Jul 2015 14:59:00 BST

Gaelic Version of the release follows the English language text

The 15th International Congress of Celtic Studies is returning to Scotland for the first time in 20 years.

Scholars from 25 nations, including Russia, Australia and Brazil, representing 130 academic institutions and organisations will meet next week (July 13-17, 2015) at the University of Glasgow to participate in the most important international event in the Celtic Studies academic calendar.

The four-yearly event has grown significantly in size and stature since it was first held in Dublin in 1959. It now provides a forum in which experts from across the full range of Celtic Studies - including linguistics, literature, history, archaeology and art history - come together to share the fruits of their work.

This year’s congress will include academic seminars and plenaries in both English and Celtic languages, music performances, a civic reception hosted by Glasgow City Council, a visit to the internationally significant collection of Viking Age sculpture at Govan Old Parish Church and a recital by the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir, a whisky-tasting event at The Hunterian Museum, and a range of excursions to archaeologically and culturally relevant sites across Scotland.

Four honorary degrees will be awarded at the congress to honour senior academics who came to Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s and recorded dialects that have now mostly disappeared.

The honorary degree of DLitt will be conferred upon:

Nancy Dorian, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics in German and Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, USA; Máirtín Ó Murchú, Senior Emeritus Professor at the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; Professor Emeritus Dr Elmar Ternes, University of Hamburg; and Seosamh Watson, Emeritus Professor of Modern Irish, University College Dublin.

When Professor Dorian first visited the fishing villages of Embo, Brora and Golspie in East Sutherland in the 1960s, she surprised Celtic scholars when she discovered over 200 Gaelic speakers in these coastal areas. Unlike traditional dialectologists who focused on model NORM (non-mobile old rural male) fluent speakers, Professor Dorian included in her study less fluent and younger speakers, thus giving us a richer view of linguistic change through the generations. It was she who coined the widely used sociolinguistic term “semi-speaker”.

Professor Ternes has published a number of articles on Scottish Gaelic phonology and morpho-phonology, which are essential reading for students of Celtic and Gaelic linguistics. He worked with the community of Applecross in Wester Ross, beginning in 1971, leading to the publication of The Phonemic Analysis of Scottish Gaelic: Based on the Dialect of Applecross, Ross-shire (1973; 2006). This is the most influential book ever produced on the phonological analysis of Scottish Gaelic, and has acted as a catalyst for new and innovative research in Scottish Gaelic.

Professor Ó Murchú began his study of the endangered dialects of East Perthshire in the mid-1960s. Professor Ó Murchú’s magnum opus, East Perthshire Gaelic (1989), is the largest and most comprehensive study of the social history, phonology and lexicon of any Scottish Gaelic dialect. Had Professor Ó Murchú not conducted his research when he did and devoted his life to studying this neglected variety of language, our knowledge of Gaelic, particularly its eastern varieties, which are significantly different from more central and western varieties, would be so much poorer.

Professor Watson is one of the foremost scholars of Scottish Gaelic dialects and has provided rich linguistic descriptions of Easter Ross Gaelic. His book, Saoghal Bana-mharaiche: Cunntas Beul-aithris mu Bheatha Muinntir an Iasgaich ann am Machair Rois (2007) – material collected by him since 1967 – constitutes evidence of unparalleled value for the social history of Easter Ross. His research undertaken among Gaelic speakers in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, produced important studies elucidating linguistic variation and change in transplanted speech communities.

Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Arts, said: “This is a very proud moment in the University of Glasgow’s history of promoting and supporting Celtic and Gaelic studies. The resurgence in interest in Scottish cultures and languages as the international spotlight has shone upon the country’s Independence Referendum and debates about its future direction has made Glasgow the ideal venue for this important conference.”

In 1451, when the University was founded, the Gàidhealtachd (Gaelic-speaking districts) could be found within a stone’s throw of Glasgow. As late as 1755 possibly up to a quarter of all Scots spoke Gaelic yet the status of the language was such that it formed no part of any university’s syllabus.

Highland students at Glasgow formed the Ossianic Society in 1831, a debating society, partly to help alleviate the lack of instruction in their native tongue. They kept minute books in Gaelic listing the wide range of topics they discussed. University of Glasgow students even petitioned the Secretary of State in London in 1839, asking him to appoint a Gaelic professor at their University, an appeal that met with indifference.

Today, Celtic and Gaelic Studies is a flourishing subject area within the School of Humanities / Sgoil nan Daonnachdan.  According to results from the most recent research assessment exercise (REF 2014) Celtic & Gaelic studies research at the University of Glasgow is ranked in the top 10 modern languages and linguistic units in the UK.

The story of the Celtic and Gaelic heritage of the University has recently been revealed by the research project, Sgeul na Gàidhlig ‘the Gaelic Story at the University of Glasgow’.

 

 

Sgoilearan na Ceiltis bho air feadh an t-saoghail ag ullachadh airson co-labhairt mhòr eadar-nàiseanta

Tha 15mh Còmhdhail Eadar-Nàiseanta na Ceiltis a’ tilleadh a dh’Alba don chiad uair ann am 20 bliadhna.

Coinnichidh sgoilearan bho 25 nàisean, mar An Ruis, Astràilia agus Brasil, air an ath-sheachdain (An t-Iuchar 13-17, 2015) aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu agus iad ann as leth 130 institiud agus buidheann ach an gabh iad pàirt san tachartas as cudromaiche ann an clàr-ama acadaimigeach na Ceiltis.

Tha an tachartas ceithir-bhliadhnail air a dhol am meud gu mòr, chan ann a-mhàin ann an àireamh ach cuideachd ann an seasamh, bho chumadh an toiseach i ann am Baile Àtha Cliath ann an 1959. Tha i a-nise a’ toirt seachad fòram anns am bi eòlaichean bho làn raon na Ceiltis – a’ toirt leis cànanachas, litreachas, eachdraidh, àrc-eòlas, agus eachdraidh na h-ealaine- a’ tighinn cruinn còmhla gus toraidhean an cuid obrach a chur am follais.

Aig còmhdhail na bliadhna seo gheibhear seiminearan agus òraidean làn-chòmhdhalach an dà chuid sa Bheurla agus sna cànanan Ceilteach, cuirmean ciùil, fleadh catharra bho Chomhairle Bhaile Ghlaschu, cuairt gu cruinneachadh brìgheil obair shnaighte bho linn nan Lochlannach aig Seann Eaglais Bhaile a’ Ghobhainn agus ceadal-ciùil bho Chòisir Ghàidhlig Ìleach Ghlaschu, tachartas blasad air uisge-beatha aig Taigh-Tasgaidh Mhic an t-Sealgair, agus taghadh de chuairtean gu làraichean a tha deatamach airson àrc-eòlas agus dualchas na h-Alba 

Thèid ceumannan urramach a bhuileachadh air ceathrar aig a’ chòmhdhail mar chomharra air na h-àrd-acadaimigich seo a thàinig a dh’Alba sna 1960an agus 1970an. Chlàraich iad dualchainntean a tha gu ìre mhòir air a dhol à bith an-diugh. Thèid ceum urramach DLitt a bhuileachadh air:

Nancy Dorian, Ollamh Emeritus ann an Cànanachas na Gearmailtis agus Daonn-Eòlas aig Colaiste Bhryn Mawr, am Pennsylvania, sna Stàitean; Máirtín Ó Murchú, Àrd-Ollamh Emeritus aig Scoil an Léinn Cheiltigh ann an Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath; An t-Ollamh Emeritus Elmar Ternes, Oilthigh Hamburg; agus Seosamh Watson, Ollamh Emeritus ri Nua-Ghaeilge aig Coláiste na hOllscoile, Baile Átha Cliath.

Nuair a thadhail an t-Ollamh Dorian air bailtean iasgaich Eurobail, Bhrùra agus Ghoillspidh, chuir e iongnadh air sgoilearan na Ceiltis gun do lorg i tuilleadh is 200 Gàidheal sna ceàrnaidhean oirthireach seo. Eu-coltach ri sgoilearan dhualchainntean traidiseanta a chleachd modail nam fileantach NORM (non-mobile old rural male), cha do sheachain an t-Ollamh Dorian luchd-labhairt nach robh cho fileanta agus daoine òga na cuid obrach. Thug seo dhuinn sealladh na bu bheartaiche air atharrachadh cànanach tro na ginealaichean. B’ i a’ chiad neach a chuir gu feum an abairt shòiseo-chànanach ‘semi-speaker’ a tha a-nise air a chleachdadh fad’ is farsaing.

Dh’fhoillsich an t-Ollamh Ternes iomadh alt a tha a-nise riatanach do dh’oileanaich air fòn-eòlas agus morfa-fòn-eòlas na Gàidhlig agus na Ceiltis.

Rinn e rannsachadh le muinntir na Comraich ann an Ros an Iar bho 1971 a-mach agus nochd The Phonemic Analysis of Scottish Gaelic: Based on the Dialect of Applecross, Ross-shire (1973; 2006). ’S e seo an sgrùdadh fòn-eòlach as motha buaidh a chaidh fhoillseachadh air Gàidhlig riamh agus e air rannsachadh ùr agus ùr-ghnàthach a phiobrachadh air Gàidhlig.

Thòisich an t-Ollamh Ó Murchú a’ dèanamh rannsachadh air dualchainntean Siorrachd Pheairt an Ear ann am meadhan nan 1960an

’S e magnum opus Uí Mhurchú East Perthshire Gaelic (1989), an sgrùdadh as motha agus as cunbhalaiche a chaidh fhoillseachadh a-riamh air eachdraidh shòisealta, fòn-eòlas agus briathrachas dualchainnt Gàidhlig sam bith. Mura b’ e dìlseachd agus rannsachadh ranntrach an Ollaimh aig an àm sin bu shuarach am fiosrachadh a bhiodh againn an-diugh air seòrsa de Ghàidhlig a bha cho eadar-dhealaichte seach dualchainntean eile.

Tha an t-Ollamh Watson air fear de phrìomh eòlaichean dhualchainntean na Gàidhlig. Tha e air tuairisgeulan beartach a thoirt dhuinn air Gàidhlig Rois an Ear.’S e fianais air leth luachmhor airson eachdraidh shòisealta Rois an Ear a tha na leabhar Saoghal Bana-mharaiche: Cunntas Beul-aithris mu Bheatha Muinntir an Iasgaich ann am Machair Rois (2007), anns a bheil stuthan a chruinnich e bho 1967 air adhart. Tha a chuid rannsachaidh am measg Ghàidheal ann an Ceap Breatann, Alba Nuadh air àireamh de sgrùdaidhean cudromach adhbhrachadh agus iad a’ cur air shùilean dhuinn mu chaochladh cànanach agus atharrachadh ann an coimhearsnachd cainnt nan eilthireach.

Thuirt an t-Ollamh Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Iar-Phrionnsabal agus Ceannard Cholaiste nan Ealain: “’S e adhbhar moit a tha seo ann an eachdraidh Oilthigh Ghlaschu sna h-oidhirpean sgrùdaidhean na Ceiltis is na Gàidhlig a bhrosnachadh. Tha miann às ùr air èirigh airson dualchas agus cànanan na h-Alba aig àm nuair a bha Reifreann Neo-Eisimeileachd agus deasbad air na tha ri teachd don dùthaich fon phrosbaig eadar-nàiseanta. Tha seo uile a’ fàgail Ghlaschu air leth iomchaidh mar dhachaigh airson na co-labhairt cudromach seo.”

Ann an 1451 nuair a stèidheachadh an t-Oilthigh cha robh a’ Ghàidhealtachd ach beagan astair air falbh à Glaschu. Cho anmoch ri 1755 bha Gàidhlig aig dh’fhaodte suas ris a’ cheathramh pàirt de shluagh na h-Alba. A dh’aindeoin sin cha robh Gàidhlig air clàr-oideachaidh oilthigh sam bith air sàillibh inbhe a’ chànain.

Chuir oileanaich Ghàidhealach An Comunn Oiseanach air chois ann an 1831, comann deasbaid a bha mar fhuasgladh ann an dòigh air choreigin air a’ chion oideachaidh nan cànan màthaireil. Chùm iad leabhraichean mhionaidean ann an Gàidhlig anns am faicear an raon farsaing de chuspairean air an do bhruidhinn iad. Chuir oileanaich Oilthigh Ghlaschu athchuinge gu Rùnaire na Stàit ann an Lunnainn ann an 1839, agus iad a’ cur impidh air-san ollamh na Gàidhlig a chur ann an dreuchd san Oilthigh aca. Ach cha d’fhuair an tagradh aca ach miochuis.

An-diugh, tha Ceiltis is Gàidhlig na roinn shoirbheachail ann an Sgoil nan Daonnachdan. A rèir thoraidhean bho eacarsaich a’ mheasaidh rannsachaidh (REF2014) a rinneadh bho chionn ghoirid tha rannsachadh na roinne aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu am measg nan 10 aonadan nua-chànanan agus cànanachais as fheàrr san Rìoghachd Aonaichte.

Bho chionn ghoirid tha am pròiseact rannsachaidh Sgeul na Gàidhlig ‘a' togail sgeul nan Gàidheal aig Oilthigh Ghlaschu’ air eachdraidh dìleab na Ceiltis is na Gàidhlig san Oilthigh a shoillearachadh.


Notes to Editors:

The 15th International Congress of Celtic Studies: www.celticstudiescongress.org

Media enquiries: Communications Office, University of Glasgow media@glasgow.ac.uk

0141 330 3535

Congress contact for interviews:

Fiona Dunn

Fiona.Dunn@glasgow.ac.uk

07985 280 242

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