Nuachainteoirí agus spásanna nua d’úsáid na Gaeilge



Stephen Joyce

Posted: 27 July, 2018

Stephen Joyce - Illustration - New speakers

Leagan Gaeilge * * * English version

 

 

Leagan Gaeilge

Is mac léinn PhD é Stephen Joyce i Roinn na Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Díríonn a thaighde dochtúireachta ar ‘nuachainteoirí’ óga na Gaeilge agus na Bascaise agus a spreagthaí, a bhféiniúlachtaí agus a n-idé-eolaíochtaí teanga. Bronnadh Scoláireacht Iarchéime Rialtas na hÉireann ar Stephen i 2017. 

 

Is ‘nuachainteoir’ Gaeilge mé. Is é sin le rá gur duine mé a bhaineann úsáid shóisialta, ghníomhach as teanga ach nach cainteoir dúchais traidisiúnta de chuid na teanga sin mé. Tógadh le Béarla mé agus ba sa chóras oideachais lán-Ghaeilge a shealbhaigh mé an Ghaeilge den chéad uair. Anois labhraím í i réimse leathan comhthéacsanna sóisialta chuile lá – le cairde, le comhghleacaithe oibre, le mo mhuintir, ar na meáin shóisialta agus nuair atáim ag imirt peile le club CLG lán-Ghaeilge i gcathair na Gaillimhe. Cé gurb ionann mo scéal féin agus taithí go leor nuachainteoirí mionteangacha ar fud na hEorpa, cuimsítear cainteoirí le cumais agus le conairí teangeolaíocha éagsúla agus ilghnéitheacha leis an gcoincheap.

Tá borradh tagtha faoin taighde ar nuachainteoirí le roinnt blianta anuas sa tsochtheangeolaíocht chriticiúil, is é sin an staidéar a dhéantar ar an tábhacht shóisialta, pholaitiúl agus eacnamaíoch a bhaineann le teangacha do dhaoine éagsúla.Tá scoláirí ag iarraidh dúshlán a thabhairt do thuiscintí agus d’idé-eolaíochtaí teanga stairiúla agus ceannasacha a shamhlaigh teangacha, agus cainteoirí na dteangacha sin, mar rudaí aonchineálacha, do-athraithe agus teoranta. Mar chuid de ghréasán taighde idirnáisiúnta de chuid COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), tá taighdeoirí timpeall na hEorpa agus níos faide i gcéin ag iarraidh tuiscintí nua a fhorbairt maidir le cén chaoi, agus cén fáth, a ndéanann daoine nuachainteoirí mionteangacha ar nós na Gaeilge, Ghaeilge na hAlban, na Breatnaise, na Bascaise, na Catalóinise agus na Gailísise díobh féin. Is téamaí lárnacha i dtaighde nuachainteoirí iad cleachtais agus idé-eolaíochtaí teanga agus go minic dírítear ar cheisteanna féiniúlachta, dlisteanachta, barántúlachta, úinéireachta agus spreagtha.

Tá pobail mhionteangacha ag athrú ó bhonn agus dúshláin suntasacha rompu i ré an domhandaithe. Aithnítear chomh maith go bhfuil ról lárnach ag nuachainteoirí i ngluaiseachtaí athneartaithe teanga. Níl orainn ach breathnú ar chás na Gaeilge anseo in Éirinn le feiceáil go bhfuil timpeallacht shochtheangeolaíoch na teanga ag claochlú. De réir fhigiúirí an Daonáirimh in 2016, tá 72% (53,217 duine) de chainteoirí laethúla na Gaeilge (lasmuigh den chóras oideachais) ina gcónaí lasmuigh de Ghaeltachtaí oifigiúla na tíre. Meastar go bhfuil tuairim is 200,000 nuachainteoir in Éirinn má chuirtear cainteoirí laethúla is seachtainiúla, thuaidh agus theas san áireamh. Is iomaí tionscadal Gaeilge tábhachtach agus bríomhar atá tagtha chun cinn le roinnt blianta anuas ón mbun aníos. Tá clubanna CLG i mBaile Átha Cliath, i mBéal Feirste agus sa Ghaillimh, féilte ceoil agus cultúrtha ar nós Fhéile na Gealaí i Ráth Chairn agus Liú Lúnasa in iarthar Bhéal Feirste, agus dár ndóigh feiniméan an Pop Up Gaeltacht atá ag dul ó neart go neart ó cuireadh tús leo i 2016. Feidhmíonn na tionscadail agus na grupaí seo mar dheiseanna luachmhara úsáide do nuachainteoirí nach bhfuil pobal cleachtais traidisiúnta acu ach atá ag iarraidh an Ghaeilge a labhairt go sóisialta agus caidrimh nua a chruthú trí mheán na teanga. Chomh maith leis sin, tugann siad dúshlán tábhachtach do dhioscúrsaí diúltacha faoin Gaeilge, dioscúrsaí naimhdeacha ar uairibh, a scaiptear go minic sa tsochaí agus sna meáin chumarsáide.

Díríonn mo chuid taighde féin den chuid is mó ar nuachainteoirí óga na Gaeilge agus ar na spásanna uirbeacha sóisialta ina n-úsáideann siad an teanga. Cad a spreagann iad chun an Ghaeilge a shealbhú agus chun úsáid ghníomhach,rialta a bhaint aisti i gcomhthéacsanna sóisialta éagsúla? Cén tionchar a imríonn ceisteanna féiniúlachta agus idé-eolaíochta ar na spreagthaí sin? Baineann gné thrasnáisiúnta, chomparáideach le mo chuid taighde toisc go bhfuil mé ag iniúchadh nuachainteoirí na Bascaise, nó euskaldunberri, i bPobal Féinrialaitheach na mBascach chomh maith. Is mian liom tuiscintí níos doimhne a fhorbairt maidir leis na próisis phearsanta agus shóisialta a imríonn tionchar ar nuachainteoirí óga, trí bhreathnú ar dhá chomhthéacs Eorpacha agus ina theannta sin, a fháil amach an bhfuil aon rud le foghlaim againn in Éirinn ó iarrachtaí athneartaithe euskara.

Más spéis leat breis eolais faoin taighde a dhéanann Gréasán na Nuachainteoirí, caith súil ar http://www.nspk.org.uk/.

English version

Stephen Joyce is a PhD student in the Department of Irish at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His doctoral research focuses on young ‘new speakers’ of Irish and Basque and their motivations, identities and language ideologies. Stephen is a recipient of the Irish Research Council’s Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship.

I am a nuachainteoir, a ‘new speaker’ of Irish. That’s to say that I’m someone who makes regular and active social use of a language that is not my native language. I was raised as Béarla and it was in the Irish language education system that I first acquired Gaeilge. I now speak Irish every day across a wide range of social contexts – with friends, work colleagues, family members, on social media and when I’m playing football with an Irish Language GAA club in Galway City. Although my personal experience is typical of many new speakers of minority languages throughout Europe, the concept encompasses speakers with varied and diverse linguistic competencies and trajectories.

New speakers as a research focus in critical sociolinguistics (the study of how language matters socially, politically and economically to different people) has emerged over recent years. Researchers hope to challenge historically dominant understandings and ideologies which regarded languages and their speakers as bounded, unchanging and homogenous. As part of a COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) international research network, researchers across Europe and further afield have attempted to better understand how, and why, people become new speakers of minority languages such as Gaeilge, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Basque, Catalan and Galician, amongst others. Central themes in new speaker research relate to linguistic practices and ideologies and very often centre on questions of identity, legitimacy, authenticity, ownership and motivation.

Minority language communities are changing radically and are facing new challenges in a globalised society. The important role of new speakers in language revitalisation efforts has also been recognised. We need only look at the case of Gaeilge here in Ireland to see how the sociolinguistic landscape of the language is transforming. According to Census 2016 figures, 72% (53,217 people) of daily Irish speakers outside of the education system are living outside of the official Gaeltacht areas (that is, the areas in Ireland where Irish is, or was until recently past, the primary community language of a substantial part of the population). It is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 nuachainteoir in Ireland when daily and weekly speakers, north and south, are taken into account. Many important and exciting grassroots Irish language initiatives have emerged over the last number of years. Examples include GAA clubs in Belfast, Dublin and Galway, music and cultural festivals such as Liú Lúnasa in Belfast and Féile na Gealaí in Ráth Chairn, and of course the Pop Up Gaeltacht phenomenon which has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2016. These groups and initiatives often serve as vital opportunities for new speakers who, lacking a traditional community of practice, want to use Irish socially and develop new relationships in the language. They also serve as an important challenge to the negative, sometimes hostile, discourses surrounding Gaeilge that often circulate in society and media.

My own research focuses principally on young new speakers of Irish and on the urban social spaces in which they use the language. What motivates them to acquire Irish and to make active and regular use of the language in various social contexts? What influence do questions of identity and ideology have on these motivations? My project contains a transnational, comparative element, as I’m also researching new speakers of Basque, or euskaldunberri, in the Basque Autonomous Community. By looking at two European contexts, I hope to deepen our understanding of the personal and social processes that affect young new speakers and perhaps to find out if we have anything to learn here in Ireland from the revitalisation efforts of euskara.

For more information on research conducted by the New Speaker Network, check out http://www.nspk.org.uk/.

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