Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Language morbidity and vitality in the Outer Hebrides and beyond  
Cormac Cleary (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

This paper engages with ideas about language death in the Outer Hebrides and the ways in which narratives about the loss of Gaelic as a community language are tied up in the deaths of real people, as well as ideas about life, dwelling, and liveliness.

Paper long abstract:

The Outer Hebrides are haunted by the spectre of the loss of Gaelic language and culture. Pronouncements about the imminent "death" of Gaelic as a community language are common, and the language is described in literature in terms borrowed from the language of death, for example a description of the language in some districts as "moribund." There are a number of complex and interlinking factors threatening the language, but among them are problems of rural depopulation, driven by high levels of youth migration as well as the ageing of the remaining population. That is, when people die physically, the language also inches closer to death. The discourse of language death in the islands is based on continual decline in speaker levels in what has long been the language's heartland. It comes alongside large increase in speaker levels elsewhere in Scotland due, among other things, to adult uptake in learning the language and Gaelic Medium Education in schools. This provokes anxieties that as Gaelic rises in prominence within the civic imaginary of the Scottish nation, it loses its vitality in its supposed natural habitat in the islands and becomes "fossilised". In this paper I reflect on these discourses, thinking about the way in which a language and its speaker community are thought of as living things, and how this relates to the individuals through which the language flows. How are abstract ideas about life and death (morbidity, vitality) understood differently with reference to entities with and without bodies and across scales?

Panel Narr02
Uncertain death: narrative and physical death and the spaces in between
  Session 1 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -