The other day I read in an article on the University of Notre Dame website that 51 universities outside Ireland teach Irish and that 29 of them are in the USA. Some of those studying Irish in the USA have Irish roots; others came to the language through an interest in Irish culture. The other countries where Irish language is taught include the UK, France, Canada and Germany. Does anyone know in which other countries it’s taught?
These factoids got me thinking about how languages are exported and promoted outside their original homelands. The most successful language export is obviously English, which has spread to every continent. Other successful language exports include French, German, Spanish, Italian, and increasingly Chinese and Japanese.
What about ‘smaller’ languages like Irish and Welsh? Well, Irish seems to be almost more popular outside Ireland than it is in Ireland. In the USA, Welsh is taught by Cymdeithas Madog, an organization that describes itself as being “dedicated to helping North Americans learn, use and enjoy the Welsh language.” There are quite a few other Welsh societies, some of which teach the language, in the USA and Canada. I understand that Welsh is taught at at least one university in Moscow, and there’s a small Welsh colony in Chubut province of Argentina that’s home to several thousand Welsh speakers.
Does anyone know of any other courses in Welsh or other Celtic languages outside their homelands?