Language exports

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?

This entry was posted in Education, Irish, Language, Language learning, Welsh.

8 Responses to Language exports

  1. Ben L. says:

    One product of what I’ll politely call the US national “wanderlust” is a small group of tightly-knit immigrant communities associated with military installations worldwide. The basic pattern is: 1) Boy stationed abroad, meets girls, 2) Marries girl, gets redeployed “10,000 miles away”, 3) Instant immigrant community, divorce optional. Examples of this are Korean and Japanese communities in Germany and Oktoberfest in Korea. These expatriates are often in contact with other countrymen who have fully immigrated to their host country and are not bad for a little speaking practice: they tend to use very practical vocabularies and you often encounter them in real-life situations.

  2. Steve says:

    Scottish gaelic at the University of Sydney, NSW, Australia, apparently.

  3. Joseph Staleknight says:

    I hear that next year, Chinese will be available as a Foreign Language class at my school for the first time!

  4. Colm says:

    Irish in Australia (and NZ maybe?), Gaelic in Canada and the States and Welsh in Patagonia. 🙂

    “Irish seems to be almost more popular outside Ireland than it is in Ireland” I wouldnt go that far as to say that. Though I have met quite a lot of fluent or advanced speakers from Canada and the States I would assume the majority in the courses do a beginners one and wouldn’t go any further. I would guess a lot of it has to do with the novelty factor.

    In Ireland, the Irish language is always there so that novelty factor doesn’t exist but there is real interest in the language in the long-term, much of this being behind the scences. So you might have a lot of “cúpla-focal-fanfair” in public in the States but at home in Ireland, deep underground in the culture and the psyche, the language is very much in existence.

  5. Mike says:

    I know at the University of Ottawa they have a very good Celtic studies program, and if I remember right they have Irish, Scotch and Welsh programs, maybe even Breton.

  6. A. D. Romero Zapiola says:

    I attend irish classes at the Father Fahy club. This is an irish club located in the capital of Argentina. You can also learn irish dance there.

  7. J-Mitz says:

    If I remember correctly from checking around a year or so ago, UC Berkeley offers an Undergrad degree in Celtic Studies (or something like that) and offers Irish, Welsh and Scottish – and I’m not sure if they offer the other Celtic languages.

    Harvard University has a PhD program in Celtic Studies. I believe it’s the only one in the country. I’m sure they offer Irish, Welsh and Scottish and they likely offer Manx, Breton and Cornish as well.

    Great blog! I was happy to find you today. =)

  8. Arwel says:

    If I recall something shown on S4C a few years ago, the Catholic University of Lodz, in Poland, does Welsh.

%d bloggers like this: