Thursday, 10 September 2009

Irlandalingvo en Vancouver la Vancouver Sun:

For Vancouver resident Mike Kelly, the Internet has proven an invaluable tool in his efforts to maintain a connection with his Irish roots.

Kelly, 76, grew up in Ireland, where he was schooled in the original Irish Gaelic language, as well as English.

Kelly left home at 17 years old and hasn’t lived in Ireland since. Nevertheless, nearly six decades later, his ability to speak the language of his childhood remains an integral part of his being.

“I feel I wouldn’t be Irish if I didn’t speak it,” he says.

But finding other Irish speakers on the West Coast has not been easy.

His brother and sister, both of whom also live in Vancouver, don’t speak much of the language, and neither do his children.
As for his friends, “I know more Englishmen than Irishmen,” he says.

Small Irish-language meet-up groups do exist in the city, and Kelly occasionally meets with other Irish speakers over coffee. However, he’s found few people locally share his level of fluency.

So Kelly has instead turned to Skype and e-mail to connect with Irish speakers worldwide. There he can both practise the language and expand his own vocabulary, which he admits is “a bit old-fashioned” compared to modern-day speakers.

“The Gaelic I learned is the language of farmers and fishermen,” he says.

Kelly is also enjoying doing his bit to perpetuate the language, which suffered a dramatic decline in fluent speakers over the last century.

“It was considered the language of the poor,” Kelly says.

These days, he adds, “It’s becoming the language of the middle class and the well-educated.”

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