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Title: The Irish language and everyday life in Derry
Author: O'Neill, Rosa
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 4611
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis explores the use of the Irish language in everyday life in Derry city. I argue that representations of the Irish language in media, politics and academic research have tended to over-identify it with social division and antagonistic cultures or identities, and have drawn too heavily on political rhetoric and a priori assumptions about language, culture and groups in Northern Ireland. I suggest that if we instead look at the mundane and the everyday moments of individual lives, and listen to the voices of those who are rarely heard in political or media debate, a different story of the Irish language emerges. Drawing on eighteen months of ethnographic research, together with document analysis and investigation of historical statistics and other secondary data sources, I argue that learning, speaking, using, experiencing and relating to the Irish language is both emotional and habitual. It is intertwined with understandings of family, memory, history and community that cannot be reduced to simple narratives of political difference and constitutional aspirations, or of identity as emerging from conflict. The Irish language is bound up in everyday experiences of fun, interest, achievement, and the quotidian ebbs and flows of daily life, of getting the kids to school, going to work, having a social life and simply making it through the day. While political and cultural concerns are important, the Irish language has an emotional significance and everyday resonance; to echo Jenkins' (2007) study of the Danish flag, for many who use or relate to the Irish Language, it is something that just is, is there, and something that is natural, that simply 'feels right', something that is 'simply part of the background, just there, something which one just does. Something one doesn't generally think about. Something one feels' (Jenkins 2007, p. 129).
Supervisor: Richard, Jenkins Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available