Canadian Gaelic language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Canadian Gaelic

Spoken in

Canada (in Nova Scotia ; very few speakers yet)
speaker 500-1,000
Official status
Official language in -
Language codes
ISO 639 -1

gd (Scottish Gaelic language)

ISO 639 -2

gla (Scottish Gaelic language)

ISO 639-3

gla (Scottish Gaelic language)

The Canadian Gaelic language (Gaelic Gàidhlig Chanada, A 'Ghàidhlig Chanèideanach , Gàidhlig Cheap Bhreatainnis ) is a language derived from Scottish Gaelic that has been on the Cape Breton Island for more than 200 years and in secluded enclaves on the mainland Nova Scotia was spoken. To a lesser extent, the language is also spoken on nearby Prince Edward Island (PEI) and by emigrated Scots living in major Canadian cities such as Toronto . At its peak around the mid-19th century, Gaelic was the third most widely spoken language in Canada , after English and French . Since then, its use has drastically decreased until it is now almost extinct . Although the language is partially viewed as a dialect of the Scottish Gaelic language, the Canadian Gaelic is mostly viewed as a separate language.

According to conservative estimates, Canadian Gaelic is spoken by around 500 to 1,000 people, mostly elderly, in Nova Scotia.

The first speakers

In 1621, King James VI. of Scotland to the privateer William Alexander to found the first Scottish colony overseas. A group of highlanders - all Gaelic speaking - settled in what is now known as Port Royal in western Nova Scotia. However, within a year the colony collapsed. All attempts to save the colony failed because in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1632) Nova Scotia became French.

Almost half a century later, in 1670, the Hudson's Bay Company was granted exclusive trading rights throughout North America that extended well beyond Hudson Bay (approximately 3.9 million km²). Many of the traders came from the Scottish Highlands, who carried Gaelic inland. Those who married among the local Indian population passed their language on to subsequent generations. The effect of this marriage practice was that in the mid-18th century there was a significant population of Métis (mixed race) of Scottish and indigenous origin who traded and spoke Gaelic.

The settlement

Cape Breton remained French territory until 1758, although most of Nova Scotia had been in British possession since 1713, when Fort Louisbourg, including the rest of New France , became British in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham . In 1770 the first Scottish settlers landed in St. John's Island on Prince Edward Island . Many Gaelic-speaking families were forced to leave their European homeland forever in the course of the expulsions from the Scottish highlands (Fuadaich nan Gàidheal / Highland Clearances , from 1762). In 1784, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were predominantly Gaelic-speaking. It is estimated that more than 50,000 Gaelic-speaking settlers immigrated to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island between 1815 and 1870.

The Red River Colony

In 1812, Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk , received 300,000 square kilometers of land to establish a colony at the fork of the Red River (later Manitoba). With the help of his employee and friend, Archibald McDonald, Selkirk sent more than 70 Scottish settlers to the area to set up a small farming colony. Many of these settlers spoke Gaelic. The settlement attracted many indigenous Indian tribes over time and led to close trade contact between Scots (from the Lowlands, the Highlands and the Orkney Islands), English, French, Cree , Ojibwe , Aulteaux and Métis . The result of this unique language contact was the so-called bungee , a mixed language of Gaelic and English with many terms from the different local Indian languages. However, it is debatable whether it was a fully developed mixed language ( Creole ) or a pidgin . Today the Scottish Métis dialect has merged into the dominant French Métis culture. The bungee dialect is very likely to have died out.

In the 1840s, anglican priest Dr John Black from Toronto was sent to the Red River settlement to preach the word of God. However, the congregation reacted to his presence with great disappointment, since he had no knowledge of Gaelic. Over time, the population grew to 300, but there were more French-speaking Métis than Gaelic-speaking Scots by the 1860s, and tensions between the two groups ultimately led to the Red River Rebellion .

19th century

By 1850, Gaelic was the third most popular mother tongue in British North America after English and French. It is believed to have been spoken by more than 200,000 British-born North Americans. Much of the Irish Gaelic-speaking population immigrated to the Scottish Gaelic-speaking communities and Irish settlements in Newfoundland. There were large areas of monolingual Scottish Gaelic-speaking populations on Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton. There were Gaelic-speaking communities around Pictou and Antigonish in northeastern Nova Scotia; other commoners were found in Glengarry, Stormont , Gray, and Bruce Counties of Ontario; in the Codroy Valley in Newfoundland; in Winnipeg , Manitoba, and eastern Quebec .

In 1867, the most widely spoken mother tongue among the founders of the Canadian Confederation was Gaelic. In 1890, Thomas Robert McInnes , a senator from British Columbia found that 10 senators spoke Scottish and 8 Irish Gaelic, and another 32 members of the House of Commons spoke either Scottish or Irish Gaelic. However, his attempt to use Gaelic on official occasions failed. However, it is known that a court case in Baddeck was conducted entirely in Gaelic.

Reasons for the decline in Gaelic

Despite the long tradition of Gaelic in Canada, daily use and the number of speakers fluent in the language steadily declined after 1850. The decline was the result of prejudice outside, but also within, the Gaelic-speaking community. Furthermore, Gaelic was aggressively opposed by the government and the education authorities, while the use of English was massively promoted.

There has been great prejudice against Gaelic in Great Britain for generations, as the speakers of the Gaelic language in Ireland as well as in Scotland were wrongly associated with poverty, lack of education and culture, drinking addiction, violence, filth and disease and laziness. It was widely believed that these people could only be civilized with the help of the English language and culture. This opinion was also shared by many of the poor rural people in the Scottish Highlands, who saw learning English as the only way out of their economic plight. Gaelic was only a hindrance on this path and was deliberately not passed on to the following generations. The status of the Gaelic language was very low in the British Isles. It is therefore not surprising that these negative attitudes towards language were also carried over to the New World. The Scottish-American Journal mockingly reported that "the preparatory essentials for learning Gaelic are:" swallowing a decent assortment of nut grinds, developing chronic bronchitis, hermetically plugging the nostrils, or undergoing a jaw displacement "

The fact that Gaelic had not received official status in its mother country made it easy for the Canadian government to ignore the concerns of domestic speakers. So the general opinion was that the language was best suited for poetry and the telling of fairy tales.

With the outbreak of World War II, the Canadian government attempted to suppress Gaelic in public use. The government believed that Gaelic was used by subversives associated with Ireland. Ireland was a neutral country, but it tolerated Nazi rule. In Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, where Gaelic was strongholds, active use was discouraged by corporal punishment in schools. The children were beaten with the "maide-crochaidh" (hanging stick) if they were caught speaking Gaelic.

Jobs for monolingual Gaelic were very limited and mostly limited to heavy mining and fishing in the shrinking Gaelic-speaking communities. The only way to achieve social success in Canada was to learn the English language. The Gaelic-speaking parents stopped speaking Gaelic with their children en masse. This sudden slump in the teaching of the Gaelic language due to prejudice and shame is the main reason for the decline of the Gaelic language in the 20th century.

Gaelic speakers in Canada

The Gaelic-speaking areas of Maritime Canada.
year speaker
1850 200,000
1900 80,000
1930 30,000
2000 500-1,000

There are still a few niches for speakers of the language in Cape Breton and in the traditional strongholds of Christmas Island, North Shore and Baddeck.

Places in Canada with Canadian Gaelic names

Places on Cape Breton Island (Eilean Cheap Breatainn)

  • Broad Cove: To Caolas Leathann
  • Glendale: Bràigh na h-Aibhneadh
  • Inverness: Baile Inbhir Nis or An Sithean
  • Judique: Siùdaig
  • Mabou: Màbu or An Drochaid
  • Southwest Margaree: Bràigh na h-Aibhne
  • Whycocomagh: Hogamah
  • Baddeck: Badaig
  • Iona: Sanndraigh
  • The North Shore: An Cladach a Tuath
  • St. Ann's: Baile Anna
  • Christmas Island: Eilean na Nollaig
  • Big Beach: An Tràigh Mhòr
  • Grand Mira: A 'Mhira Mhòr
  • Big Pond: At Pòn Mòr
  • Loch Lomond: Loch Laomainn
  • Marion Bridge: Drochaid Mhira
  • Sydney: Baile Shidni
  • Grand River: Abhainn Mhòr
  • Port Hastings: Còbh a 'Phlàstair
  • Port Hawkesbury: Baile a 'Chlamhain or An Gut

Places on Nova Scotia (Tìr Mór na h-Albann Nuaidh)

  • Antigonish Am Baile Mòr
  • Arisaig Àrasaig
  • Giant's Lake: Hole at Fhamhair
  • Halifax Halafacs
  • New Glasgow At Baile Beag or Glaschu Nuadh

Other Canada

  • Glengarry County, Ontario Siorrachd Gleanna Garadh
  • Bruce County, Ontario Siorramachd Bhruis
  • Nova Scotia Alba Nuadh or Alba Ùr
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Talamh an Èisg or Eilein a 'Trosg
  • Prince Edward Island: Eilean Eòin or An t-Eilean Dearg ; Eilean a 'Phrionnsa
  • Lewes, Prince Edward Island at Tuirc
  • Calgary, Alberta Calgarraidh
  • Stornoway, Quebec Steòrnabhagh

Individual evidence

  1. a b J.M. Bumstead: Scots. (No longer available online.) In: Multicultural Canada. 2006, archived from the original on November 5, 2006 ; Retrieved August 30, 2006 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ NES Griffiths, John G. Reid: New Evidence on New Scotland, 1629. 1992 JSTOR Online Journal Archive.
  3. ^ A b Olive P. Dickason: Métis. In: Multicultural Canada .
  4. ^ The Canadian Encyclopædia. Retrieved August 30, 2006.
  5. ^ Anne Matheson Henderson: The Lord Selkirk Settlement at Red River. The Manitoba Historical Society, 1968.
  6. a b c d Michael Kennedy: Gaelic Economic-Impact Study . Nova Scotia Museum, 2002.
  7. John Shaw: Gaelic in Prince Edward Island: A Cultural Remnant. Gaelic Field Recording Project 1987.
  8. National Flag of Canada Day February 15th Department of Canadian Heritage. Retrieved April 26, 2006.
  9. Michael Newton: This Could Have Been Mine. Scottish Gaelic Learners in North America. Center for Celtic Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2004, Retrieved October 18, 2006.