The Linguist

The Linguist 56,6 – December 2017/January 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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24 The Linguist Vol/56 No/6 2017 FEATURES Chris Bissell considers how the Celtic diaspora, and other minority language communities from Western Europe, are using the internet to protect their languages F rom 1815 to 1932, 60 million people left Europe, especially to start new lives in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Uruguay. These populations multiplied rapidly in their new habitats, and on the eve of the First World War, 38% of the global population is said to have been of European ancestry. Growth in population provided impetus for European expansion, and became the driving force behind emigration. Rising populations put pressure on land, and led to 'land hunger'. Millions of people went abroad in search of work or economic opportunity. The Irish, who left for America during the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1852, were an extreme but not unique example. The traditional view of Scottish emigration is of an exodus to North America as a result of the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries. But we should not neglect the earlier emigration of highly educated intellectuals and professionals (doctors, lawyers, administrators) as a result of the Scottish Enlightenment, nor the settlement of Ulster and the fact that significant numbers of Scottish migrants also came from the Lowlands. Ulster Scots emigrated onwards from Ireland to all corners of the British Empire in significant numbers. Irish people brought Gaelic to North America as early as the 17th century. In the 18th century, there were many speakers in Pennsylvania. Immigration from Irish- speaking counties to America was strong throughout the 19th century, particularly after the famine. The language was introduced to Newfoundland in the 17th century and was widely spoken there until the early 20th century. Many Gaelic speakers retained their language, and according to the 2005 census, there are now 18,815 regular speakers in the US. There are still significant Gaelic associations with a web presence. Fewer Welsh emigrated, but Patagonia is a fascinating example of a Welsh diasporic community. In the 19th- and early 20th-century, the Argentine government encouraged Welsh people to settle outside the Buenos Aires region. Estimates of the current number of Patagonian Welsh speakers vary widely from 1,500 to 5,000. Meanwhile, Breton descendants of medieval migrants from Cornwall settled in many parts of the world, particularly North and South America. Traditionally, Galicia has been a migrant community. In the 19th century, Castile was a popular destination for migrants; during the Spanish Civil War, Latin America – notably Argentina and Uruguay – was a popular destination. As with other groups, driving factors included poverty, political instability and unemployment. There has been a Basque presence in the Americas from the age of Columbus; they came to English- speaking America in sizeable numbers during the 1848 California Gold Rush. New economic opportunities were available, including sheep-herding to tend the area's three million sheep. The Basque country had been embroiled in a series of wars, including the Carlist wars of the 19th century and the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Spanish and French policy was to minimise – if not eliminate – a sense of Basque identity, thus political oppression also drove some to migrate. Sites of information Today, the role of the internet is vital in supporting minority languages in the diaspora from the western Atlantic coast of Europe. Current use of the internet by the diaspora falls into three major categories (some overlapping on a single site): general information, language learning and communication tools. Some websites that are essentially information sites are quite specialised;, for example, is centred on the making of a commemorative tapestry, but also includes pages on education and personal stories from around the world. Others are more historical, such as with its interesting Gaelic heritage pages, covering Online emigration HISTORIC EVENTS (Clockwise from main image) Traditional Welsh dancing in Dolavon, Patagonia, with the Argentinian police and onlookers in the background; a child at the event; Winnemucca Basque Festival in Nevada, USA; and an engraving by Henry Doyle, entitled 'The Emigrants' Farewell', depicting Irish emigration during the Potato Famine

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