TITLE

PROTECTION OF MINORITY LANGUAGES IN THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND: IRISH AND ULSTER SCOTS LINGUISTIC LEGISLATION. WHICH AND WHEN?

AUTHOR(S)
Vacca, Alessia
PUB. DATE
December 2014
SOURCE
Revista de Llengua i Dret;2014, Issue 62, p49
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The use of minority languages in the public administration has a high symbolic value, and can therefore promote the status of such languages. This article focuses on analyzing the use of minority languages in the public administration of Northern Ireland with a brief history of the role these languages have played in this country and reference to their demographic situation (2001 and 2011 censuses) before turning to international commitments and legislation, the implementation of legislation (as determined primarily through state reporting in relation to relevant international obligations) and proposals for future legislation regarding the protection of Irish and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland. The Irish language is a Celtic language which has historically been spoken in Ireland. It is considered by many people of Northern Ireland a very important part of their cultural heritage. According to the 2001 census, Irish is spoken by 10.4% of the population of Northern Ireland and it was estimated (in the 2001 census there were no questions on Ulster Scots, these were only introduced for the first time in the 2011 census) that Ulster Scots, the other language spoken in Northern Ireland other than English and Irish, was spoken by around 2% of the population. Indeed, according to the 2011 census, the number of people with some ability in Irish and Ulster Scots is similar, 8.08% of the population of Northern Ireland has some ability in Ulster Scots and 10.65% has some ability in Irish. Surprisingly there is not a huge difference between the two percentages. The Northern Ireland Act 1998 gave the Northern Ireland Assembly significant legislative powers in most policy areas that are relevant to the protection of Irish and Ulster Scots. Generally, however, this power has not been used, largely due to the highly contested nature of language in Northern Ireland, and the stalemate between Nationalist parties, who are broadly supportive of taking legislative action to protect Irish, and the Unionist parties, which oppose such measures, and invoke the protection of Ulster Scots. Northern Irish society is divided, and there are stereotypes which deprive the country of its linguistic heritage. This article focuses especially on the use of Irish and Ulster Scots in the Public Administration of Northern Ireland.
ACCESSION #
100148474

 

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