Aran survey of spoken Irish to be launched in city tomorrow

Former NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil will launch Dr SéamAs Ó Direáin’s A Survey of Spoken Irish in the Aran Islands, Co. Galway on Friday, 9 October at 1.30pm in Áras na Gaeilge, NUI Galway.

Created over a period of 25 years, A Survey of Spoken Irish in the Aran Islands, Co. Galway represents the life’s work of Californian linguist Dr Séamas Ó Direáin, whose grandparents emigrated from Inis Mór to Boston over 100 years ago. Dr Ó Direáin, who turns 77 this October, first started learning Irish from expats in Kenya in the 1970s where he was researching African languages. Over 40 years later, he is delighted to make his Survey available for free and online from 9 October.

The Survey constitutes a highly detailed, almost microscopic, micro-dialectological study of spoken Irish in the Aran Islands, focusing on geographical and social variation linked to generations (older and younger age-groups ), genders (male and female ), and level of education.

It provides for the first time ever, for any language anywhere in the world, an extensive analysis linguistic variations of the islands. In the case of the largest of the three islands, Inis Mór, the Survey includes detailed information on phonological, grammatical and lexical variation at the level of individual townlands.

Professor Kevin Scannell, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, St Louis University, said: “Séamas Ó Direáin’s linguistic research on the dialects of Irish spoken in the Aran Islands is clearly a major achievement. This is probably the most comprehensive study of any dialect of Irish completed to date, and it is wonderful that scholars and researchers will now have searchable online access to all of the data and analysis.”

Dr John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish at NUI Galway, said: “This dialectological work by Séamas Ó Direáin is of national and international importance. It adds greatly to our knowledge of the dialectology of Irish in general and surpasses all over previous studies of the dialects of Aran. Many other research possibilities can emerge from it and I am delighted that it will be housed at the NUI Galway from now on.”

For further information or to view the Survey visit

 

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