Scholars to explore role of Irish language in academe

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What is the role of Irish in academia and its contribution to the humanities?What is the function of Irish in international scholarly research? What is the current state of Irish language scholarship?

These are among the questions to be addressed by a panel of international scholars atWhy Irish?,a conference Sept. 30 (Friday) in theHesburghCenterauditorium at the University ofNotre Dame.

Éamon Ó Cuív, the Irish governments Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, will deliver the keynote address at9 a.m.

Sponsored by the Department of Irish Language and Literature,Why Irish?will bring together internationally renowned scholars from the fields of comparative literature, medieval studies, linguistics, contemporary literature, cultural studies, and Indo-European poetics, and whose research and scholarship draw on the Irish language.They will discuss the contributions of Irish to their research and examine the role it plays in their discipline.

Guest speakers for theWhy Irish?conference include:

  • Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Irish Studies,HarvardUniversity

  • Clare Carroll, chair of the Comparative Literature Department and director of Irish Studies,QueensCollege, City University of New York
  • Calvert Watkins, professor-in-residence, Department of Classics and Program in Indo-European Studies, UCLA
  • Breandán Ó Buachalla, Thomas J. and Kathleen ODonnell Chair in Irish Language and Literature,UniversityofNotreDame;
  • James McCloskey, professor of linguistics,UniversityofCalifornia,Santa Cruz;
  • Philip OLeary, associate professor of Irish Studies,BostonCollege;

The Irish language is the national language ofIrelandand, with English, one of the two official languages of the country.Spoken inIrelandfor more than 2,500 years, it is the language from which most Irish family and place names are derived.A drastic drop in the number of Irish language speakers occurred in the 19 th century, but its designation as an official language ofIrelandin 1922 helped revive it.

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