Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004

Paperback | March 6, 2008

byTony Crowley

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Wars of Words is the first comprehensive survey of the politics of language in Ireland during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Challenging received notions, Tony Crowley presents a complex, fascinating, and often surprising history which has suffered greatly in the past fromover-simplification. Beginning with Henry VIII's Act for English Order, Habit, and Language (1537) and ending with the Republic of Ireland's Official Languages Act (2003) and the introduction of language rights under the legislation proposed by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (2004),this clear and accessible narrative follows the continuities and discontinuities of Irish history over the past five hundred years. The major issues that have both united and divided Ireland are considered with regard to language, including ethnicity, cultural identity, religion, sovereignty, propriety, purity, memory, and authenticity. But rather than simply presenting the accepted wisdom on many of the language debates, thisbook re-visits the material and considers previously little-known evidence in order to offer new insights and to contest earlier accounts. The materials range from colonial state papers to the writings of Irish revolutionaries, from the work of Irish priest historians to contemporary loyalistpoliticians, from Gaelic dictionaries to Ulster-Scots poetry. Wars of Words offers a reading of the crucial role language has played in Ireland's political history. It concludes by arguing that the Belfast Agreement's recognition that languages are 'part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland', will be central to the social development of the Republicand Northern Ireland. The final chapter analyses the way in which contemporary poets have used Gaelic, Hiberno-English, Ulster-English, and Ulster-Scots, as vehicles for the various voices that demand to be heard in the new societies on both sides of the border.

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Wars of Words is the first comprehensive survey of the politics of language in Ireland during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Challenging received notions, Tony Crowley presents a complex, fascinating, and often surprising history which has suffered greatly in the past fromover-simplification. Beginning with Henry VIII's Act fo...

Tony Crowley is a Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Manchester.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:262 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.59 inPublished:March 6, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199532761

ISBN - 13:9780199532766

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Language acquisition1. Reforming the Word and the words of the Irish, 1537-16072. Language, God, and the struggle for history, 1607-16903. Education, antiquity, and the beginnings of linguistic nationalism, 1690-17894. Culture, politics, and the language question, 1789-18765. Language and revolution, 1876-19226. The politics of language on the island of Ireland, 1922-2004

Editorial Reviews

`a first-rate piece of scholarship that deserves to be read by any student of Ireland and her history.'Contemporary Review