CU 250 - Introduction to Irish Language and Culture
This course is divided into two distinctive parts; a beginner’s course in the Irish language and a survey course of Gaelic culture. The language part of this course caters for beginners with no previous knowledge of Irish. The aim of the class is to familiarise students with aspects of the Irish language which they will come across in their daily life in Ireland including place names and people’s names - For example: Students will learn how to pronounce Dún Laoghaire; why Dublin should be called Blackpool; and whether Aoife is a girl’s or boy’s name. The class also aims to teach students Irish that will be usable in daily interactions e.g. basic conversation, simple text messaging and tweets. Along with teaching the students words and phrases, language awareness and minority language rights will also be addressed. ‘Language and culture are inextricably intertwined. In specific, concrete episodes of language learning and use we find keys to culture ... which can lead to vast insights on social organisation, solidarity, power relations and hierarchy’ (IES Map for Language and Intercultural Communication). In keeping with this, students will learn why it is impossible to be an atheist while speaking Gaelic and about the Gaelic etymology of both American-English and Hiberno-English (English as it is spoken in Ireland) terms eg. the Gaelic origins of words such as ‘cop’; shanty town’ etc.
The second part of the course is an introduction to Irish culture. It will involve a thematic case-study based survey of the traditional arts in Ireland. As the survival of Gaelic culture has been so dependent on our oral heritage, there will be a strong emphasis on oral history/tradition and role of tradition bearers and collectors. Students will be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with traditional Irish instruments, Irish song, dance, folklore, superstitions and sports first hand.