A Comparative Analysis of the Vitality of Welsh and Irish
Tri-College (Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges). Department of Linguistics
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
The Welsh and Irish languages, the indigenous languages of Wales and Ireland, respectively, have experienced significant declines in their speaker populations since the beginning of English settlement in their homelands. This decline has not occurred to the same extent in both languages; in the early 21st century, Welsh is habitually spoken by a much larger population, both in absolute numbers and proportion of its indigenous territory's total population, than Irish. This is despite both languages having been the subject of intense revitalization efforts since the 20th century and having official status alongside English in their respective countries. This thesis uses historical data on economic conditions, institutional involvement in language maintenance, and patterns of language shift to elucidate the source of this disparity.