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Wars of WordsThe Politics of Language in Ireland 1537-2004$
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Tony Crowley

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273430.001.0001

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Culture, politics, and the language question, 1789–1876

Culture, politics, and the language question, 1789–1876

(p.96) CHAPTER FIVE Culture, politics, and the language question, 1789–1876
Wars of Words

Tony Crowley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter delineates the different paths taken by political and cultural nationalism in Ireland with regard to the language question from the late 18th century to the beginning of the Gaelic Revival. Almost all of the major political nationalists of this period, O'Connell principal amongst them, considered that the Irish language was of secondary interest and relatively unimportant in the fight for political independence. Cultural nationalists, on the other hand, most importantly the Young Ireland group, believed that the language was of central importance to the project of establishing Irish identity as part of the independence struggle. The story of the relative arguments in favour and against the revival of the language is set against the rapid decline of the use of Gaelic — notably after the Famine and its social effects.

Keywords:   political nationalism, cultural nationalism, O'Connell, Young Ireland, Irish language, Irish independence, famine, Gaelic Revival

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