The propensity for macro-economic developments to affect the vitality of endangered languages is often alluded to in relevant literature, but rarely explicated in any great detail. Attempting to help rectify this, the case of Irish in the wake of the 2008 economic crash and “Great Recession” which followed is discussed. In addition to examining the effects of austerity on Irish-language institutions and policies, ethnographic data from some of the strongest remaining Irish-speaking communities – collectively known as the “Gaeltacht” – are presented, illustrating some micro-level consequences of macro-level developments. The effects of the recession on the Gaeltacht labour market are discussed, as are issues of migration and community resistance. It is argued that neoliberalism fundamentally conflicts with revitalising minoritised languages.
- Language policy
- Minority languages