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September 2019



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notes from a small island

curiouswombat in photo_scavenger


This is a piece of needlework which hangs on the wall of a local church - it is the Lord's Prayer in both English and Manx.

Sadly I seem to have part of the relevant line obscured by the reflection of a stained glass window -

Lord's Prayer

The fifth and sixth lines read;

As leih dooin nyn loghtyn, myr ta shin leih
dauesyn ta jannoo loghtyn nyn oi.


I actually love the reflection. On the right, it's so clear that it looks as if there's actually a window through the sampler into another world. And I hope someday you'll do a voice post in Manx, saying anything that comes into your head, because I'd love to have a sense of what it sounds like.
I do quite like the reflection - but it would have been easier to read without it...

My Manx accent is rubbish - like most of my generation English is my first language and I only speak a smattering of Manx.

Although you can listen to the Lord's Prayer being said here if you want to.
Does your daughter speak less Manx than you? Will the tongue die out eventually? I'd hate to see that happen. How quickly that can happen. My husband's grandfather's first tongue was German; his children were raised with both German and English; his grandchildren were all English speakers.
I am one of the generations where it was considered totally unnecessary to know any Manx at all - English was our first language, and French our second! (French was compulsary at school.)

But there were still all the place names in Manx, and we usually had a fair idea of what a lot of them meant, and by using them every day have some reasonable idea of pronunciation. And there were still odd words and phrases - I think we all knew how to say hello and how are you?

My mother's generation was the other one where Manx was considered unnecessary - some of her contemporaries speak of being chased out to play when their mothers had visitors who mainly spoke Manx, so that they wouldn't come into contact with the language and be confused.

But my generation, particularly, realised this was our language and it would die if nothing was done. So people got together with those who still spoke it and talked, set up lessons and so on. I was not one of those pioneers - I left home at 18 and moved to the UK for some years and so I missed it all; but like others, I have learnt bits from the sessions on local radio and so on.

The history of the language revival is fascinating, and not always straight forward - but suffice it to say that D-d learnt Manx at school, alongside the French, even though she doesn't use it at the moment, and there are Manx language playgroups and nursery schools, a Manx language primary school and so on.

At one stage the UN included it in a list of 'dead languages' and got lots of e-mails, in Manx, including a number from the children at Yn Bunscoill asking "If my language is dead what am I writing to you in?" (I guess they had to put the English translation or the recipient wouldn't have recognised it, as they didn't believe it existed....!!)