Non-Irish, Irish Speakers Among the Irish Community in Belgium

  • Sean O’ Dubhghaill


This chapter examines the efforts made by non-Irish people to learn the Irish language and reviews the manner in which their efforts are received, resisted and might be theorised. This chapter also examines the manner in which other claims of belonging, quite apart from language acquisition, have occurred historically in the UK since the 1960s. These claims are cast in terms of the interlocutor’s misguided or deceptive efforts, by way of a false consciousness, and can yield an illusory form of continuity and belonging. Irish pubs, because they are reproductions of hearths, are simulations; the simulation expressly analysed in this chapter is that of the Irish language by non-Irish people. This chapter aims to understand the positions of pretence and simulation, here thought of as a copy or approximation of another object, by locating it within the contextual examination of non-native Irish speakers in Belgium. An examination of how the Irish language is used by the non-native speaker allows us to call into question and challenge some of the dominant presuppositions concerning authenticity, how it is deployed, and the postmodern manner in which it might be explored.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean O’ Dubhghaill
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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