The last 20 years have seen a remarkable growth in interest and support for the Manx language in the island but what Manx people often don’t release is the international interest in this revival.
What has been achieved here is being closely followed throughout the world an interest that is illustrated by this year’s Ned Maddrell Lecture, which will be delivered by Peter Muhlhausler, professor of linguistics at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
Prof Muhlhausler is visiting the island to see what lessons he can learn that may help benefit languages in Australia.
In particular, he is interested in ideas to support his work in Norfolk Island, which is a small island located between Australia and New Zealand and which is part of the Commonwealth of Australia.
There are some interesting historical links between Norfolk Island and the Isle of Man.
The island was settled in the 1850s from Pitcairn Island, where many of the Manx Bounty mutineers settled.
The language known as ‘Norf’k’ is described as the language ‘that is spoken by descendants of the first free settlers of Norfolk Island who were descendants of the settlers of Pitcairn Island’.
The language is said to be a mixture of Plattdeutsch (low German), 18th century English and Tahitian.
Christian – a name common in the Isle of Man and the surname of the most famous Bounty mutineer, Fletcher Christian – continues to be a common surname in Norfolk Island.
In his lecture, which will be delivered at the Stable Building at the University Centre at the Nunnery in Douglas on Saturday, September 14, at 3pm and which is hosted by the Manx Heritage Foundation, Prof Muhlhausler will give an overview of the language situation in Norfolk and of his work in Australia.
During his stay Prof Muhlhausler hopes to visit the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh in St John’s together with a number of those people involved in the resurgence of interest in the language.
Adrian Cain. the Manx language development officer for the Manx Heritage Foundation, said: ‘That such a visit gives really credibility to the work we carry out here while providing great PR for the language and also raising the profile of the island internationally.’