Recently I was presented with an Oxford University Masters thesis on a linguistic survey of the Manx of schoolchildren in island schools for approval and checking out.

In looking through the thesis, certain irregularities in the Manx of schoolchildren in their grammar became apparent, but sufficient to arouse some concern.

Whether any of this has to do with any inadequacies within the teaching process, or for some other reason, is uncertain.

But as a general comment, Manx in the island today has seemingly reached a caesura, dividing it as it does from the ‘traditional Manx’ of yesteryear, i.e. that of the native speakers and those who learned their Manx directly from them, and that the English idiom deriving from it, e.g. “good mighty, yisseh”, set such English within a Manx framework.

Today, the opposite seems to be the case, thus placing Manx within an anglicising framework for whatever reason, with the concomitant loss of Manx-English idiom taking place in the process.

Prof Dr George Broderick

Universität Heidelberg


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This letter was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of March 28.