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As part of the Island's Year of Culture celebrations in 2014 Culture Vannin in conjunction with Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh has published a new book about Manx Gaelic which has been edited by Chris Lewin. Lioar-lhaih Ghaelgagh: original Manx Prose 1821-1907 is a remarkable insight to the language as it was spoken in the 19th Century.
The book covers the substantial body of prose material from Manx newspapers of the time as well as the writings of Edward Faragher (1831-1908) of Cregneash or Ned Beg Hom Ruy as he was known. The newspaper articles in Manx cover topics such as the political situation of the day, attacks and defence of the Manx language and various philosophical and religious ruminations: such material is illustrative of a vibrant language.
The writings of Edward Faragher meanwhile complement those of the newspaper material and provide a fantastic insight into the life of a farming and fishing community. Here the reader will discover a wealth of information covering such matters as: preparation of nets; the dangers of stormy weather and alcohol; the dialogue between crews on different boats; the struggle against the age-old enemy of Manx fishermen, the dogfish together with many fantastic and humorous incidents such as the priest fleeing from his church because of bees in his trousers and the coroner using his knowledge of Manx to acquit thieves and cover his own back.
Adrian Cain, Manx Language Development Officer for Culture Vannin, commented that 'this book will really make us think about the recent history of the language; moreover, given the recent revival of interest in Manx it illustrates the continuity of the language over the last 200 years'.
Brian Stowell, Secretary of Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh, said that 'it was important that The Island of Culture celebrations in 2014 had a really strong Manx language flavour to them and it is hoped that this book will contribute to the on-going debate about culture and identity on the Island'.