Seachtain na Gaeilge: How I brought the Irish language to 1970s Russia
Seachtain na Gaeilge: Speaking Irish in… Moscow
In 1977 Garry Bannister was awarded a scholarship to study Russian in Moscow. When he was there, he met Tania Michaelova, "who expressed a keen interest in studying Modern Irish", and over the next 6 years Garry and Tanya and some other enthusiastic people "stimulated enough interest to cause the University to open a small, one-lecturer department". Since 2010, Modern Irish has become a full five-year degree course at the University.
All languages are in essence a symbiotic relationship similar to a fish and the water it lives in. The water gives the fish its freedom but the fish also has to maintain certain characteristics in order to live in that water. Learning a new language is like a fish that has been transformed into a bird. The bird is still living in the same universe of planets and stars, but oh how different it all is! As it flies freely through the air it can feel the wind in its feathers, see beautiful sunsets and enjoy a totally different life experience to the fish it once was in the water-world below.
On this occasion of Seachtain na Gaeilge, speaking whatever Irish we can muster encourages an awakening in all of us of centuries of our own particular brand of living together: a brand that informs our innately Irish take on the world.