As encouraged by prof. Jacek Fisiak, Celtic studies at School of English (now Faculty of English) were established in 2004. Initially, a selection of courses in matters Celtic was offered. Additionally, that was also the time when intensive Irish courses were introduced, enthusiastically embraced by students from both inside and outside of the then School of English. The first B.A. scheme was launched in 2007, only to be followed 3 years later by a full M.A. programme. Thus, Poznań has become and continues to be the only academic centre in Poland offering both BA and MA programmes in the field of Celtic studies.
As the very name of the department suggests, the collective term ‘Celtic’ covers neither a single language nor a single literature, but as many as six modern Celtic languages (classified as minority languages) and six literatures respectively. Our department is particularly interested in the two members of the Celtic family group, i.e. Welsh and Irish. The rationale behind this is strictly connected with the sociolinguistic situation of the languages in question, namely out of the six contemporary Celtic languages it is Welsh and Irish that enjoy the biggest numbers of speakers. To a lesser extent, we also deal with Breton, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish and Manx.
Our staff specialise in various research areas such as:
- sociolinguistics of the Celtic languages
- preservation and revitalisation of minority languages
- Welsh semantics
- Celtic onomastics
- Teaching Welsh and Irish as second/foreign languages
- Welsh lexicography
- Welsh literature
- 19th c. Welsh history
- Irish history
As to our general scholarly activity, this year we are organizing 1st Poznan Conference of Celtic Languages which is to take place in October. Between 2007-2013 we organized Celtic Satellite Sessions during the Poznan Linguistic Meeting. We are also currently preparing the 1st issue of Res Celticae, journal of the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, which welcomes submissions covering all aspects of matters Celtic. The department also hosts regular meetings of the Celtic Research Group, with speakers from both Poland and abroad.
Students and graduates of the Celtic department spread their passion for the Celtic languages abroad for example by appearing in Welsh and Irish media, thus strengthening the cultural connections between Poland and the Celtic countries. One of our graduates, Alicja Mańkowska, who is fluent in Irish and currently lives in Ireland, regularly appears on Raidióna Gaeltachta and talks about the Polish culture; currently she is organizing together with this radio channel a Polish-Irish society to bring together the local Irish-speaking community and Polish emigrants. Another of our graduates – Joasia Rybelska – appeared on the Welsh program “Hwb – Learner Abroad”, talking about her experience of learning Welsh. This is an example of our students not only creating a positive image of Polish people abroad, but also showing the Celtic minorities that we support them in their struggle to preserve the endangered languages.