Manx Gaelic, the indigenous language of The Isle of Man is enjoying a bit of a resurgence in new speakers and academic study. Classes are running all the time, there are many conversation groups and some clothes-related surprises coming soon, too. Manx needs to be seen and heard everyday. It isn’t about those people in the corner of the coffee shop any longer, it needs to be commonly seen so it ceases to be a surprise to see and hear it. Whilst Manx is increasingly being heard and seen from street signs to coffee shops, the modern world also plays host to increased usage of Manx through social media.
The mix of people learning Manx ranges from the brilliant to the casually interested and they’re all able to interact using modern internet using Facebook, Twitter, You Tube alongside conventional web sites whenever is comfortable, after work, when the kids are in bed or on the bus using your smartphone.
Facebook has a number of small groups catering for the learners and experts alike. Cowag (chat) is great for friendly banter and an opportunity to interact with experienced and learning speakers. Ynsee Gaelg (Learn Manx) is targeted particularly at the beginner or the casually interested. Regular quizzes and quotes are published engaging users to participate and experiment. Both groups are ideal if you want to hang out or ask an expert a question. It would be remiss of me to remind you that Taggloo also has a Facebook and Twitter feed, featuring a huge selection of Manx phrases posted throughout the day. Facebook is an ideal place to talk amongst friends in Manx, particularly when it can be difficult to get together at one of the many social events on the island – or even if you’re interest is based elsewhere.
The great thing about Twitter is that it allows anyone to “join the conversation”, and there’s no reason why that conversation cannot be in Manx Gaelic. I’m a frequent user of Twitter myself and often use it to tweet in Manx, re-using patterns learnt in class or just having a bit of fun. It doesn’t matter how good you are, the important thing is to use it! If you tweet in Manx, your followers see your Manx and it quickly becomes a feature of local “Tweeps”, adding value to the local and international Twitter community. I’ve had interest in my Manx tweets from Isle of Man and Ireland to as far afield as North America.
The key to tweeting in Manx is to remember to use the hashtags. Hashtags are ways of “tagging” your post with a meme, trend or topic which can be searched upon, identified and aggregated by other users and sites. So, when you tweet, add the #Manx #Gaelg hashtags. I prefer to only use both #Manx #Gaelg if I am tweeting in Manx or about the language, using #Manx on its own suggests it’s more community related. These are just three tweets I found searching on the #Gaelg hashtag:
And don’t forget, adding #Manx #Gaelg extends your tweet into Taggloo, too:
Using hashtags can fling your tweets farther than you could imagine. Consider when we hosted the Isle of Man’s Twestival event in 2011. We encouraged everyone to tweet including the #Twestival hashtag, so other Twestival participants across the world saw what our small island was up to. We also tweeted Manx in this feed, adding #Manx #Gaelg to expand the reach of Manx.
Stuck for something to say? The Isle of Man has lots to offer the world in terms of stuff to tweet about. It’s the Isle of Man TT at the moment, so I found an additional opportunity to spread the #Manx #Gaelg word to users interested in the bikes who were following the #iomtt feed:
The key about using Manx in social media is to use it whenever you can. Use social media to learn phrases or words, follow @TagglooIM on Twitter to learn phrases throughout the day, chat on Facebook with learners and experts and most importantly, be seen to use the language no matter your skill level.