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Can’t lose Cant


Can’t lose Cant was a unique project which resulted in the world’s first book on the Cant Traveller language. Can’t Lose Cant! is published by Traveller and settled children with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership under the umbrella of the Unheard Voices project. This particular title was developed as a partnership between St. Conleth’s Senior School and Ballymany Primary School, Newbridge, with the Visiting Teacher for Travellers in Kildare, Kildare Library Service, and Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership.

The aims of the project were 

  • To publish the world’s first book in Cant – the old language of Travellers in Ireland
  • To raise the status of Traveller culture amongst settled and Traveller participants
  • To teach Cant to a new generation of children

Artist Orla Kenny, and education consultant Mary Branley from Kids’ Own together with linguist Marion Browne, an expert in Cant, ran a series of workshops to teach children Cant and about Cant through hands-on art activities. This unique approach has resulted in children learning in new ways. The initiative encouraged literacy development through art and image-making within the writing process.

The book uses phonetic symbols to help with the pronunciation of words and is illustrated with cut-paper collage. Simple words are given in Cant, Irish and English.

“The project shows how making a book can raise the status of a language in the classroom. It offers children the opportunity to become teachers to their peers, and experience the power of learning through creative activity.”

Can’t lose Cant! Is available to borrow. Check Library catalogue here.

Projects - Can't Lose Cant