The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (January-June) » Its time to face the music. Aisling bhréig nó todhchaí réalaíoch? « Previous Next »

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Ó Dúill ( -
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 01:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chaire,
I believe that we all share a common desire in regard to the Irish language and we just differ on the way to get there. We all want Irish to be recognised as a world language, not just as a regional tongue.
With regard to EU treaties and conventions Irish is one of the 12 official European languages, ie. Any treaty (except the ECSC treaty) is legally binding in Irish. However under Regulation No. 1 it was decided not to make Irish a working language in the institutions. It would be great to see the language become official under Regulation No. 1 but with only 120,000 speakers (fluent and casual) in Ireland it’s simply not possible or economically viable. Currently the EU spends over 1m dollars a day on translations employing 4,000 on a full time basis. The only way a sound case can be made for the adoption of Irish is for the number of speakers to rise dramatically.
Learning starts in the family home. It is there that the foundations of a bi-lingual country have to be laid-down. This can be then built upon by the education system but the system is not capable of building these foundations themselves from scratch. By the age of five it is late in a child’s life to be introducing for the first time a language with the anticipation and intention of making that child fluent in it. It is not realistic or fair to expect children to carry the burden of 400 years of oppression and 80 years of neglect and mismanagement on their own. The situation at present is a large majority of young people (having excluded the cases for exemption) leaving school after 13 years of a compulsory subject and not being able to string a conversation together. An Rionn Oideachas agus Eolaíochta (Dep. Of Ed.) should take the language off the compulsory list therefore making it optional. This would allow the resources in place at present to be used to maximum potential allowing those students choosing of their own free will to learn Irish to become near fluent if not fluent while at school. This would create a generation of young speakers, though while small in number, capable of passing the language on to their children. So the cycle starts again with a solid foundation constructed in the family home. I can hear people shouting, saying the numbers of Irish language students will fall dramatically. Yes it will but is it not better to have a few hundred fluent bi-linguists than hundreds of thousands of ‘Béarlóirí’ (English-speakers)?
An Rialtas na hÉireann (Gov.) have to face the music and concentrate on making Irish a medium in which daily life is conducted through. It is true that one of the factors of American multinationals settling in Ireland is that it is an English-speaking nation but local industry could be targeted in some way as a cannel for Irish. The alternative and/or additional route is to somehow make Irish the casual and social language of the country through various clubs and societies. The language HAS to be promoted to a larger extent and be basically pushed into everyday life.
Would it not be fantastic to see a future Irish MEP stand up in the European Parliament and spout off as Gaeilge translated in a second or two into the future 21 other official European languages?
Éire mar tír dátheangach. An bhfuil sé aisling bhréig nó todhchaí réalaíoch dar leat? Cad a dheir tú? Cén fáth?
Is mise,
Le meas,
‘An Rógaire’ Muimhneach * gáire*,

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James (
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 08:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Choilm,

In my state of North Carolina there are periodic tests of core subjects, (Math, being one) that are required for progression to the next grade level. If a student cannot demonstrate basic skills at the appropriate level by virtue of the exam (as opposed to the end of year grade) they simply do not advance to the next grade.

How would a similar system, assuming one does not already exist, work in Ireland? In other words, in order to pass from grade 8 to 9, for example, must display a given level of competency (Buntus Cainte, book two, for example) by a standardized exam in order to advance. No Irish? No advancement! I realize there are regional differences in the Language but that seems a minor obstacle to this approach.

My guess is that this would motivate parents to encourage and enforce Irish as a spoken language in the home (understanding that many parents probably speak less Irish than the children. It would also place Irish as a "core" subject thereby putting it on the same level as Math and Science, etc.

I agree with what I believe your position to be--until the Government puts an emphasis on Irish Language it will remain a fringe subject. Parents can and should encourage the use of the language but children have been ignoring parents for centuries. The approach must be dual pronged--parents at home and the government in schools and in business.

There is no easy solution but I agree with your assessment. Interested in your thoughts regarding Irish as a requirement for advancement.

Le meas,


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richard white ( -
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 09:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I am reminded of my first year Latin teacher in high school - on the first day of school she adressed the class in Latin for the first five minutes of class, and the same every day after. By third year Latin, English was seldom used, and yes, the class size did shrink noticeably. Thirty five years later I still remember most of it, and can still 'hear' the sound of it in my mind.

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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2002 - 04:56 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Gaelscoileanna are producing fluent irish speakers from families where the parents are not irish speakers.

The Education system is not the way to revive the language, but _all_ the primary curriculum is essentially compulsory, and Irish must remain part of it, to at least expose children to the availability of the language.

I would also be very wary of narrowing the scope of the curriculum before leaving cert - I believe schooling should provide a broad education in all subjects; everybody ought to have a working knowledge of irish, english, at least one other "modern" language, maths, the natural sciences, and the humanities (history, literature etc).

Certainly the techniques to teach _all_ of these can be improved.

But supermarket education is not the way to go. Schooling is a preparation for the following 50 to 70 years, after all, and not vocational training for the next job.

Yes, the government needs as a matter of urgency to introduce a language act so that I and those like me do not have to assert our right to do business in Irish with the government at every turning.

Foras na Gaeilge is doing some work in funding social occassions for Irish speakers - Club Sult operating in Dublin & Belfast is a good example, see

Also, an expansion of RnaG and TG4 as public service broadcasters is needed, I would like to see them have a budget independent of RTÉ.

I believe Pat Cox gave some of his speech accepting presidency of the European Parliament in Irish, although RTÉ chose to drop that part of his speech. This underlines the need not only for pure Irish speaking media, but to impose a duty on other media to provide a forum for Irish so that it does not become ghettoised.

and so on.

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Ó Dúill ( -
Posted on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 - 03:29 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Some good points here. As regards what James said with periodic/annual tests it would definetly put more emphasis on the language as a subject. In the old leaving cert I know that if one failed Irish one failed the WHOLE cert. That has now been changed. I believe it a good idea to have annual tests. Also like Richard I'm in favour of Irish being used as an another medium in classrooms.
Yes Gaelscoileanna are producing fluent Irish speakers in Galltacht areas but many of those end up in English speaking schools and never learn a word of Irish again. Also those who go to Irish secondary schools end up speaking English on the streets. Yes I also believe it has to be a duel effort by An Roinn Oideachas agus Eolaíochta agus An Rialtas to promote futher the language. Interesting about Cox. I saw his speach on RTÉ and EuroNews but never saw the Irish bit.

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James ( -
Posted on Thursday, April 04, 2002 - 02:55 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

The concept of "un-learing" or forgetting a language is one that I cannot fully comprehend, yet it seems to be a very real component of Irish and its proliferation (or lack there-of). I have encountered a number of Irish born and Irish raised individuals here in my little part of the U.S. Of course, my first question is "do you speak Irish?" It amazes me that virtually all will say, "I used to, but I've forgotten it." From what Colm has said, it seems the same is true, at least in part, amongst Irish speakers living in the Galltacht areas. What isn't used is eventually lost.

Aonghus, I believe, has hit on a very critical component of promoting and maintaining the language: Expanding RnaG and TG4. I try to listen to RnaG via the internet just to pick up the rythym and flow of native speak. Little by little I've been able to pick out words and a very few phrases. This, bear in mind, is from a non-native speaker with NO classroom training at all. If it can be of such value to me then most certainly those who DO have the benefit of formal education in the language would be even more capable of comprehending the language. Capability breeds confidence and confidence breeds enthusiasm. We beginning students, and those more accomplished, need only look at ourselves to validate this fact. How many times have we hesitated to communicate in Irish because of our fear of forgetting lenition, missing fadas, or any number of such grammatical pitfalls?

Confidence and a forum in which to explore and display that confidence is the key to promoting usage. This site is also an excellent example. Were it not for this forum and the help of its more accomplished contributors there would be no way for me to take those first stumbling steps in the language.

Teach it in the school system, validate it as a subject by frequent compulsory exams, promote and popularize it by expanding RnaG, et al to make it a more facilitated part of one's daily environment.

Anyway, my two cent's worth of opinion. Hope it didn't sound too naive vis a vis the reality of Ireland today.

le meas,


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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 04:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

any language will be lost if not practiced.
It is not lost completely, but it gets rusty, and difficult to speak. And if people lack confidence in their mastery of it because of that, and avoid speaking it, then it is to all intents, lost.

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Seosaimhín Nic Rabhartaigh ( -
Posted on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 03:38 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde,
Despite my invitation to visit the "All-Irish Forum" to debate the issue of continuing to have the Irish language on the School curriculum in Ireland, only three people have read the message. Therefore, I have copied and pasted it below as I feel that much of it relates to the new debate that Colm has initiated on this very subject. Especially pay attention to my comments regarding "bilingualism" as I have extensive experience as an educator in teaching Elementary aged children in a language other than their mother tongue, with great success. (My comments will support the points made by Aenghus) Not, that I claim to know everything about this subject,you understand, I am drawing purely on my personal experience! It is the purpose of International Schools the world over, to educate the children of ex-patriate businessmen and women from many different linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds through the medium of the English language and to also expose those children to two other foreign languages in Elementary school so that they become fluent not just in the school's "lingua franca" but in other world languages also! Why can't this happen with the Irish language?

An chéad alt a scríobh mé faoin ábhar seo ar an forum lán-Ghaeilge

Inné agus mé i Chicago faoi chóinne Lá Fhéile Pádraig, cheannaigh mé cóip dén "Chicago Tribune".
Is beag nár thit mé amach as mo sheasamh nuair a chonnaic mé an t-alt "Ireland debates speaking Irish" (lth. 5 Section 1 - World) le Tom Mudd.
De réir Edward Walsh tá an t-am atá á chaitheamh ar an Ghaeilge sna scoileanna ag tógáil ama as ábhair tábhachtacha eile, cosúil le Eolaíocht agus teangacha na
hEorpa!Is beag nách raibh mé abálta dhá fhocail a chur le chéile ar féadh tamaill leis na mothúcháin uilig a bhí ag rith trím.
Caithfear a adhmháil go bhfuil íoróin agus aineolas le feiceáil sa ráiteas seo.

Deireann sé go bhfuil rud éigin contráilte leis an Córas Oideachais nuair nách bhfuil déagóirí abálta an Ghaeilge a labhairt agus iad tar eis ceithre bhliain déag a
chaitheamh "ag staidéar" Gaeilge agus aontaím leis ar an bpointe seo.(Mar gur chuala mé Gaeilge á labhairt ó am go chéile agus mé óg, bhí i bhfad níos mó cur
amach agam ar an Ghaeilge mar teanga labharta, agus mar bhí múinteoirí dén scóth agam, ina measc mo mháthair féin, tá mé líofa sa teanga anois.)
Ach, ag féachaint siar ar mo chuid taithí féin, chaith mise sé bliana ag staidéar Fraincis ar scoil agus níl mé abálta cómhra simplí a bheith agam sa teanga
sin.Bhaineamar usáid as leabharthaí an t-am ar fad agus ní raibh béim ar bith sna ranganna ar an teanga labhartha.( Bhéadh sé iontach doiligh do mhúinteoir ar
bith modhanna múinteoireachta níos nua-aimseartha a thriallú le chor ar bheith dachaid déagóirí in achán rang!) Ach tar éis deich mhí a chaitheamh i mo chónaí
le teaghlach sa Spáinn nuair a bhí mé fíche 's a haon, bhí mé líofa sa Spáinnis. Cinnte go ndearna mé botúineacha agus déanann go fóill, ach bhí mé abálta
leanadh ar aghaidh i gcómhra ar bith. I ndiaidh ceithre bliana go leith a chaitheamh sna hIsealtíre, tá mé líofa sa teanga sin fósta.
De réir déalramh, is leis an córas a bhaineann an fadhb agus ní liomsa! Má chluineann duine teanga á labhairt, is cuma cé chomh h-óg nó chomh sean é an duine
sin, is feidir leis an teanga sin a fhoghlaim!

Cé hé Edward Walsh?
Tá sé ina hUachtaran ar Ollscoil Luimnigh agus chun an tairne deireannach a bhualadh isteach sa chónra, tá sé luaite san alt mar ceann de na saineolaí
oideachais is tabhachtaí sa tír!!!

Níl mé ag rá nách bhfuil atheagrú ag teastáil ar an chóras oideachais ó thaobh modhanna múinteoireachta de, tá, ach baineann an t-athéagrú sin le teangacha ar
fad agus ní leis an Ghaeilge amháin!

I mo thuairim-se ba chóir gach scoil a athbhunadh mar Ghaelscoil agus bhéadh achán páiste sa tír abálta ár dteanga dúchais a labhairt roimh deireadh na bliana!
Níl fios agam an bhfuil morán staidéar déanta ag an t-Uasal Walsh ar an dátheangachas nó ag na buntáistí atá ag baint leis do leanaí agus iad ag foghlaim
teangacha eile.
Chaith mise ceithre bliana ag teagasc i Scoil Idirnáisiúnta sa Bheilg agus cé go raibh alán de na páistí dhá nó trí theangach roimh teacht go dtí an scoil,
d'fhoghlaítear uilig Béarla mar gur labhair na múinteoirí Béarla amháin sna ranganna. Cinnte, bhí sé doiligh ar dtús ach ní raibh an dara rogha acu. Bhí na leanaí
sin níos gaiste ag labhairt Béarla mar gur "Immersion" a bhí i gceist AGUS bhíodar abálta níos mó ná teanga amháin a labhairt roimh ré!
Is cuma cén dara teanga atá ag páiste, tágann an buntáiste céanna, go mbeidh siad níos gaiste ag foghlaim an tríú ceann. Ach tá buntáiste níos mó ag baint le
bheith líofa i dhá theanga nach bhfuil gaolta le chéile cosúil le Béarla agus ............ Gaeilge. Má thagann an dá teanga ó teaghlacha teanga difriúla múineann an
dara teanga dóigh eile chun smaoineamh ar an saol. Tá sin iontach tábhachtach ó thaobh sláinte na hintinne sa Todchaí.

Níl fios agam caidé tá contráilte in Eirinn nuair atá daoine cosúil leis an t-Uasal Walsh ag teacht amach le ráiteachais mar seo. Dá dtarlódh a leithéid ( Gaeilge a
scriosadh ón Curriculum) bhéadh Eire ina cúis magaidh ag an domhain chláir! Ag tiontaigh ár ndroimeanna ar ár dteanga féin a bhí á robáil uainn leis na céadta
bliana anúas, nuair atá Sásana féin ag lorg maithiúnas óna h-ionsaithe a rinne sí ar teangacha na hAlbain agus An Bhreatain Bheag agus ag cur scéimeanna le
chéile chun athbheocháin sna teangacha sin a spreagadh! Bhí an ceart ag Sir Edward Spenser nuair a dúirt sé gurb é an dóigh is fearr chun an tseanord
Ghaelach a mhilleadh ná "Get rid of the rhymers!" Bhí cumhacht, stair, agus anam an tír ag na filí agus ina gcuid airm, an teanga Gaeilge agus an modh a
usáidtear í!
Is ag Eire atá an litríocht scríofa is sine in Iarthar Eoraip! An bhfuil An tUasal Walsh sásta oidhreacht agus cultúr na tíre a choinneáil ón t-aos óg agus na glúnta
a léanas iad?

1.Mar sin, a Uasail Walsh, ar aghaidh leat agus cur tús le h-athéagrú sa chóras oideachais ó thaobh modhanna múinteoireachta na teangacha ar fad.
2.Léigh cuid dén taighde atá déanta go dtí seo ar bhuntáistí an dátheangachas!
3.Bí cinnte nach bhfuil níos mó ná 25 páistí in achán rang bunscoile.
4.Cuir múinteoirí sna scoileanna ag a bhfuil caighdéan ard Gaeilge acu féin. (Tá an caighdéan ag sleamhnú ó cuireadh stad le léachtaí i nGaeilge amháin sna
Chóláistí Oideachais)

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam!

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Liam Ó Briain ( -
Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 03:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Cholm,

Táimse tuirseach traochta led' iarrachtaí chun trioblóid a dhéanamh i gcónaí ar an suíomh seo. Cén fáth nach bhfuil an Ghaelainn ag tírgráthóir mar leatsa? Tá píosa sa Nuachtán Lá atá (4ú Aibreán)an-spéisiúil agus a léiríonn dúinn go bhfuil todhchaí ag teanga má tá an dúil ag daoine é a labhairt. Tá sé i gceist anois go mbeidh 25 teach ar lathair eile den chathair san fhoirbairt nua. Sin slíocht as
Tá Gaeilgeoirí i mBéal Feirste Thiar uaillmhianach a chur os comhair Fhoras na Gaeilge ag lorg tacaíocht do scéim tithíochta. Beidh an scéim bunaithe ar fhás a tháinig ar dhroim Ghaeltacht Bhóthar Seoighe. Tá 16 teaghlach ina gcónaí ann fá láthair agus tá ocht dteach eile le tógáil go luath.
Tá an Ghaelainn beo beathach i mBéal Feirste Thiar. Cé go raibh siad faoi ionsaí ar feadh triocha bhliain. Bhí sé le chloistéail ar Bóthar na BhFál nuair a rabhas ann coicís ó shin. Ba mhaith liomsa an rud chéana a dhéanamh i Luimneach agus tá sé ar intinn agamsa cruinniú poiblí a eagrú maidir le Gaeltacht a bhúnú má tá an spéis ann.

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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 08:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Do rinne mé tagairt do Phat Cox thuas.
Seo an píosa as a óraid, a fuair mé anseo:

I shall now speak briefly in Irish. Why do I do this? Irish is my native tongue. It is an ancient language from an ancient European country. It is an official but not a
working language of the European Union. I do it to underline my conviction that cultural pluralism and cultural diversity are the sine qua non of the Europe to which I am committed and which we seek to build.

Táimid ar imeall na heachtra is tábhachtaí i nua-stair na hEorpa, forleathnú an Aontais Eorpaigh. Is é an tosaíocht pholaitiúil is práinní ar fád ná go gcuirfí bailchríoch rathúil ar na caibidlí faoin bhforleathnú. As athaontú na hEorpa a leanfaidh sé go dtabharfar Eoraip scoilte le chéile d'fhonn comhluachanna agus rath eacnamaíoch a bheith ag a muintir i bpáirt le chéile.

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Fintan ( -
Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 07:16 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A hAonghus a chara,

Maith an fear tú féin, a comrádaí! Couldn't agree more....

I seek your permission to use an extract of that statement to help form part of the credo of our fledgling language group/school..would that be alright?

Do sheirbhíseach,

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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Friday, April 12, 2002 - 03:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Cuir ceist ar Phat Cox - eisean a dúirt, ní mise!

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Ó Dúill ( -
Posted on Friday, April 12, 2002 - 05:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Liam dhil,
Feicim go léim a thabhairt tú ar an m'band-wagon' agus go chuir tú an locht orm. Táim tuirseach traochta freisin go thugann daoine cosúil leat an c*c dom gach am nuair téann díospóireacht suas an bhealach contráilte.
I Luimneach? Cád é an fhadhb leis an gcáthair Chorcaí? : ) Nah, táim ag togadh an 'piss', is plean insuime é. Ba cheart duinn Mhuimhnigh seasamh gualainn ar ghualainn.

A hAonghus dhil,
Go raibh maith agat a chuir óráid Cox ar an suíomh gréasáin seo mar ní fhaca mé é riomh an t-am seo.

A Sheosaimhín dhil agus A Chairde,
Is cosúil go cá bhfuil dúil i láthair tá bealach ann freisin. I suppose what I am trying to say is that where there is a will or need to learn a language the language will be learned no matter what the circumstances.

Maith mo Ghaeilge bhríste le do thoil. Measaim is fearr Gaeilge bhríste agus Béarla cliste ná Béarla cliste amháin : ).
le meas,

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