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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through November 24, 2004 » The salvation of irish « Previous Next »

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 10
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 10:24 am:   Edit Post Print Post

this past weekend got me thinking...how can the irish langauge most effectively be saved? it is clear that simply hitting people over the head with it and forcing it in school doesn't work, and engenders a kind of ambivalence.

so i'm wondering...what ideas have you all? if you could do anything with irish policy...how what steps would you take?

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Maidhc Ó G. (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 152.163.100.136
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hmm. How about having many of the questions on a college entry or SAT exam in the language.
Being able to read and answer these questions would result in higher scores which would lead to better college opportunities. You's still have to answer the questions correctly, especially in the verbal section. And in the math section, if you can't read the question, you couldn't very well give a proper answer to,say, drawing a line on a graph. (What?! No multiple choice on ceisteanna gaelaí?) A better education has a better potential of landing a better job in the future.
In order to push toward this goal, even parents might take initiave in helping their kids learn the language (At least with what they remember of it from the days before this "opportunity " was available.)
I realize the plethora of pitfalls within this very simple argument. Just a thought though.
-Maidhc.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 11
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 11:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

well, if you want to go that route...a simple way would be to have the government go Irish only...have ISL (as opposed to ESL) programs in all schools. but i think that would not only be political suicide for the policy makers but would actually damage the langauge in the eyes of most of the country.

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Maidhc Ó G. (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 64.12.116.199
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

No, that definately wouldn't go. Also, I said to have 'many' of the questions - not all - in the language. Giving a financial boost toward a student through this route might lead to the 'cream rising to the top'.
If the government an/or the schools might give a better financial grant based on ones performance on these questions within the test, at least some students would study the language a bit more.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 12
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 01:21 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

oh, you meant parallel to english sats...that might work...i think financial bonuses anywhere possible is great...how about stipends to businesses around the country who will conduct business solely as gaeilge? a team of gardaí could be employed to act as "secret shoppers" and check the validity of those claims...

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Natalie
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Username: Natalie

Post Number: 55
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 05:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Before I begin and because it would seem that I never know all that much, I have to ask, what is ESL or ISL?

Now in my opinion if you were explained to that in the future, it was going to be beneficial for you to understand the language, then you would be surprised at the people who might take an interest in it. Once again, I don't live in Ireland so I really don't know how things go there now, so maybe someone could explain to me. How is the Irish Language enforced either daily or in the educational system? Are there purely "Irish Schools" or "Irish Immersion"? What are the requirements as of present for needing to know the language?

As for all that, people will never believe that it is useful for them to understand it when they probably consider their own country, an English spoken one unless it was made clear to them, that they would need to know it (...as in a blunt wake up call somewhere that would get people talking). Otherwise, if you can get children interested in it, then you may not have the majority of the population at present but they hold the majority of the future instead. Kids like stuff thats fun. Most people do. Is there no way, learning can be fun? (I sound like a commercial!)

I also think that going to extremes works. I doubt that they'd ever just *poof* decide English wasn't their second language anymore but still, after awhile realizing it was time for a change back to Irish, people would begin to do what they needed to do.

Unfortunately, that's bordering on the bad side really. It would be great if Ireland could readopt their first language but you can't force a revival on a people, who believe, and are probably right, that English is more beneficial to them in the world as they see it. We're all kind of one sided on here really. I mean, I don't even live in Ireland and I want them to "rediscover their language" and everything but that's only what some people think. Rules aren't often changed for the minority.

Natalie

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Budineire
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Username: Budineire

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

hiya Natalie,

in answer to your mail above, there is a small minority of people in Ireland who actually speak the language, it is an awful shame is it is our native tongue, I come from down south where it is essential you have to study it from the age of 4-18 when you leave to go to university, where as in Northern Ireland it is optional, I myself am very fond of the language as it is part of my culture, I try speak it as much as i can, and in an ideal world i would like everyone to be able to speak it, but un-fortunatly not a lot of people do, there are however irish schools who do promote the every day usage of the language, but there are a specific number of people eho get into irish school down south and you have to come from an irish speaking backround to get into them, especially secondary schools, you must come from an irish primary school to get into one, for the small minority of people who do go to these schools there is the faciltiy of sitting youe exams in irish also. i would reeally love the idea of everyone speaking the language, but as i said before its only a dream, it will never happen here in ireland, for most people here it is NOT even a second language nevermind a first language, out of all the people in the country, most of them can not even speak the basic words etc. as far as most peole are concerned, it is a dead language and of no use anymore, but i would argue that as i feel it is very beneficial as it is part of our heritige and nationality.
i believe " Tír gan teanga, tír gan anim" a country without a language is a country without a name, you dont see the germans speaking french as there 1st language or the spanish speaking french and so on,
so in an ideal world, yes! is would be lovely for everyone to be able to speak the beautiful language, but in reality, it will NEVER happen.

i hope this answers a few of your questions!

Le Grá
* Eíbhlin * :o)

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 13
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 06:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

ESL is the "English as a Second Language" program currently used in US schools. Classes are taught in English, and if you don't speak English, you must learn FAST in order to keep up. This program gets the kids speaking and understanding english so they can pass their classes, most without ever having to be left back a year. it works surprisingly well, and if schools in ireland (starting with kindergarten) went irish only, and added a new grade to the program each year, that would be needed for english speaking kids.

another thought would be to have free gaeilge only universities available, as well as full scholarships to any irish university for those accepted from any of a number of approved irish-only high schools in each county. couple that with stipends for irish-only businesses and you will have gone a long way toward making gaeilge knowledge wonderful beneficial.

i do suppose the key is not to penalize english speakers, but to make gaeilge so beneficial, and so alluring that one cannot but decide to become fluent. turn the whole country into a gaeltacht...

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Budineire
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Username: Budineire

Post Number: 5
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 06:09 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ya Antaine,

i totally agree with you,
turn the wholw country into a gealtacht he he
bring back the tally stick in reverse he he

LE MEAS
Eibhlin ;o)

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Natalie
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Username: Natalie

Post Number: 56
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 08:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agaibh, a Eibhlin agus Antaine. At least you shouldn't feel bad. Some countries never had a culture. It wasn't that it was all "plastic" and imported but that it didn't exist. Some countries have to make up their own while others get to lose theirs instead. The world is kind of funny like that. It makes you wonder if the culture they've developed can be considered their culture. I'm big on culture, have you noticed?

Anyway, if I know anything at all, then I know, that encouragement is the best way to help in getting a country to see what they're losing. Besides sticking it in their faces and waving it around! I have a hard time understanding why some people do what they do. It's sad to think that you can so easily forget who you are.

But lets take a different approach to this conversation. We've talked about this issue (along with many others) on here before. We've already established that talking about it is going to do nothing about it. So, what do you think you can do, personally? Because I'm sure if even I thought about it, there must be something that can be done, even if it only changes one person's ideas.

Natalie

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pad (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 12.76.15.28
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 09:03 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Eibhlin ;o: Tir gan anam is a country without a soul. Anam and ainm do sound alike but don't have the same meaning.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 09:22 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

this may sound silly, but i'm putting some ideas down on paper and sending them to Bertie Ahern, and cc the departments of education, finance, and gaeltacht affairs. i figure what the hell...couldn't hurt...

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Cormac
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Username: Cormac

Post Number: 27
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:19 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I don’t think you can force anyone to speak a language, but you can encourage them to do so. And the best way to encourage people to do something is…well…pay them of course...

This is not as ridiculous as it sounds…In Sweden (where I live), for example, all immigrants are offered the opportunity to study the Swedish language full time for as long as it takes them to become fluent. In return, they receive the dole without the usual requirement of being a jobseeker. The Swedish government rightly assumes that fluency in the language will help them socially, culturally and ultimately in the job market.

The Irish governments (in both jurisdictions) could offer the same deal to immigrants as well as to those born on the island. (I’m sure that would go down well with the independent newspaper LOL). Secondly, the govs should make sure there are jobs for Irish speakers - especially where it has a direct influence (i.e., in the civil service). If people see Irish as economically viable they are more likely to use it…

@antaine: make sure you mention the swedish examle to bertie and eamonn. let us know what they reply :)

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 236
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:26 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I've wondered about that before, how "ainm" and "anam" can be pronounced the same.

I'm new to driving and the other day I was driving along with my sister in the car and we were coming up to one of those massive roundabouts that had about a dozen lanes. "Get in the right lane", she said. Even context couldn't disambiguate that one!

Another one, I always thought that a particular phrase was "My dream came true."... but to my surprise I've seen it written as "My dream came through.". Then you have "soul" and "sole":

It's the sole bearer.

"sole" = "soul" as in that magical yokie we all supposedly have
"sole" = the base of my shoe
"sole" = the one and only

?

So... maybe native speakers sort-of think of "ainm" and "anam" as the same word. If they hear a phrase like "Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam", then they think "A country without a tongue, a country without a name/soul". Or maybe they merge the concept of name and soul and come out with "identity" or something along those lines?

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 523
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Right, this is going to be a long post... :-)

As you all know, I would love to see Ireland speak Irish once more. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen. There are two cases that people sometimes point out. The first is the re-gaelization of Ireland in the 16th century, the other is the case of Hebrew in Israel.

1. Ireland in the 16th century
It is true that Irish reclaimed large areas of Ireland in the 16th century. Areas that had been English-speaking for some time returned to being Irish-speaking. However, that could not happen again. When this process started in the 16th, well over 80% spoke Irish. The absolute majority consisted of Irish monoglots. So the regaelization was the common case of a majority growing at the expense of the minority. That is very common, while the opposite is less common. If 65% of the people in Ireland spoke Irish (and really spoke it), it would be very easy to increase that number to 80%. In fact, that would be easier than not to do it. Languages almost always follow the "snowball-effect", once they've started to grow they just to go on growing - once they've started to melt they go on melting. It usually takes a rather big change to reverse a process that has started in terms of language change.

2. Hebrew in Israel
Hebrew is the prime example in language revivals. The Jews in Israel succeeded in a very short time to make Hebrew into the official language as well as the majority language. Just 100 years ago people would have thought it impossible. (Just as I think in the case of Irish, and I really hope to be proven wrong...)
The reason Hebrew succeeded was that the Jews had no common language. Many talked Yiddish, others Ladino, still others Arabic and many other languages too. There was a need for a common language and Hebrew filled this gap. Because of this, it became necessary to learn Hebrew. In Ireland, there is no need to learn Irish. Everyone can speak English and make themselves understood.

The problem with almost all measures put forward here is that the basic idea behind them is that the state should make people speak Irish. That is not possible. The only states that can succeed in such a task are dictatorships. In North Korea, it would be very easy to make Irish the only language within 20 years. Luckily enough, Ireland is no North Korea. Of course the state may facilitate the learning of Irish in many ways but it cannot make people learn it. Each and every person in Ireland can become an Irish speaker if they want to. As proven by the last 80 years, the overwhelming majority has a positive attitude towards the language, but are not so enthusiastic that they would speak it. There is nothing a democratic state can to do change this.

Classes are taught in English, and if you don't speak English, you must learn FAST in order to keep up. This program gets the kids speaking and understanding english so they can pass their classes, most without ever having to be left back a year. it works surprisingly well, and if schools in ireland (starting with kindergarten) went irish only, and added a new grade to the program each year, that would be needed for english speaking kids.

That used to be the case in some schools. The children had to speak Irish in all classes. The only people in Ireland I know who really detest the language are people who went through that experience. And no, they cannot speak a word of Irish.


Finally, I must comment on Natalie's post
Some countries never had a culture.
That I doubt very much indeed. Which countries would that be?

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 524
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

This is not as ridiculous as it sounds…In Sweden (where I live), for example, all immigrants are offered the opportunity to study the Swedish language full time for as long as it takes them to become fluent. In return, they receive the dole without the usual requirement of being a jobseeker. The Swedish government rightly assumes that fluency in the language will help them socially, culturally and ultimately in the job market.

I'm very used to Sweden being an example when it comes to discussions about saving languages, but this is the first time ever I've heard it being used as a positive example :-) In my opinion (as a native Swedish speaker) the language policy of Sweden is amongst the very worst in Europe and is generally regarded as such.

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Cormac
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Username: Cormac

Post Number: 28
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 05:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

the language policy of Sweden is amongst the very worst in Europe

Why's that? Are you refering to their treatment of minority languages in Sweden like Finnish, Sami, etc, or to what I mentioned about Swedish for immigrants?

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 525
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 05:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Neither, at least not as the main cause. As you know, no country in Europe (except Ireland...) has been so influenced by English. The situation in Sweden today correponds in many regards to the situation in Ireland in the early 19th century. As you know, most major Swedish companies use English as their company language; most Swedish PhDs are written in English, almost all Swedes have a working knowledge of English; more and more shops are given English names; English is seen as the 'trendy' language. At the same time, Swede's language skills have deteriorated more than in any other European country. The number of people doing French or German has decreased with over 50%. Swedes suffer from two illusions
1. They all speak excellent Englisg
2. Knowing English is enough in the world today
As some leading linguists have pointed out, the position of Swedish is safer in Finland than in Sweden. But yes, of course I also find Sweden's treatment of its minority languages scandalous. Most 'old' EU coutries (except France and Greece) have done better.

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 41
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 06:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara,
Aontaim leat. The main thrust of your previous posts is spot on.
I do, however, have a more optimistic view of the Irish situation than I would infer from what you say.
I don't think that a largely monoglot Gaelic speaking Ireland will ever be achieved; nor do I see that as desireable.
I do, nevertheless, believe that a fully bilingual English-Gaelic speaking Ireland is both possible and desireable.
I feel that, although there are significant differences between the current Irish situation and that which obtained in Catalonia in 1978, a lot of the practical examples of how the linguistic normalisation process was developed and implemented there in the 1980s, provide very useful pointers as to how appropriate policies for a bilingual Ireland might be articulated.
I don't have time to expand on this now, but I'll post something with a bit more detail next time I have the chance.
Beir bua agus beannacht!
Chris

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.158.253
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 06:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Just referring to the comment about All-Irish schools. I send my children to Irish speaking schools and though they come from an Irish speaking background they are the only ones in the class that do. It is untrue to say you have to come from an irish speaking background to get into one. It's true that if you are from an Irish-speaking background you get priority over an english-speaking child but most people in the school had no Irish before starting school. Even secondary school there were people in my own class who came from English primary schools and spoke no irish at home so that is untrue also.
And you would be amazed by the amount of parents who are currently learning Irish in Dublin and who have sent their chidren to Irish schools.
There is a huge demand in fact for Irish speaking schools in Dublin but unfortunately to date they haven't been able to get the financial backing needed to open them.
Though I believe a new Irish secondary school was open in Lucan in recent years.

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 526
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:29 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chris, a chara

Aontaim leat. The main thrust of your previous posts is spot on. I do, however, have a more optimistic view of the Irish situation than I would infer from what you say.

Go raibh maith agat, agus tá súil agam go bhfuil an ceart agat.

I do, nevertheless, believe that a fully bilingual English-Gaelic speaking Ireland is both possible and desireable.

This is an interesting point. I have two questions, both fairly obvious.
1. What would this bilingualism mean? If everyone (more or less) is bilingual in both languages, what language would be the one that people are actually speaking in everyday life?

2. How should this bilingualism come about? (This is the clincher...) In theory, it's really simple. Everyone who wants can learn Irish in two years. Not enough to speak fluent, perhaps, but enough to conduct their life in Irish (except visits to the doctor, the police or the tax office - all of those are best avoided). Some years of practice and they have complete fluency. George Thompson picked up fluent Irish in under six months just by staying in the Blasket community. Irish is a fairly easy language and to learn it is no problem given the right possibilities. The problem is the way it is taught in the schools. The Irish classes are so bad that it would be futile to try to change them a bit, they need to be built up from scrath!

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 384
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 09:59 am:   Edit Post Print Post

.. Gaelscoileanna, Gaelscoileanna, Gaelscoileanna...

I tend to agree with Jonas that bilingualism is a bit abstract as a goal. My personal situation is that I am functionally trilingual - I speak German to my wife, Irish to my kids (and anybody else who will listen), and English to most of the rest of the world.

But without Radio na Gaeltachta (which would not exist without the Gaeltachtaí) my exposure to Irish would be too low to be meaningful.

I think the language will require the following for survival:
Viable, self confident Gaeltacht populations in the current "fíor Gaeltachtaí"

Viable, self confident networks of urban Irish speakers in all major cities; this means that some at least of these people will spend their working lives speaking Irish in the media, educational, service, etc sectors.

Expansion of TG4, and preferably more film in Irish.

TG4 is doing great work in sponsoring Short films and animations, which means that work is being produced in Irish. But they are woefully underfunded.

see e.g: http://www.sbpost.ie/web/DocumentView/did-579508523-pageUrl--2FThe-Newspaper-2FS undays-Paper-2FMedia-and-Marketing.asp

In general, more opportunties to speak Irish.
The Language Act is a start.

(Message edited by aonghus on November 09, 2004)

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.134.96
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I think it's a vicious circle. In my opinion if the children were taught Irish and had an hour of Irish each day where the teacher spoke nothing but Irish the level of Irish would improve dramatically. You'd have to find Irish teachers who had a decent level of Irish and that's difficult to begin with.
BUT to have a complete revival of the Irish language parents would have to be willing to speak Irish to their children otherwise it wouldn't work....you'd end up with lots of people who had mediocre Irish and who wouldn't use it in their everyday lives.

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 42
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 10:15 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara,
Just a quick reply to your two direct questions - with the promise of a more extended post to follow.
Firstly, bilingualism will mean different things to different people - as it does at the moment and always will. No language policy could in itself determine language choice in the domestic sphere, but a lot can be done to support both this choice and issues around inter-generational transmission of languages.
Secondly, measures similar to those taken as part of the linguistic normalisation process in Catalonia (1978-85 in particular) would be the means that I would propose to see this come about. (More of which later).
I agree entirely that a fundamental reform of the approach to Irish teaching in schools, and the use of Irish in the school curriculum, is crucial to the success of any policy.
Current, and recent, Irish language policies with respect to education are a disaster as far a bilingual agenda might be concerned.
Is mise le meas,
Chris

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Paul (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 66.152.218.225
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 11:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
I'd suggest using the Welsh as a model.
Figure out what they did, and do as they did.

Le meas, Paul

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.159.54
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 11:58 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Maybe we should go out and scribble over the signs in English and just leave the Irish versions!!

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 527
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 12:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I agree with all the points Aonghus and Rebecca mention.

Secondly, measures similar to those taken as part of the linguistic normalisation process in Catalonia (1978-85 in particular) would be the means that I would propose to see this come about. (More of which later).

I'm looking forward to it, that's a very interesting topic. However, I'd say that there are two big differences, both very much in the favour of Catalan if compared to Irish. In Catalunya, millions of people spoke Catalan when the campaign started. True, it had been under the Franco dictatorship but the situation was still superior by far to that in Ireland. More significantly, the difference between Spanish and Catalan isn't that big, especially not if compared to Irish and English. Of course they are two different languages, but I'd say is incomparably much easier for a speaker of Spanish to learn Catalan than for a speaker of English to learn Irish. That is what my Catalan friends tell me, at least.


I'd suggest using the Welsh as a model.
Figure out what they did, and do as they did.


They started the revival with 20% of the population speaking Welsh as their first language. So the situation the Welsh started from is more than Ireland can currently even dream of.

I agree entirely that a fundamental reform of the approach to Irish teaching in schools, and the use of Irish in the school curriculum, is crucial to the success of any policy. Current, and recent, Irish language policies with respect to education are a disaster as far a bilingual agenda might be concerned.

Amen to that. In the words of one Irish language activist "During the first forty years of indepence, the Irish government caused more damage to the Irish language than the English had done in 800 years."

A bit exaggerated perhaps, but very much to the point

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 43
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
There are some aspects of the situation in Wales which are relevant to the situation in Ireland but, overall it does not provide such a useful model as it might appear should be the case.
The legislative approach taken is quite instructive though - being through Education Acts in 1870 (capitation grants to schools teaching Welsh), 1944 (enabling local authorities to provide Welsh-medium schools) and 1988 (estalbishing a national curriculum which effectively made Welsh compulsory in all schools) and through Welsh Language Acts in 1967 (providing for the use of Welsh in many spheres of public administration) and 1993 (promoting the use of Welsh by public bodies).
A substantial amount of academic research has been published in relation to the Welsh situation and the four publications which I have found to be most relevant to my own thinking on the Scots and Irish situations are:
Baker, C (1993) Bilingual Education in Wales. In Baetens-Beardsmore, H (ed. ) European Models of Bilingual Education. Clevedon : Multingual Matters.
Bellin, W. , Higgs, G, and Farrell, S. (1997) Halting or reversing language shift: A social and spatial analysis of South East Wales. Final report for ERSC grant no. R000236330.
Reynolds, D. et al. (1998)A competitive edge – why Welsh schools perform better. Institute of Welsh Affairs. Cardiff.
Williams, C (1993) Bilingual Wales in a Multilingual Europe. Dyfed County Council.
I think the Catalan model does have a lot more to offer by way of practical examples of (relatively) cost effective measures which could make a big difference. (More of which when I have time).
Slán beo!
Chris

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.159.54
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 12:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

This is of great interest to me because at the moment, though i don;t know a huge amount about the revival of minority languages, I am in fact studying it now. We are currently discussing the Welsh language and Fishman's theories of 'reversing the language shift'.
i find it all fascinating because I would love to know what we could do here in Ireland that would actually work and make people take an interest in the language.
People feel there is no use for the language nowadays and that there is no point in learning it. I think we should offer some kind of benefit to people who have Irish, create a real use and purpose for the Irish language and then we will have a revival.
Help me on this one. Please.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 15
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

alright...this is what i sent...just what good it'll do i don't know, but if i can plant the seed of an idea that takes, who knows...

-------------------
Dear Mr. Ahern:

I have been disheartened by some of the news I've read coming out of Ireland as it relates to Irish policy and the Irish language. I am a member of the Daltaí na Gaeilge society here in the US and have spent quite some time looking at the differences in attitudes towards the language in Ireland and abroad.

The main reason I could identify is that those who come to the language in the US, Canada and Australia do so out of a sense of loss through emigration and those who come to it as a second language in Ireland do so through mandated programs. The attitude of many Irish men and women that want no part of Gaeilge is as incomprehensible to Americans as an American desire to learn Irish would be to your average Dublin resident.

A secondary reason for the difference in attitude is that when we choose to learn Irish we do so knowing that our education and jobs don't depend on it. So what am I saying? I don't believe that doing away with Irish language requirements will result in massive headway being made among the English-speaking population. I do, however, firmly believe that Gaeilge's image needs to change. People have to want to learn it.

Penalties (or perceived penalties) for English speakers will only serve to engender an ambivalence toward Irish. I honestly believe, as an educator and a student of Irish, that the best way to keep the language safe in the Gaeltacht and spread beyond its borders as the language of the home and, eventually, business is to provide irresistible benefits for knowledge of the language.

My purpose for writing is to share with you some ideas that have come to me through conversation with American Gaeilgeoirí and English speakers in Ireland. The benefits provided will have to compete with the already established benefits of speaking English.

These benefits should include something to balance out the benefits of conducting business in English. A modest stipend for Irish-only businesses awarded on a yearly basis would be a good place to start. Many American businesses use what they call "secret shoppers" to check up on the quality of service of the stores. I'm sure many Irish companies do the same. A similar system could be used to double-check the honesty of Irish business claims. This would include hiring and internal communications as well as advertising and signage.

Naturally, an English speaking proprietor cannot be expected to send English speaking business out the door, so perhaps "Irish-only" business could be defined as a business which uses Gaeilge in all instances except when faced with a monoglot English speaking customer. Perhaps a system of sales tax exemption could be instituted for customers who conduct business solely in Irish. An income tax break could possibly be offered to all employees of certified Irish only businesses. Again, such a system would need to be extensively checked to prevent abuse. Naturally, there would be expense involved in the small army of officials needed to do the checking, but such departments already exist in other areas with less import than the country's cultural patrimony.

Another vital place to provide benefits for Gaeilge usage is in school. As a teacher I know that second language classes are next-to-useless for teaching a language, especially when the language is not used in the home or community. For this, I have a few suggestions.

One route would be to mandate that all preschools be Irish-only. Young children can learn language by immersion far easier than even adolescents can with years of dedicated study. The next year, all kindergartens should become Irish-only. Every year, add a new level of mandatory Irish-only instruction. The result of this "step" program is that those already involved in the current system would finish under the current system. Those beginning school the year of the program would have a strong sense of Irish as their second language (it still would not be used at home, but would be the language of education) with comparatively little effort on their part.

I am familiar with the difficulties of funding and sweeping changes to an education system. But a look at how schools are dealing with the No Child Left Behind program and formation of ABBOTT districts in my home state of New Jersey show that much is possible with enough will or necessity.

Another consideration in the field of education would be to establish several Irish only high schools throughout the country similar to our "magnet" or "charter" schools in the US. Free tuition could be offered by the government to graduates of these schools to any Irish university to which they are accepted. Teachers teaching at any Irish only school could be offered a stipend on a monthly or yearly basis.

These programs should be available not only in the Gaeltacht, but throughout the country. Foreign corporations that participate in the Irish only program would also be eligible for the benefits. The secret to success is to have the benefits or bonuses not only being tokens but actually balance out the benefits of English.

It is inescapable that all of my benefits are monetary ones. Looking at the situation, I feel the main reason for English language dominance is economic, and so the boost given to Gaeilge must be economic also. Businesses will only do what is profitable, and parents will demand the education that provides the most opportunity to their children. In short, it needs to be as profitable, if not more, to conduct business (and life) in Irish.

Where will the money come from to fund these programs that won't spark outrage in the English speaking population? Naturally, tax money will have to be set aside for this, but perhaps much of the money spent on the current Gaeltacht system could be used for this "all-Ireland Gaeltacht." There may also be moneys available from the EU or other international organizations. Organizations in the US, Canada and Australia may also be able to help financially.

I implore you to study the possibilities as I'm sure you are, and take the most effective course possible, whatever the cost, to save the language. Thank you very much for your time.

le buíochas, le meas,



Anthony Valentino
Member of the National Council of Teachers of English
Student of Irish since 1997



cc: Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Education and Science
Department of Finance




----------------------

addresses if you would like to write, too


Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D.
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Dún Aimhirgin
43-49 Mespil Road, Dublin 4

Department of Education and Science
Marlborough St., Dublin 1

Department of Finance
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.138.160
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 03:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I would just like to say that the Official Languages Act is a big step forward for us. Under this Act all public businesses have to conduct business in English and Irish. For example if I write to a unversity in Irish, they must respond to me in Irish.
All road signs must be bilingual (and both languages of equal size). Road signs in the Gaeltacht areas must be in Irish only. Any public offices in the Gaeltacht must speak Irish in the workplace (but this does not mean putting the local postman out of business if he speaks no irish!)
This Act will be implemented over the next three years.
As for secondary schools....we do have a number of secondary (high ) schools that are Irish only and if you do your exams through irish you are awarded extra marks (though not many). Unfortunately, though the idea of pre-schools being all-Irish is great, there is a shortage of teachers at all levels with English alone, let alone trying to find ones with Irish.
Well, at least we know our president can speak Irish and that's something to be proud of!

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 16
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 03:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

re: preschools and shortage of irish teachers

pay them extra, and not just a little extra, and watch them crawl out of the woodwork!

That's part of the way NJ is dealing with impoverished schools through the establishment of so-called ABBOTT districts - these very poor, very urban schools are held to a higher standard for hiring of teachers...but how to get the teachers with the best credentials? the state gives the school a near-obscene amount of money for resources, maintenance, structural additions and faculty salaries...

i've done quite a bit of research on it, and while the program has its detractors, it appears to be largely successful - even if it's imperfect...

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 528
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Have a look at this link, it's a Gaelscoil in Manx!!! I find it incredibly positive that such an initiative has been taken.

http://www.bunscoill.iofm.net/

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 44
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 05:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Good luck with your Fishman, Rebecca, it is well worth reading. The reference to Bellin, Higgs,& Farrell(1997) that I gave in my earlier post might be of particular interest to you, if you don't already know it, as it takes a "Fishmanesque" approach to the Welsh situation.
You might also like to try a Google on Prof Tove Skutnabb-Kangas or her husband Dr Robert Phillipson, for references to their work on "endangered" languages, which I think might also be of interest to you.
Jonas agus Aonghus, aontaim libh, in terms of what each of you say in your most recent posts.
The two key caveats about applying the Catalan model to Irish are the differences which you stress, Jonas.
Much of what the Catalans have done which made a practical difference chimes in precisely with what you say about the situation in Ireland, Aonghus.
What then do I think are the major lessons that the Catalan model offers to Irish?
Firstly, the manner in which a public language policy was very clearly articulated. In 1978, levels of support expressed by the general public were similar to those currently reported for Irish - although a far higher proportion were already making some use of the language. Nevertheless they did not have the same reported levels of "knowledge of the language", nor the potential residual knowledge of the language that 12/13 years of Irish in the State education system has offered to so many of the people of the 26 counties since the 1920s.
The Catalan autonomous government (Generalitat), very publicly developed what was effectively a national language plan, which ultimately came in to law as the "linguistic normalisation law". A statute which laid the foundations for the present situation in which there is genuine equality between the two languages in use - one of which is, like English, one of he major languages of the world: Castilian (Spanish).
There were clearly laid plans about how and when public services would be supported in their transition from Castilian only to bilingual services, with detailed provision of language training for public sector workers.
Secondly, education was rightly seen as a cornerstone of the linguistic transition. In 1975 it was illegal for high schools in Catalonia to teach any Catalan. By 1985, the majority of the schools were not only teaching Catalan, but teaching the rest of the curriculum in Catalan!
This was carried forward as part of a sweeping programme of educational reform - based on the idea of modernising the curriculum.
As with most other "western democracies" Ireland is currently looking at modernising the school curriculum to better meet the economic challenges of the 21st century. The intellectual and personal advantages which bilinguals enjoy by comparison to monolinguals, should be the cornerstone of an economic argument that bilingualism for all should be a key obective of a revised curriculum.
Where are the teachers for this revised curriculum to come from? From the ranks of existing teachers, in the main. In a society in which everyday use of the language was becoming an ever more noticeable feature, teachers were learners too. Increasing use of the language in all public spheres was a key stage in linguistic normalisation.
In the early 1980s, when I was an exchange student in Barcelona, you couldn't go into any small cornershop without experiencing the poster campaign. Every shop you went into had huge, beautifully illustrated colour posters, showing examples of the merchandise, with the Catalan word for whatever it was prominently displayed.
This is the third aspect of the Catalan situation that I see as being most relevant to Irish. There was also a great deal of general advertising done to promote the language.
Fourthly, investment was made in developing good teaching materials - the "Digui, digui" course, with books, radio programmes, TV programmes was one of the leading "multi-media" language courses of its day, for any language.
Fifthly, Catalan language television was established (two channels) and popular shows were shown in Catalan - I remember it being a major coup circa 1985 when the latest series of Dallas was shown in Catalan a few months before it was due to be shown in Castilian - and top sporting events, which were going to draw a good audience any way, were broadcast with Catalan commentary.
I believe, from what I know of Irish language television, that a great deal more could be done along these lines to make it more interesting to the public at large.
I'm running out of time here - and I'm sure this post has become long enough - so to some up: a national language plan, proper training and support for public sector staff, educational reform, increasing use of the language in all sectors of everyday life, better mass media in Irish would be elements of the Catalan model that Irish could imitate.
Is mise le meas,
Chris

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Natalie
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Username: Natalie

Post Number: 58
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Wow! Ok, I leave for like a day, and I'm a good 30 posts behind plus the fact that you people all have a lot to say! This is a good thing, I think.

Now, up above (where all the posts are!), it was mentioned that a good idea is to have a truly bilingual Irish-English country and I believe it was Jonas who made the point of asking about what language would be spoken at home. I agree with this. The point is to not let the language die and the point of bilingualism is to be able to communicate with someone from either language. If everyone could speak both languages, then there would be no point and sooner or later, a language would have to be chosen as the main one. Then we're back to the same problem. I think its necessary in a country for there to be people of both kinds. It's great to have bilingual people but to keep them bilingual, you need to give them a reason to know both languages and in the same breath, that means there needs to remain a sufficient amount of people who speak either of the two languages (which is of course in this case, English).

Also you can't force the whole population to speak Irish as we well know but if you could then that would probably be no good as well. People would begin to complain (like we are doing right now) about how English would be more beneficial to them or whatever their excuse would be.

I also don't think that its easy to compare the efforts of a language with another language when everything can vary and so many different things can be...different. Irish is its own language and should be treated as its own particular case.

And lastly, way up above I said that some countries never had a culture where Jonas was curious to ask what countries these were. Anyway, the only point I was trying to make, though unsuccessfully was that cultures change, some are imported cultures and some don't exist in the sense that their own people don't even know what they should be. Don't ask me for any examples, lol, I don' have any.

Natalie

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TSJ (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 66.105.234.12
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 01:28 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I believe that the following may be relative to the saving of The Language. Some time ago I visited the Gaeltacht after a long absence from Ireland. One day I went to the local bank to change some money. When I spoke to the bank clerk at the window in Irish he became angry, raised his arm in the air and yelled at me. An older clerk who was at the adjacent window immediately ran into a back room and when he returned some five minutes later to the window where I was waiting to be served, he was bristling with hostility and glared at me in a ferocious manner although he did not speak.

I sensed that something was amiss so I decided that discretion was the better part of valour. I simply asked him politely (in English) to change some travellers checks for me, which he did without however saying a word. I thanked him and left the window. I noticed on my way out that the people waiting in line were speaking to each other in Irish but when they reached the window they did their business in English.

Shortly after I arrived back in America, I was reading an Irish magazine and saw a full-page advertisement for the bank which read “You can do business with us in Irish”. I said to myself “maybe so, but not in the Gaeltacht”. I do not believe for one minute that the clerks’ behaviour was necessarily due to any personal dislike of The Language on their part. They were surely carrying out a company policy. I also happened to notice that whenever I spoke Irish in the local shops and pubs the locals always answered me in English and just stared blankly at me. No bank violence there.

It is obvious, at least to me, that there must be some kind of conspiracy going on here. If this situation continues, what hope is there for Irish? I hear so much talk about “Language Tourism” for the Gaeltacht. I hear slogans like “if you wish to speak Irish, do visit the Gaeltacht”. Pardon me if I sound puzzled. But that’s exactly what I am. Puzzled. Very puzzled.

Now if The Language is to survive, I imagine that this situation will have to be reversed. What use would it be to pour millions of dollars into a revival program, provide the public with modern schools, highly competent teachers, up to date learning materials and the very best hich-tech equipment if the unenlightened rural people who are supposed to be preserving The Language for everyone’s benefit are deliberately cutting us off from the source. Talk about encouraging the Irish to speak Irish !!! You might just as well stay in Dublin and sing “ The West’s asleep. Alas and well may Erin weep “ to your fellow Dubliners.

It is sad to think that Ireland is the only country in the world where I have been yelled at for having the audacity to address the local people in their national language. Now the question I ask is this. Is anything being done to remedy this situation and if so, what?

All I can say at this point is “ Carry on regardless “.

Beidh muid ar muin na muice la de na laethanta seo, le cunamh De agus sinn slan.

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 45
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 03:27 am:   Edit Post Print Post

TSJ, a chara,
Sadly, you experience is not unique - although I'd like to hope that it is fairly uncommon.
A lot can be done in the sort of societies that we live in to help change attititudes, whether about language or about other matters.
In my previous post, I was not suggesting throwing millions of dollars at the situation, not additional dollars at any rate. I'd simply like to see a much better return on the money that is already being spent.
My argument is that legislation, education and training and good marketing, making the most effective use of all channels to market are crucial factors in both bringing about the sort of changes of attitude that are necessary to give rise to a language revival and to make its results effective.
Natalie, a chara, aontaim leat on the idea that all language situations are unique, what I would say, however, is that this should be expressed in the detail of how language policies are taken forward. In general terms, a lot can be learned from the successes and failures of language policies in other parts of the world. I tried to keep my outline of the Catalan situation as general as possible to reflect this aspect of my views.
Beir bua agus beannacht!
Chris

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.202.138.160
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I have to say that with regards to the Gaeltacht experience it is unfortunately a sad but true fact that alot of the people in the Gaeltacht refuse to speak Irish to 'outsiders'. I myself, though I am fluent in Irish had a difficult time trying to convince muintir na Gaeltachta to speak Irish to me. They seem to think that nobody has Irish as good as their own and if they did speak Irish they wouldn't be understood - that's the impression I got anyway. It is very stupid because when I was studying Irish in College we had to spend two weeks in the Gaeltacht each summer....what's the point when the locals won't speak to you in Irish, you end up speaking english the whole time you're there!
This is a major problem. Maybe it stems from being beaten by a stick if you spoke english, or only the poor being able to speak Irish....I don't know. You'd think 'dearca na ndaoine' (can't think of the english word, maybe someone can translate) would have changed by now.

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 529
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

TSJ, would you tell us which part of the Gaeltacht this was? There's enormous differences between different parts´.

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 240
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 07:55 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I was in a friend's house the other day, whom I had no idea that she spoke or could speak Irish; the phone rang, she picked it up and said "Gheobhaidh mé mo mháthair". Then her mother took the phone and was speaking Irish to whomever was on the line: "Níor chuala mé faic...". The mother left the room and came in a little while later and said "Cá bhfuil do dheirfiúr? 'Bhfuil sí ag obair nó san ollscoil?".

Just goes to show that the language is still spoken... by those who can speak it.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 17
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:11 am:   Edit Post Print Post

i wonder what good a tv/radio campaign would be that highlighted organizations like daltaí...would knowing for certain the attitude toward the language held by the rest of the world do anything to ameliorate the attitudes of the irish themselves?

"Yanks who have no Irish blood have become fluent...how about you?" etc...

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 242
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

What I think would be the best sort of advertisement would be along the lines of the following:

A restaurant somewhere on the Mediterranean (somewhere like Italy or Spain), in a tourist resort. A typical non-tanned white family walk in and they're waiting for their table to be prepared. Beside them is a very tanned Spanish family; they're yapping away and laughing in Spanish. On their way to their table, they walk by some typical German-looking people. "Das nicht geschrieben..." they hear as they walk by. Finally they sit down at their table and a jolly waiter approaches them and says, "English?", with a smile. They reply, "No, Irish.". He replies joyfully, "Olay Olay, con-as a taw too?" and the family just smile. A minute later they're eating their meal, talking among themselves in English when they hear voices a few metres away from them -- there's a family sitting across at another table talking and yapping away in Irish.

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James
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Username: James

Post Number: 55
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 09:26 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Fear na mBróg makes a very good point that I actually experienced in a most unlikely place.

We were doing some work on Lamu Island, Kenya. This is, as you would expect, a predominately black African community with a smattering of white Kenyans here and there. Islam is by far the most prevalent religion with some 50 mosques and 2 Christian churches. Most, if not all, African women on the island routinely wear the hajib (that's the black overgarment with a veil) and the call to prayer can be heard 5 times a day. Alcohol is in very short supply being sold only in the white owned hotels on the end of the island where most of the white residents live. In Lamu town itself, there is NO alcohol available at all.

We were staying in a very small but popular hotel frequented by European vacationers. One young couple was from Ireland. When I heard the accent, I introduced myself as gaeilge. They were, understandably shocked, but answered as gaeilge and we had a delightful time for the remainder of their stay.

Due to the nature of our work there it was essential that we interact with the local council members, all of whom were black Kenyan Muslims. Later in the evening after meeting my new Irish friends, I was recounting the story to one of the aforementioned Kenyan Muslim council members. Just as quickly and as effortlessly as you please, this man switched quite easily from english to Irish! Now, tell me who was shocked! You could have knocked me over with a feather!! Not this this man was fluent by any means (nor am I for that matter) but that he had any Irish at all as a black African Muslim was amazing!

Now tell me, why can I speak Irish more comfortably with Dubliners in Africa and with a black Muslim in Kenya than I can with a resident of the gaeltacht!??!?!

Just one American's true life observation.

Le meas,

James

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 18
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 10:16 am:   Edit Post Print Post

i've bumped into a number of people here from ireland who think it quite novel that a yank is making them reach back into their childhood memory and pull out a few phrases...one woman i had been talking with in the dr's office said, "oh, i thought i had gotten rid of my accent" when i just out of the blue asked her where in ireland she was from (she'd been here over 20 years)...

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 388
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 12:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

James
Scéal iontach.

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Evermind
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Username: Evermind

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 01:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde na Ghaeilge,

Some very interesting ideas here. I believe that we need to change how we are teaching the language in primary school. Emphasis should be placed on oral rather than on grammar, so the students can get their ear accoustumed to the sounds. We also need to inform all that a langauge is learnt for communication, and to enrich oneself. One often hears: "But why learn a language that ins't spoken?" Well the answer to that should not be aggressive or damning but encouraging..."Well, if you were to learn it then you would be another who could use it. And besides it's a component of culture." Not: "Because it's a compulsory subject!"

People learn best when they have fun, are interested and WANT TO LERAN.

That's my twopence,

Slán libh!

Ely siriar, êl síla. I ‘lîr en èl luitha ‘uren. Ai! Aníron…

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Ríain (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 141.156.28.242
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 03:55 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

First of all, my opinion is that the salvation of the Irish language is ensured almost entirely by the continued success of two institutions: the Gaelscoileanna, and Teilifis na Gaeilge (or whatever name they've given it lately).

Just these past few weeks I've resumed studying Irish, after having grown forlorn over the future of the language when I ceased my studies eight years ago. At that time, it seemed that my trying to learn the language would all be in vain, as the doomsayers were at their zenith in predicting a quite speedy demise--moreover, the only people of whom I knew who had Irish as their first language were middle-aged or older, and the message I got was that no young people were using the language.

Now, I must say I'm very encouraged by the real difference I see in the liveliness of the language today, as opposed to the way things seemed in 1996. Last week I received my Turas Teanga DVD set, and my wife and I have had a blast watching a bit of it each night before bed--thanks to the Turas Teanga DVD I can see young children speaking Gaeilge as fluidly as my young daughter babbles in English with her playmates, the host is an attractive, intelligent lady with a clear passion for the language, and the Irish-speaking actors in the video give the language a hip, matter-of-course feeling that I never perceived before.

Let me be the first to say the heavy pronouncements that the death of the Irish language is imminent, or at least that it was sure to suffer an ignominous, slow, drawn-out, Arafat-like moribundity, were just as numerous (if not more) back then as they are now. But the difference is, with the advent of the Gaelscoils, a younger generation of Irish-speakers is being created, many of whom are the best and brightest among the school-age children and whose parents actively reinforce their children's acquisition by speaking Irish at home. This generation is the key to ensuring that Irish is truly alive, as opposed to falling into the sad fate of a literary language or a language spoken only by the old, unspoken by children.

Moreover, these children will be the ones who make Irish "cool." At least Ireland is lucky enough to have a steady birthrate, unlike many countries in Europe; without that, and parents committed to nurturing the Gaelscoils, the language might well die out.

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Evermind
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Username: Evermind

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:43 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I read somewhere that only 10% of the the langauges spoken in the world today will survive into the C22th. And the sad thing is that Irish will be one of them...MEANING, more than 90% of the world's tongues are less fortunate than Irish!

They say 3,000 languages died in the C20th and only 3 were created, of that only one fully original langauge: Modern-Hebrew. (For this, sci-fi/ cult/ and personal langauges are discounted)

Ely siriar, êl síla. I ‘lîr en èl luitha ‘uren. Ai! Aníron…

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TSJ (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 66.105.234.81
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 01:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas,

Please forgive me if I decline to answer your question as to which Gaeltacht region I visited. From all accounts the problem is widespread and rather than waste time trying to put the blame on particular individuals or specific localities, I believe it is better to approach the problem in a positive manner and try to discover a solution.

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Pádraig_toronto
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Username: Pádraig_toronto

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 02:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I have been reading with interest the creation of one new Irish speaking village in the Baile Ghibb area, and a proposed Irish speaking village of 20 houses in Tyrone.

I would say that this indicates, at least on a local level, some degree of confidence in the language, something that spurs me on in my own efforts despite the sometimes depressing news to the contrary.

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Cormac
Member
Username: Cormac

Post Number: 40
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 03:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

i heard about that as well pádraig about a year ago, but now i cant find any more info...do you have any more details?

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Pádraig_toronto
Member
Username: Pádraig_toronto

Post Number: 4
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 03:15 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Here are a couple of sites for you, Cormac

http://www.voy.com/70381/3970.html

http://www.gael.ie/

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 532
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 05:22 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A TSJ, a chara

Jonas,
Please forgive me if I decline to answer your question as to which Gaeltacht region I visited. From all accounts the problem is widespread and rather than waste time trying to put the blame on particular individuals or specific localities


No need to ask for forgiveness, but for a number of reasons I disagree:

1. Of course the problem is widespread, but the difference between different Gaeltacht areas is enormous. Some areas (Barna, Belmullet, Roundstone etc) are completely English in languages. Others (Dún Chaoin, Ceantar na n-Oileán, Cnoc Fola etc.) are still very much living Gaeltacht areas.

2. Those areas that aren't Irish although they are in the Gaeltacht should be taken out of the Gaeltacht! This is not just a matter of principle, it's about the survival of the languages. Huge sums of money aimed at saving Irish go to completely English areas. If only the Irish speaking areas constituted the Gaeltacht, the resources would be concentrated to them. For that reason, I always try to point out which areas that are within the real Gaeltacht.

3. On a level of principles, I disaprove of the practice of saying that one of the group X, Y and Z are guilty of something without naming which one. The two innocent ones will be suspected unjustly.

Having said all that, I most certainly respect your decision not to mention which area you're talking about. I just wanted to make it clear why I thought the information should be provided.

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Aonghus
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Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 407
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, November 15, 2004 - 09:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

While I agree with Jonas' analysis, I disagree somewhat with his conclusions

quote:

Huge sums of money aimed at saving Irish go to completely English areas. If only the Irish speaking areas constituted the Gaeltacht, the resources would be concentrated to them.



I don't believe this would happen. Very little money (almost none) is spent directly on the language. Most of it is spent on Industrial Development, roads, infrastructure etc. If those areas are removed from the Gaeltacht, then it is likely that most of the money will simply be taken away from Údarás na Gaeltachta etc., and transferred to the IDA, county councils etc.

I believe the approach Éamonn Ó Cuiv is taking is better: get local community groups to come up with a plan for their area, with measurable goal, and fund that plan.

He has also commissioned linguistic studies on the current offical Gaeltacht to determine how the boundaries should be redrawn. It is likely that "breac Gaeltachtaí" would be given a period of time to either opt out of the Gaeltacht, or to increase daily speakers to a defined level.

The bottom line is that languages require communities.

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Therese (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 213.94.140.204
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 07:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I am sorry to 'butt in' on your discussion but I find it extremely interesting. I stumbled on this site by accident and I was amazed to see the amount of people who really like the Irish language. I myself would love if everyone in Ireland spoke Irish, but that most likely will never happen. I am a secondary school student and the majority of my fellow students hate Irish. It is sad to see, but true. People say that it is dead, and there is no point learning it in school because it is not needed in later life. After starting learning Irish at around the age of 5, most students, by the time they get to secondary school are tired of it. The higher level exams expect fluency in the language, I know it is good to expect and encourage high standards, but most students (in my experience anyway) only have basic Irish, and are often over estimated when it comes to exams.
It would be brilliant to see the language revived once more, and it is great to see the efforts ye are making here on this site to promote the language!
Go n'éirí an t-ádh leat.

Therese

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Antaine
Member
Username: Antaine

Post Number: 49
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 09:56 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Anywhere headway can be made is good, but it should be a sad state of affairs if one day Irish is healthier in NJ than in dublin

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Kay
Member
Username: Kay

Post Number: 11
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2004 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Life is full of surprises!
My children have always used the Irish version of their names. We had a very pleasant experience at Dublin airport recently. Seosamh produced his passport for inspection and was welcomed home as Gaeilge. It was such a lovely experience. I almost cried with the joy of it.
A few years ago my husband had a similar experience in a bank in Dun Laoghaire. When it was noticed that he signed his name as Gaeilge the official continued ag déanamh gnó as Gaeilge, gan fadhb ar bith, in a very pleasant way.

I have lived in Dublin as Gaeilge now for longer than I have lived anywhere else and I have no worries as regards Irish surviving here. (Éirím gach lá,deirim mo phaidreacha, ithim mo bhricfeasta, agus araile.)

It is a bit disconcerting for us, though to think that our facility to express our private opinions in the native tongue about visitors is imithe go deo. Tuigeann gach éinne anois! Caithimid a bheith cúramach...... Níl aon ionadh ann go raibh an fear bocht sin sa bhanc ar buile.

I think we should start speaking Croatian and not tell anyone what it is.

(Message edited by kay on November 20, 2004)

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 534
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 05:01 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Bhuel, ní féidir riamh cinnte a bheith - nikad ne moze biti uvjeren ;-)

Interesting that you should go for Croatian. I've had the opportunity to hear Irish speakers speaking Irish and thinking that I don't understand and also to hear Croatian speakers thinking I don't understand Croatian. I dream of the day when I can walk through Galway and hear only Irish, just as I can do in Dubrovnik and only hear Croatian...



©Daltaí na Gaeilge