Death of Gaeilge?

One of the official languages of Ireland is Irish and most children experience a compulsory 14 year cycle of Irish lessons on a daily basis in school but according to the article above, only 82,600 people in Ireland speak the language outside of school – approximately 2% of the population. In fact, Polish is now the second most spoken language in the country today.

Something is obviously very wrong when statistics like this come out. Reactions will inevitably range from denial to acceptance. For example, 1.77 million people marked that they could speak Irish – however, this is still only 41% of the population.
Another inevitability is that schools will be blamed for this; after all, how is it possible that after 14 years of instruction, many students leave school with a better knowledge of French, Spanish or some other “3rd language?” Different people will have their reasons.
I believe that we need to logically assess why Irish has been allowed to become the third language of Ireland. We need to cut out the denial, the blaming of others and any other excuses.  I say this not as a proponent of the language – one might suggest that Ireland’s greatest strength is in our ability to speak English fluently – but then there’s the adage of “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.” There’s a definite richness to the Irish language, which has shaped the Irish people in how we hold ourselves. However, Irish is simply not being spoken by Irish people and we need to fix it before it becomes extinct.

0 thoughts on “Death of Gaeilge?”

  1. When people no longer want to gossip and chat in a language, then I am afraid it is curtains… That’s not down to schools, but people! 

  2. I disagree with James Abela, Welsh is spoken a lot in North Wales, the
    problem is too much emphasis on writing in Irish instead of speaking in
    Irish. Also too many of us worry that we can’t say the full sentence in
    Irish when we speak it, which is where Bernard’s Bród Club campaign has
    been useful telling us not to worry and use the Irish we have and if we
    need to use the English word, he has given people the confidence to have
    a go. We are not in as dire straits as Scots gaelic yet and it’s
    experiencing a revival thanks to lots of factors including BBC Alba.  If it can be saved so can Irish.

  3. I think French are just becoming more competitive in terms of learning and speaking the English language. We have to admit that we can go anywhere as long as we know how to speak the English language.

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