[lg policy] Irish language: How use in Northern Ireland differs from Republic

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 15:13:48 UTC 2015


Irish language: How use in Northern Ireland differs from Republic
By Ed Carty

Published
07/08/2015 | 00:00



Linda Irvine, wife of former PUP leader Brian Ervine, pictured in east
Belfast as she helps bring the Irish Language to the community


People in the Republic learn Irish "to pass exams" but in Northern Ireland
they are motivated by the love of it, an official study has found.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said the stark cross
border differences also showed that people who are passionate about their
native tongue for reasons of identity are more likely to use it.

The state think-tank warned Irish will not flourish unless ways are found
to encourage people to learn it and use it in everyday life.

Using data from a number of studies the ESRI reported that in the Republic
30% of people who learned the language for "its own sake" used it every
week, compared to 19% who learned it for another reason.

ESRI author Dr Merike Darmody said research suggested that activists need
to be encouraged in order to bring Irish into everyday mainstream use.

"People in the Republic seem to have a much more pragmatic attitude. They
say we need it to pass exams," she said.

"Many people who are positive about the language don't actively speak it -
that's similar to the experience seen in Wales.

"Particularly in Northern Ireland, considering that it was much more
prevalent - you learn the language for it's own sake so it shows that
issues around identity and national identity are more prevalent."

The ESRI said about half of those who learned Irish in school in the
Republic did so to pass exams while almost nine out of 10 people surveyed
in Northern Ireland said they wanted to know and have Irish and were drawn
to it for reasons of identity.

It said that while school children in the Republic often have a bad
attitude towards the language their parents feel more positive about it but
it does not translate into significant use.

A public consultation on the Irish language was launched in Northern
Ireland but new research suggests different motivations for its use south
of the border
A public consultation on the Irish language was launched in Northern
Ireland but new research suggests different motivations for its use south
of the border

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/irish-language-how-use-in-northern-ireland-differs-from-republic-31432600.htm

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