[lg policy] Irish language regarded positively but not widely used

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Aug 8 14:57:48 UTC 2015

 Irish language regarded positively but not widely used
19 <http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0807/719711-irish/#> 476
Friday 07 August 2015 17.48
[image: 67% of respondents in the Republic of Ireland and 45% from Northern
Ireland felt positive about the Irish language] 67% of respondents in the
Republic of Ireland and 45% from Northern Ireland felt positive about the
Irish language

A study on attitudes towards the Irish language has found people in the
Republic wish to study the language "to pass the exams", whereas in
Northern Ireland the primary factor is "learning Irish for its own sake".

The ESRI and Amárach Research study
also found that while the attitudes of the adult population towards the
language are broadly positive, this does not translate into significant use
of the language.

Irish is more likely to be spoken by younger people in the Republic of
Ireland and Catholic respondents in Northern Ireland, according to the

There is considerable support amongst the adult population for the language
-  67% of the respondents in the Republic of Ireland and 45% from Northern
Ireland felt positive about the Irish language.

However, 41% of respondents in Northern Ireland have "no particular
feelings" regarding the Irish language.

There is a significant difference in fluency across the two jurisdictions.

In the Republic, 11% reported being able to conduct most conversations in
Irish, compared to 2% in Northern Ireland.

Lead author Dr Merike Darmody said: "The results of this study have shown
that the use of, and attitudes to, the Irish language are rooted in three
domains: the education system, the family and the wider community.

"While the inter-generational transmission of language attitudes and
language use within the family context is important, it needs to be
supported by the education system and having opportunities to use the
language in other social contexts.

"Furthermore, despite the language policy development in recent decades,
without the active engagement from people with regard to learning the
language and using it in a variety of social contexts, it is hard to see
how the Irish language can flourish in future."

Responding to the findings, CEO Foras na Gaeilge CEO Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh
said: "This research helps us carry out our statutory duty to advise the
governments, North and South, in relation to Irish language policy.

"The very positive attitudes throughout the general population confirm our
own experience and the very real desire for Irish-medium education cannot
be ignored."


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