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Is irish respected in Ireland?

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,728 ✭✭✭ Tombo2001


    Problem with the Irish language in my view is the people who promote it.

    They are coming at it from the wrong angle.

    They are coming at it from the angle of entitlement.

    "This is Ireland. Ireland is our language. Therefore the state should be obliged to do X Y and Z to promote it. Therefore all children should have to learn it".

    The angle should be:

    Irish culture is fun. GAA is fun. Irish dancing is fun and so is Irish music. And Ireland is a great place to live and go on holidays.

    And Irish is a fun language for kids to learns, and practicing Irish with your kids is a fun thing for parents to do.

    At the moment its not fun to speak Irish. Its hard to get an Irish book for kids that doesnt have some poxy celtic drawings and a story about Finn McCool. Who wants that?!!! Why does Irish language and Irish culture have to part of the same package? No child wants to read Peig.

    The best Irish books I've found for kids are the Julia Donaldson books, The Gruffalo etc, translated into Irish. They like the stories, and it means they will go along with the words in Irish, instead of instant boredom.

    My son, who is 6, says that Irish is a secret language that only Irish people know. Thats how he rationalises it, thats a special secret that only Irish people have.

    And that makes sense.

    He also says that English is the language that people speak in Ireland. And that is a fact. English is the language of Ireland. Full stop. Don't try to fight it. Is there a single person in this country who can speak Irish and not speak English? I doubt it.

    Irish is a language that some people here speak.

    If gaeilgoirs could concentrate on making a language that is a positive option rather than an obligation, it would improve things considerably.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,728 ✭✭✭ Tombo2001


    GaelMise wrote: »
    Just goes to show how far the propaganda has penetrated when people are repeating it even when arguing against it.
    English is not the worlds most spoken language.


    I think the point is well made.

    It may not be the worlds most spoken language.

    But English is clearly the world's 'international' language.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,235 ✭✭✭✭ briany


    Tombo2001 wrote: »
    Problem with the Irish language in my view is the people who promote it.

    They are coming at it from the wrong angle.

    They are coming at it from the angle of entitlement.

    "This is Ireland. Ireland is our language. Therefore the state should be obliged to do X Y and Z to promote it. Therefore all children should have to learn it".

    I think there was a great mistake made upon the establishment of Irish independence where Ireland was taken to be culturally homogenous with a shared history and identity, totally ignoring the fact that the island had been for the great majority of it's history a land divided along clannish lines, and had been influenced in different ways - culturally, linguistically - by a number of foreign invaders also. This all means that the man from the Pale might have a different outlook and cultural appreciation to the man down in Wexford or the Ulster Scots man up in Donegal.

    What should have been done was make the Irish language a protected minority language and taken every measure to protect the language, including providing full services as Gaeilge in areas where it was spoken by a clear majority, provided economic support to Gaelic areas in order to stem the tide of emigration and set up educational services and resources that could be availed of by anyone choosing to educate themselves in the language, young or old.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,728 ✭✭✭ Tombo2001


    briany wrote: »
    I think there was a great mistake made upon the establishment of Irish independence where Ireland was taken to be culturally homogenous with a shared history and identity, totally ignoring the fact that the island had been for the great majority of it's history a land divided along clannish lines, and had been influenced in different ways - culturally, linguistically - by a number of foreign invaders also. This all means that the man from the Pale might have a different outlook and cultural appreciation to the man down in Wexford or the Ulster Scots man up in Donegal.

    What should have been done was make the Irish language a protected minority language and taken every measure to protect the language, including providing full services as Gaeilge in areas where it was spoken by a clear majority, provided economic support to Gaelic areas in order to stem the tide of emigration and set up educational services and resources that could be availed of by anyone choosing to educate themselves in the language, young or old.

    I'd agree with that, but the state is almost 100 years old now so there was plenty of time to remedy it.

    One could make an argument that the failure of the Irish language is bound in with the Irish state's historical lack of respect for children as citizens or as individuals (I know this is getting a bit far fetched.....but it is a common thread through post-independence Irish history).

    There has never been any effort really to make Irish interesting or attractive for children growing up. Middle aged people recall their Irish classes with groans and curse words and resentment. The language was forced on them like cold lumpy porridge. No kid likes that, but the state couldnt recognise it / stroke / didnt give a damn.

    I dont get the impression that a whole lot has changed in Secondary school. I might be wrong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,235 ✭✭✭✭ briany


    Tombo2001 wrote: »
    I'd agree with that, but the state is almost 100 years old now so there was plenty of time to remedy it.

    One could make an argument that the failure of the Irish language is bound in with the Irish state's historical lack of respect for children as citizens or as individuals (I know this is getting a bit far fetched.....but it is a common thread through post-independence Irish history).

    There has never been any effort really to make Irish interesting or attractive for children growing up. Middle aged people recall their Irish classes with groans and curse words and resentment. The language was forced on them like cold lumpy porridge. No kid likes that, but the state couldnt recognise it / stroke / didnt give a damn.

    I dont get the impression that a whole lot has changed in Secondary school. I might be wrong.

    An apathetic attitude is/was a problem in the teaching of the language. The reason for a lot of dreary rote learning is that teachers often have a certain academic standard hanging over their head, usually in the form of some sort of looming examination which is basically a glorified memory test, so they must teach to the curriculum, and that's a pity because the Irish teachers I had clearly had a passion for the language, but they were hamstrung. If one is against pulling it from the compulsory rotation, I'm not sure why, other than a strange paranoia but what about this compromise - pulling Irish examinations from education up to and including J Cert level, but compulsory, let the teachers teach it in a relaxed conversational fashion, building it up bit by bit, and then make it an elective (with exam) for the Leaving?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 542 ✭✭ GaelMise


    briany wrote: »
    An apathetic attitude is/was a problem in the teaching of the language. The reason for a lot of dreary rote learning is that teachers often have a certain academic standard hanging over their head, usually in the form of some sort of looming examination which is basically a glorified memory test, so they must teach to the curriculum, and that's a pity because the Irish teachers I had clearly had a passion for the language, but they were hamstrung. If one is against pulling it from the compulsory rotation, I'm not sure why, other than a strange paranoia but what about this compromise - pulling Irish examinations from education up to and including J Cert level, but compulsory, let the teachers teach it in a relaxed conversational fashion, building it up bit by bit, and then make it an elective (with exam) for the Leaving?

    Couldent agree to this either. There is no simple quick fix to this problem. Make it optional, or make it a non-exam subject, are not viable solutions. Back of a stamp solutions rarely are.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,235 ✭✭✭✭ briany


    GaelMise wrote: »
    Couldent agree to this either. There is no simple quick fix to this problem. Make it optional, or make it a non-exam subject, are not viable solutions. Back of a stamp solutions rarely are.

    You oversimplified my post somewhat and didn't offer any reasoning of your own to back up your view as to why it wouldn't work, which isn't particularly constructive. At least I'm throwing an idea around.

    I said make it an elective for the Leaving and have it taught in a relaxed conversational fashion, compulsorily, up to JC level. The idea there would be to get the student reasonably fluent in the natural language in 11 or so years, which I think is a reasonable time frame, but let them decide to continue studying it toward an exam that may actually matter to their future or opt out and study something else if it's something to which they do not take.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 pog it


    briany wrote: »
    You oversimplified my post somewhat and didn't offer any reasoning of your own to back up your view as to why it wouldn't work, which isn't particularly constructive. At least I'm throwing an idea around.

    I said make it an elective for the Leaving and have it taught in a relaxed conversational fashion up to JC level. The idea there would be to get the student reasonably fluent in the natural language in 11 or so years, which I think is a reasonable time frame, but let them decide to continue studying it toward an exam that may actually matter to their future or opt out and study something else if it's something to which they do not take.

    I used to be one of those who thought that Irish should stay a compulsory subject right through 2nd level as students who had a choice and didn't take it up might regret that decision later, and have a lesser feeling of attachment to Irish, etc.
    A couple of years ago I realised I was wrong. We shouldn't be forcing it on students all the way up to Leaving Cert. I'd rather see the investment going into proper Irish language training for trainee primary school teachers and agree with you completely about making it optional after Junior Cert, but compulsory up to Junior Cert level.

    Unfortunately with the state of Irish teaching in primary schools as it is, we can't afford to make Irish optional in secondary school yet. Also it looks like even the Junior Cert is being dumbed down by Ruairí Quinn so that in itself is dangerous.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,235 ✭✭✭✭ briany


    pog it wrote: »
    I used to be one of those who thought that Irish should stay a compulsory subject right through 2nd level as students who had a choice and didn't take it up might regret that decision later, and have a lesser feeling of attachment to Irish, etc.
    A couple of years ago I realised I was wrong. We shouldn't be forcing it on students all the way up to Leaving Cert. I'd rather see the investment going into proper Irish language training for trainee primary school teachers and agree with you completely about making it optional after Junior Cert, but compulsory up to Junior Cert level.

    Unfortunately with the state of Irish teaching in primary schools as it is, we can't afford to make Irish optional in secondary school yet. Also it looks like even the Junior Cert is being dumbed down by Ruairí Quinn so that in itself is dangerous.

    I'm sure, though, that people have later regretted not choosing to study all manner of optional subjects later in life but those subjects remain optional. I wouldn't say Irish has an exceptional right to remain on the compulsory timetable on this basis or on one that reflects it's practicality in everyday life. Ideally, everything would be elective after the JC but I realise you could be talking about trying to essentially provide an a la carte scholastic menu which could end in a clusterf*ck for timetabling, university applications, putting pressure on a 16 year old to get the subject mix 'right' and all that, so it probably couldn't happen.

    If, as you say, it could be even further dumbed down, you'd wonder when the penny would drop with people that the government and education system don't really care about actually teaching Irish and seem to regard it as a mere trinket of nationalistic vanity, and you'd further wonder why more Geailgeoirí aren't clamouring for change, or seemingly ignore what's going on/what has been going on. Don't they want to see people truly embracing the language rather than paying it lip service?


  • Registered Users Posts: 542 ✭✭ GaelMise


    briany wrote: »
    You oversimplified my post somewhat and didn't offer any reasoning of your own to back up your view as to why it wouldn't work, which isn't particularly constructive. At least I'm throwing an idea around.

    I said make it an elective for the Leaving and have it taught in a relaxed conversational fashion, compulsorily, up to JC level. The idea there would be to get the student reasonably fluent in the natural language in 11 or so years, which I think is a reasonable time frame, but let them decide to continue studying it toward an exam that may actually matter to their future or opt out and study something else if it's something to which they do not take.

    I have already give my reason for why I dont believe making it elective for the leaving would be a good idea. Making languages optional was a disaster in England and I see no reasonable argument for why it would be any different here.
    As for restructuring the curriculum, yes, I have no problem with that, its badly needed in fact. But again no evidence that making it a non-exam subject would be in any way beneficial.
    Arguments that are premised on 'sher lets give this a go for a while' rather than a properly worked out rational supported by evidence are not likely to get my support.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,235 ✭✭✭✭ briany


    GaelMise wrote: »
    I have already give my reason for why I dont believe making it elective for the leaving would be a good idea. Making languages optional was a disaster in England and I see no reasonable argument for why it would be any different here.
    As for restructuring the curriculum, yes, I have no problem with that, its badly needed in fact. But again no evidence that making it a non-exam subject would be in any way beneficial.
    Arguments that are premised on 'sher lets give this a go for a while' rather than a properly worked out rational supported by evidence are not likely to get my support.

    Frankly, the government's apparent attempt to reverse a nation wide language shift through some shambolic, lifeless scholastic means and a few tokenistic gestures in the wider public sphere doesn't seem particularly well worked out or rational and the statistics would bear that out because by every stat going, the number of native, fluent speakers has declined since the beginning of Irish education and the ongoing project to get the nation to some real degree of bilingual proficiency has been a total failure. 'Sher' they gave one thing a go. It's had several decades. Maybe it's time to try something else. I'm certainly not saying this thread is going to influence government policy or something, it's an online discussion. I'm just talking about ways in which change could happen.

    As for the disastrousness of foreign languages like, as you say, French and German being made optional in England, there's a lot more to argue for the greater economic and social cost of doing so because hundreds of millions of people speak those languages and so there's a huge utility socially, economically and culturally in learning one or both for a person who does so. While I'm not for the compulsory learning of any language outside the majority one of the land you live, I'd say there's far more argument to make French, German, Spanish or Chinese compulsory subjects than Irish in terms of the potential opportunities it affords to a person.

    I keep being misquoted on the exam bit as I said make it an optional subject with LC exam and I can tell you who it would benefit - people who want to stay on and complete their schooling but feel their time would be better invested studying a subject they have an actual interest in. At least up until JC it might be compulsory but there'd be no pressure to teach to a test. How would this do in the wild as a means to get students to actually get involved with it as a living language? Well it can't do much worse than the method that's already been tried, that's for sure.


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