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The Irish Language and the Irish Government

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    There are over 5,000 Irish passport holders in Hong Kong. Why is it so ridiculous to imagine that the Irish language and culture could be promoted there?

    There are over 4 million Irish passport holders in Ireland who don't speak Irish, should we not concentrate here?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    I found an age structure breakdown for the population as a whole here. I then checked the interactive tables in the Irish language profile, one of the tables gives stats for frequency of speaking Irish and age. I searched it for daily Irish speakers cross referenced by age and then added the relevant figures to make corrosponding age groups (The age groups were more broken down in the interactive table) so the figures could be compared. I was not able compare every age group because the the first age group for the population as a whole starts at 0, while the Irish language stats start at 3 years (babies under two don't speak a language so they don't include them in the tables).

    You could go in and find the figures for each year in age and put them together to get a full set of matching age groups, but it was merely idle curiosity that made me look it up so I didn't go any further when I was able to compare an older and younger age group to each other.

    I think your interpretation of the numbers is a bit off.
    Using tables EY006 (population by age group) and EY035 (daily Irish speaking outside of school by age group) from here, we can build up this table:

    ..Age .Irish Total Pop %
    15-19 2453 302816 0.81
    20-24 3146 273636 1.15
    25-29 2794 297435 0.94
    30-34 3595 361975 0.99
    35-39 5366 389421 1.38
    40-44 5674 357460 1.59
    45-49 4497 326110 1.38
    50-54 3454 299935 1.15
    55-59 3409 270102 1.26
    60-64 3460 238856 1.45
    65-69 3182 211236 1.51
    70-74 2691 162272 1.66
    75-79 1983 115467 1.72
    80-84 1327. 81037 .1.64
    --85+ 1163. 67555 .1.72


    Looking at the underlined percentages, we can see by far the lowest percentage of daily irish speakers outside of school are 15-34 year olds and the highest are the 70+year olds.
    There are some peaks and troughs in the middle, but it's clearly an upward skewing graph a with the 70+s nearly twice the under 34s.
    Also nowhere near the 23% and 12.1% you were getting before:confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    There are over 5,000 Irish passport holders in Hong Kong. Why is it so ridiculous to imagine that the Irish language and culture could be promoted there?

    Perhaps it could, but that is not why board members of Údarás na Gaeltachta would have went to Hong Kong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    I think your interpretation of the numbers is a bit off.
    Using tables EY006 (population by age group) and EY035 (daily Irish speaking outside of school by age group) from here, we can build up this table:

    ..Age .Irish Total Pop %
    15-19 2453 302816 0.81
    20-24 3146 273636 1.15
    25-29 2794 297435 0.94
    30-34 3595 361975 0.99
    35-39 5366 389421 1.38
    40-44 5674 357460 1.59
    45-49 4497 326110 1.38
    50-54 3454 299935 1.15
    55-59 3409 270102 1.26
    60-64 3460 238856 1.45
    65-69 3182 211236 1.51
    70-74 2691 162272 1.66
    75-79 1983 115467 1.72
    80-84 1327. 81037 .1.64
    --85+ 1163. 67555 .1.72


    Looking at the underlined percentages, we can see by far the lowest percentage of daily irish speakers outside of school are 15-34 year olds and the highest are the 70+year olds.
    There are some peaks and troughs in the middle, but it's clearly an upward skewing graph a with the 70+s nearly twice the under 34s.
    Also nowhere near the 23% and 12.1% you were getting before:confused:

    You made a mistake, you are only looking at the "Speaks Irish daily (outside education system only)"

    If we look at the 15 - 19 age group, the figure you have is 2453. This is the group who "Speaks Irish daily (outside education system only)". The "(outside education system only)" bit is important here because it tells you that you are only looking at people who speak Irish daily outside the education system. Given that we are talking about teenagers, quite a few of them are still at school and quite a few of them speak Irish both inside and outside the education system on a daily basis. That is why you need to add in "Speaks Irish daily within and daily outside the education system" to get the true figure for speaking Irish daily outside the education system. In the case of 15 - 19 year olds, you ignored more than half of those who speak Irish on a daily basis outside of the education system.

    The actual figure is:
    Speaks Irish daily (outside education system only): 2,453
    +
    Speaks Irish daily within and daily outside the education system: 2,723

    Which gives us a total for those who speak Irish on a daily basis outside of the education system of 5,176 which is 1.71%

    The reason that your figures showed lower rates of speaking Irish amongst younger age groups is that younger people are more likely to be involved in the education system and thus ignored when you ignore those who speak Irish both inside and outside the education system.

    Also, I was comparing the age structure of Irish speakers to the age structure of the population as a whole to show that Irish speakers are not generally older people, which is what another poster had claimed. Those aged between 45-64 make up 23.8% of the population as a whole, but only 23% of Daily Irish Speakers. Those aged between 15-24 make up 12.1% of the population as a whole, but 12.3% of daily Irish speakers. This shows that the age structure of Irish speakers is generally the same as the population as a whole and not generally older, as had been claimed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    We could be taught Mandarin in school. I mean if we're only treating language as a tool, Mandarin would one good for business folk. It's the most spoken on the planet. German too for anyone interested in engineering.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    We could be taught Mandarin in school. I mean if we're only treating language as a tool, Mandarin would one good for business folk. It's the most spoken on the planet. German too for anyone interested in engineering.

    Spanish would probably be most useful in the future, if the US Hispanic population continues to grow at its current rate.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Spanish would probably be most useful in the future, if the US Hispanic population continues to grow at its current rate.

    Be nice if countries held onto their own too mind. The world becomes more homogenised every day. Be nice to keep hold of something Irish besides St. Patrick's day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    By contrast to Ireland, the percentage of Welsh speakers by county this year:

    a38w2X7.png


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    The reason that your figures showed lower rates of speaking Irish amongst younger age groups is that younger people are more likely to be involved in the education system and thus ignored when you ignore those who speak Irish both inside and outside the education system.


    You are correct, I did not include those who speak Irish both in and out of school, but that's because people who speak Irish in school are more likely to speak Irish out of school as a result of school obligations (e.g. school homework). So I concentrated my numbers on those who speak Irish with no regard to school obligations.

    Even so, every other age group also increases if you add in such in-and-out-of-school speakers-
    From 20-50 years you can add ~1000 to each group,
    From 50-60 years you can add ~500-600 to each group,
    From 60-70 years you can add ~200-300 to each group,
    From 70+ years you can add ~100 to each group.
    So while increase may not be as prevalent, it is still there.
    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Also, I was comparing the age structure of Irish speakers to the age structure of the population as a whole to show that Irish speakers are not generally older people, which is what another poster had claimed. Those aged between 45-64 make up 23.8% of the population as a whole, but only 23% of Daily Irish Speakers. Those aged between 15-24 make up 12.1% of the population as a whole, but 12.3% of daily Irish speakers. This shows that the age structure of Irish speakers is generally the same as the population as a whole and not generally older, as had been claimed.

    That's what happens when you pick and choose your statistics though. 70 and older make up ~8.95% of the population, but they make up ~14.9% of the daily outside of school Irish speakers. Even if we include in-and-out-of-school speakers that only drops to ~12.8% of Daily Irish speakers being over 70. Therefore over 70's are 50-65% more likely to speak Irish daily than 15-24 year olds.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Be nice if countries held onto their own too mind. The world becomes more homogenised every day. Be nice to keep hold of something Irish besides St. Patrick's day.

    Why?
    For the vast majority of Irish people, English is their language.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Why?
    For the vast majority of Irish people, English is their language.

    That they use. If it has to be said, English isn't Irish. How is letting Irish go to be replaced by English maintaining Irish individuality when it comes to language?


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    By contrast to Ireland, the percentage of Welsh speakers by county this year:

    a38w2X7.png

    I dont understand the point of this graph in this thread......

    The Welsh language revival movement and Irish language revival movement are very separate things separate cultural contexts, separate laws in place, supports etc etc.

    Unless your intent was just to provide a piece of information for us. If that was the case then I thank you for it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,401 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    You made a mistake, you are only looking at the "Speaks Irish daily (outside education system only)"

    If we look at the 15 - 19 age group, the figure you have is 2453. This is the group who "Speaks Irish daily (outside education system only)". The "(outside education system only)" bit is important here because it tells you that you are only looking at people who speak Irish daily outside the education system. Given that we are talking about teenagers, quite a few of them are still at school and quite a few of them speak Irish both inside and outside the education system on a daily basis. That is why you need to add in "Speaks Irish daily within and daily outside the education system" to get the true figure for speaking Irish daily outside the education system. In the case of 15 - 19 year olds, you ignored more than half of those who speak Irish on a daily basis outside of the education system.

    The actual figure is:
    Speaks Irish daily (outside education system only): 2,453
    +
    Speaks Irish daily within and daily outside the education system: 2,723

    Which gives us a total for those who speak Irish on a daily basis outside of the education system of 5,176 which is 1.71%

    The reason that your figures showed lower rates of speaking Irish amongst younger age groups is that younger people are more likely to be involved in the education system and thus ignored when you ignore those who speak Irish both inside and outside the education system.

    Also, I was comparing the age structure of Irish speakers to the age structure of the population as a whole to show that Irish speakers are not generally older people, which is what another poster had claimed. Those aged between 45-64 make up 23.8% of the population as a whole, but only 23% of Daily Irish Speakers. Those aged between 15-24 make up 12.1% of the population as a whole, but 12.3% of daily Irish speakers. This shows that the age structure of Irish speakers is generally the same as the population as a whole and not generally older, as had been claimed.


    Except that teenagers who speak Irish "daily within and daily outside the education system" are just kids doing their homework.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Except that teenagers who speak Irish "daily within and daily outside the education system" are just kids doing their homework.

    It seems unlikely to me that people would answer this question in such a misleading way. It's quite unusual that you would be speaking Irish as part of your homework, certainly not on a daily basis. I can't remember ever speaking to anyone as part of my homework, just reading and writing.

    If it was the case that speaking Irish was a normal everyday part of homework, and people answered the question in the census to indicate this, then given that the vast majority of teenagers take Irish in school, why are only a small minority reporting speaking Irish on a daily basis outside of school?

    Common sense would indicate that you are wrong in your assertion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,401 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    It seems unlikely to me that people would answer this question in such a misleading way. It's quite unusual that you would be speaking Irish as part of your homework, certainly not on a daily basis. I can't remember ever speaking to anyone as part of my homework, just reading and writing.

    If it was the case that speaking Irish was a normal everyday part of homework, and people answered the question in the census to indicate this, then given that the vast majority of teenagers take Irish in school, why are only a small minority reporting speaking Irish on a daily basis outside of school?

    Common sense would indicate that you are wrong in your assertion.

    Most teenagers don't practice their oral Irish language skills for homework, but a small percentage would, which sort of explains your number.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Most teenagers don't practice their oral Irish language skills for homework, but a small percentage would, which sort of explains your number.

    Any evidence to back up this claim? As I said, it seems rather unlikely that people would give such a misleading answer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 34,443 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    People give all sorts of misleading answers in the census, like ticking "catholic" when surveys show over 10% of self-professed "catholics" in Ireland don't believe in god, therefore cannot by definition be catholics (and most of the rest are heretics)

    Same thing with claming you can speak Irish, it's the "right" answer.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Registered Users Posts: 34,443 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    That they use. If it has to be said, English isn't Irish. How is letting Irish go to be replaced by English maintaining Irish individuality when it comes to language?

    It was replaced by English 2-300 years ago but that fact hasn't quite sunk in yet with some.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    It was replaced by English 2-300 years ago but that fact hasn't quite sunk in yet with some.

    Replaced is a very nice reading of the situation


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    It was replaced by English 2-300 years ago but that fact hasn't quite sunk in yet with some.

    Are you intentionally veering off course?
    Be nice if countries held onto their own too mind. The world becomes more homogenised every day. Be nice to keep hold of something Irish besides St. Patrick's day.

    What are you on about? You do know English isn't Irish right?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,401 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Be nice if countries held onto their own too mind. The world becomes more homogenised every day. Be nice to keep hold of something Irish besides St. Patrick's day.


    Irish is part of our heritage. Of course we will remember it.

    However, culture needs to evolve. Our country is at an exciting time with many immigrants coming to Ireland. Like there were Irish-Americans before, there will be Polish-Irish in future and African-Irish as well. Our culture will be enriched as a result, but will be very different. Hanging on to a pure Irish-nationalistic basis for our culture is wrong and against the all-embracing country that we should be.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    blanch152 wrote: »
    Irish is part of our heritage. Of course we will remember it.

    However, culture needs to evolve. Our country is at an exciting time with many immigrants coming to Ireland. Like there were Irish-Americans before, there will be Polish-Irish in future and African-Irish as well. Our culture will be enriched as a result, but will be very different. Hanging on to a pure Irish-nationalistic basis for our culture is wrong and against the all-embracing country that we should be.

    This is something I am all for though. Polish- Irish? Great. African - Irish? Great. I have zero problem with diversity and indeed it does and is enriching the society here but it’s not a dichotomy.

    However, a pluralistic society doesn’t have to drop its own culture to be pluralistic, rather it should be involved in welcoming and integrating newcomers into it in ongoing process of cultural exchange. It’s complex right?

    If a group of Polish immigrants bring a sport to Ireland from their culture and it gains popularity, does the Government just abandon any supports for the GAA? Nah. Do we outright reject the new sport because it’s not what the sons of Roisín died for? Equally absurd.

    I’m against the abuses of the Maori language historically in New Zeland and support it’s protection. I am against attack on Catalan in Catalonia. These things don’t make me a nationistic crazy person, they just make me logically consistent.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,401 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    madbeanman wrote: »
    This is something I am all for though. Polish- Irish? Great. African - Irish? Great. I have zero problem with diversity and indeed it does and is enriching the society here but it’s not a dichotomy.

    However, a pluralistic society doesn’t have to drop its own culture to be pluralistic, rather it should be involved in welcoming and integrating newcomers into it in ongoing process of cultural exchange. It’s complex right?

    If a group of Polish immigrants bring a sport to Ireland from their culture and it gains popularity, does the Government just abandon any supports for the GAA? Nah. Do we outright reject the new sport because it’s not what the sons of Roisín died for? Equally absurd.

    I’m against the abuses of the Maori language historically in New Zeland and support it’s protection. I am against attack on Catalan in Catalonia. These things don’t make me a nationistic crazy person, they just make me logically consistent.


    Oh, nobody is saying eliminate Irish or anything like that. We should remember it and celebrate it like other parts of our heritage.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    Again, I suggest a country having it's own language is a nice thing to have. I don't see any sense in letting it go. On the other hand nobody should be forced to speak it. However, we are Irish, we have the Irish language. People need to get over that. It'll never disappear thankfully.
    I use English everyday, but it's little or nothing to do with Irish heritage or culture. A country should hold on to it's heritage and culture if it's any interest in it's culture or heritage, otherwise every European country would probably be speaking Esperanza. A time may come when the common tongue is Chinese, so be it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    madbeanman wrote: »
    This is something I am all for though. Polish- Irish? Great. African - Irish? Great. I have zero problem with diversity and indeed it does and is enriching the society here but it’s not a dichotomy.

    However, a pluralistic society doesn’t have to drop its own culture to be pluralistic, rather it should be involved in welcoming and integrating newcomers into it in ongoing process of cultural exchange. It’s complex right?
    It is complex situation alright. I have seen immigrants sending their kids to gaelscoileanna because they imagine, rightly or wrongly, that those kids will be immune from any kind of xenophobia or discrimination later on.
    I have also seen immigrants who reject anything like that, seeing the Irish language and GAA as something for the nativists. Instead they turn inward into their own ethnic community.

    Nobody knows how it will all turn out. Its too soon to say.


    One things for sure though, the more you dilute the native culture, the less important it becomes to the general population, and therefore a democratic govt. will lose the will (and the mandate) to lavish cash and special concessions on it.
    You mention the USA, but not many in the southwestern USA would support mandatory Apache language classes. Its just seen as a language from the past now, even though it would have been the majority language only 200 years ago.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    I expect it won't be long now before compulsory Irish is dropped from the schools. Its an absurd situation, given that there are so many subjects nowadays competing for time.

    If people choose to spend 12 years learning how to string a few sentences together as gaeilge, fine. Others may think learning computer coding or graphic design would be time better spent.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    recedite wrote: »
    It is complex situation alright. I have seen immigrants sending their kids to gaelscoileanna because they imagine, rightly or wrongly, that those kids will be immune from any kind of xenophobia or discrimination later on.
    I have also seen immigrants who reject anything like that, seeing the Irish language and GAA as something for the nativists. Instead they turn inward into their own ethnic community.

    Nobody knows how it will all turn out. Its too soon to say.


    One things for sure though, the more you dilute the native culture, the less important it becomes to the general population, and therefore a democratic govt. will lose the will (and the mandate) to lavish cash and special concessions on it.
    You mention the USA, but not many in the southwestern USA would support mandatory Apache language classes. Its just seen as a language from the past now, even though it would have been the majority language only 200 years ago.

    Did I mention the USA? I don’t think I did.

    Also it’s such a crazy comparison to make. The Native American population were brought to the brink of extinction through a form of........*say it with me*....... colonialism by the British, solidified by immigration and slavery and ignorance on the part of the American people.

    None of these things are good. Then you would expect the traditional oppressors to suddenly turn around and say actually nah let’s revive the language of the people we’ve been screwing over for all this time?


    EDIT: Definitely did not mention the USA.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Did I mention the USA? I don’t think I did.

    Also it’s such a crazy comparison to make. The Native American population were brought to the brink of extinction through a form of........*say it with me*....... colonialism by the British, solidified by immigration and slavery and ignorance on the part of the American people.
    Sorry it was NZ and the Maoris you mentioned, not the USA, but that is essentially the same situation as with USA and the Apaches.

    So you don't see NZ schools making the Maori language compulsory in all their schools, for example.
    You're framing this in terms of Oppressor Coloniser V Oppressed colonised. But that is a somewhat leftist political view. What of the millions of Irish who flooded into the USA and got jobs in the police forces, or other situations where their good command of the English language proved very useful. Were they oppressors? No, they were simply immigrants, and immigrants do what immigrants have always done; they replace and dilute the natives and their culture.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,015 ✭✭✭✭James Brown


    None mentioned began using English due to an influx of Immigrants. Immigrants came after the indigenous peoples were put to the back.
    Ireland is different. The majority consider themselves Irish. The majority of NZ do not consider themselves Maori and the majority of U.S. citizens do not consider themselves Apache. Any comparisons are a bit silly really.
    The fact remains Ireland has a language unique to it. Using English doesn't nor will ever take away from that. How much money the state invests in it is of course up for debate but suggesting we should let it go altogether because we currently use English is a nonsense. Anglicised Irish folk need get over it.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,401 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    None mentioned began using English due to an influx of Immigrants. Immigrants came after the indigenous peoples were put to the back.
    Ireland is different. The majority consider themselves Irish. The majority of NZ do not consider themselves Maori and the majority of U.S. citizens do not consider themselves Apache. Any comparisons are a bit silly really.
    The fact remains Ireland has a language unique to it. Using English doesn't nor will ever take away from that. How much money the state invests in it is of course up for debate but suggesting we should let it go altogether because we currently use English is a nonsense. Anglicised Irish folk need get over it.


    To be correct about it, the majority of people consider themselves Irish but native speakers of English.


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