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Irish speakers in the Irish Freestate



  • #2

    Mick Tator wrote: »
    Of course? Not!

    In 1926 a total of 543,511 asserted that they could speak Irish.
    In 2016 the figure was more than three times that number, at 1,774,437. Whether or not the people behind the 2016 figure actually could speak Irish (beyond lá brea and Jams O'Donnell is ainm dom) is open to question.

    I was about to dive on that figure calling it rubbish but everyone has already seemed to have agreed that it is.

    I've met quite a few people who have claimed to be able to speak Irish and none of them were in anyway actually able to have a conversation, with me being one of the few people in Ireland who can actually speak Irish I can easily put anyone who claims they can to the test.

    Those figures do seem quite bizarre to think that that many people would bother lying about it.

  • #2

    I think the answers to the census question ("Can you speak Irish?", which can only be answered "yes" or "no") is probably coloured by the question which comes immediately afterwards:

    "If 'yes', do you speak Irish —

    - daily, within the education system

    - daily, outside the education system

    - weekly

    - less often

    - never

    That possibly contributes to an understanding that a very basic level of Irish, consistent with very infrequent use, still counts as a "yes".

    Also worth noting that, of the 1.77 million who say that they speak Irish, about half are accounted for by pupils in primary and secondary education, who are nearly all actively studying Irish and presumably have at least some grasp of the language. Add in another quarter of a million, say, who completed secondary education with the last five years and haven't forgotten everything yet. So that leaves roughly 650,000-700,000 who say that they have have retained the ability to speak some Irish into adulthood. The population of Ireland over the age of 25 is about 3.3 million; by this rough calculation about 20% of them are saying that they can speak at least some Irish.

  • #2

    With regard to the census the key metrics are with regard to language community are:
    - daily, outside the education system: 73,803 (1.55% of census 2016 population)
    - weekly, outside the education system: 111,473 (2.34% of census 2016 population)

    This would give a maximum language community of around 185,276 on those metrics, the truer number is probably somewhere in between figure of daily/weekly speakers (outside of education system)

    Here's map from 2011, unsurprisingly when it comes to daily speakers the Gaeltacht and surronding areas stand out:

    However it should be noted that only 20,586 of the daily speakers live in the Gaeltacht. Given the current trajectory it's probable that Irish will cease to be a community language within the Gaeltacht within the next 20-30 years.

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