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Irish language is supported but not actively used, report finds

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 07/08/2015. Irish language is supported but not actively used, report findsTags: Education And Politics

A new research report addressing the attitudes to, and use of, the Irish language in Ireland was published today by the ERSI.

The report shows that the majority of the adult population supported the use of the language and recognised its importance to the Irish identity and culture.

However, only 14% of adults in Ireland are fluent in Irish at an advanced level.

Students in Primary and post-Primary schools largely viewed the language in a more negative light, with the majority of Irish students actively studying it only to "pass the exams". This contradicts the attitudes shown by those in Northern Ireland who were "learning Irish for its own sake".

The report also states that the lack of opportunity to speak in Irish may be one of the reasons for people not using it regularly. The study found that Irish speakers were deterred from using the language because they did not know whether or not others in their company spoke the language too.

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 report findings Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge, said:

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

Read the full report here

Source: Press Release, ERSI


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