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  1. #1
    diy01 diy01 is offline
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    The Irish Language in 2016: Radical steps for revitalisation or time for formal disengagement by the State?

    Isn't it well past time that there was a national conversation on the place that the Irish language should occupy in Irish national life? Although Irish can stir up feelings of excitement, patriotism and cultural pride, it can also cause feelings of resentment, alienation and, above all...indifference!

    What role should Irish play in the education system? What services should be available to Irish-speaking citizens without exception? How should official bilingualism operate in practice? Should Irish retain its current status as the "national language" in the Constitution? Is too much spent on Irish by the government? Too little?

    Below, I propose five fairly radical steps for language revitalisation in the Irish context, followed by five steps for official DISENGAGEMENT. If most people are content to let Irish fade away, then the government should act and stop the pretense about caring for Irish. It should do this by taking definitive action pertaining to the role of Irish in the State. Enough with the tokenism and the ideology of the cúpla focal.

    If, on the other hand, there is widespread enthusiasm for genuine revitalisation and official bilingualism worthy of the name, the government should act decisively while there is still time...

    Numerous studies published over the past decade provide conclusive evidence that Irish is under immense pressure as a native/first language passed on from generation to generation, with a chance that Irish may cease to be the main language of communication in all Gaeltacht districts within 10-15 years. This is not the same as language death (Irish is not endangered in the since of possibly losing all fluent Irish speakers and Irish-speaking households), but what is at stake are the communities needed to sustain a language indefinitely.

    There is too much apathy and government inertia on this topic...it's time for a truly national dialogue on the issue of Irish and its place in the country.

    I propose five fairly radical steps for language revitalisation in the Irish context, followed by five steps for official DISENGAGEMENT. If most people are content to let Irish fade away, then the government should act and stop the pretense about caring for Irish. It should do this by taking definitive action pertaining to the role of Irish in the State. Enough with the tokenism and the ideology of the cúpla focal.

    If, on the other hand, there is widespread enthusiasm for genuine revitalisation and official bilingualism worthy of the name, the government should act decisively while there is still time...

    5 Steps of State Disengagement from the Irish Language:


    English as sole official language

    - Government to propose an amendment to Article 8 of the Constitution and the removal of the following text:

    1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.
    2. The English language is recognised as a second official language.

    [8.1 Ós í an Ghaeilge an teanga náisiúnta is í an phríomhtheanga oifigiúil í.
    8.2 Glactar leis an Sacs-Bhéarla mar theanga oifigiúil eile.]

    Replace with something along the lines of

    8.1 The English language is the official language of the State.
    8.2 The Irish language has equal status with English within geographically defined parts of the State which are designated bilingual (i.e. the Gaeltacht)

    Make the study of Irish optional after the Junior Cert

    - Remove the ‘compulsory’ status of Irish within the education system: henceforth the study of Irish shall be optional after the Junior Certficate.

    Redraw the current boundaries of the Gaeltacht

    - Re-define the Gaeltacht and redraw its boundaries. Any Electoral Division where less than 50% of residents speak Irish habitually/daily (as per the most recent Census data) shall lose Gaeltacht status permanently, by Ministerial Order.

    Remove Irish as an official language of the European Union

    - Initiate the process whereby the Irish State formally seeks to undue the status of Irish as an official language of the European Union. Encourage Irish language translators and interpreters to return to Ireland to seek employment in the remaining Gaeltacht districts.

    Abolish the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga

    - Abolish the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga and end funding for cross-border projects linked with Foras na Gaeilge.



    5 Steps to Revitalise Irish

    - Establish a stand-alone Department of the Gaeltacht within three months (but with considerably more funding than the Dept. that existed from 1956 to 1993). Require that all Ministers of this Department are fluently bilingual, without exception.

    - Establish a stand-alone Department of Irish within three months. Require that all Ministers of this Department are fluently bilingual, without exception.

    - Establish “Intensive Language Education Centres” on Inis Meáin, Oileán Thoraí and An Blascaod Mór (staffed by teachers from mainland villages such as Dún Chaoin and Baile na nGall). These centres would be where non-fluent civil servants based in the Gaeltacht would be required to go for six consecutive months in order to achieve full fluency in Irish. At the conclusion of the six month course, individuals would take the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (a certification exam endorsed by the Council of Europe). Those who fail to achieve a pass grade for Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) would be required to relocate outside the Gaeltacht.

    - Segregate native Irish-speaking children under the age of 12 in Gaeltacht schools from their Anglophone counterparts in order to reduce the influence of English and encourage socialisation through Irish. In other words, ensure that certain Gaeltacht primary schools admit only children whose mother tongue/native language is Irish. No English to be included in lessons or interactions between staff and pupils for the first five years.

    - Conduct a root-and-branch review of all schools located in the official Gaeltacht, as well as all State agencies, Public Bodies and offices which provide services in Gaeltacht areas in order to determine the following:

    - The proportion of native Irish-speaking children in every school in all Electoral Divisions found within the Gaeltacht.

    - The proportion of native Irish-speaking teachers and teaching/educational assistants in every Gaeltacht school

    - The proportion of native Irish-speaking Gardaí stationed in Gaeltacht districts

    - The proportion of State and semi-State employees who are native Irish speakers (administrators, HSE health care providers, etc.) based in the Gaeltacht.


    FURTHER READING:

    Death of Gaeltacht likely in next 10 years, warns expert

    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/ir...uage-1.2264426

    Death knell tolling for Irish as community language

    Comment: The Gaeltacht must be broken and remade to save Irish

    Early exposure to English is damaging the standard of Irish among Gaeltacht young

    Bilingual approach 'destroys' Gaeltacht Irish
    Last edited by diy01; 27th October 2016 at 04:40 PM.
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  2. #2
    GrainneDee GrainneDee is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by diy01 View Post
    Isn't it well past time that there was a national conversation on the place that the Irish language should occupy in Irish national life? Although Irish can stir up feelings of excitement, patriotism and cultural pride, it can also cause feelings of resentment, alienation and, above all...indifference!

    What role should Irish play in the education system? What services should be available to Irish-speaking citizens without exception? How should official bilingualism operate in practice? Should Irish retain its current status as the "national language" in the Constitution? Is too much spent on Irish by the government? Too little?

    Below, I propose five fairly radical steps for language revitalisation in the Irish context, followed by five steps for official DISENGAGEMENT. If most people are content to let Irish fade away, then the government should act and stop the pretense about caring for Irish. It should do this by taking definitive action pertaining to the role of Irish in the State. Enough with the tokenism and the ideology of the cúpla focal.

    If, on the other hand, there is widespread enthusiasm for genuine revitalisation and official bilingualism worthy of the name, the government should act decisively while there is still time...

    Numerous studies published over the past decade provide conclusive evidence that Irish is under immense pressure as a native/first language passed on from generation to generation, with a chance that Irish may cease to be the main language of communication in all Gaeltacht districts within 10-15 years. This is not the same as language death (Irish is not endangered in the since of possibly losing all fluent Irish speakers and Irish-speaking households), but what is at stake are the communities needed to sustain a language indefinitely.

    There is too much apathy and government inertia on this topic...it's time for a truly national dialogue on the issue of Irish and its place in the country.

    I propose five fairly radical steps for language revitalisation in the Irish context, followed by five steps for official DISENGAGEMENT. If most people are content to let Irish fade away, then the government should act and stop the pretense about caring for Irish. It should do this by taking definitive action pertaining to the role of Irish in the State. Enough with the tokenism and the ideology of the cúpla focal.

    If, on the other hand, there is widespread enthusiasm for genuine revitalisation and official bilingualism worthy of the name, the government should act decisively while there is still time...

    5 Steps of State Disengagement from the Irish Language:


    English as sole official language

    - Government to propose an amendment to Article 8 of the Constitution and the removal of the following text:

    1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.
    2. The English language is recognised as a second official language.

    [8.1 Ós í an Ghaeilge an teanga náisiúnta is í an phríomhtheanga oifigiúil í.
    8.2 Glactar leis an Sacs-Bhéarla mar theanga oifigiúil eile.]

    Replace with something along the lines of

    8.1 The English language is the official language of the State.
    8.2 The Irish language has equal status with English within geographically defined parts of the State which are designated bilingual (i.e. the Gaeltacht)

    Make the study of Irish optional after the Junior Cert

    - Remove the ‘compulsory’ status of Irish within the education system: henceforth the study of Irish shall be optional after the Junior Certficate.

    Redraw the current boundaries of the Gaeltacht

    - Re-define the Gaeltacht and redraw its boundaries. Any Electoral Division where less than 50% of residents speak Irish habitually/daily (as per the most recent Census data) shall lose Gaeltacht status permanently, by Ministerial Order.

    Remove Irish as an official language of the European Union

    - Initiate the process whereby the Irish State formally seeks to undue the status of Irish as an official language of the European Union. Encourage Irish language translators and interpreters to return to Ireland to seek employment in the remaining Gaeltacht districts.

    Abolish the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga

    - Abolish the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga and end funding for cross-border projects linked with Foras na Gaeilge.



    5 Steps to Revitalise Irish

    - Establish a stand-alone Department of the Gaeltacht within three months (but with considerably more funding than the Dept. that existed from 1956 to 1993). Require that all Ministers of this Department are fluently bilingual, without exception.

    - Establish a stand-alone Department of Irish within three months. Require that all Ministers of this Department are fluently bilingual, without exception.

    - Establish “Intensive Language Education Centres” on Inis Meáin, Oileán Thoraí and An Blascaod Mór (staffed by teachers from mainland villages such as Dún Chaoin and Baile na nGall). These centres would be where non-fluent civil servants based in the Gaeltacht would be required to go for six consecutive months in order to achieve full fluency in Irish. At the conclusion of the six month course, individuals would take the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (a certification exam endorsed by the Council of Europe). Those who fail to achieve a pass grade for Ardleibhéal 1 (C1) would be required to relocate outside the Gaeltacht.

    - Segregate native Irish-speaking children under the age of 12 in Gaeltacht districts from their Anglophone counterparts in order to counter the influence of English. In other words, ensure that certain Gaeltacht primary schools admit only children whose mother tongue/native language is Irish. No English to be included in lessons or interactions between staff and pupils for the first five years.

    - Conduct a root-and-branch review of all schools located in the official Gaeltacht, as well as all State agencies and offices which provide services in Gaeltacht areas in order to determine the following:

    - The proportion of native Irish-speaking children in every school in all Electoral Divisions found within the Gaeltacht.

    - The proportion of native Irish-speaking teachers and teaching/educational assistants in every Gaeltacht school

    - The proportion of native Irish-speaking Gardaí stationed in Gaeltacht districts

    - The proportion of State and semi-State employees who are native Irish speakers (administrators, HSE health care providers, etc.) based in the Gaeltacht.


    FURTHER READING:

    Death of Gaeltacht likely in next 10 years, warns expert

    Death knell tolling for Irish as community language

    Comment: The Gaeltacht must be broken and remade to save Irish

    Early exposure to English is damaging the standard of Irish among Gaeltacht young

    Bilingual approach 'destroys' Gaeltacht Irish
    Ban it. That way everyone will want to talk it.
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  3. #3
    Clanrickard Clanrickard is offline
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    Make Irish the language of the civil service. You have 5years to be fluent in written and spoken Irish if you already work there. Privatise all English channels and keep TG4. Bring refugees to the Gaelteacht and teach their children Irish only until they are 9 and only then teach them English.
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  4. #4
    diy01 diy01 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrainneDee View Post
    Ban it. That way everyone will want to talk it.
    Realistically, which proposals do you agree with and why?
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  5. #5
    Kommunist Kommunist is offline
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    I think making all primary and secondary schools gaeltacht's would probably have the long lasting effect you are looking for.
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  6. #6
    diy01 diy01 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clanrickard View Post
    Make Irish the language of the civil service. You have 5years to be fluent in written and spoken Irish if you already work there. Privatise all English channels and keep TG4. Bring refugees to the Gaelteacht and teach their children Irish only until they are 9 and only then teach them English.
    Unemployment is already a significant issue in the Gaeltacht, especially the most remote parts (which tend to have the highest concentration of native speakers). Poor refugees if they are sent there!
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  7. #7
    diy01 diy01 is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommunist View Post
    I think making all primary and secondary schools gaeltacht's would probably have the long lasting effect you are looking for.
    There aren't enough fluently bilingual teachers in Ireland to make such a proposal workable. It has been that way ever since 1922!
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  8. #8
    GrainneDee GrainneDee is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by diy01 View Post
    There aren't enough fluently bilingual teachers in Ireland to make such a proposal workable. It has been that way ever since 1922!
    Apart from the little fact that teachers, students and parents might object...
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  9. #9
    GrainneDee GrainneDee is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clanrickard View Post
    Make Irish the language of the civil service. You have 5years to be fluent in written and spoken Irish if you already work there. Privatise all English channels and keep TG4. Bring refugees to the Gaelteacht and teach their children Irish only until they are 9 and only then teach them English.
    Yep, I can see that working. The Civil Service is slow enough without reducing manpower to a fraction of its present cohort.
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  10. #10
    Cellachán Chaisil Cellachán Chaisil is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommunist View Post
    I think making all primary and secondary schools gaeltacht's would probably have the long lasting effect you are looking for.
    No. It wouldn't work. We wouldn't have competent teachers to manage them and the resentment created would ensure that students would disengage completely from the language.

    Plus, it's actually been tried before.
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