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tabhair freagratabhair freagra #1 Thomas 5 Meán Fómhair 2010, 22:05 GMT
I can't help but find this apocalyptic terror that making Irish no longer compulsory in school has for some people. Has this policy resulted a significant rise of speakers over the last 90 years? No - the opposite in fact. People have come to see it as irrelevant and a waste of time. The promotion of the Irish language needs a new completely new strategy if it is to survive. Continuing fruitless policies like compulsory Irish in schools and ludicrous money wasting policies like translating documents nobody reads must end. Instead efforts must be focused on pragmatic solutions that will engender new generations of speakers, communities where it is socially acceptable to speak Irish and Irish becoming a independent cultural entity that is not dependent on huge government grants to maintain its survival. It must start providing for itself.

I believe this can be achieved by:

1. Ensuring that all the national schools in gaeltacht areas become gaelscoils over the next 10 years and secondary schools over the next 20 years.

This will both reintroduce the Irish language to communities that have stopped speaking it, but in a gentle way. Competence in English should be a priority. As a result, you will have significant areas in Ireland where Irish is the main form of communication in just 20 years. Gaelscoils will assuage the cultural shock of communities making the transition from English to Irish speaking.

2. Encourage the Irish Diaspora to learn Irish.

With a global community of 50 million, if even 5% are encouraged to learn Irish, that's 2 and a half million people. Irish communities in Britain, the U.S.A, Canada and Australia should be enfranchised to see Irish as 'their' language too. The Diaspora should be encouraged to come on organised excursions to the gaeltacht to immerse themselves in an Irish speaking environment in the same way that many students in Ireland attend summer colleges.

3. Ensure that speaking Irish is more socially acceptable in the galltacht.

Years of compulsory Irish in schools has resulted in people who speak Irish in public as viewed as a somewhat eccentric or just pretentious. The only way Irish can flourish in English speaking communities in Ireland is if it changes its cultural position. While not being a compulsory subject to learn, it should be looked upon as an essential part of an Irish identity (in the same way that, for example, one could not imagine someone having a strong French identity if they could not actually speak French). It would be more effective if gaelscoils in the galltacht were allowed to rise organically and without the stigma of pretentiousness that fluency in Irish has in society. More people would be attracted to these schools, especially if they were sure that these schools have a good reputation of providing a quality education and an authentically Irish experience for their children.

Ideas outlined in the '20 year strategy' mentioned in the article seem to put more emphasis on encouraging adults to change the way they communicate spontaneously and and placing more pressure on teachers to inspire children to speak in a language that goes against the grain of their peers and their families. If you want to achieve something it is better just to focus on your strengths. We should encourage and support only those who are enthusiastic about the language; forcing people to speak or learn it will only further repulse them away from it.

More fruit will be borne through encouraging communities, especially those of the gaeltacht, to use gaelscoils for their children's education. It may take a generation but it will guarantee a that Irish will become the language of the community once again.
tabhair freagratabhair freagra #2 Eoghan Ó Murchadha 6 Meán Fómhair 2010, 11:55 GMT
Aithnítear a Bhreandáin a chara, go gceapann Urlabhraí Oid P an Lucht Oibre gur cheart í a dhéanamh roghnach. Cuirfear cath orainn mar Ghaeil gan amhras.
tabhair freagratabhair freagra #3 Daithi Mac Carthaigh 6 Meán Fómhair 2010, 18:19 GMT
Lead on Thomas....by example. Scriobh an chead alt eile as Gaeilge!
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