Thursday, January 21, 2010

Irish Language Revival Attempts

As my current linguistic obsession is the Irish language (Gaeilge) I decided that today's post would be about modern attempts to revive the language. Not to say that it is dead! According to Wikipedia's article, there are 355,000 fluent/native speakers (1983); 538,000 everyday speakers (2006); and 1.86 million speakers with some degree of knowledge of the language (2006), a statistic I am proud to be a part of.

As Wikipedia is pretty much my favorite website and the first place I go when seeking knowledge, I am go there to read about modern language revival. Gaelscoileanna are schools were Gaeilge is the working language. With approximately 50,000 students enrolled, the Gaelscoileanna project has became the most succesful minority language immersion program in all of Europe.

In 2006, Gaeilge was added as the 21st official language of the EU. This of course gave Irish more exposure and I'm sure many people have undertaken a study of the language as a result.

The Constitution of Ireland/Bunreacht na hÉireann recognizes Gaeilge as the official language of the Republic of Ireland. All publicly-funded schools in the Republic of Ireland are required to teach Gaeilge.

There are some sections of Ireland known as Gaeltachtaí where Gaeilge is the primary language spoken.

So what can we do as individuals to add to the revival attempts? Well, learn Gaeilge of course! Try to get friends and family interested, talk about the language on whatever sites you frequent or blogs you own, start your own conversation groups, etc. The fact that you read this blog means that you're probably interested in linguistics so you probably have plenty of ideas of your own. Don't underestimate the power of YouTube! If you're interested, type "as Gaeilge" into YouTube's search box, there are several people who post videos speaking only Gaeilge.

Adh mór ort, agus slán!

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