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View Diary: Irish Surprises: 13 Things You Probably Don't Know about 21st Century Eire (88 comments)

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  •  As their first language (3+ / 0-)
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    FarWestGirl, blue muon, kyril

    Yes, that number is probably accurate.  

    But as far as the number of people that are fluent in Irish,  I would say that number is much, much higher.  It is required learning from 1st grade all the way through secondary school.  

    That being said my uncle would often go into shops and speak to the clerk in Irish and would be cross with them when they could not respond.  He would say "Whats the matter with you, don't you know your own language".  

    I imagine with the influx of immigrants from all over the world it is even more difficult now to maintain knowledge of the Irish language.  The welsh have done a better job of that.

    •  It was almost extinct not long ago. I remember (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue muon, kyril

      hearing that it started being taught again by those in prison to the younger inmates during the Troubles. It apparently messed up the regional accents, a bit like TV in the US has given everyone California accents.

      I'm glad it's being taught in school again. The Welsh have, indeed, been very protective of their native tongue and made it part of the curriculum many years ago.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 02:36:03 PM PDT

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      •  I have cousins that lived on the Aran Islands (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl, kyril

        There first language as well as most everyone on the Island's was Irish.  Interestingly enough when they spoke english it would be with an american accident because most of the TV programs were american programs.  

        The English occupation nearly wiped out the language since teaching it was a crime you could be killed for.  But it persisted and was taught illegally within hedge row shools.  

        It would be a shame for the language to die out altogether, however, it is difficult to get students to study a language that is not even common in your own country.  

    •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

      It's required, but not well learned. My wife's a graduate of one of the top Dublin colleges, won a prize for Irish writing in high school, and can't speak more than a dozen words and a handful of phrases of it today.

      Just as most urban Americans "study" a foreign language like Spanish or French for at least 2-3 years in middle and high schools, but never actually learn to speak it any better than someone who's just seen it on TV.

      Around Galway we found lots more people who speak Irish, and people who speak nothing but. FWIW, in NYC's Chinatown there are people who speak nothing but Cantonese.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:23:59 PM PDT

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