The Irish Language

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Since the beginning of the Millennium BC, the Irish language has been widely spoken on the Irish Island. The Irish language was the dominant vernacular language until the end of the 18th century, when it experienced a sudden decline in its native speaker population, especially at the beginning of the second half of the 19th century (Kreilkamp 247). The use of the language has received widespread support, and it has been the primary goal of the Irish state since its inception. Recent research found that the current use of the Irish language is mainly on a community level, meaning it is used as the normal language on a daily interaction basis in society as a tool for discourse (Moriarty 27). Currently, over 1.8 million people living in Ireland speak Irish as their native language. More than 35 million Americans agreed to identify themselves with the Irish community, in an American Community service that was conducted by the Census Bureau (Moriarty 28). Many Americans are said to trace their roots in the west to the country of Ireland where the Irish idiom is most dominant. The Irish language is also used in teaching in schools. In Ireland, there are over 305 Irish lingo elementary schools that utilize Irish in their teaching curricula. There are different attributes about the Irish language that need to be discussed in finding its purpose across different institutions and society (Moriarty 30).

In the Spanish language, the Irish language is referred to as the “Irlandes Gaelico” or sometimes shortened to “Irlandes.” When it comes to the English language, the Irish language is known as the “Irish Gaelic”, and is widely used in the Irish Island. The Irish language is referred to as the first language since it was historically used by the original Irish people. It is currently spoken as the first language by only a small number of people in the Irish community. But it is also used as the second language by the larger population of the Irish speakers who do not consider Irish as the native language. The Irish language is now considered in the constitution as the first and national language in the Republic of Ireland. It is also considered to be the minority language that is used in societal discourse in Northern Ireland. The Irish language was known as the predominant language used by the Irish people in most part of their history. They also spread the Irish language to other regions in which they settled, and most notably in the Isle of Man and in Scotland. It resulted in the rise of the Scottish Gaelic and also the Manx, which is considered to have some of the oldest vernacular literature in Western Europe (Kreilkamp 250). The outcome of the Irish language was determined by the English state’s power that was increasing in the country of Ireland. The Elizabethan officials who led the English state at the time considered the language unfavorable, and it was viewed as a huge threat to the English culture and tradition. The decline of the use of the Irish language began at the start of the 17th century under the English rule. In the last period of the 19th century, the language saw a decline in the number of speakers of the Irish language, and it began soon after the phenomenon in the Great Famine from the year 1845 to 1852, where the population of Ireland emigrated or died. The Irish speaking zones were hit the worst and caused and contributed to the short term decline of the Irish speakers in those regions. Since that period the Irish language has been considered a language of the minorities due to its low number of speakers.

In the 21st century, an estimated 20,000 to 80,000 individuals speak the traditional Irish language. Most of these people can be found in the rural areas and communities where they have continued to use the Irish language as their native language. When combined with those that live outside the rural areas and in the urban areas the number increases to a total of 77,185 people, according to a census conducted in Ireland in 2006. They traditional native speakers are referred to as the Gaeltacht. When the census was conducted again in the year 2016, the number had decreased and the new number was found to be 73,803 speakers of the traditional native language. In Northern Ireland, there are estimated to be several thousand native Irish speakers. It is also approximated that up to 5 to 10 percent of the total Irish population are active Irish language users. The number has significantly increased in the urban areas especially in the city of Dublin. The community of Irish speakers in the urban areas is described to be disparate but also large, in the middle class, has been strongly linked to the growth of the non-mainstream schools that teach children some medium Irish, and are also enjoy cultural lives in the respective communities.

In Ireland, there are 305 elementary schools that teach and use the Irish language in their curricular. There are also 71 high schools that offer classes and tutor using the Irish language. With there being over 12,000 pupils in the Gaeltacht regions at both secondary and primary, their education through the Irish language is considered to be at medium levels (Murphy 82). There are also an estimated 1,000 preschool children that also learn through the Irish language. Though the education system using the Irish language has been predominantly used in the Gaeltacht regions, there has also been a case of Irish being taught and used outside these regions. In the year 2015, the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said that there will be a widespread change in the teaching and instruction of the Irish language and will be introduced in schools as a new curriculum for the students. It will be an advantage for more children who do not have a chance to learn Irish at home or in school.

The Irish language has also had a significant effect on the different types of media. It is used in almost all types of media including radio, television, and even print media. The Irish language presence in radio is adopted by Gaeltacht Radio, which has on more than one occasion gone beyond the limits of its original brief, so as to cover Gaeltacht international and national issues. In television, TG4 is the official Irish programming channel that includes rock, dramas, and even pop shows that use the Irish language.

There are different private companies in the country of Ireland that have been identified to have no form of Irish language provision. SuperValu and Tesco Ireland have made a decision to provide Irish language signage in most of their stores. The top oil garages in the country of Ireland have also adopted the use of Irish language signage among their garages. Bank of Ireland and its ATMS have also started the use of the Irish language as a form of communication and encourage most of their employees to have some knowledge of the Irish idiom. Samsung phones nowadays come with an inbuilt Irish language menu option for people that are fluent in the Irish language dialect.

There are different career opportunities that have been offered with the help of the Irish language. Elementary schools have employed more than 28,000 tutors for the teaching of children between 4 and 12 years (Foster 1). All these teachers in these schools are supposed to be fluent in the Irish language so that they are able to teach using the idiom. They are required to understand and speak the Irish language as second or first language. Television has also given a lot of people and companies opportunities for employment and business in the country of Ireland. Hundreds of individuals are employed to work in Irish speaking soap operas.

In conclusion, the Irish language has received a lot of attention in the recent times as its now becoming a vastly used language even though it is attributed to the minority groups. It has made a lot of well-known personalities in the media who are very famous including the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, CBS actor John Finn, the New York Irish Voice Editor, Niall O’Dowd, among others (Foster 1). They have all been cast as prime examples of what the Irish language has to offer in terms of people and occupation. There is need to understand more of how the Irish language has influenced the fate of the Irish speakers since it was made a national language in the country of Ireland, under the Constitution.

Works Cited

Foster, Gillen, Ihde, & Murphy. Facts about the Irish Language. CUNY: Foster, Gillen, Ihde, & Murphy, 2015. Print.

Kreilkamp, Vera. "Visualising Irish History." Palgrave Advances in Irish History (2009): 247-68. Print. 30 June 2017.

Moriarty, Máiréad. "The Irish Language in Globalization." Globalizing Language Policy and Planning (2015): 24-47. Print. 30 June 2017.

Murphy, Brian. "Foreign language learning in Irish second level schools: gender very much on the agenda!" Irish Educational Studies 29.1 (2010): 81-95. Print.

January 25, 2023

Science World

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