Wednesday 28 June 2017

Bilingualism remains essential in our society

The exclusion of a language from public life is a tried and tested method of hastening that language's demise. Practical steps toward official bilingualism in Canada and Wales in order to encourage the use of French and Welsh respectively have borne fruit. Because Irish has had a low social status for centuries, bilingual signs and announcements annoy people like Stephen Lane (Letters, Irish Independent, July 9), who feel uncomfortable seeing or hearing Irish.

For people who speak Irish habitually or at home (fanatics, as Mr Doody calls us) public bilingualism assures us that we are an accepted part of this society. Diversity and tolerance for our linguist minority can also benefit the Anglophone majority by opening up to them the primary language spoken in Ireland for most of its history and which gives every hill and stream here its name.

DAithI Mac CArthaigh, BL
An Leabharlann DlI,
Na Ceithre CUirteanna,
Baile Atha Cliath 7

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