Tuesday 20 March 2018

We feel positive about Irish language - but don't use it

Gaelic Speaking Area Sign, Connemara, Ireland
Gaelic Speaking Area Sign, Connemara, Ireland
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

More than half of Irish people say they have a "fluency" in Gaeilge, according to new research.

But while the attitudes of the adult population towards the Irish language are broadly positive, this does not translate into significant use of the language.

The language is more likely to be spoken by younger people in the Republic, or Catholics in Northern Ireland, according to the survey by the ESRI and Amarach Research.

It shows 57pc of respondents in the Republic of Ireland say they have a "basic or advanced fluency" in Irish. This compares with 17pc in Northern Ireland.

Foras na Gaeilge CEO Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh said that the research showed a positive attitude towards the language. "The very positive attitudes throughout the general population confirm our own experience and the very real desire for Irish-medium education cannot be ignored," he said.

While attitudes towards Irish among primary- and second-level students are often negative, the report finds that two-thirds of adults (67pc) felt positive about the language.

It also highlights that those who have a more favourable attitude towards the language tend to speak it more frequently.

However, only 11pc of those in the Republic said they were able to conduct most conversations in Irish. In the North, this figure stands at 2pc.

Those who grew up in a home where Irish is commonly spoken are more likely to use it.

Irish Independent

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