Saturday 23 June 2018

No compulsory resuscitation can ever revive Irish

Emer O'Kelly

DID you know that languages exist independently of educational institutions? And did you know that the language education process in primary schools in Gaeltacht areas in Ireland needs, according to experts, to be targeted atrevitalisation rather than maintenance?

Translated into plain English, or for that matter into plain Irish, it means that Irish is not a living language, but a dead one. Nor do you have to feel guilty if you haven't a word of Irish after having gone through the schools system because expert opinion holds that "strong acts of individual will and sacrifice" are necessary for the revitalisation process.

It's a far cry from the feel-good factor that pretends that everyone has a reasonable working grasp of Irish, with a large percentage of people fluent in and using it on a regular basis. In fact, it endorses the opposite perspective borne out by the huge increase in the numbers of school pupils opting out of sitting the Leaving Certificate exam in Irish.

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