Gaeilge - should we keep it?

Elements of Irish politics want to minimise compulsory teaching of it

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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#101  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 27, 2012 12:43 pm

Saim wrote:
zulumoose wrote:A useful language is one which opens doors, ie has a unique utility in terms of society, business, travel etc.

Have you learned Irish? How do you know it doesn't open doors?


Only in the civil service or education.


There is little to be said for a language that is almost entirely used by people who already have a common language they use on a daily basis. What can be done with the additional language that wasn't already achieved?

Teaching more people Irish promotes multilingualism in Ireland, gives them better access to their literary and cultural heritage. It's certainly helped out the Gaeltacht regions in an economic sense. It also gives a bit of a break from all the Anglo-monotony. Certainly it's better to speak two languages than one, right?



Why waste the energy.

zulumoose wrote:What is the practical motivation for learning it, other than a quaint whimsical rush of nostalgia that seems a little false?

There's a bit more to identity than that.


It is only nostalgia. Wrongly placed nationalism.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#102  Postby zulumoose » Sep 28, 2012 7:21 am

Saim wrote:
zulumoose wrote:A useful language is one which opens doors, ie has a unique utility in terms of society, business, travel etc.

Have you learned Irish? How do you know it doesn't open doors?

There is little to be said for a language that is almost entirely used by people who already have a common language they use on a daily basis. What can be done with the additional language that wasn't already achieved?

Teaching more people Irish promotes multilingualism in Ireland, gives them better access to their literary and cultural heritage. It's certainly helped out the Gaeltacht regions in an economic sense. It also gives a bit of a break from all the Anglo-monotony. Certainly it's better to speak two languages than one, right?

zulumoose wrote:What is the practical motivation for learning it, other than a quaint whimsical rush of nostalgia that seems a little false?

There's a bit more to identity than that.


I have lived in Ireland, if the language opens doors it is doors that were placed there recently, and deliberately, the sort of thing that should be resisted as it is devisive. South Africa is a perfect example of what that ends up doing, look up Sharpville if you are interested. The Afrikaans language is still suffering from the backlash against the promotion beyond utility policy.

How exactly is promoting multilingualism a benefit separate from the utility of the language chosen? Would a newly invented language be a good idea to teach, as it would achieve the same? A nonsense argument in my view. The idea that knowing two languages is better than one is absolute nonsense unless the other language has utility, otherwise all that time spent in study could have been spent on something else that actually does have utility. There is more than enough school work that kids cannot wait to begin forgetting after final year. A useless language is at the top of many lists.

Literary and cultural heritage? Oh come on, do you really think Irish kids taught the language at school have the slightest interest in what little remnants of text the local library might have, from an almost entirely illiterate past? Is there even such a thing as literature in that language?

Language is a tool, and the idea of preserving an old tool has some merit, but old tools are preserved in museums by those interested, no sense spending years teaching modern kids to use slide rules and manual typewriters.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#103  Postby Saim » Sep 28, 2012 8:59 am

zulumoose wrote:
Saim wrote:
zulumoose wrote:A useful language is one which opens doors, ie has a unique utility in terms of society, business, travel etc.

Have you learned Irish? How do you know it doesn't open doors?

There is little to be said for a language that is almost entirely used by people who already have a common language they use on a daily basis. What can be done with the additional language that wasn't already achieved?

Teaching more people Irish promotes multilingualism in Ireland, gives them better access to their literary and cultural heritage. It's certainly helped out the Gaeltacht regions in an economic sense. It also gives a bit of a break from all the Anglo-monotony. Certainly it's better to speak two languages than one, right?

zulumoose wrote:What is the practical motivation for learning it, other than a quaint whimsical rush of nostalgia that seems a little false?

There's a bit more to identity than that.


I have lived in Ireland, if the language opens doors it is doors that were placed there recently, and deliberately, the sort of thing that should be resisted as it is devisive.

So let me get this straight:

1) A language should only be learned if doors are opened.
2) Language minorities cannot do anything to ensure that their language opens doors. That's just racist!

Can minority languages ever win? This sort of "anti-nationalism" is fake and chauvinistic. Out of curiosity, do you know any Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, or any of the other languages of the state you mark on your profile?


South Africa is a perfect example of what that ends up doing, look up Sharpville if you are interested. The Afrikaans language is still suffering from the backlash against the promotion beyond utility policy.
\
As far as I know about South Africa, you're talking about Afrikaans being promoted amongst black people? Well, that's stupid. But this is about promoting Irish among the Irish, not Afrikaans among the Zulus, Xhosas, Tswanas, Sothos, etc. Obviously I support English as a lingua franca, the point is whether other languages should be learned.

How exactly is promoting multilingualism a benefit separate from the utility of the language chosen?

-It's better for the mind
-It makes it easier to learn "useful" languages
-It makes you understand multilingualism, and less likely to be chauvinistic about other language communities

I mean, my mother could've thought "let's not speak to him in Serbian, it's useless, let's get out a book and start teaching him Spanish". But ultimately, learning Serbian as a child helped me tremendously with Spanish and other languages I've picked up since then. And it's my language, regardless of the lack of open doors.

Would a newly invented language be a good idea to teach, as it would achieve the same? A nonsense argument in my view.

That's where identity comes in. :P But yes, it would be better than nothing. In fact, I wouldn't be adverse to teaching Esperanto to kids. They'll learn it faster than any natural language and then they'll understand how it is that one learns a language and what multilingualism actually is (two things sorely lacking among Anglophones).

The idea that knowing two languages is better than one is absolute nonsense unless the other language has utility,

Nope.

otherwise all that time spent in study could have been spent on something else that actually does have utility.

I'm talking about Irish immersion, where children learn other things through Irish, not where they get hammered over the head with conjugation tables for years (i.e., the leaving cert nonsense Scot Dutchy brings up in every post).

There is more than enough school work that kids cannot wait to begin forgetting after final year. A useless language is at the top of many lists.

I wonder how many Gaelscoil graduates forget Irish completely. Very few, I would guess.

Those who took it in an English school as a class? Yeah, almost all of them. I want Irish instruction with high success rates.

Literary and cultural heritage? Oh come on, do you really think Irish kids taught the language at school have the slightest interest in what little remnants of text the local library might have,

Does any child in Australia have an interest in Shakespeare? Would you be prepared to remove English lit class from schools? :P

from an almost entirely illiterate past? Is there even such a thing as literature in that language?


:lol: Your chauvinism is showing.

Irish has one of the oldest vernacular literatures in western Europe (after Greek and Latin).[1]


Language is a tool, and the idea of preserving an old tool has some merit, but old tools are preserved in museums by those interested, no sense spending years teaching modern kids to use slide rules and manual typewriters.

The parents of those modern kids want them to learn it, no? Do they have no say in their children's education?

Are people not allowed to have identity? I consider myself an internationalist, and I hate it when people who are essentially using chauvinistic arguments pose as one (there's a long tradition of this, with people like Lenin talking about nations disappearing because the divide the proletariat, but ultimately that sort of reasoning contributed to Russian chauvinism).
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#104  Postby Saim » Sep 28, 2012 9:03 am

Scot Dutchy wrote:
Saim wrote:
zulumoose wrote:A useful language is one which opens doors, ie has a unique utility in terms of society, business, travel etc.

Have you learned Irish? How do you know it doesn't open doors?


Only in the civil service or education.

And the Irish-language media. :D



There is little to be said for a language that is almost entirely used by people who already have a common language they use on a daily basis. What can be done with the additional language that wasn't already achieved?

Teaching more people Irish promotes multilingualism in Ireland, gives them better access to their literary and cultural heritage. It's certainly helped out the Gaeltacht regions in an economic sense. It also gives a bit of a break from all the Anglo-monotony. Certainly it's better to speak two languages than one, right?



Why waste the energy.

We're not wasting YOUR energy Scot. Some people like doing things that you don't find particularly interesting.


zulumoose wrote:What is the practical motivation for learning it, other than a quaint whimsical rush of nostalgia that seems a little false?

There's a bit more to identity than that.


It is only nostalgia. Wrongly placed nationalism.[/quote]
Many people who support language minorities are internationalists and progressives, fancy that! Is this just "wrongly placed internationalism.

Anyway, off to a Catalan class. Oh wait, that's also misguided nationalism, isn't it? :lol:
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#105  Postby zulumoose » Sep 28, 2012 9:52 am

From the wiki page, commenting on the 2011 census information.

Of the 1.77 million who indicated they could speak Irish, 77,185 said they speak it daily outside the education system. A further 110,642 said they spoke it weekly


So just 10.6% of those who CAN speak it, and live in its country of origin, where it is an official language, find a use for it once a week or more, despite artificial promotion of the language. It is less used than Polish IN IRELAND.

Useless and pathetic to force the issue, particularly in a population of 4.58 million, where only 77000 speak it daily, less than 2%. Consider also that those sub-2% of people are largely concentrated in isolated rural areas, making the political promotion of the language among the unwilling (as shown by the high failure rate after 14 years of teaching) in other areas seem particularly false.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#106  Postby zulumoose » Sep 28, 2012 10:06 am

Some people like doing things that you don't find particularly interesting.


Absolutely, I'm all for free participation, but that is nothing to do with compulsory subjects at school is it?

What would you say to the politically promoted revival of a compulsory school sport which less than 2% of the population have an interest in, though they ALL play and support another sport which is already played at school?

Would you support it because playing any additional sport might make you better at a 3rd sport which you might show an interest in some day? Nonsense reasoning.

Many people who support language minorities are internationalists and progressives, fancy that! Is this just "wrongly placed internationalism.

Anyway, off to a Catalan class. Oh wait, that's also misguided nationalism, isn't it?


Yes, it is wrongly placed internationalism to artificially promote a minority beyond reason and utility. It is a bit like introducing homeopathy as a school subject, because a minority insist it is useful and although there is no evidence that it has practical value, we wouldn't want to be accused of not promoting their interests.

Did you CHOOSE to participate in a Catalan class? How would you feel about forcing it on the unwilling?
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#107  Postby zulumoose » Sep 28, 2012 10:41 am

So let me get this straight:

1) A language should only be learned if doors are opened.
2) Language minorities cannot do anything to ensure that their language opens doors. That's just racist!

Can minority languages ever win? This sort of "anti-nationalism" is fake and chauvinistic. Out of curiosity, do you know any Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, or any of the other languages of the state you mark on your profile?



A language should be learned for USING, and if it is not to be used, something USEFUL should be substituted.

Language minorities have to live with the fact that the usefulness of their language is directly proportional to the ACTUAL USE of their language. To artificially promote it is to try and pretend it is of more use than reality dictates.

Why does a minority need to see a way to win? Winning in this context means growth beyond utility, among the unwilling, which is entirely pointless.

Although irrelevant, I understand a fair bit of Afrikaans, learnt more through exposure than school. I have found speaking it useful precisely once in my life. There are 11 official languages in S.A. and I would rather have learnt a bit of Zulu, but even that is of so little use in everyday life that I am not inclined to bother.

Afrikaans is in some ways similar to the Irish situation. In much of the country, particularly urban areas, anyone who speaks Afrikaans also speaks fairly good English, so there is little point learning Afrikaans unless you want to.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#108  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 28, 2012 10:52 am

zulumoose wrote:From the wiki page, commenting on the 2011 census information.

Of the 1.77 million who indicated they could speak Irish, 77,185 said they speak it daily outside the education system. A further 110,642 said they spoke it weekly


So just 10.6% of those who CAN speak it, and live in its country of origin, where it is an official language, find a use for it once a week or more, despite artificial promotion of the language. It is less used than Polish IN IRELAND.

Useless and pathetic to force the issue, particularly in a population of 4.58 million, where only 77000 speak it daily, less than 2%. Consider also that those sub-2% of people are largely concentrated in isolated rural areas, making the political promotion of the language among the unwilling (as shown by the high failure rate after 14 years of teaching) in other areas seem particularly false.


I of course entirely agree with you. It is an absurdity that Irish is made compulsory.
Of course if people do want to learn it all well and good. Let them do it in their own time at their expense.

The amount of money wasted teaching Irish and keeping up the Gaelskoll system is just rediculous in the present economic circumstances.

I agree with last post as well. I had to learn Dutch to live here but outside the Netherlands and Flanders it is of little use.
I dont what is the state of Afrikaans education but is it not dying out?
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#109  Postby zulumoose » Sep 28, 2012 11:29 am

Afrikaans education is not really dying out, but there is a decline, since there are fewer and fewer Afrikaans medium schools. There is pressure on those that remain to become dual-medium schools.

There is a bit of an Afrikaans culture revival amongst the youth, after a period where it was almost an embarrasment in the post-apartheid backlash against the 'language of the oppressor' as it was often termed. All the artificial promotion of Afrikaans came back to bite them. A positive offspin of that is that English was spared the hostility, since the English speakers were by far the most liberal politically, and thus English has grown as the practical and desired language most useful to everyone, without having to overcome the possible prejudice. This is arguably in everyones interests, as it is without doubt the most practical universal language to have, and in terms of education, the easiest to find resources and motivation for.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#110  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 28, 2012 11:54 am

zulumoose wrote:Afrikaans education is not really dying out, but there is a decline, since there are fewer and fewer Afrikaans medium schools. There is pressure on those that remain to become dual-medium schools.

There is a bit of an Afrikaans culture revival amongst the youth, after a period where it was almost an embarrasment in the post-apartheid backlash against the 'language of the oppressor' as it was often termed. All the artificial promotion of Afrikaans came back to bite them. A positive offspin of that is that English was spared the hostility, since the English speakers were by far the most liberal politically, and thus English has grown as the practical and desired language most useful to everyone, without having to overcome the possible prejudice. This is arguably in everyones interests, as it is without doubt the most practical universal language to have, and in terms of education, the easiest to find resources and motivation for.


So is this reversal for Afrikaans anything to do with right wing politics in SA?

I mean the old boers were pretty facist in a lot of ways.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#111  Postby zulumoose » Sep 28, 2012 12:04 pm

They were, but the newer revival is a function of the more liberal Afrikaans youth throwing off the stigma and deciding they are going to have their own language without the baggage. Good for them.

I don't like the language, and hated having it forced on me at school, and have no use for it myself, but it is not going anywhere and the space it is making for itself now is largely through practical use in a large set of people, rather than enforcement on the young or maintainance of privilege by the old guard, so it is pretty legit by my reckoning.

It is not displacing English though, the educated Afrikaans youth are largely fluently bilingual.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#112  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 28, 2012 12:07 pm

zulumoose wrote:They were, but the newer revival is a function of the more liberal Afrikaans youth throwing off the stigma and deciding they are going to have their own language without the baggage. Good for them.

I don't like the language, and hated having it forced on me at school, and have no use for it myself, but it is not going anywhere and the space it is making for itself now is largely through practical use in a large set of people, rather than enforcement on the young or maintainance of privilege by the old guard, so it is pretty legit by my reckoning.

It is not displacing English though, the educated Afrikaans youth are largely fluently bilingual.


Yes even to me it sounds rough. I understand it alright. A sort of simplistic Dutch. The grammar is less complicated.
I used to read a few Afrikaans rugby books. It quite funny at times.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#113  Postby archibald » Sep 28, 2012 1:52 pm

Here in Northern Ireland, use of Gaelic is seen as a political tool, to further nationalism. And in their turn, the protestant/Unionists promote the Ulster-Scots language, and it becomes a divisive political ding dong, so you have some Councils printing documents in English and Ulster Scots and some printing in English and Irish. Not sure if any do all 3. Mandarin, of course, is the actual second language in terms of usage. :)

And this is only a little country of one and a half million. What's next, different towns having their individual dialect promoted?

I was taught Irish at primary school in the Republic of Ireland, where I grew up, and Latin in Secondary school in Northern Ireland. Can't really say I've had much use for either. Think it's good to have such things, as options, though.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#114  Postby HughMcB » Sep 28, 2012 2:55 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:The amount of money wasted teaching Irish and keeping up the Gaelskoll system is just rediculous in the present economic circumstances.

I may be able to get on board with the first part of this but I don't think the Irish Immersion Schools are a bad thing, from my memory (and I wasn't in school all that long ago) they were highly sought after and often very difficult to get accepted to as demand far exceeded supply. So, seems like there is a market for them.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#115  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 28, 2012 3:16 pm

HughMcB wrote:
Scot Dutchy wrote:The amount of money wasted teaching Irish and keeping up the Gaelskoll system is just rediculous in the present economic circumstances.

I may be able to get on board with the first part of this but I don't think the Irish Immersion Schools are a bad thing, from my memory (and I wasn't in school all that long ago) they were highly sought after and often very difficult to get accepted to as demand far exceeded supply. So, seems like there is a market for them.


Thats the "snob" value Hugh. I have met a few of the parents that had their children in a Gaelskoll. Irish snobs to a man I am afraid.
This was during the Celtic Tiger period when money was no problem. I dont know about now though. The school is still there. It fairly new built at the beginning of the Celtic Tiger. It has a huge car waiting place for parents waiting to pick up there magic moments. It was well full of Range Rovers in the beginning. Last year when I was there they seemed to have been replaced by small economical cars.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#116  Postby HughMcB » Sep 28, 2012 3:32 pm

I'm not too sure I get your drift here. In societies there are always snobs, these snobs often pay a premium for their children's education. What does it matter if it's some snooty school or an irish speaking school?
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#117  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 28, 2012 3:50 pm

HughMcB wrote:I'm not too sure I get your drift here. In societies there are always snobs, these snobs often pay a premium for their children's education. What does it matter if it's some snooty school or an irish speaking school?


The air of superiority they carried with them; "we all speak Irish at home". It is very much who you know gets their kid in.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#118  Postby HughMcB » Sep 28, 2012 4:12 pm

I still don't see how this is relevant to the fiscal argument of keeping private Irish Schools. Basically you're argument is, "well these people are knobs".

So?
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#119  Postby Scot Dutchy » Sep 28, 2012 4:15 pm

HughMcB wrote:I still don't see how this is relevant to the fiscal argument of keeping private Irish Schools. Basically you're argument is, "well these people are knobs".

So?


They are not private Hugh. If they were I would not care but they are a drain on the education budget.
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Re: Gaeilge - should we keep it?

#120  Postby HughMcB » Sep 28, 2012 4:18 pm

Well to be fair, some are private and some are not. Depends really.

I'm still not too sure how a public Irish speaking school is more of a drain than a public English speaking school.

They still teach the same subjects, give the same certifications, pay the teachers the same money. etc.
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