If the Irish language is going to have a serious place in modern Irish society, it must prove its status so sooner rather than later. However, to assume that the increase in Gaelscoil attendances is an attribute to the love of Irish language itself is a naive assumption; many teenagers are lured by the prospect of getting rewarded with extra exam marks for doing an exam through Irish — certainly a huge factor to be considered.
If the arguments of Irish language enthusiasts are to be believed, this remaining There are certainly more Gaelscoileanna than ever today, both at primary and secondary level.
While I certainly do not intend to belittle the obviously impressive increase, accounting this increase as a sole result of the importance of Irish language without taking other factors into account would be rather naive.
The introduction of a new course, that increases focus on the oral aspect of the course and less on the literature aspect, aimed to increase the level of Irish spoken in the country.
It is telling that while the Irish language is considered to be heavily linked to the GAA, who claim to have endorsing the language within its main interests, not a word of the language was spoken by Stephen Cluxton in his speech as he lifted the coveted Sam Maguire last September. While the introduction of a compulsory Irish language system would undoubtedly financially damage Gaeltacht areas and summer schools, where students descend annually in an attempt to improve their Irish, making the subject optional, or abolishing it altogether, offers various benefits for Ireland.
Furthermore, in my town of Monaghan, the arrival of a brand new Gaelscoil has certainly attracted many students — but how much of this should be attested to the brand new school with many modern facilities that the other, much older public schools in the town cannot compete against?
This is true to an extent — the presence of adult Irish classes, Irish language television shows and Gaelscoils is more widespread than ever.
Where other elements of Irish heritage have obviously stood the test of modernity, for example, with the Cliffs of Moher and an introduction to Gaelic Games featuring high on the list, nothing involving the Irish language itself was present.
Certainly, when I studied Honours Irish for my Leaving Certificate, I ironically found myself more than capable of writing an answer about a story based on a woman stuck in a tree, yet unable to string a coherent sentence together.
Critics of the education system blame the poor standard of Irish on the teaching of the subject. I daresay that this Ideally, the language would be taught in the same manner that languages are taught in foreign countries such as Germany, where instead of teaching Irish through the medium of English, Irish would be only taught through the language itself, a move that would ultimately guarantee a good standard of Irish.
Is fluency completely necessary in language use?
If Fine Gael were to enforce their proposed policy of making Irish optional, the Irish language would have been still an option for the Leaving Certificate, while giving students the choice to choose another subject to study instead.
The potential subject replacements for Irish could give Ireland the opportunity to increase its reputation worldwide, for example, within the technology and science field. Certainly, the education system has attempted to address the flaws in the teaching of the Irish language.
Certainly, Irish language activists will argue that the language itself has experienced a huge revival in recent years. As I have mentioned above, efforts have been made to acknowledge this, but realistically, the poor standard of Irish language remains, rendering it one of the most dreaded Leaving Certificate subjects for thousands of students.
Furthermore, had Irish language been replaced by a foreign language such as Chinese, Irish students would be given an upper hand to compete in business fields where oriental languages are a distinct advantage.A thorough knowledge of Irish history and literature is supposed, though everyone is excused from Finnegan's Wake.
The book reviews are somewhat more accessible than the essays, but in both Donoghue writes dense, reference-laden prose.
We Irish: Essays on Irish Literature and Society Hardcover – September 12, by Denis Donoghue (Author). We Irish: Essays on Irish Literature and Society by Donoghue, Denis. University of California Press.
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