Moving the Minority Language beyond the Minority © An Dr Ciarán Dawson Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh An Indo-European Language About 7000 BC in Ukraine An Ghaeltacht Number of Speakers: Ireland Population Irish Speakers 1841 8,100,000 4,100,000 1901 4,458,775 619,710 2001 (north) 2002 (south Total 1,617,957 4,057,646 5,675,603 75,125 1,656,790 1,731,915 Number of Speakers: United States In the Census of 2000 25,870 people said they use Irish at home. Legal and Constitutional Status South Article 8 1. The Irish language as the national language is the first official language. 2. The English language is recognised as a second official language. 3. Provision may, however, be made by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in any part thereof. North 1. St Andrews Agreement: the British government has agreed to introduce an Irish language Bill which could see Irish becoming an official language. Europe 1st January 2007: Irish was recognised as an official language of the European Union. All legislation and documents of major public importance or interest are now produced in Irish. Education South North The Media 10.000 Readers Publishes Daily on World Wide Web Daily Podcasts Foinse: 7.000 readers. Broadcasts Nationally on FM. Has recently begun to broadcast on Internet. Broadcasts 24 hrs a day. 20.000 daily in Dublin alone. Broadcasts on Internet. RTÉ BBC Northern Ireland A selection of Programmes on Television and Radio. 30 minutes radio every weekday Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha The Centre for Oral Irish University College Cork 10 Full-time Permanent Staff Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha An Ghaeltacht 1 Fulltime Permanent Staff & 1 Part-time Permanent Staff Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha 2005 - 2006 1289 learners Classes Learning Support Schemes An Ghaeltacht Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha Non-Irish Learners GA1120/1 MX1004 Evening Classes La Universidad de La Coruña Ruhr-Universität Bochum Krakow Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha La Universidad de La Coruña 5 Credit Module in Taught PhD Programme in Irish Studies 2006 15 2007 5 Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha Ruhr-Universität Bochum 5 Credit Module in Der Optional Bereich 2000 60 2001 75 2002 60 2003 65 2004 50 2005 150 2006 13 2007 88 2000-7 561 Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha Krakow 2007 12 Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha Evening Class 2002 - 7 Buntosnaitheoirí 1 20 students two nights a week 2003 - 7 Buntosnaitheoirí 2 15-20 students one night a week Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha GA1120 2000/1 160 2001/2 158 2002/3 197 2003/4 157 2004/5 245 2005/6 270 2006/7 296 2000-7 1483 Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha MX 1004 2006/7 8 The Survey Focused on Teaching Abroad How do learners become aware of Irish? Why do learners want to learn Irish? What are their expectations of Irish? How did you hear about Irish? Literature 5 Music 4 Education 4 Media 3 Bilingual Signage 2 From a Friend 2 How did you first hear about Irish? Irish was always mentioned related to Galician … I remember that I studied the status of Irish in Ireland, concerning TV, radio, institutions and other details at high school. How did you first hear about Irish? I think it was when I started to be interested in Celtic culture and I heard some Irish songs performed by “Clannad”. How did you first hear about Irish? I don’t remember but probably it was connected with listening to folk and Celtic music. How did you first hear about Irish? About Irish classes at the university I was informed by my friend. How did you first hear about Irish? In reading German renderings of Irish Fairy Tales. How did you first hear about Irish? In a book I read about Celtic Stories. How did you first hear about Irish? I’m interested in music… Furthermore Irish culture is very very popular in Germany. How did you first hear about Irish? television, internet etc How did you first hear about Irish? In a song. (I guess it was sung by Enya or someone…) How did you first hear about Irish? The Three Investigators, my favourite stories as a child (10) have workers from Ireland who speak Irish with each other. How did you first hear about Irish? Roadsign in a pub. How did you first hear about Irish? When I became interested in sci-fi literature. Why do you want to learn Irish? Celtic Culture 12 Unique nature of Irish 5 Interest in Languages 4 Liked the sound of Irish 4 Part of Education 3 Access to Literature 3 Connection with other minority languages 1 Just ‘Hooked’ on it 1 Why do you want to learn Irish? I am studying a PhD on Irish Studies, so I think it is important to know the language of Ireland. Why do you want to learn Irish? I like the sound of Irish so I was more encouraged to learn it. Why do you want to learn Irish? The status of that language reminds me in many senses to that of the Galician language. Why do you want to learn Irish? I wanted to learn a language that some might consider “unnecessary”. Why do you want to learn Irish? Because I felt in love with Irish culture and I like learning anything which is connected with it. Why do you want to learn Irish? Because of the very unique sound of this language - it is beautiful and exotic for me. Why do you want to learn Irish? I’m fascinated by the Irish culture and I believe that its easier to understand the nation’s culture when one knows its history and language. Why do you want to learn Irish? It is something special - usually people know English, German, French or Spanish. Why do you want to learn Irish? Knowing a little bit of Irish I’ll know something more about Irish culture. Why do you want to learn Irish? I love the way the language sounds in poetry and songs. Why do you want to learn Irish? It is a wonderful and peculiar language remote from my field of classical languages. Why do you want to learn Irish? I am interested in the culture and history of the country. Why do you want to learn Irish? My plan is to become a teacher of English and Geography. Therefore Irish and the Irish culture are excellent additions. Why do you want to learn Irish? Because of the Celtic origin (instead of Roman or Germanic) Why do you want to learn Irish? Out of a general interest in Ireland and its culture, oringinally stirred by the poetry of Yeats, more practically out of a desire to study in Ireland for a period of time. Why do you want to learn Irish? I am interested in Ireland’s history and culture, especially theatre, poets playwrights. Why do you want to learn Irish? I like languages but only when it seems to be extraordinary. Why do you want to learn Irish? I got hooked (after I got over the slender/broad thing the books for learners seem to use to keep people away). Why do you want to learn Irish? In my opinion we should learn not only the most popular ones but also others - to protect them against disappearing. What level of Irish would you be satisfied with? 1 = basic level 5 = native speaker level 1 - 2 Coruña () Krakow (1) Bochum (1) 2 - 0 Coruña () Krakow () Bochum () 3 - 11 Coruña (2) Krakow (3) Bochum (6) 4 - 4 Coruña (1) Krakow (2) Bochum (2) 5 - 1 Coruña () Bochum () Krakow (1) Implications For promotion of language Perception abroad of Irish as integral to understanding Ireland, its culture and its literature. Others are attracted to Irish because of its perception as being on the outer limits. Others like the sound of Irish and are attracted to its music and poetry. Users of other minority languages find common cause with Irish. Implications For the teaching of Irish While Irish people generally aim to reach native-speaker or near native-speaker level with Irish, people from abroad are generally satisfied to become average users of the language. While there is an obvious need to cater for the nature of the demand, it is also necessary to create the conditions in which learners will be motivated to aspire to the highest level of language skills. Further Research What are the particular challenges learning Irish poses to speakers of languages other than English. What is the experience of other Minority Languages in this area? How much of a motivating factor can this interest from abroad be for Irish people to learn their own language?