Dyslexia in English and the Irish language

Fun with Irish

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There is nothing more compulsory in the Irish state than the English language.
If you don't believe me, go down to your local post office, court house, garda station or social welfare office and try speaking to them in any other language.
If you are in the Gaeltacht, there is some chance you might be attended in Irish, otherwise forget it.
It's just a fact. The Irish population has stuck with their choice of English. It makes it hard to get services in any other language.

Attempts have been made in the public administration to cater for the Gaelic speakers but they ran aground because of the very few public servants who know Irish. And of those who do, I'm told, many don't want to be assigned to the role of 'Irish Language Officer' because it would be a career dead-end.

The Irish lobby wanted a special recruitment stream for Irish-speakers but the staff associations were afraid of gaeilgeoirí parachuting into special jobs. And there was also the scare that other minorities would claim similar employment rights.
 


Fun with Irish

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The whole business about "compulsory Irish" is a complete red herring; it is just another excrescence of the Irish postcolonial state which is trying to make me a foreigner in my own country almost a century after "independence". It's really very similar to the Latin American republics which were set up by the offspring of the colonists.
There is a class in Ireland who hark back to Mother England still, just as there is a class in Latin America who hark back to their Spanish and Portuguese roots.
"There is a class in Ireland" you say. Is that the "class" of English speakers? If so, it is a "class" encompassing 99% of the Irish people.

("Everyone's out of step but our Johnny" - wasn't that the old joke?)
 

Big Phil

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The Irish language is a language of exclusion not inclusion. The Irish language lobby is a pro-discrimination movement that is all about money.
 

Barroso

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It's just a fact. The Irish population has stuck with their choice of English. It makes it hard to get services in any other language.
What makes it hard to get services in Irish to be specific is that the government, and more importantly, the permanent government, refuse to countenance using Irish.
5% - 10% of the adult population speak Irish well - but the Civil Service has something like 1% who claim to be competent in the language.
Which means either
a) at entry level Irish speakers are weeded out; or
b) Irish speakers in the CS are afraid to admit that they speak Irish.
Whichever it is (and my guess would be that it is a combination of the two factors), it tells us a lot about the culture in the CS.

Attempts have been made in the public administration to cater for the Gaelic speakers but they ran aground because of the very few public servants who know Irish. And of those who do, I'm told, many don't want to be assigned to the role of 'Irish Language Officer' because it would be a career dead-end.
I repeat, there is an anti-Irish language culture in the CS which is why the "attempts" ran aground.
The Irish lobby wanted a special recruitment stream for Irish-speakers but the staff associations were afraid of gaeilgeoirí parachuting into special jobs. And there was also the scare that other minorities would claim similar employment rights.
So who runs the CS - the state, for the benefit of the people, or a high-level coterie of Civil Servants who are acting in some other interest?
Answers on the back of a postage stamp, as the saying goes.
 

Barroso

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"There is a class in Ireland" you say. Is that the "class" of English speakers? If so, it is a "class" encompassing 99% of the Irish people.

("Everyone's out of step but our Johnny" - wasn't that the old joke?)
Have you never heard of the "Castle catholics"?
What do you think happened to them after independence? Do you think they went away, or they all emigrated?
Or maybe they stayed and (re)gained control over the State aparatus and much of the Irish economy.

Reading Irish news outlets since the Brexit vote, I often get the impression that our establishment is more worried, much more worried, about Brexit than the British establishment is. They are being abandoned by their role models, and it is rather traumatic for them.
This is the class I wrote about, not the 99%.
 

DJP

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Have you never heard of the "Castle catholics"?
What do you think happened to them after independence? Do you think they went away, or they all emigrated?

As of now though the "Irish language world" is mostly pretty weak which makes most activist supporters of compulsory Irish for the Leaving Cert. including Gaelscoileanna principals and teachers and paid Irish language promoters sound pathetic in the grand scheme of things.
 

Fun with Irish

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What makes it hard to get services in Irish to be specific is that the government, and more importantly, the permanent government, refuse to countenance using Irish.
5% - 10% of the adult population speak Irish well - but the Civil Service has something like 1% who claim to be competent in the language.
Which means either
a) at entry level Irish speakers are weeded out; or
b) Irish speakers in the CS are afraid to admit that they speak Irish.
Whichever it is (and my guess would be that it is a combination of the two factors), it tells us a lot about the culture in the CS.

..................
The Civil Service is faced with the task of catering to the public in the language actually used by the public which is English. The State project of reviving Irish is a missionary endeavor and requires special resources and a constant special effort. If taken seriously, that effort would be very demanding on public organisations.

The politicians pass laws for services in Irish but that is all just tokenism aimed at burnishing their patriotic image. People who have a genuine interest in Irish as a language shouldn't be taken in by all that. It is a lie.
 

Barroso

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The Civil Service is faced with the task of catering to the public in the language actually used by the public which is English. The State project of reviving Irish is a missionary endeavor and requires special resources and a constant special effort. If taken seriously, that effort would be very demanding on public organisations.

The politicians pass laws for services in Irish but that is all just tokenism aimed at burnishing their patriotic image. People who have a genuine interest in Irish as a language shouldn't be taken in by all that. It is a lie.
You might be right, but the point is that there is no lack of Irish speakers available - simply a lack of political will to implement stated and legislated for policies. And active hindrance by those with the ability to do so.

If taken seriously, the effort would not so much be demanding on public bodies, but on the mindset of those at the top of those organisations. It is worth remembering that those in charge of public bodies are the ones who choose their successors, and they choose from among those with a similar mindset regardless of what laws are in place, and they will stymie any attempt at genuine promotion of Irish.

As for examples of places where a serious effort is made, look no further than Wales and Euskadi, two countries at sub-state level that have made serious, genuine efforts at promoting their native languages.
 
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Barroso

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As of now though the "Irish language world" is mostly pretty weak which makes most activist supporters of compulsory Irish for the Leaving Cert. including Gaelscoileanna principals and teachers and paid Irish language promoters sound pathetic in the grand scheme of things.
That's your opinion, and you are welcome to it. Wombat will tell you that FG's lack of support for compulsory Irish was one of the main worries on doorsteps when he was canvassing back in 2011 - at the height of the depression - and may well have cost FG an overall majority at the time.
However, this point does not address the point I made:
Barroso said:
Have you never heard of the "Castle catholics"?
What do you think happened to them after independence? Do you think they went away, or they all emigrated?
 

wombat

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Wombat will tell you that FG's lack of support for compulsory Irish was one of the main worries on doorsteps when he was canvassing back in 2011 - at the height of the depression - and may well have cost FG an overall majority at the time.
Thats an exaggeration but I was surprised that it was the most important issue at a few doorstops when most folk were arguing about the economy. Maybe half a dozen times but definitely their key issue whereas abortion was only raised once with me.
 

Fun with Irish

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A lot of people like Irish.
Yes: and that should be sufficient basis for government educational policy as the success of the gaelscoileanna constantly shows.

There is no need to compel every pupil in the country to study Irish up to the Leaving Cert when many of them want to do some other subject. There is no need and no value in denying them freedom of choice. There is no need to minutely set conditions for one or other student not to study Irish when every Leaving Cert pupil should simply be free to choose their own subjects anyway.
 

wombat

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When so little value is attached to the LC as a qualification I wonder why passing Irish to get a cert is considered worthwhile. I agree that it should be a compulsory subject for everyone throughout the system but I don't see the point in witholding a cert
 

Fun with Irish

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When so little value is attached to the LC as a qualification I wonder why passing Irish to get a cert is considered worthwhile. I agree that it should be a compulsory subject for everyone throughout the system but I don't see the point in witholding a cert
The Cert is not withheld - it is given to the pupil with a record of the grades received ion each subject. If a pass in Irish is missing it just affects entry into an NUI university.

A pupil's freedom to choose is better. Better use of resources. Better for student and teacher morale. Better for respecting a student and parental rights.

To-days papers report two relevant things: it will be easier to found a gaelscoil and the Muslim community is applying to be come the patron of two new schools. Both good. But the choice of the two minorities involved should not be imposed by the State on the rest of the population. And in one case, it won't be.
 

DJP

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Yes: and that should be sufficient basis for government educational policy as the success of the gaelscoileanna constantly shows.

There is no need to compel every pupil in the country to study Irish up to the Leaving Cert when many of them want to do some other subject. There is no need and no value in denying them freedom of choice. There is no need to minutely set conditions for one or other student not to study Irish when every Leaving Cert pupil should simply be free to choose their own subjects anyway.
I am inclined to agree with you.
 

wombat

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The Cert is not withheld - it is given to the pupil with a record of the grades received ion each subject. If a pass in Irish is missing it just affects entry into an NUI university.

A pupil's freedom to choose is better.
I thought you got no cert if you failed Irish? how is it compulsory if that's not the case. Going back to the 2011 election, FG had advocated keeping it as a core subject but removing the need to pass it to be given the cert. It sounds like its really getting like a theological argument as to what compulsory means. Regarding leaving the choice of subjects to pupils, its a really bad idea, they need a basic education, there are enough studying useless subjects at 3rd level without repeating the mistake at 2nd.
 

Fun with Irish

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I thought you got no cert if you failed Irish? how is it compulsory if that's not the case. Going back to the 2011 election, FG had advocated keeping it as a core subject but removing the need to pass it to be given the cert. It sounds like its really getting like a theological argument as to what compulsory means. Regarding leaving the choice of subjects to pupils, its a really bad idea, they need a basic education, there are enough studying useless subjects at 3rd level without repeating the mistake at 2nd.
A school is not paid the Capitation Grant for any pupils not studying Irish unless the pupils has an officially granted exemption. So the school has to ensure that every pupil in every year attends classes in Irish and the curriculum times are drawn up to provide for this - meaning the time cannot be used for anything else. The other constraint is the requirement for a pass in Irish as an NUI entry condition.

The argument for choice in the Leaving Cert is that a sixteen year old who has been studying Irish for ten years and wants to take another subject in its place, is competent to make that choice and should be entitled to make it.

Irish as a language is potentially as valuable educationally as any other language. But the standard of Irish needed for a LC pass is so low that it is hard to justify making it compulsory on educational grounds whatever about other grounds.
 

wombat

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The argument for choice in the Leaving Cert is that a sixteen year old who has been studying Irish for ten years and wants to take another subject in its place, is competent to make that choice and should be entitled to make it.
Why? should a pupil who finds maths or English hard be allowed to drop them? Life does not always allow us to take the easy option, its not something which school goers should be encouraged to do.
 


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