Irish a ‘UK language’ – BBC

The BBC has an interesting story online – Local UK languages ‘taking off’ .

The article concerns the group of Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh medium education – 20% of education in Wales is now Welsh medium. On the other hand anyone with an interest in the future of Scottish Gaelic will be anxious that growth in GME is far behind that in Wales and even here.

Traditionally Gaelic speaking parents felt that an education in English was vital to acquire that language effectively, this attitude has faded but lack of teachers is undoubtedly a huge factor.

Cnocubhar has blogged this story over on igaeilge.

  • dewi

    Position in Scotland is concerning – progress on mainland (spanking new and popular primary school in Inverness) but mixed news from the islands – let’s hope that BBC Alba makes a rapid impression.

  • blinding

    Fair dues to the BBC for highlighting the advantages of learning a second language and they also have some Gaelic lessons on their BBCi website.
    Well done to the BBC.

  • Catholic Observer

    As a student at an English-medium secondary school, I deeply regret not having gone to the local Gaelscoil. The Gaelic-medium students with whom I acquainted tend to be more academically capable than the students at my own school and almost invariably do better in exams, including in English. I love Irish and make a point of reading Foinse every week so as to acquire to greater proficiency but there’s still no substitute for having been educated in the language.

  • blinding
    Great work from the BBC here on BBC bitsize

  • GGN

    The BBC have put up more on this issue, very interesting!

  • Guillaume

    For all of our languages, we can’t comunicate

  • Guillaume
  • Just a small point – my blog, iGaeilge, has been linked to twice in two days by gael gan náire – and I’m grateful for that. On both occasions, my name has been misspelled in the same way by GGN. It’s Concubhar not Cnocubhar.

    Anyhow carry on….

  • Dewi

    ….and the second link goes to the first…

  • Modernist

    Found an interesting link about Scots here if anyone is interested in Education through Scots

  • Danny

    Anyone know what percentage of school kids in the Republic are educated through Irish? All Gaeltacht schools are supposed to teach through Irish, but many no longer do.

    If I recall correctly, in addition to Gaeltacht schools, a further 30,000 attend gaelscoileanna.


    According to Wiki:

    In the Republic:

    139 Irish-medium primary schools and 39 Irish-medium secondary schools. Approx. 30,000 schoolchildren. (Outside the Gaeltacht)

    Gaeltacht: 127 primary schools. 29 secondary schools with approx. 15,000 students total.

    Just under 10% of the schooling population in the Republic attend Irish medium schools. So about 50,000 students total in the country.

    There’s also the Naíonraí or Irish language preschool movement which has 227 crèches across the country with almost 4,000 children attending.

    Northern Ireland:

    31 Irish-medium primary schools and 4 Irish-medium secondary schools.

    About 4,500 students. 1% of school population.

  • The BBC have put up more on this issue, very interesting!

    And from that very interesting article comes this quote:

    “A growing body of evidence indicates that children who are able to speak more than one language have a higher IQ, better reasoning skills and a greater ability to deal with complicated theories and problems.”

    Proof again that Ulster-Scots is not a separate language?

    [Only joking … honestly!]

  • Pearly Spencer

    Is there much on RTÉ in Ulster-Scots?

    Only joking… honestly, I know it’s only Perfidious Albion’s main broadcaster that seeks to reflect the diversity of the populace in the North-West European Archipelago.

  • Dewi

    Vaughan on the BEEB refers to the above – which looks an excellent initiative.

  • Oilifear

    “Irish a ‘UK language’ …” – About 208 years late on that one, then?

  • tourist

    Does Gaeilge = Gaelic ?

    What is Gaelic for Irish?

  • Seimi

    tourist, you sound suspicuosly like someone else who writes here…..

  • tourist

    Are they tourists too?

  • Seimi

    Well, he/she considers this part of Ireland to be their home, or at least 6 counties of it…

  • tourist

    don’t really know what you mean, just asked what Gaelic for Irish is?

  • Catholic Observer


    Gaeilge in Irish-Gaelic, Gàidhlig in Scots-Gaelic and Gaelgagh in Manx-Gaelic.

  • Tourist,

    Gaelige does indead mean Gaelic. So does Gaelg, Gàidhlig, Gaeilic, Gaoluinn….etc There are many forms of Gaelic, but the three main ones are Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic.

    It just happens that the most common written form that Irish speakers use for their language happens to be Gaeilge. Scots use Gàidhlig etc.

    So when Irish speaking people write down the word for their Gaelic language they use Gaeilge but when this word is translated into English you say Irish or Irish Gaelic so as not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic or Manx.

    Irish people can call the Gaelic they use in Scotland Gaeilge na hAlban (Gaelic of Scotland) and Scots people can call the Gaelic used in Ireland Gàidhlig na hEireann (Gaelic of Ireland). But to be more concise we just say Gaeilge for Irish and Gàidhlig for Scottish Gaelic.

  • “don’t really know what you mean, just asked what Gaelic for Irish is?”

    And to answer your original question…

    I will assume you want the Irish Gaelic forms. At any rate that’s what I will give you because that’s the only Gaelic I speak.

    Irish person = Éireannach
    The Irish = Na hÉireannaigh
    A Gael = Gael
    Gaelic = Gaelach
    The Gaelic language (of Ireland) = Gaeilge (na hÉireann)
    The Irish (Gaelic) Language = An Ghaeilge

  • Oilifear

    “What is Gaelic for Irish?”

    The following appears on a 16th century phrase book compiled for Elizabeth I:

    Iryhse: In eol duit gaelag do lauairt
    Latten: Pollene hibernice loqui
    Englishe: Can you speake Iryshe

    In the English language, the Irish language is known as Irish. (Just as the English language is known as English). The idea that that name is a concoction of 19th century nationalism is a nonsense.

    In the Irish language, Irish is known as ‘an Ghaeilge’ (standard written form). (Just as in the Irish language, English [the language] is ‘an Bhéarla’ whereas English [the adjective] is ‘Sasanach’.)

  • ersehole

    Actually Oli methinks the English language is An Béarla not An Bhéarla as English is considered masculine.

    An Ghaeilge (Irish or Gaelic or even Erse) is feminine.

    English language and people can be described using the word gall, though this is also a general Irish word for foreigners. The French also use a form of it to describe the Welsh, I believe. Even though Gaul was what the Romans called them.

    That’s the Welsh who, like the Walloons, are foreigners to the English and the Dutch.

    In Irish of course they are Breatnach, or British, though I note their recent banners claiming they are ‘Welsh not British’

    Strange people the Welsh.

  • Dave

    “Strange people the Welsh.”

    Much like the Northern Irish. Some of them go apeshit if colonial ownership of Ireland is implied in references such as “the British Isles” but give them a whiff of potential British State subsidy and you won’t hear a peep out of them when blatant colonial ownership is applied to culture.

  • Dewi

    Etymology – Britain, British is from “Prydain” old Brythonic meaning the island of Britain. So there – and Dave – stuff your mythical subsidies….our coal built the stupid empire…

  • foreign correspondent

    Well, it´s nice to have a good news story about Irish and the other Celtic languages for a change.
    In my darker moments I have thought that none of them, not even Cymraeg, would survive to the end of this century. Hopefully I´m wrong.

  • Oilifear

    Ersehole, excuse my grammar.

    Nice name, by the way.

  • Dave Iúr Cinn Trá

    As we have been pointing out on slugger … .

  • Pointe amháin a Ghael gan Náire, tá an nasc thuas mícheart. Seo thíos an nasc a theastaíonn uait:

  • It occurs to me that the BBC is up to its old tricks. As long as the growth of the Irish language illustrates growing tolerance, increased intelligence and a brighter better UK, then it’s a UK a language. When it comes to the point that they might have to treat it like other UK languages, eg Welsh and Scots Gaelic, it’s very definitely an IRISH language.

  • Hiberno-Scot

    “Is there much on RTÉ in Ulster-Scots?

    Only joking… honestly, I know it’s only Perfidious Albion’s main broadcaster that seeks to reflect the diversity of the populace in the North-West European Archipelago.”

    I think about 98% is in Ulster Scots, just with a different accent and some dialectal differences.

  • GGN

    “Is there much on RTÉ in Ulster-Scots? ”

    I would be just as relevant to inquire ‘Is there much Ulster-Scots in ‘The Ulster Scot’.

    Ans : No.

    Qu : why?