Gaeilge is a Gift for a Child`s Life

Today was mentioned in a local newspaper, namely the Galway Advertiser, on behalf of the Seosaimh Uí Ógartaigh awards. These awards celebrate the use of bilingual language in Galway.

You may wonder, `Why do children need the Irish language if no one ever speaks it? or ‘ As it’s taught so poorly children hate the language, so why bother?’  Both are fair points to bring up.  In answering those types of questions, it’s important to know that one of the most clinical things that teachers need to do when they are teaching the language is foster an appreciation for the language. Great television shows such as Cúla 4 on TG4 and ‘Seachtain’ which is available free with the Irish Independent each Wednesday, are great ways to impart an interest in the Irish language. Many teachers use things like this in the classroom all the time. But teachers can only do so much with ailing resources and such a low level of interest in the Irish language coming from children`s homes. It’s certainly true to say that the language is not spoken by as many people as it once was many years ago. So what is the real reason for this? Believe it or not, it is not because of the education system.

Rather, one of the most prominent reasons for the deep decline of the Irish language is due to many families not wanting the Irish language to be taught or used in Irish schools in the first place. Due to harsher economic times of many years ago (in many ways worse than even now!) many Irish speaking households decided that they wanted to send their children to a school that did not require them to learn through the medium of Irish. As appose to Irish speakers, they felt that their children would have a greater chance of earning a better income if they conformed to the use of everyday English. Their rationale was due to there being a greater dealof employment for native English speakers. You can’t blame households for believing this. For a long time this worked for many, despite the decline in the language`s overall growth. But, not anymore.

If you want to get your child ahead in life it is better to speak the Irish language and the English language as early as possible, and to speak it regularly also.

But ,why is using two languages important in your child`s life?, Surely it is a bit much asking children to learn a second language when they are so young? and It probably puts too much pressure on them; after all they already have so much homework ? . Not so. In general, a child`s brain is constantly developing and growing. It has been proven that if a child learns a second language from when they are very young, then their brain develops the greater capacity to learn more languages also. A child`s brain will not only understand the native and second language, but it also begins to develop the capacity to create other connectors in the brain that allow for the ability to learn further languages throughout a their life also.

Ireland is now very firmly a part of Europe yet there is a distinct lack of skilled linguists coming from Ireland. Many companies advertise for highly skilled positions in Ireland to overseas workers, simply because many highly skilled Irish people don’t have a second or third language.

So, by allowing your child develop the Cupla Focal you are giving them a gift that will last them long into their life. It will give your child a strong option of working and living here in Ireland throughout their life. Gaeilge is a gift and one of the most important gifts for your child`s life!

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