Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Ó hIfearnáin, Tadhg
International Journal Of Bilingual Education And Bilingualism
Raising children to be bilingual in the Gaeltacht: Language preference and practice
Optional Fields
bilingualism; Gaeltacht; Irish language; language choice; language policy
The popular and official description of the Gaeltacht as Irish-speaking rather than bilingual areas reflects the historically dominant discourse on language ideology in Ireland. While there is little evidence that the Gaeltacht people want to learn English at the expense of their Irish, as may have been the case throughout Ireland in the past, there is no doubt that all do want their children to be highly skilled, literate bilinguals. There is uncertainty in the language community as to which language or combination of languages to use when raising children to achieve this aim. This paper focuses on two aspects of public policy that encourage Gaeltacht Irish speakers to use only Irish with their children: Scéim Labhairt na Gaeilge and the principle of Irish-medium only schooling in the Gaeltacht for all pupils. Fieldwork carried out among Irish speakers in the West Cork Gaeltacht region of Múscraí revealed significant divergence of opinion on how much Irish should be used with children at home and at school to achieve Irish-English bilingualism, and also exposed how many in the community believe that they may have made an error in language choice with the benefit of hindsight.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context