Archive for the ‘Gaelic’ Category

Stephen Fry tries Irish

Posted on December 8th, 2010by Michelle
In Culture, Gaelic | Leave a Comment »

Stephen Fry has filmed a cameo for the popular Irish soap Ros na Rún – in an Irish speaking part.

According to the Independent, Fry said:

“I’m doing a documentary on languages and this is the heartland of Irish-speaking Ireland — we’re just having conversations about the language and how it goes forward and whether the young generation are picking it up and the rest of it.

“I will be playing a bewildered tourist on ‘Ros na Run’. The great thing is, because I’m a tourist, I don’t have to speak it very well, just make an effort”.

Around 350,000 people in Ireland say they speak Irish regularly (according to the 1996 census) – the attention that Fry will bring to the language will surely be a boost to its popularity.

Gaelic pupils keep up in English

Posted on November 22nd, 2010by Michelle
In Education, Gaelic | Leave a Comment »

Pupils who study in Gaelic also keep up with their peers in English language skills, according to a new study.

A group of children from similar backgrounds took part in the study, which found that pupils taught for their first two years in Gaelic had broadly the same English abilities as their English-taught counterparts.

Professor Lindsay Paterson, a member of the team who carried out the study, Gaelic Medium Education in Scotland, said: “This indicates there is absolutely no risk, no harm, no diminishment of attainment at all in putting your children into Gaelic medium education.

“The attainment is exactly the same as in English education.

“In fact, there may even be some positive benefits as far as English reading is concerned.

“And in addition, children acquire the capacity to speak and understand Gaelic.”

Asked why many children are ending up ahead in English, he said: “There is good international research in other linguistic contexts to show that learning bilingually stimulates children’s brains, seems to stimulate their general development, their capacity to learn right across the curriculum.

“It may be that this is what we are seeing in Scotland.” (Source: BBC News)

Currently less than 1% of young Scots are in bilingual primary education, and it is hoped that these positive results will increase their numbers.

Gaelic medium schools a success

Posted on September 16th, 2010by Michelle
In Education, Gaelic, Language acquisition | Leave a Comment »

Gaelic medium schools are becoming successful in Scotland, according to an article in the Scotsman.

A big commitment to teaching the language to children has been made in parts of the country – including Edinburgh, where a council is looking into creating a dedicated Gaelic school. This follows the success of Tollcross Primary’s Gaelic Medium Education unit in the city, which has seen pupil number rise in the past five years.

Critics of the move point out that Gaelic is a dying language (one per cent of Scots speak it) and wonder why it’s use is being promoted in this way. Teaching children other languages such as Mandarin may prove more useful, they say.

Whatever the second language taught, the benefits of bilingualism for children are clear:

A glowing HMIE report has just highlighted the great academic success of children at Tollcross Primary, where “a significant proportion achieve national levels in English, Gaelic and mathematics earlier than might normally be expected”. It adds: “Children learning through the medium of Gaelic progress very well.”

Antonella Sorace, professor of developmental linguistics at Edinburgh University and director of the new information service Bilingualism Matters, says: “The results are consistent with research on child bilingualism, which shows that growing up with two languages brings a range of benefits to children.

For example, bilingual children tend to display improved attention and an enhanced ability to deal with complex information, have better metalinguistic skills and are more efficient language learners.”

And as the headteacher of another primary points out

“It’s like building a house. If you have one other language, whatever that is, it’s far easier to learn other languages and the benefits are wonderful.”

For language learners who aim to achieve more than two languages, that’s encouraging news.