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Ways to Preserve the Gaeltacht Language

             Irish people want the language to survive.
             Revival strategies at national level have focused primarily on educational system, where the teaching of Irish is required as part of the school curriculum. While such a strategy has meant that the vast majority of the population has acquired some knowledge of the language, the lack of established domains in which Irish is used has led to a failure to revive it as a community language at this level.
             However, in recent year, an upsurge of support for and favorable attitudes towards the Irish language are evident among the public. .
             Opinion research carried out by the Linguistics Institute of Ireland in 1993 showed a continuing high level of support for Irish.
             60% agreed that "Ireland would not really be Ireland without Irish-speaking people".
             66% agreed that "No real Irish person can be against the revival of Irish".
             91% wanted Irish either taught as a subject or used as a medium of instruction in schools. (Only 5% opposed this).
             One of the challenges facing the language planners in Ireland is to translate such support into an increased usage or Irish at community level.
             How Many Speak Irish?.
             When talking about Irish-speakers it is important to distinguish between those who can speak Irish and those do speak it.
             In 1926 we had more than half a million Irish-speakers.
             In 1993 UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, listed Irish as an endangered language, with perhaps less than 20,000 fully competent native speakers. .
             In the mid-1990s the number using Irish as their main language was probably between 10,000 and 21,000. .
             The Gaeltacht is vital.
             Although only a quarter of Ireland's Irish-speakers live in the Gaeltacht, it is vital to the survival of the language. Most Irish-speakers in the Galltacht are people who learned it as a second language, or else grew up in the Gaeltacht.
             However, the position of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht poses specific challenges in terms of maintaining and strengthening its use as a speech community language because it is now generally accepted that population maintenance does not itself guarantee language maintenance.

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