Locality encapsulated in language - did Irish only ever need a rise in self-esteem?
In the Welsh from English discussion thread, the value of learning a local ("minority", "indigenous", "endangered") language has been discussed.
Here in England I hope we will move on towards even a better and celebration of locality, a love of every locality's current mix which has been derived precisely from the geographical and historical mixing it up about which so many have been afraid!
Beyond England, I hope we can be subtle about the perceptual changes and challenges needed in the DUP and UUP heartlands, because dialogue demands much attitude change from "us" the multilingually unafraid. Empathy required.
I feel anglophone monoglots really need help with re-associating multilingualism with freedom, liberation and absence of threat, seeing it as access to all things inclusive (not exclusive, snobbish worlds, which, if you grow up in a community feeling threatened, abound).
To teenagers, schools can all too easily be recognised as agents of state imperialism, teachers the perhaps well-meaning but puzzling middle-class purveyors of bizarre accomplishments, courses and exams being hoops to jump through so as merely to become qualified for jobs/training/uni. I write from an English context, and the Brexit vote felt liked an expressed rejection of failed Modern Foreign Language teaching and a fear of immigrant peoples, immigrant ideas and capabilities, including this imposition of others' secret codes... Anglophones not wanted... shock horror! in their own country?!!
Schools can be great, but seem ever more dominated by testing and public competitive exams, so scholasticism - increasingly so for almost a century now - has been a dead hand on all language learning and often on creativity (and in urban areas on informal, melting pot local culture, especially) too. Pupils have rarely been allowed to focus on the local, the micro-local, where identity is forged.
It seems to me (from afar now, but having grown up anglophone on Irish soil), that Irish but anglophone non-Gaeilscoil-educated youngsters, north and south in Ireland, really need unthreatening opportunities to explore and understand, enjoy and explore their own codes and micro-cultures, while being exposed to a reality currently probably hidden from them: language learning and exchange is easy as never before. In mainstream life we need to maximise positive exposure to the delights of language variety. I would like greater visibilty for all that is non-anglophone, unthreatening glimpses, little invitations into joining the party. Here in England, too.
More "Vorsprung durch Technik"-style invitations... Why can't advertisers in Ireland on all media be required to produce Irish language versions and/or elements of bilingual wordplay in all ad campaigns?
Exams and hoops to jump through can be useful though. As can requirements to undertake intensive short-term learning for a specific goal. Those rich enough to buy and/or invest in building second homes within a large radius of Gaeltacht areas, should have to undertake courses in cultural sensitivity including intensive language training, and pass the testing of the sort which we should stop exclusively imposing on the young.
I think a "Gaeltacht passport/driving test style regime" could usefully be demanded by voters of their politicians, but also of all who would encroach upon Irishness.
Say Something In... rather than literacy... should be the emphasis.
In the UK, especially England, I hope the only anglophone monoglots to feel fear will become the rich or privileged and lazy who have been cracking the whip over public servants but who happily buy up and ruin the world's minority cultures. The rest of us have to hold them to a higher standard.
I hope educators of the young will relax, gain self-esteem about their own preferred language(s) and skills, and allow this bubbling up of enthusiasm for languages through social media, the arts, sciences and in every imaginable context to grow and grow!
Getting language acquisition (any) out of - or out beyond -classrooms and "language clubs" is key - Pop-up Gaeltacht is the start. Then a reform within educational establishments could make a huge difference, and the tertiary education sector needs to give the lead on changing what it demands schools achieve, and how. I will post links in comments to illustrate some sources for my (possibly daft, or blindingly trite) opinions! Excuse my arrogance...
Here how academics find themselves pleasantly surprised in their own diversity: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/gaelic-gains-prague-hosts-major-irish-language-and-literature-conference-1.3234329
Irish beyond academia and Irish clubs, out into everyday life and accessibility and visibility: https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?q=pop+up+Gaeltacht
I hope no one need be terrorised by the imposition of Peig - because free of exam tyranny the matter of island, insular life v. insularity, local culture and survival is of core interest to even urban, especially urban pupils and their communities.
This Jan 2016 article illustrates mis-use of Peig, and states the case for oracy: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/opinion-how-to-rescue-the-irish-language-1.2515093
Incomers solidly with locals (in contrast to those not committed) feature in this long read, although language learning specifically does not :