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They do speak Irish and speak it fluently, but they're stronger in English because there's more English input in their lives and teenagers generally now speak English.
Then it got harder again in the Inter Cert - there was a lot of reading and poems on the course and for the Leaving too. After school, I applied for for the BA in Galway and six or seven of my school pals came here as well, so we stayed in touch.
Some of them were in the same class as me so we got through the first year and I did Irish and Latin and I finished that. Dip and then the Masters, so I was here five years altogether.
There are about 6000 languages endangered and they say that half of those will disappear as vernaculars by the end of this century, so that most of the people will speak four or five languages. It has changed - there's a huge reduction in literature. That's alright for people who are only learning the language, but there are native speakers who need literature to be able to improve their own command.
Like you learn English by reading it, your spoken English improves because you read English - there's a link there between the two things and that's how my Irish improved.
But there's an impoverishment of all language in the new oral generation.
There's a lot of languages under threat in the world.Gaillimh le Gaeilge does really interesting work; it's non-confrontational and consensus-based and it gets a lot of people involved.A lot of people are interested in doing stuff with Cúirt and doing stuff with the Arts Festival and I think that's good, but sometimes it's easy to forget it. A lot of people have a negative attitude to it after school and it takes them at least ten if not 15 or 20 years to get over that hump and get back into a positive view of it again.I was really encouraged by 2020 because they didn't forget it - they really were proactive and they went out to try and include the Irish speaking population straight away. I was very encouraged at Tulca - I launched a book for Carol Anne Connolly, she called it An Sanasán Uisce.I'd like it to be more integrated into the fabric rather than a duty that has to be looked after. She had a good experience of learning Irish in primary school and then she had a very poor experience in secondary school, but as I was saying at the launch, it did not embitter her.I always wanted to study Irish and I always knew I wanted to be an academic, but it wasn't cool to admit that when you were younger. The Irish speaking areas are in deep trouble demographically and employment-wise and therefore, since the population is under threat, the number of speakers are under threat.I wouldn't have been telling people that because people would have thought that maybe I had ideas above my station. There's all this research saying how English is affecting the speech of young people and how they're stronger in English.The city has always been an English speaking city officially and Irish has always been there sort of underneath - there's been a lot of Irish speakers in the city.Fifty years ago, there were Irish speaking communities to the east of the city in Tirellan, before the estates were built. I did a canvas for somebody in 1979 out in Castlegar, Ballindooley and Ballinfoyle and we found native Irish speakers in every house and there's still some of them there.I wish that sort of reproduction would continue because it was very rich for me.I have students who are really competent and really excellent and I know it will continue because of them, because they have a level of Irish that's excellent.