Irish / Bilingualism

Mother & BabyIrish only in the home

If you speak Irish at home then it’s likely you’ll speak Irish naturally with your child.  You can do the following to encourage your child to use Irish.

  • Attend an Irish playgroup or Scléip an tSathairn
  • Sing simple songs and rhymes together
  • Arrange a home visit (give your child another opportunity to hear another voice)
  • Read Irish books together. Reading is one of the most important things you can do with you baby whatever your language may be
  • Watch TG4
  • Apply to www.agh.gov.ie for your support package.

All parents have to do to obtain the support pack is to contact the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht at ctt@ahg.gov.ie

Encourage family, friends and neighbours to speak Irish with the child.  Try to meet up with other families who are also raising the kids with Irish.

Speaking both Irish and English at home

If you speak Irish and English at home the first step is to decide together if you want your child to speak Irish.  Choosing and making a decision at an early point will make it easier later on. If one parent doesn’t speak Irish the following situations might arise:

  • The child keeps the two languages separate – this happens very naturally when the one parent, one language approach is taken.  In this situation it is easy for the child to recognise which language to speak with each parent.
  • In nearly all bilingual families, children end up mixing the languages, especially at the beginning. Don’t worry about this, it tends to sort itself out naturally.
  • The child will probably use the language which is stronger in the family.  The Irish speaking parent will need support and determination to continue using Irish.

You can do the following to encourage your child’s use of Irish.

  • Attend an Irish playgroup/Scléip an tSathairn
  • Arrange a home visit with Tús Maith
  • Sing Irish songs and rhymes
  • Read Irish books
  • Watch Cúla 4 together
  • Apply for a resource pack from www.agh.gov.ie

Encourage family friends and neighbours to speak Irish to your child.  This would also be an opportunity for the non-Irish speaking parent to learn a little Irish at the same time as the child – the parent could learn from listening to the other parent singing or reading a book and might even consider taking a class.

Can speak Irish but usually speak English

Maybe you are two parents who can speak Irish but are used to speaking English with each other.  Having a child is a wonderful opportunity to change the language behaviour within the family and raise your child with Irish or bilingually. Bear in mind that as it stands at the moment your child’s education will be through the medium of Irish if educated west of Annascaul

  • Decide together that you will speak Irish to the child.  Choosing and making a decision early will make it easier to stick with it later.  It may feel strange at the beginning but it will get easier with time.
  • Arrange a home visit with Tús Maith
  • If possible start speaking Irish with each other in yourchild’s presence
  • Try to use more Irish yourself – with family, friends and neighbours.
  • Attend a playgroup, sing Irish songs and rhymes and read Irish stories

English only or another language

If you want to help your child to learn Irish at home, it will be an enormous advantage when he or she starts school.

Consider taking an Irish class and practice what you learn with your child. Check out what classes would suit you on www.oidhreacht.ie

If you read some simple books and learn a few simple rhymes and songs your child will grow accustomed to hearing Irish and you will grow more comfortable with the language.

A home visit would also be of benefit.

 

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