Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom Posted by Bridgette on Feb 26, 2021 in Irish Language
I thought the movie was a sad yet hopeful commentary on the state of the Irish language in Ireland.
Thankfully the image of the Irish language has changed a great deal in recent years, which is evident by the number of people who speak and learn the language, not only in Ireland but around the world. The Irish language is the language of the community in Gaeltacht regions and the language is also gaining strength in places outside the Gaeltacht. According to the Census of 2006, 1.66 million people in the Republic of Ireland can speak Irish, compared with 1.57 in 2002. According to the 2001 Northern Ireland Census 10.4% claim to have some knowledge of Irish. Surveys have long shown a deep affection towards the Irish language amongst the community all over the country and this is not confined to people who speak Irish.
In the film we see the the term ‘Gaeltacht’ which is used to denote the areas in Ireland where the Irish language is the main spoken language of a substantial number of the local population. The Gaeltacht areas are defined by Government order and every successive government has recognized the need for specific measures, structures and funding to ensure the maintenance of these communities.
The existence of areas where Irish lives as a community language is an important cornerstone in the building of a bilingual society in Ireland, and it provides an environment where the language can evolve naturally in a modern setting.
The total population of the Gaeltacht is 100,716 (Census 2011). Around 15,300 of this population reside within the expanding suburbs of Galway City.
Until we can travel again to the Gaeltacht, I think we can all take a note from Yu Ming and look into our mirrors and say: An bhfuil tusa ag labhairt liomsa? Are you talking to me? Until then, keep dreaming!
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