#OTD in 2007 – Irish Becomes The 23rd Official Language Of the EU.

The Irish language has been given official status in Europe, taking its place as the 23rd language of the European Union. The move received curiously little attention in the Republic of Ireland, given that the language has at times been regarded as a semi-mystical part of the national identity.

This may, however, have been due to the fact that, both in Ireland and throughout Europe, the move had little or no opposition, so that no controversy arose over the enhanced status of the language.

It is very much in line with the EU philosophy of encouraging linguistic diversity which, in addition to the adoption of major languages, has led to the granting of semi-official status to tongues such as Basque, Catalan and Galician. Irish, also referred to as Gaelic, will not, however, be on a par with languages such as English, French and German. Europe’s institutions will not, for example, be required to translate all legislation into Irish.

The move will mean the creation of 29 new posts in translation, revision and publication. These posts and the hiring of interpreters, will cost around €3.5m a year.

Irish has so far been accorded the status of a treaty language, which means it has been regarded as an authentic text for treaties. As from 1 January, however, all key EU legislation will be translated into Irish, with provisions put in place so that Irish can be spoken at council meetings.

The possibility of further extending the use of Irish will be formally reviewed in several years time.

The language is widely spoken, partly because it retains its traditional status as a compulsory part of the school curriculum. While the Irish have a strong streak of internationalism, the language, though it has had its ups and downs, is a familiar part of life. This does not suit all school pupils, however, since Irish is a difficult language to learn.

A census in 2002 indicated that 40 per cent of the population can speak Irish, with more than a quarter claiming to do so on a daily basis. A small number of people, especially in the west of the country, regard it as their first language while thousands of children attend schools where they are taught in Irish.

Ironically, many more languages are to be heard in modern Ireland due to the large-scale influx in recent years of immigrants. There is a political consensus that the Irish language should be promoted, though there are differences about how much effort and money should be put into that process.

Since the south of Ireland obtained independence almost a century ago, successive governments have treated the language as emblematic of the country’s identity and sought to keep it alive.

SaveSave

Advertisements

Posted by

Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.

6 thoughts on “#OTD in 2007 – Irish Becomes The 23rd Official Language Of the EU.

      1. My opinion is that we should have our own language and that it should be first and foremost. It was taken from us and we should be proud of our language and be able to speak it as well as English.

        Like

      2. Gu dearbh fhéin! However my (UK) memories of ‘School French’ which everyone had to take back then, damn nearly put me off language learning for life, and I get the impression that many Irish people have the same feelings about Gaeilge. It’s all a bit chicken-and-egg, and I don’t know how you reverse things once a language is no longer widely used in everyday public life. Sin mar a tha mise a’ faireachdainn, co-dhiù …

        Like

Will respond as soon as possible.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s