Why is a young German trying to learn Irish and what do young people in Ireland think about their own language?

School students spend forty minutes a day learning Irish but are they interested in the language?

Teenagers from Saint Mary's College in Rathmines, County Dublin are generally positive about learning Irish. Just one student feels learning the language should be optional. Conversely another student feels learning the language is very important as it helps us to have respect for our national culture. Generally the Saint Mary's College students would prefer to concentrate on oral Irish rather than have to study prose and poetry.

Ba mhaith liom a bheith ag caint le daoine as Gaeilge.

Peter Brant from Cologne is planning to learn Irish at an evening class. He hopes to learn the basics of grammar initially and then converse with people in the Gaeltacht areas.

Otherwise it wouldn't make sense to learn it.

To date Peter Brant has picked up two phrases from watching 'Nuacht’ on television,

Agus anois an aimsir and the last word oíche mhaith.

Peter Brant learned English at school but dropped the language as his marks were poor. The focus on English grammar made him afraid to speak the language as he felt he had to be perfect. His goal for Irish is to speak the language without this fear.

Peter Brant is competent in Latin, Ancient Greek, Dutch, French and Swedish. He is keen to learn Irish because,

It’s not on the same root as the other continental languages are, so it’s a challenge for myself If I’m able to learn this language as well.

While Peter Brant appreciates from business point of view learning advanced English would be more advantageous than studying Irish, he believes he can naturally progress in English.

This episode of ‘Cúrsaí’ was broadcast on 6 October 1987. The reporter is Áine Ní Ghlinn.