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The creation of urban Gaeltachts in Belfast and other Irish cities should be regarded as one of the greatest language revitalisation projects ever undertaken. As a leading University of California linguistics professor puts it, ‘I know of no parallels to this achievement anywhere else in the world’.

The urban Irish-language movement has largely coalesced around Irish-medium schools, known as Gaelscoileanna. That’s certainly the case in Northern Ireland, where 5,000 pupils attend one of 39 Irish-medium schools. There are plenty of benefits to raising children bilingually, as a wide body of research shows. And as a briefing published by the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) illustrates, ‘academic attainment achieved by the IME [Irish medium education] schools was higher than might be expected, when set against the wider population patterns over the same period’. 

For the whole article, continue to Slugger O’Toole: http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/07/26/do-urban-gaeltachts-produce-a-compromised-irish/

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