English is all around us; always encroaching. It can be hard to encourage our children to speak Irish, as the turn to English. Below are some hints to help encourage them to speak Irish:
Contact and Need:
When a child is reluctant to speak the minority language, such as in our own context in Ireland where the majority language, English, is always encroaching, this usually relates to two things: contact with the language and the need to speak it. The child must have sufficient experience of the minority language and the need to use it. If these two things can be provided to the child at an early age, the problem can be solved before it even develops.
If it is very important to you that your family crates an environment in which the Irish language us normal. It is, therefore, necessary to speak Irish not just at home but everywhere else. Irish must be at the heart of everything that you do as a family and every part of your life. Without this commitment, English will gain the upper hand.
Lay the Foundations:
It is very important to lay the foundations and pay attention to the little things. You need to consider questions such a, where you live, the level of Irish ability within your family, (your spouse, grandparents, aunts etc), the provision of Irish-medium education and speaking opportunities in your area. If there are obstacles to any of these, it is necessary to agree a solution with your spouse.