During the nineteenth century Irish-speaking communities declined almost to the point of extinction. But in 1922 the new Irish state launched a broad strategy to re-establish Irish as a national language. This book is about that policy and its impact over the last seventy years. O Riagain focuses on the evolving structure of bilingualism in Ireland but he is more centrally concerned with the process of bilingual reproduction. His analysis is based on a series of language surveys conducted between 1973 and 1993. In Part I he reviews the evolution of language policy and the main theoretical perspectives emerging in Irish research. In Part II he is concerned with the position of the Irish language in the residual Irish-speaking areas, and in Part III with the present position of the Irish language in the English-speaking areas. He examines the role of policy in education, in the public sector, and in the forming of Irish-speaking networks. He argues that the various dimensions of Irish language policy have been heavily conditioned by the way the Irish economy and, in turn, Irish society has developed since independence.
He concludes in Part IV with a discussion of current issues within Irish language policy.
Publisher: Oxford University Press