Gaelic Pre-School Children’s Needs Are Very Different

Na tha a' tachairt ann an saoghal na Gàidhlig agus na pàipearan-naidheachd / What's happening in the Gaelic world and the newspapers
Gràisg
Rianaire
Posts: 1549
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:04 pm
Language Level: Caran robach sna laithean seo
Location: Inbhir Narann
Contact:

Gaelic Pre-School Children’s Needs Are Very Different

Unread post by Gràisg » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:49 pm

Sanas naidheachd bho CNSA

Everyday it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to take children to speaking Gaelic before they reach the age of 3 years, that is if we really are serious in wanting intergenerational transmission to become the norm.

That being so, we then need to look towards the parents and ensure that they are prepared and ready for the challenge of being the ones responsible for setting their child on the road towards a Gaelic conversational fluency at
3 years of age.

What comes next, is the equipping of parents with the right language suitable for use in the home, at play with the child, social, educational and community situations. In fact, if Gaelic is truly is to be part of family life, it must work equally well wherever and whenever it is called upon.

To accompany the above, these self same parents need specific courses such as The Altrum/Bumps & Babies Course, The Gaelic In The Home Course and The Parent & Child Course to help the process along.

As time goes by, they will also need the services of Gaelic pre-school groups,
if they are to maintain continuity in their child’s Gaelic acquisition.

Coming finally to the point, which is, the launching of a campaign for the setting up of full time nurseries that will serve children between the ages of
6 months and 5 years.

In this campaign we very much need your help and support, so why not get in contact with us at CNSA on (…01463-225469 or email: finlay@cnsa.org.uk and see what can be done, which surprisingly, is quite a lot if we all pull together.

Whether you are planning a family, have children already, just want to help or were let down or ignored, in what you wanted for your child, we want you to help us and at the same time help yourself and your family. Isn’t that what it is all about?


For further information regarding the above news release please contact;

Finlay M. Macleoid Home (…0044 (0)1542-836322
92 Academy Street Mob (…0044 (0)7789826934
INVERNESS CNSA (…0044 (0)1463-225469
IV1 1LU Email finlay@cnsa.org.uk
Last edited by Gràisg on Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Seonaidh
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:00 pm
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Faisg air Gleann Rathais

Unread post by Seonaidh » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:00 pm

Inntinneach, ach chan eil mi a' tuigsinn. Ma bhios na pàrantan a' bruidhinn Gàidhlig aig an taigh, bidh a' chlann iadsan. Ma .. Beurla .. a' chlann. Tha e shuas dha na pàrantan.
Nuair a tha iad ag ràdh "if we really are serious in wanting intergenerational transmission to become the norm", tha mi an tòiseach smaoineachadh "Pa fath o hen rwtsh sy'ma'te?", ann am facail eile, fàsaidh a' Bheurla cruaidh ga tuigsinn agus bidh mise gun ga tuigsinn. Dè bonk a th' air ann am facail furasta?
A-nis, "Coming finally to the point, which is, the launching of a campaign for the setting up of full time nurseries that will serve children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years." Nach e nurseries fhathast? No 's dòcha chan eil ach feadhainn airson Beurla?

Níall Beag
Rianaire
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Fluent (non-native)
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Sruighlea, Alba
Contact:

Unread post by Níall Beag » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:13 pm

Parents, schmarents.

Do we want the next generation taught by learners or natives?

We need nurseries -- as Finlay says, pre-school is probably too late. A nursery can share a native between several kids and even if they only go once a week they'll get a decent accent, but if their mothers speak to them in a non-native accent, they will copy at least a part of their mothers' accent. (I know a couple of people brought up in a bilingual (French/English) household and they have a very strange accent, because their mother has the Frenchest accent you've ever heard and she spoke to them in English as well as French when they were infants, so the French accent is native to them. The boy has a slight speech impediment and nasalises a lot.)

Gràisg
Rianaire
Posts: 1549
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:04 pm
Language Level: Caran robach sna laithean seo
Location: Inbhir Narann
Contact:

Unread post by Gràisg » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:04 pm

I tend to agree too Niall, Finlay is a very controversial figure sometimes but he's spot on with this. If Reversing Language Shift is ever to be achieved with Gaelic it will need learners teaching their kids the language.


Seonaidh
Posts: 1486
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:00 pm
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Faisg air Gleann Rathais

Unread post by Seonaidh » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:58 pm

If Reversing Language Shift is ever to be achieved with Gaelic it will need learners teaching their kids the language
Chan eil mi co cinnteach. I'm not even sure that's what Lille Nils was on about, or Mgr. Fionnlagh for that matter. I once met a chap (and his wife and bairns) who was learning Welsh (as was Mrs). If I mind right they had 2 lasses raised in English and a younger lad they were rasing in Welsh. It just was not working - their Welsh wasn't up to it, the lad was rather left out and uncommunicative. If you want to raise bairns in Lnaguage X, you either need to be pretty good at it yourself or to stay in an environment where people usually speak it. Without either of those, not much point trying. Why do you think I'm always on about the complete lack of Gaelic education in the Kingdom?
Anyway, my feeling was that Finn McNursery was putting forward the case for a suitable environment for wains, so that those whose parents weren't good enough at Gaelic would have somewhere solid to go and not get estranged (as the lad I mentioned earlier was).
Now, let's l00k at things from another perspective. It's widely assumed, I think, that the zenith of Gaelic speaking was probably around 1400-1500 (by that I mean the time when the largest area of Scotland was covered by majority Gaelic speech), since when there's been a steady language shift towards English. But, before that time, there was a language shift, in many parts of Scotland, towards Gaelic (albeit mainly from Norse and Pictish). Now, what factors caused Gaelic speech to expand into areas? Possibly political - the rulers and the kirk tended to be mostly Gaelic, certainly in the Highlands. But that of itself wasn't everything - a similar position existed in most of England, but with French, in the 12th-14th centuries, yet there is now nowhere in England with majority French speech (unless you include the Channel Islands, where that was the case till recently). There must also have been a social spread - probably something as straightforward as a lot of intermarriage along the linguistic frontier. This was not the dukes, earls and clergy, this was the "common people", a factor almost entirely missing from the English example vis-a-vis the French rulers.
Anyway, back to cuspair, i could be that the best way of reversing the shift is by a similar gradual process, i.e. from pockets of Gaelic speech expanding. Previously, this was not really on, as the offspring of a mixed marriage would be raised, by and large, in English only. However, there's now much more support for and recognition of Gaelic as a valid language, so this need no longer be the case. What would be really helpful is if the same sort of standards as currently apply in Catalonia, the Basque lands (Euskal Herria) and nowadays to Wales were to apply in Scotland. The Gaelic Language Act was a powerful step in that direction: however, the lack of finance and seemingly ineffective direction of Bòrd na Gàidhlig does not bode well.

Tearlach61
Maor
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:30 am
Location: Juneau
Contact:

Unread post by Tearlach61 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:17 am

"If Reversing Language Shift is ever to be achieved with Gaelic it will need learners teaching their kids the language "

I think Fionnlagh is spot on.

I think anytime a parent has Gaelic, it is incumbent upon that parent to use it with their children, even if you're in a community where there is no oppurtinity to use it, even if you're still learning.

I was out walking my dog the other day and noticed a guy out with his son, speaking French to him. Assuming he was a tourist, I asked where he was from. It turns out, he lives just down the street. He's from France, been here in Juneau for many years, speaks French to his son. The thing that caught my attention was how well the son spoke french, it was not at all a broken French. Not only that the boy can read French.

I found that very encouraging as I bring up my daughter to speak Gaelic. I know she understands very well, speaks to some degree. As she enters kindergarten, I am trying to figure out how to teach her how to read as I am sure that would be beneficial to her.

I have been using Gaelic, admittedly a second language with my younger daughter since she was 9 months, about 4 and a half years now. It forced me to hunt down how to say certain things, to be always be on the look out for new phrases for certain things. Now it seems very normal. I have never spoken English with my younger daughter except in a couple of odd moments where it felt very wierd. I think she thought it was wierd.

The hazard of course is you wind up speaking a Gaelic that really isn't Gaelic at all, but I think with a little care and discipline that can be avoided.

There are a number of people who having learned Gaelic as a second language, now use it as their family language. I met several last year.

Níall Beag
Rianaire
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Fluent (non-native)
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Sruighlea, Alba
Contact:

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:07 pm

Tearlach61 wrote:I was out walking my dog the other day and noticed a guy out with his son, speaking French to him. Assuming he was a tourist, I asked where he was from. It turns out, he lives just down the street. He's from France, been here in Juneau for many years, speaks French to his son. The thing that caught my attention was how well the son spoke french, it was not at all a broken French. Not only that the boy can read French.
Ha show jifritchie, nakkyell? Ha parent feelintuck akk am ballick ood. The French kids who grew up up the road from me had native French too.

Now I'm going to try to put forward a positive proposal here, rather than simply slating other people's ideas.

My mum wanted to bring us up bilingual. In fact, she wanted to move to Barra before she had kids (this never happened because the council sent out the one application form instead of two, but that's by-the-by).

She was not bilingual, although she probably had the same level of French as most FnMG parents have of Gaelic at the start. Rather than improve her French or talk to us in French, she bought a bunch of LPs of kids songs with lyrics. She taught us the songs to start off with in her accent, then left us to sing along with the records and move towards the proper accent. Without learning any French language, I developed a natural, native accent and the ability to discriminate the sounds. I didn't pick up French until high school, but I found it really easy.

I fully intend to do the same thing with my kids, when I have any. It won't just be French -- it'll be a wide range of languages, and I'll try to encompass as many different phonemes as possible.

What I don't want is my kids picking up my non-native accent (in any language) as their accent.

Actually, rereading the original message, I think I've misinterpreted the message. Is there anything there that mentions the learner? I think he seems to be addressing the lack of Gaelic for use in the childhood context, not the lack of any Gaelic at all. Parents may be native speakers, but they maybe don't know the Gaelic for hide and seek, for example. I suppose the message depends on what those courses he mentions actually are....

Tearlach61
Maor
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:30 am
Location: Juneau
Contact:

Unread post by Tearlach61 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:43 pm

"What I don't want is my kids picking up my non-native accent (in any language) as their accent. "

Well, for me the choice was, either my kids pick up a language with an accent versus remain unilingual. I opted to risk the accent, I then worked on mitigating that risk by putting a fair amount of effort on my own accent and also of course exposing then to other people speaking Gàidhlig (t.v., radio etc).

I don't think it's a given that an adult can't learn the accent as well. Think of Ruairidh MacIlleathain, I don't think many realize he learned Gaelic as an adult. As I think of it, I think Fionnlagh also learned Gaelic at college age, late teens early 20's.

Níall Beag
Rianaire
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Fluent (non-native)
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Sruighlea, Alba
Contact:

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:19 am

Tearlach61 wrote:Well, for me the choice was, either my kids pick up a language with an accent versus remain unilingual. I opted to risk the accent, I then worked on mitigating that risk by putting a fair amount of effort on my own accent and also of course exposing then to other people speaking Gàidhlig (t.v., radio etc).
Fair enough -- exceptional circumstances.
I don't think it's a given that an adult can't learn the accent as well. Think of Ruairidh MacIlleathain, I don't think many realize he learned Gaelic as an adult. As I think of it, I think Fionnlagh also learned Gaelic at college age, late teens early 20's.
Yes, Finlay was an adult learner, but as he speaks English with a strong Gaelic accent (thinking about it, there's even a hint of preaspiration in words like accent the way he says it) it can't be that difficult for him to speak in a natural accent.

As for Rory, I've never heard him speak (in any language) outside of the litir, which certainly doesn't sound natural.

And yes, adults can learn the accent -- I'm quite proud of my accents in Gaelic and Spanish, even though they're not perfect yet. However, as yet no-one is teaching accents properly. An accent needs conscious work, and too many teachers assume that people will assimilate them from input (eg Ulpan and Finlay's TIP).

Situational Gaelic lessons may be useful for natives, but situational teaching for the learner distracts from the core of the language.

faoileag
Maor
Posts: 1489
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:19 am

Unread post by faoileag » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:02 pm

Situational Gaelic lessons may be useful for natives, but situational teaching for the learner distracts from the core of the language.
This is too much of a generalisation. The situational teaching usually reinforces the core language work, and even vice versa. Most learners need (and want) both, but there is no one way for everyone to learn, and I am all for exposure to multiple 'systems' to cater for that.

I agree with Tearlach that in situations where there is no Gaelic (or other second language) environment, a (conscientious) non-native -speaker model is better than no language-learning, and it can be supported by all the usual media to widen the native-speaker influence at an early age. Once the child gets into a pre-school or even school environment, or moves to the area, the accent and natural usage of the given language will improve.

I've seen that happening successfully within familes trying to give their children other languages for family reasons too. (French, German, and now a cousin doing that with Spanish for an absentee Spanish father.)

Childen do have an advantage over us there.

But I agree that more work on pronunciation does need doing in language teaching, especially in adult education.[/quote]

Níall Beag
Rianaire
Posts: 1385
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Fluent (non-native)
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Sruighlea, Alba
Contact:

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:28 pm

faoileag wrote:The situational teaching usually reinforces the core language work, and even vice versa.
In what sense? Situational classes, in all contexts I've seen, deal with fixed phrases, fixed situations. They stifle spontaneity. It's amazing how much you find you can say if you don't box yourself in, an it's amazing how poor a command you get of language taught situationally.
but there is no one way for everyone to learn, and I am all for exposure to multiple 'systems' to cater for that.
I don't agree completely with you here. I believe that good teaching is almost universal, with a couple of minor tweaks. Suboptimal teaching, on the other hand, is not universal: ie some people survive bad classes. Pupils "surviving" is not success for the teacher, yet they hold up these minorities as proof that their method works.

faoileag
Maor
Posts: 1489
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:19 am

Unread post by faoileag » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:54 pm

Níall Beag wrote: In what sense? Situational classes, in all contexts I've seen, deal with fixed phrases, fixed situations. They stifle spontaneity. It's amazing how much you find you can say if you don't box yourself in, an it's amazing how poor a command you get of language taught situationally.
I think you are talking about one system only, and an inflexible one. Using real life or simulated situations to give/get practice can be controlled or open and everything in between. In all but the most controlled cases it actually encourages spontaneity and the acquisition of paraphrasing and self-help strategies. It also creates the genuine need to learn certain items and structures, which is the best motivation of all.
I don't agree completely with you here. I believe that good teaching is almost universal, with a couple of minor tweaks. Suboptimal teaching, on the other hand, is not universal: ie some people survive bad classes. Pupils "surviving" is not success for the teacher, yet they hold up these minorities as proof that their method works
Again, you seem to be assuming inflexible patent systems here. That is the opposite of what I am talking about. The integrated language and communication skills training I am in favour of can be 'tweaked' in many (and often hefty) ways to suit the type/age/situation/aims/learning habits/talents of the learners, and good courses and good teachers take account of this.

Post Reply