There are many advantages for those who speak Irish, on educational, communicative, personal and professional levels.
When you raise a child with Irish, you are giving him or her valuable advantages when it comes to:
- Learning to read and write
- Learning new languages
- Developing communication skills
- Employability in the future
- Making new friends
- Being part of a new Irish-speaking generation
- Strengthening identity
The advantages of bilingualism and bilingual education are well documented in research. Bilingualism results in overall better achievement across curricular subjects and helps in learning a third or fourth language (Cenoz & Valencia 1994). It has been proven that students perform better academically when they have fluency in more than one language (Gallagher & Hanna, 2002). Bilingual education can raise academic ability, creativity and self-confidence in students (NMABE, 2006; Cummins, 2000), not to mention its positive impact on future employability
There are many other skills associated with bilingualism that are of benefit outside of an academic context. It allows for more effective and broader communication within households, in public, between friends and in professional situations.
From a cultural perspective, multilingualism helps people to understand and adapt to other cultures, which in turn makes it easier to empathise with other cultures (Gallagher & Hanna, 2002). It has been shown that those with more than one language also have higher self-confidence and a stronger sense of identity than those who only speak one language (Baker, 2003). Multilingualism is an advantage that allows for a broader understanding of the world, and has advantages when it comes to creative thinking and communicating ideas (Bialystok et al. 2005).