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Foreign language learning in the Republic of Ireland: developments, challenges, policy implications

Bruen, Jennifer orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-9279-2978 (2023) Foreign language learning in the Republic of Ireland: developments, challenges, policy implications. Languages, Society and Policy . ISSN 2515-3854

Increasing Linguistic Diversity: The Republic of Ireland (RoI) has two official languages, English and Irish, with English spoken almost universally. In addition, 15% of the population now speak a foreign language, i.e., a language other than English or Irish, at home. The top five languages are Polish, Romanian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Primary School System: Primary school pupils will be taught a foreign language from 2025. This welcome development should be closely monitored in relation to the pupil/teacher experience, the time devoted to foreign languages and the transition to secondary school. Secondary School System: Approximately 80% of pupils study a foreign language in the first secondary school cycle and 76% in the second. The range of languages taught has recently been diversified. Higher Education (HE): There is a significant difference between the numbers studying a foreign language in HE (approximately 4%) compared with the numbers studying a foreign language at the end of secondary school (76%). This results in a lack of foreign language teachers and contributes to a lack of foreign language capacity in other areas, including industry. Higher Education Institutions should consider an Institution Wide Language Programme in tandem with specialist foreign language degrees, and degrees combining foreign languages with other disciplines. Industry and Enterprise: Industry needs more graduates who speak foreign languages. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) also need a more strategic approach to communication with customers and suppliers who speak languages other than English. ‘Language Management Strategies’ (LMSs) involve the use of employees with language skills, professional translators, translation tools, students on placements, local agents and intermediaries. Government agencies supporting internationalisation should encourage SMEs to develop LMSs while universities should ensure that language students are familiar with them.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Subjects:Humanities > French language
Humanities > German language
Humanities > Irish language
Humanities > Japanese language
Humanities > Language
Humanities > Linguistics
Humanities > Spanish language
Social Sciences > Multiculturalism
Social Sciences > Teaching
Social Sciences > Migration
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Publisher:Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages and Linguistics,
Official URL:https://www.lspjournal.com/post/foreign-language-l...
Copyright Information:© 2023 Languages, Society & Policy ​ Languages, Society and Policy is an open access online journal publishing high-quality peer-reviewed language research that addresses issues concerning languages, cultures, and societies in accessible and non-technical language. [https://www.lspjournal.com/about]
ID Code:29130
Deposited On:18 Oct 2023 11:19 by Jennifer Bruen . Last Modified 18 Oct 2023 11:19

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