Two Gaelic-speaking parents

If you and your partner both speak Gaelic you can make Gaelic the language of your home. This way you can raise children with Gaelic as their first language. It is also important that Gaelic is the language that you use between yourselves as children will also acquire language from listening to the conversations around about them. If at all possible try to encourage children to play with other children of their own age whose home language is Gaelic.

We speak only Gaelic to our children but are worried that they will not have a good command of English.

There is no need to be worried. They will not be able to avoid a majority language such as English which they will inevitably be exposed to through television, radio, friends and the wider community. 

I have decided to speak Gaelic all the time to my children. What should I do when a visitor arrives who does not speak Gaelic?

The fact that you are conversing with a visitor in English should not deter you from continuing to use Gaelic with your children. You should explain to visitors how important this is and there should be no reason for them to feel offended. You should not prevent them addressing your children in English or any other language.

My child’s Gaelic seems to have deteriorated since she started school although she is in Gaelic medium education. Why is this and what should we do?

Only a small percentage of children in Gaelic medium education have Gaelic as their home language. This means that the majority of children will be learning Gaelic in the first years of their education and your child is likely to pick up expressions and habits of speech from these children. This is a natural part of the language acquisition process. Children whose home language is Gaelic often use two types of Gaelic at this stage, one type when they are with their parents and another when they are at school conversing with their teacher and peers. You may want to speak to your child’s teacher to ascertain that his / her needs within the class as a fluent speaker are being met. It is quite probable that the language of the playground will be English and your child will naturally want to use English as well. The situation will improve as the other children in school become more fluent and provided that you continue to use Gaelic with your child in the home this will be a temporary phase. Your child is still benefiting from a Gaelic education and their Gaelic would certainly have deteriorated more if they were in English medium education.

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