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Interest growing in reviving native tongue of Ireland

Classes in nearly extinct language gain popularity

Ronan Connolly was surprised by the popularity of Catholic University’s Irish course. “I had come across this notion that Americans aren’t interested in learning other languages,’’ he said. Ronan Connolly was surprised by the popularity of Catholic University’s Irish course. “I had come across this notion that Americans aren’t interested in learning other languages,’’ he said. (Bill O’Leary/Washington Post)
By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post / March 11, 2012
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As the Irish diaspora prepares for St. Patrick’s Day, the Hibernian tongue, once at the brink of extinction, is enjoying a modest revival. A 2009 survey by the Modern Language Association found enrollment in Irish-language classes in the United States numbered 409 students, compared with 278 in 1998, 58 in 1990, and 28 in 1980. Classes at Catholic University drew 18 students this year and 20 last year, the largest enrollments in recent memory.

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