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Knowing Irish Helps Me When I Learn German And Knowing German Helps Me When I Learn Irish

By Author: carling
Total Articles: 129

Across both school types, the most frequent response was no, with 67.5% (n = 108) of the whole population choosing this response. The next most frequent response was sometimes, with 22.5% (n = 36) responding in this manner. Only 10% (n = 16) of the total population stated that knowing Irish helps them when they are learning German. All of those pupils (100%, n = 68) attending English-medium schools responded negatively to this statement, choosing no. Those children attending Gaelscoileanna responded more positively to this statement than those attending English-medium schools. However, the positive response is not vast.

Only 17.4% (K = 16) chose yes, while 43.5% (n = 40) chose no and 39.1% (n = 36) chose sometimes. This information does tally with previous data collected during the questionnaire, where teachers felt that those children attending Gaelscoileanna were more likely to make associations between the TL and Irish than those children attending English-medium schools. Across the board, most pupils chose 'No' as a response to this statement, making up 93.8% (n = 150) of the total population of both types of schools. Only eight pupils (5%) said that knowing German sometimes helps them when learning Irish, while only two pupils (1.3%) responded 'Yes' to this statement. When comparing responses within school type, it becomes clear that those pupils attending Gaelscoileanna are more likely than those attending English-medium schools to think that knowing German helps them when learning Irish, with 2.2% (n = 2) of this population responding 'Yes' and 6.5% (n = 6) responding sometimes. However, a great majority of pupils within this school type are of the opinion that knowing German does not help them when learning Irish, making up 91.3% (n = 84) of this population.

With regard to English-medium schools, the pattern is similar, with 97.1% (= 66) of pupils stating that knowing German does not help them when learning Irish, and 2.9% (n = 2) of pupils stating that it sometimes helps them. Children attending Gaelscoileanna were more likely to report that Irish helped them when learning German, thereby indicating a higher level of cross-linguistic influence and metalinguistic awareness. While most children, regardless of school type, reported that German does not help them when learning Irish, children attending Gaelscoileanna were slightly more likely to do so.
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