‘There’s been a huge reaction’ – TikTok stars use the platform to promote the Irish language


Teenagers are taking an interest in the Irish language as TikTok stars across the country are using their platform to promote our native language.

eamus Lehane from Limerick, who has attracted more than 130,000 followers on the app under his username ‘seamboyseam’ went viral after posting a video posing as Minister Simon Harris.

Although he still makes comedic videos and impersonations, the 30-year-old has started posting clips where he tells people what certain English words are as Gaeilge, but explains it interactively through comic sketches.

The primary teacher said he thought young people were more interested in the language than they had been before, as there was a big reaction to his ‘What are Irish people for?’ videos.

“When I was uploading the videos I wasn’t sure about the reaction, but there was a huge reaction with the younger age groups and I guess now there’s more emphasis on spoken language and the language use you have, and I know that’s the whole point of Seachtain na Gaeilge, as they say ”Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste ná Béarla cliste” (broken Irish is better than smart English ).

“When I was in school a lot of it was poetry and a lot more academic, whereas now there’s more emphasis on speaking and using whatever you have.

“On TikTok there’s usually a younger audience, so a lot of people associated them with school life, so high school kids really.”

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School teacher and Tiktoker Séamus Lehane

School teacher and Tiktoker Séamus Lehane

Fadi BouKaram is originally from Lebanon and moved to Ireland three years ago. He has a keen interest in languages ​​and is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

He knew he wanted to learn the Irish language as soon as he arrived and started posting his journey on TikTok under the username “cedrusk”, along with other interesting facts about languages ​​in general.

“I moved to Ireland three years ago and immediately started wanting to learn Irish,” he said.

“I did a few Tik Toks last year and people were like ‘you need to lower your accent, that’s not how people speak in Dublin’, but I don’t know how people speak in Dublin None of my colleagues speak Irish.

Although some people told him to lower his accent, he said the comments on his TikTok videos “have been great.”

“I started making videos at the end of 2020, it was during the second lockdown,” he said.

“I was like ‘let’s check this app everyone’s talking about’ and then I started making TikToks about languages, which I’ve never done, I’ve never talked about languages ​​before. I’m working in tax advice in Ireland.

“But, the weird thing is, the more I learn, the less confidence I have in learning, because the more you learn, the more you find out there’s a lot of things you don’t know, but the people have been great.”

Mr. BouKaram said after talking to his friends that he thinks young people are definitely more engaged with the language.

“Among my Irish friends they say the same thing as they grew up with it but it was taught badly in school, but now their kids love the language and their kids are excited to go to Gaelteacht so it’s great.

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Language enthusiast Fadi BouKaram


Language enthusiast Fadi BouKaram

Language enthusiast Fadi BouKaram

TikTok star Séaghan Ó Súilleabháin, known as “kerrycowboy” on the app, said he thought it was important to promote the Irish language to his young people.

As an ambassador for Seachtain na Gaeilge, he said: “”I have enough fans and they are mostly people my age, so if I can [the Irish language] visible and accessible, there will be a great chance to promote the language, that’s why I decided to do it and that’s my goal for now.

The 22-year-old went viral after posting a video of his dog who was supposed to help herd cows on the farm, but was shown hilariously slacking off.

“I first did it as a joke and all the videos were in English, but then when I posted my pup Brandí it went viral and then I felt like with all these people watching and the platform I had, I should do more to promote Irish,” he said.

“So I started making TikToks through Irish and I guess I kind of took it from there little by little.”

Mr. Ó Súilleabháin said that it was not until adolescence that he fully adopted his mother tongue.

“My mother was from an island called Valentia in West Kerry, so I was very young surrounded by people who spoke Irish very well, but I wasn’t fluent at that stage,” he said. declared.

“It was more when I was a teenager that I had a great interest in seeing people do their best for the language and so I went back and learned more and went to West Kerry and I picked up a few phrases and that’s how I started.”

Seachtain na Gaeilge is supported by the Irish Independent

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