Twitter users were quick to contradict a 2018 statistic that claimed 72% of Irish people had no foreign language skills.
Mapsome, a social media account that aims to "explain the world" by sharing random tidbits, found itself in hot water after sharing a statistic that claimed the majority of people in Ireland "cannot speak a foreign language."
In September 2018, the account shared figures that stated over 72% of those living in Ireland had no ability to speak a second language (perhaps a somewhat outdated statistic anyway, considering the graphic was from 2011!)
The chart contrasted Éire with countries like Luxembourg, a veritable cultural melting pot, where a mere 1% of the population have no additional languages.
As displayed below, Ireland fared worst in the rankings.
Over 70% of Irish people cannot speak a foreign language pic.twitter.com/2t28ZmakdC— Mapsome ? (@mapsome) September 1, 2018
Not missing a beat, Irish followers fired back that "nearly 100%" of those living in Ireland did speak a foreign language - English!
Overall, the post received over 120 criticisms, including from Gaeilgeoir and translator Seanán Ó Coistín:
100% of Irish people speak a foreign language - English! The problem is that most Irish people cannot speak the native language of Ireland ?? - an Ghaeilge. #fakenews from Mapsome.— Seanán Ó Coistín ?? (@Seananocoistin) September 2, 2018
Another stated, "This is rubbish, and insulting to the Irish people. I know others have said it but it needs to be said again - English is a foreign language in Ireland. Irish people who speak English speak a foreign language. People who speak Gaeilge na hÉireann and English are bilingual."
One Twitter user even went so far as to share a screenshot of the Irish Constitution, which clearly states that Irish is the first language of the country, with English as the official second language.
If there was a GIF to show both the plethora of Irish-Language Graduate's reactions to this graph, and their colleagues from political science subsequently telling them about article 8.2 of the Constitution....well I think I found it. pic.twitter.com/5XjArL8OFz— Ronan O'Callaghan (@RonanJLOC) September 2, 2018
The moderator of the Mapsome account was forced to issue a clarification.
It states, "Update concerning this publication: there is a valid reason that Ireland is 1st. The majority of pupils in Ireland do learn a second language, Irish. In Irish-speaking schools, English is learned as a second language. That's why they are ranked 1st."
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