A documentary on endangered languages is to be produced by South Korea’s largest broadcasting network, following a visit to Galway to investigate the situation regarding the Irish language.
Representatives from Korean Broadcasting Station (KBS ) were in Galway last week to meet Gaillimh le Gaeilge, the organisation which promotes Irish in the city. Staff from KBS wished to learn more about the best practices in the promotion and the revitalisation of the Irish language. South Korea has one dialect, Jeju language, named as “critically endangered” by UNESCO.
The team had a particular interest in the work of Gaillimh le Gaeilge and the promotion of Galway as a bilingual city. Kang In-Chang, who works as a chief producer with KBS spoke with the chairman of Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Iggy Ó Muircheartaigh, and organisation chief executive, Bríd Ní Chonghóile, for the programme. Mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy, and president of Galway Chamber Frank Greene were also interviewed by the KBS team in relation to Galway’s efforts to gain bilingual status for the city. In addition to this, the crew met Dr Aodhán Mac Cormaic from the Department of the Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, and An Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill.
The TV crew filmed the bilingual signs erected in the city and met some Irish speakers working in businesses. They also got a taste of Irish music as well as filming some Irish songs from a local busker.
Bríd Ní Chonghóile said they were very impressed with Galway’s ‘different ambience’. “We even managed to get the sun to visit us on the day, so Galway looked particularly well. We were delighted with the opportunity to further promote Galway internationally as a vibrant cultural city with its own unique spirit.’’
Speaking about his visit to Galway, Kang In-Chang, said the city reminded him of his home-place in Korea. “Galway has similar scenery to Jeju in Korea and delivers wonderful hospitality. I have learned that Galway has always had a rich heritage is keeping the Irish language both alive and relevant, by instilling the spirit of the Irish people to learn and understand its importance within Irish society.’’
The documentary is due to be aired in Korea at the end of this year and will also be available on YouTube.