A visitor emailed us today with an interesting email. Here’s a snippet that summarizes it quite well, although I realize that pulling one quote out of a full email will never give the original author full credit:
“…I just wanted to write you a letter explaining why I think that charging people money to learn Irish is hurting the language…”
Just let me write this to explain why we are not hurting the language of Ireland.
Bitesize Irish Gaelic is a service where you pay $15/month to access 60+ online Irish Gaelic lessons. The lessons are broken down into bitesize parts. You can take them in the order that you like. You can listen to the recordings as often as you like. You track which ones you have already taken.
I decided a couple of years ago to start a new service online, and to charge for it. Instead of looking at programming a piece of invoicing software, for example, I decided to create Bitesize Irish Gaelic with my wife.
In exchange for money if you would like to become a member, we spend some of our free time developing these Irish lessons and putting them online.
Selling a book with that information would have been another way to sell the information. Do books on the Irish language hurt the language?
I agree with one part of the email:
“Since you do charge for it I am going to simple exercise my right not to pay and seek access to the language elsewhere.”
You can do that, as with any other product or service. The Irish people (including I) pay taxes to the Irish government, which in turn provides Raidió na Gaeltachta (radio) and TG4 (TV) free online worldwide with 24/7 free streaming. Go check them out.
If there was no potential to make a sustainable little business from helping to spread the Irish language, Bitesize Irish Gaelic would not exist.
I’ll put it another way: if there was no way of the site supporting itself, you would have one less resource to learn the language.
Am I hurting the Irish language, or not?
Update: the person replied very cordially to my response that I had sent to them by email. They emphasized that the original frustration was with running into people who are charging for information on learning Irish Gaelic. My response to this still stands, above.
A further frustration was that it’s difficult to tell if paid-for services are worth it without being able to try them. Bitesize Irish Gaelic is at time of writing $15/month, and is covered by a full 28-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.