Summer is upon us and people start to go on vacation, having fun with family and friends. Some of them are going on trips outside of their countries so they have to do some extra preparations. For example, they need to know how’s the weather, what currency will they need to use and probably most important if they’ll need a tour guide or if they can speak directly to the people.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, we’ll give you a heads up. Summer in Ireland is unpredictable but in a good way. Wet doesn’t necessary mean cold but you need to be prepared. Another good idea would be to try to understand the traditional Irish language if you’re going somewhere in the Gaeltacht. You can even take a step further and learn this language if you happen to have some Irish ancestry.
Patrick Dunn is a Bitesize Irish Gaelic member who found out he has Irish ancestry so he started to learn the language for his recent visit to Ireland but also to honor his heritage. This is his story about the Irish language.
Where do you live and what do you like about that city/country?
I like in Elko, Nevada (USA). I like that it’s a small town, even though I do miss a number of things available in larger communities (like the possibility of starting an Irish-language meet up). But I like being able to walk to work, and never being more than 5 minutes away from anywhere I need to go routinely. I wouldn’t call it a sleepy town, but the level of stress is more manageable.
What was your motivation to learn Irish Gaelic?
I suppose I got into it while doing some research on preparation for my visit to Ireland a few years ago. I’d never really learned another language, and I suppose it appealed to my desire to take on the less-conventional project (like learning banjo instead of the vastly more popular guitar). French, German, Spanish or maybe Russian would seem to be a more expected choice for a second language, but since I didn’t really need any of these, I felt free to follow my whims.
Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us more about it.
This question is part of the answer to the previous one. I was beginning to look into my ancestry, which I had always understood to be largely Irish, and came upon the idea of learning the language while exploring Irish history and culture.
Although it may have started more out of mild curiosity, I have come to a genuine desire to honor my heritage by doing what I can to keep its language alive.
Ireland has a fascinating history and a tenacious sense of itself; since a culture’s language is perhaps its single most identifying feature, I saw a chance to make a meaningful contribution, and a meaningful connection.
How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
I use it now as one tool among several. It’s good for a quick rundown of grammar rules, pronunciation, and conversation skills. I’m still more of a sporadic user, but I find it a good resource with a variety of features to explore.
What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
I think Bitesize Irish Gaelic is a pretty good place for a total beginner; some language-learning tools can be a bit overwhelming. I’ve since found a few other resources which would be good for a beginner, particularly Duolingo, which has the benefit of being free. And starting some kind of vocabulary-building exercise is valuable for a beginner. I resisted this for a long time myself – seemed too dreary and time-consuming, and who wants to do schoolwork again?
However, I came upon Memrise.com recently, and I think it’s making a big difference. I heard that a typical speaker of a language may actually only use something like 2000 words on a routine basis – I found this quite encouraging; it seemed like an achievable goal, and I likely knew about 500 words of Irish already (I’m at 600 on Memrise now, and I’m still encountering words I’ve come across before, so this was a low estimate).
Anyway, by advice for the beginner is to look around at what’s available, and use what has some element of fun in it, if possible, Also, let it take time.
None of us learned our native language through a few weeks of intensive study. Let repetition be your friend, and it will be easier, maybe even pleasant. I feel like I’m just enjoying the process right now.
There’s no test I’m struggling to pass.
You too can learn to speak Irish Gaelic using the Bitesize method. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland and wish just to know the language, go ahead and take a free trial. The Bitesize Irish Gaelic method of learning Irish doesn’t stop here, though!
Learn to speak Irish! Sign up for Bitesize Irish Gaelic.