If you’d like to make a real connection with your Irish heritage, learning to speak some of the Irish language is a deeply personal way to achieve that.
You need motivation from the heart. The motivation will get you immersing yourself in Ireland’s culture. That’ll make it part of your everyday life.
Here’s a manifesto for learners of the Irish language. It doesn’t matter where you are or who you know.
- I will make the Irish language a default part of my daily life.
- I will listen to Raidió na Gaeltachta, even though I don’t understand it. I won’t immerse myself in the language because I understand it – I will understand it if I immerse myself. I can install the Irish Radioplayer app on my phone to listen on the go.
- I will set tiny daily expectations on myself. I don’t need to “study” every day. I just need to set myself up for success. If I’m a member, I will open a Bitesize Irish Gaelic lesson per day, listen to a phrase, and only continue if my energy continues.
- I’m on a life-long journey. I will set low expectations for myself over the years. It doesn’t matter how much I understand or don’t understand. I won’t compare myself to “star students”. I’m learning at my own pace. And I’m happy for that to be really slow. It’s the journey that counts, afterall.
- I will emphasise success with regular immersion instead of deep study. If I plan ahead for “studying” the language, it will only mean I’ll put it off.
- I will start something. I will seek people in my city to practice with, or to teach. I will ask on Facebook for people to meet on Skype for practice conversations.
- I will not blame my circumstances. It doesn’t matter if no-one around me speaks the language. It just means I’m different 🙂
- I will wear clothes with the Irish language written on them.
- I will interact with other people with Irish language phrases every day. I can do that on the private Facebook group available to Bitesize Irish Gaelic members. I can do that on recommended Facebook pages.
- I will educate people who say “Gaelic”, to help explain Gaelic vs Irish Gaelic vs Irish.
- I will watch TG4 programs with subtitles. Again, it doesn’t matter that I don’t understand them speaking. This is part of my daily immersion.
- I will label items in my home in the Irish language. I don’t even have to pay attention to this. It’s enough to have passive information around me to absorb it over time.
- When I visit Ireland, I will experiment using some Irish language phrases on the natives.
- I will plan to attend classes in Donegal at Oideas Gael. I don’t need to learn more before organising it. I will learn more because I will organise it. If I can’t afford it, I will reach out and see who did attend there, and ask what they learned from the experience.
- I will attend a “Deireadh Seachtaine” immersion weekend if there’s one within travelling distance of my home.
- I will remember that speaking a language is about being part of a community and of expressing yourself. It’s about shared experiences. It makes a part of who I am.
- I will ask myself every day “Have I been exposed to Irish Gaelic yet today? If not, how can I expose myself to the language in the next five minutes?”
If you have more steps to add to this manifest, please leave a reply below.