The trouble with wanting to speak Irish Gaelic is that it’s a massive life-long journey. On the pessimistic side of things, you’ll never be fluent like a native speaker. And the journey is difficult (it’s meant to be difficult).
But there is a technique that gives you permission to learn in tiny steps. It’s been called micromastery by author Robert Twigger.
- What if there was a learnable skill that was quite well defined
- And I could practice it regularly
- And I could experiment with it
- And I have the possibility to master this tiny area, even if I can’t speak the full language?
In essence, a micromastery has two important defining characteristics (Twigger describes more, but for me these are the most important):
- There’s an entry trick. If you master this trick, you’re already doing better than most beginners who don’t have a structured approach to learning this new thing.
- There’s a “hard bit” to get over. You have to work at it. You won’t pick it up with 5 minutes of practice. It will take regular practice. That’s the road to your micromastery.
I love this accessible, optimistic view of learning. It’s giving you permission to learn something small. It’s letting you start with one Bite. It justifies learning that Bite, despite there being an infinite number of Bites ahead of you in the future. Micromastery means that the journey is your reason for being. It gives you permission to be curious in new things. It gets over impostor syndrome where you feel “I’m not good enough”.
Here’s my micromastery challenge suggestion for you to learn to speak the Irish language in a Bitesize piece:
Micromaster the conversation starter “Dia dhuit” and its reponse “Dia is Muire dhuit”.
- Your entry trick might be to understand the literal meaning of this phrase to say “hello”. It literally means “God to you”.
- The hard bit is to practice that gutteral “dh” sound. That takes real practice. Say it to your dog. Imagine your dog said it to you, and reply with “Dia is Muire dhuit”.
Here are some resources for this micromastery challenge:
- First start your free trial of Bitesize Irish Gaelic so that you can access the two lessons below
- Bitesize Lesson: How to start a conversation for pronouncing “Dia dhuit” with phonetics and audio recording
- Bitesize Lesson: Saying Hello Back for how to say “Dia is Muire dhuit”
Can you think of other micromasteries for the Irish language? Please leave a reply below this blog post!