Watch back October’s Live Q&A with Siobhán and Emma above or find below a summary of what we covered. We answer questions from those who have returned to learning the Irish language having had studied Irish earlier in life. The questions were gathered from a recent survey we conducted.
Could you organise weekly conversation classes?
– Martina, UK
- Bitesize Beo is a weekly scripted conversation session where conversational Irish is both learnt and practiced through reciting a scripted conversation. Then the main pronunciation and grammar points are looked at and the floor is open for questions. At the end, everyone has the chance to answer a question in their own words that correlates with that session’s topic.
Why wasn’t this survey in Irish?Cinnéide, Éire
- The simple reason this survey wasn’t in Irish is that most of those surveyed would not have been able to understand it or answer the questions in Irish. If they were able to read and reply in Irish, they would more than likely be quite proficient in Irish already.
How can we make it more popular to learn Irish?Brien, Ireland
- Siobhán: It must be promoted culturally as a “cool” language to speak. Also, to be honest, if there were more financial incentives it would more than likely make a large difference also, such as if speaking Irish was seen as beneficial in many careers. Ultimately it’s a deeper question of ideology and the individual’s values and priorities and the wider population’s shared values and priorities and making the Irish language one of them.
- Emma: Knowing another language adds a different view of the world. There needs to be jobs for Irish speakers.
I am at an upper intermediate progression level. Do you have pools of daily speakers interacting at this level or mostly beginners?Kilian, Bermuda
- We have a great mix of levels in Bitesize Pobal. From those who started with minimal Irish up to people who would have the ability to share their thoughts, express ideas and have conversations in Irish.
Will Irish ever be spoken as a language of communication throughout IrelandGeorge, South Africa
- Siobhán: We simply don’t know but it’s not an impossibility. A well done major well-funded long-term project could very well do the job though I’m sure a grassroots movement could also achieve it though in my opinion that would be slower. As we can see, there have been many attempts both large and small to promote Irish over the past century in particular, some more successful than others. The current interest in Gaelscoileanna shows that many are interested in the next generation being able to speak Irish. I feel that a stronger, more radical, approach could greatly improve the momentum of the current Irish language movement
- Emma: If Irish ever becomes a language commonly used throughout Ireland it would have to be in a bilingual Ireland due to the need for English for trade, for example.
Any fast way to become fluentAilish, Northern Ireland
- Immersion in the language is one way to speed up the process. It all depends on the individual but consuming your news and social media in the language, reading, speaking the language daily will increase your level of fluency.
Is there any pin, similar to a pioneer pin, that shows that someone is an Irish speaker?Comment taking from the Live Chat
- An Fáinne (“The Ring”) is a little badge historically worn by people to show that they are fluent in Irish, to show other Irish speakers to speak Irish with them. These days, variants of An Fáinne can be purchaesd online, including a “Cúpla Focal” badge to show you speak a little Irish. It can be purchased from Conradh na Gaeilge.
How did you come up with this idea? I really like that it is small gains each day.Adrienne, USA
- Not everyone has the time to sit down and do intensive courses, immersion courses, move to an Irish speaking area. Most people have other things going on in their lives, work, families, kids, sports etc. so showing people that you can still learn a language amongst your daily routine and incorporate it into your current routine is important! Little bits every day do make a difference and it is achievable.
Help with pronunciationJohn, UK
- Use the pronunciation tab on teanglann.ie, the voice recordings on focloir.ie, and also search an Irish word in forvo.com, To understand the workings of the surprisingly phonetic Irish spelling system, try Crack Irish Pronunciation which is available as part of either of our membership plans. Listening to spoken Irish, on the radio for example, as regularly as possible can pretty much program your brain to begin imitating the sounds of each word.
Why are you interested in my responses?Francis, Ireland
We’re interested in your responses as feedback greatly aids us in improving what we offer at Bitesize Irish. It’s very helpful to hear from learners themselves what they’re struggling with most and what they find most helpful in their attempts at learning Irish.
What steps would you suggest in order to advance from being a fluent Irish reader to a fluent Irish speaker?Jim, USA
- If you want to go from reading to speaking, start your transition by reading out loud! Be it online or in person, try to interact with another Irish speaker and have conversations in Irish with them. Even if you don’T feel fully comfortable having a full conversation in Irish, try. You learn from mistakes that you made. Practice makes perfect.
How much does. It cost?Anonymous, USA
- We have 2 memberships, EXPLORE and GROW. Right now Explore is 29 US dollars a month (roughly 25 euro )and Grow is 39 US dollars (around 34 euro ). No matter your currency, you can still pay through our website. We are in the process of creating a platform that will display Euros soon!!
Is it possible to improve speaking Irish with little contact with Irish speakers?Chris, UK
- Listening tons to the radio, and watching TG4 and online videos. Writing a lot, such as a diary and also creating your own conversation scripts or even going as far as writing a play. Even if you don’t get speaking to Irish speakers online, perhaps you could be a pen pal of sorts with a learner who is more proficient than you. There is a lack of language exchange opportunities in Irish, unfortunately, due to the fact that most fluent Irish speakers are English speakers and therefore would more often than no have no language to exchange with learner who is also an English speaker.