When you take our free email course Irish for Beginners, we ask you to email us “What’s holding you back?” Here’s what Dawn emailed us recently:
The biggest thing that’s holding me back is lack of access to other Gaelic speakers! I feel a language is a bit useless – unless you have someone to PRACTISE the language with. But so far, this is fun. Cheers, LD
I absolutely agree with you – a language is to be practised. It’s a way of communication, of expressing yourself. Learning to speak Irish Gaelic is a way of making a real connection with your Irish heritage.
But a summary of my answer below is: reach out, and keep looking.
Finding Irish Speakers
If you’re so fond of your Irish heritage and of Ireland that you go so far as to wanting to speak our native language, then you’ve got a great motivation already. At least you know why it’s important to you to make the Irish part of your every day.
Next step in this checklist is to make sure that you’re creating your own personal Gaeltacht. If you feel like access to other speakers is holding you back, but you’re not taking the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language and culture, then you’ve jumped ahead too far!
Having a conversation with someone in Irish won’t spark your mastery of parts of the language. Instead, it’s your job to prepare every single day for that first possible conversation you’ll hold in Irish Gaelic. Which is why our first Bitesize lesson is about how to say “hello”.
Reaching out to places where Irish speakers are
You’re far more likely to find another learner looking to practise their Irish language with you, rather than finding Irish speakers willing to have a call with you. It’s a simple fact of supply and demand. So use that to your advantage: find other learners!
If you signed up to Bitesize Irish Gaelic, you’ll have received an invite to our private members-only Facebook group. That’s an ideal place to reach out to people on the same journey. Post to the group, see who else would be interested.
If you’ve got Irish language classes locally, then that should be your prime target. There’s obviously at least an advanced learner there teaching a class. Make good friends with them 🙂 Or start something!
Otherwise, reach out on our recommended Facebook groups for learning Irish Gaelic. Treat your love for Irish culture as a source of energy that will keep you going while you ask again, and again. You might make a point of asking each month.
What’s your tip for finding people to speak Irish with them? Leave a reply below.