When we ask people what’s their biggest impediment to learning Irish Gaelic, we often get the same response – “I’m not that young anymore, isn’t it going to be hard for me since my brain already closed his availability to learning new things?”.
If there’s something we learned from our Irish learning community is that age has nothing to do with learning Irish Gaelic or any other language, to be honest. It’s all about doing the work and reaping the benefits of what you’ve learned. Of course learning Irish Gaelic isn’t the easiest journeys you’ll embark on but so are other good things in life – everything good comes with a price.
Learning Irish doesn’t have to be that hard though and there are some secrets of mastering the language with ease. One of these secrets comes probably comes from ancient Latin and sounds like this – Repetitio mater studiorum est. – Repetition is the mother of all learning.
Making sure you take your time and repeat the Bitesize Irish Gaelic lessons and immerse yourself into the language using our audio program is one of the best ways to learn Irish Gaelic. Don’t take our word for it, though! Read Adam’s interview below and see how he uses repetition and audio content. Adam Cornelius is a Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member who is learning Irish Gaelic to get in touch with his Irish heritage, just in time for a trip to Ireland!
Bitesize: Where do you live and what do you like about that place? Tell us an interesting fact about your town.
Adam: I live in Oakland California in the United States. The city is part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, where I have been living for the past 18 years. I love the diversity of people, the friendliness, the breadth of interesting things to see and do, and the sense of opportunity and possibility that continues to stimulate new ideas and endeavours here.
Bitesize: What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?
Adam: I’m in the process of applying for U.S.-Irish dual citizenship, and I wanted to start gaining as much insight about the country as I can. What better way to start than to learn the Irish Gaelic language! We’re planning our first visit to Ireland this August, which will give me the perfect chance to use the tools that Bitesize has provided.
Bitesize: Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us about it.
Adam: My maternal grandmother was born in Sligo, and came to the United States as a young girl (she was the youngest of 12). I hope to learn more about this side of my family during our visit later this year.
Bitesize: How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?
Adam: I have been reviewing between 2-4 lessons a day, during which time I try to play all the tracks–even the ones I know–and say them out loud, sounding the inflections and cadence said as closely to the speaker as possible (I continue to replay the tracks until I get it right). If the material is built on previous material, either a previous lesson or something covered previously in the same lesson, I try to focus on translating without looking at the translation whenever possible.
I often substitute different vocabulary in the tracks, sometimes even changing the syntax in ways I know would work, so I can get the sense of creating my own sentences. If I feel like the material isn’t sinking in, I replay some of the tracks in the lesson.
I play the lessons in order, usually replaying the 1-2 lessons that I worked through the previous day. If there are any words or concepts that I have trouble with, or that may trigger something I’m curious about, I use Google (I did this when I learned the word “póg”, since we saw the Pogues in concert here a few years ago. I had a pretty good idea what I was going to find out about the band’s name, but it was especially interesting to learn the background on why their Irish Gaelic name was, uh, “modified” (-;).
My combined sessions of new and revisited lessons usually last between an hour and an hour-and-a-half (the latter is usually when there is vocabulary involved; I’m not as good at rote learning as I am at conceptual learning). Unfortunately, I had to take a break from the lessons for the last several weeks, but hope to get back to the same schedule soon to finish the course before our trip.
Bitesize: What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?
Adam: Be patient, and take the lessons as slowly as you need to. I took six years of Spanish and one year of French in school, and found both close enough to English to be relatively easy to learn both their syntax and grammar. Irish Gaelic is less similar to English than is either Spanish or French (maybe if I had taken German it may have been easier?).
Reviewing the previous day’s lesson is a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned, and even one day previous seems to do wonders for the memory. I’d recommend not letting too much time elapse between the reviews, though–at some point it becomes new material again :-). Also take advantage of speaking the words and sentences out loud.
Take Adam’s advice and make the first step of learning Irish Gaelic – singing up for a free trial. The Bitesize Irish Gaelic method of learning Irish doesn’t stop here, though!
Enjoy the experience, learn at your own pace, be confident, get in touch with your Irish heritage, and sign up for Bitesize Irish Gaelic.