When Sandra Cline signed up as a Bitesize Irish member, she didn’t know very much about her family heritage, but she is instinctively drawn to the Irish language and Celtic culture. Read more about Sandra’s Irish language learning journey here, from Indiana in the United States:
Why did you decide to learn Irish Gaelic?
I saw a few bits and pieces of Irish greetings and such on a couple of Celtic Pagan sites. And a few pubs here and there, and in Chicago. I wanted to learn another language and it seemed more familial in nature.
Learning English without an accent or lilt was almost mandatory back in the day here in America for jobs and to avoid social stigma of being a ‘foreigner’-go figure. So much was lost and forgotten for subsequent generations (myself included).
And so that is basically my reason for learning this beautiful language, to connect and restore some of what has been lost. It will take some time for me and I do appreciate all of the people at Bitesize for providing avenues to do that.
My grandfather was listed as being from Ireland on the census. Some of the last names seemed to be of Irish origin. Unfortunately I do not know very much about my grandfather as he passed away when my mother was about 2yrs old. I am thinking my family might be amused at this fairly new pursuit to learn some Irish.
Talking to yourself
I generally talk to myself in Irish as best as possible as I don’t know of anyone else that speaks Irish. Sometimes I blurt out a gabh mo leithscéal at work just to let people know that Spanish isn’t the only other language around. My coworkers probably think I am just joking around and making stuff up or really mispronouncing something in Spanish. I have also taken up learning Spanish and that seems to be coming along nicely.
Sandra’s advice to beginners – think about how a small child learns!
My advice to myself (and possibly to someone else) is to try and learn or memorise a few words or phrases at a time. The grammar, pronunciation and spelling is very difficult and having gone round and round trying to organise lessons and such have only given me the crazies.
So consider this as mind enriching, take it easy and enjoy the journey day by day.
Just think about how a small child takes a few years to catch on learning, speaking, reading and writing their language.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to keep up with a small child. Or a toddler. Probably a toddler!