Our main goal here at Bitesize Irish is to help you become a practitioner of Gaeilge and use your Gaeilge gach lá (every day)!
Eoin shares some excellent tips for this in Podcast 105: A Daily Use for Your Irish.
In this article, we run through five different things you can do to use your Gaeilge gach lá. Admittedly some are more challenging than others, but start at number 1 and see where it takes you!
5 steps to Gaeilge Gach Lá
1. Make time
The hardest part of practising anything new – be it a new language, meditation, knitting or gardening – is finding the time in your already busy day. Our advice is to pick a time and stick to it.
There are a few ways to do this. Maybe actually scheduling your Irish time into your daily calendar is the way to go. You wouldn’t just cancel a lunch date with a friend because you “didn’t feel like it”, so would you cancel your date with Gaeilge for the same reason!?
Another way is to promise yourself you’ll make just five minutes a day for Gaeilge. Any time. Just five minutes. Which brings us to the next step…
2. Five minutes a day
If you set yourself an achievable goal – like five minutes a day – you’re more likely to stick to it. Of course, you will eventually want to increase this, but how good will you feel if you go one whole week using your Gaeilge every day, even for just five minutes?
These five minutes could be: watching Youtube videos, completing just one short Bitesize Lesson, switching on Raidió na Gaeltachta or having a quick chat with a friend!
The chances are, if you complete this five minutes, you’ll want to keep going. If you continue after the five minutes, you’re doing this out of choice, rather than obligation and it will feel really great!
You could even start with five minutes and increase by five each week, you’ll be up to an hour a day within a year and you won’t have even noticed!
3. Find a Community
Eoin mentions this in Podcast 105 and it has to be one of the most powerful motivators to keeping you on track.
If you live in Ireland, it may be easier to find people in your community who speak Gaeilge, but if you don’t, then never fear! There are many online communities where you can find Gaelgeoirí – even Facebook has some great groups like Gaeilge Amháin (Irish Only) and Gaeilge más Féidir Béarla más Gá (Irish if possible, English if necessary).
We also launched our own forum – Bitesize Pobal – last year where Bitesize members can chat as Gaeilge, ask questions and complete daily tasks.
Having the support of a community really helps to keep you going!
4. Weekly check ins
Organising meet-ups – either online or face to face – with the community you create (or join) is an excellent way to keep yourself accountable for your learning and make sure you stick to your goal. You won’t want to catch up with your cairde gael if you haven’t been practising or don’t have something new to bring to the group, so it’ll be a good push to keep you learning!
Being the first to organise a weekly or monthly video call online, or a catch up in person, can be daunting, but everyone will be grateful you’ve done it.
Remember, you’re all in the same boat and you all have the same goal.
5. Find a student
Finally, one sure way you can motivate yourself is to find someone to teach. You may believe you don’t know enough to teach anyone, but what about a complete beginner? If you’ve learned even basic phrases, like Dia dhuit or Slán go fóill, you have something to teach!
Find someone you know who would be interested in learning, and set a time each week for your class. Just like your weekly meet-up, this will inspire you to learn new things each week so you have something to teach your protogé!
Over to you!
So there you have it! Five ways you can incorporate Gaeilge into your everyday life. If you have any other tips or suggestions, please leave a comment so we can learn from and motivate each other!
If you’d like to learn more about being part of the BItesize Community, check out our Memberships which include courses, our forum and weekly calls. Click here to find out more about our different packages.