The Truth About Learning Irish and Other Languages as an Adult

Adults Learning Irish and Other Languages

Remember how easy you learned new stuff when you were a child? Your thirst for knowledge was accompanied by a desire to discover things on your own, driving you forward and shaping your character.

How did that change when you became an adult?

You obviously noticed how learning new things is getting harder to do as you get older. That doesn’t mean we can’t do it but it requires a shift in our learning process. There are a lot of things that may come first in your life, pushing the desire to learn Irish or any other language down the line. What can you do about this?

It’s actually quite simple. You have to tap into your self-awareness potential, realize that you can’t learn new things as much as you’d want to… and that’s OK! We discussed in a previous article (and podcast episode) about the pressure everyone feels when learning Irish or other languages. The solution to overcome it is to accept it and realize it’s not going anywhere.

With this mindset you can move forward with your self-improvement goals. Realize that you’ll face challenges when learning Irish. Accept the fact that you’re an “off and on learner” and learn at your own pace. The Bitesize method of learning Irish Gaelic makes sure you can accomplish that.

Timothy Lord, a Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member faced the challenges of learning Irish on his own but he managed to shift his perception of learning new things in the right direction. He was kind enough to share his methods of learning Irish with us and our readers.

Below you can find his interview and methods of learning for “any off and on learners” out there.

Bitesize: What got you wanting to speak Irish Gaelic?

Timothy: I have tried to learn a couple of languages, picking up a few words here and there. I was studying Scots Gaelic, of which I found to my liking. However, when I heard Irish, it called to me. Hard to explain.

I stumbled upon Bitesize Irish Gaelic, which I like for the sound bites as well as the phonetic pronunciation of the words. I am in love with the language, enjoying listening to it spoken as well as the music. I want to be fluent. With secret desires to do radio, TV… Ah, lofty goals.

The little Spanish and German I speak comes out with a southern drawl. Can only image what my Irish would sound like to others.

Bitesize: Do you have Irish ancestry? Tell us about it.

Timothy: I have an ancestor on my Father’s side who immigrated to Maryland from Ireland in the 1690’s. Sadly, I know very little of him. And where he himself was from in Ireland. My mother’s maiden name is Waldron, of which I read of a little of Clan Waldron there in Ireland. I know even less of her ancestry. I know of some in my family who have done the genealogy, but have not taken time for it myself.

Timothy Lord - Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member
Timothy Lord – Bitesize Irish Gaelic community member

I would love to find if I could have a dual citizenship, but alas, that is not to be. I visited Ireland in 2012. Wonderful place, and wonderful people.

Bitesize: How do you use Bitesize Irish Gaelic?

Timothy: Since I am most self taught, I use the site to aid in how to pronounce words. Also now I use it to help me in structure sentences. For me, it is a resource guide. And a very good one at that. Like some, I am an off and on learner.

With Bitesize, I can go back and refresh what I have learned.

I do write a lot of it down. That way I can study it when I am away from my computer. And learn how to write in Irish as well. Fada’s are tricky little buggers.

Bitesize: What advice would you have for a total beginner of Irish Gaelic?

Timothy: Keep at it. No one is perfect the first time. Ever know of a toddler who spoke perfectly? A little each day or week. Bitesize Irish Gaelic is just that. Do find some one to practice with. If at the very least your pet. Hear the sounds in the air. Let it reverberate through you. I am impressed with the progress I have made, and I still have a long ways to go.

Nothing worth having will ever be easy.

The Bitesize method of learning Irish Gaelic can help you in your quest to shift your perception on learning things as an adult. Follow Timothy’s advice and methods to learn if you’re an “off and on learner”.

You can start by taking a free trial. The Bitesize Irish Gaelic method of learning Irish doesn’t stop here, though!

Be a part of your Irish learning community and practice with us. Sign up for Bitesize Irish Gaelic.

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5 thoughts on “The Truth About Learning Irish and Other Languages as an Adult”

  1. Hi Ana, I really enjoy these newsletters. Thank you for them. I have a question. I find people on line writing out sentences. I look up the words to see how to pronounce them. But when I try to find out what it says I can’t find out. Example:
    Go raibh maith do mhuinteoir ranga iontach. Oiche mhaith agus codladh maith. Or:
    Is fear liom Gaeilge, ach is maith liom Bearla, agus stair freisin. How can I find out the meaning of these sentences when I come across them? Thank You

    1. Hmm, I agree it’s not straight-foward. For example, you might be trying to look up “mhúinteoir” in the dictionary, but it won’t be there. The reason is that it’s been changed for grammatical reasons. But you will find the base work “múinteoir” in a dictionary like http://www.irishenglishdictionary.net/

      My answer is do your best to break down a sentence, and look up the words. You won’t be able to decipher them immediately or directly. (Well, there’s always Google Translate, but my feeling is that that makes it too easy.)

      You can take the other bottom-up approach too. Learn phrases like “go raibh maith agat” (which members of Bitesize Irish Gaelic can listen to here: http://www.bitesize.irish/lessons/fine-thanks )

      Over time, you’ll be familiarising yourself with particular phrases. When you come across another phrase, it will challenge you to try to understand it.

      Hope that helps encourage you.

  2. Regarding the question of Irish ancestry: I definitely have Irish ancestry – more than that – my mother was Irish and all the relatives on that side of the family still live in Ireland except for me and one other cousin. My father was European so I’m not actually English at all.
    I don’t visit them so much nowadays. As I am an Irish citizen by virtue of my mother being born in Ireland, I will probably get an Irish passport at some stage, following Brexit.
    I was born in England and I must say I do find the Irish language difficult. I can sing a song in it word perfect that my mother taught me (but don’t ask me to write it down!) and I can do a couple of Irish dances also taught by her (Riverdance eat your heart out – not!!)

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Thank you for commenting.

      That is great to hear that your mother was teaching you how to sing and dance Irish dances 🙂

      That is a nice base for learning a language as you are familiar with its culture.

      Le meas,
      Ana.

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