Dia duit! Conas atá tú?
(Hello! How are you?)
I’m learning Irish, or Gaeilge, and I’m driving my family a little nuts with it but I’m having a blast! I’ve been listening to podcasts from EasyIrish.com for the last few months. I listen to them in the car, when I walk, while I’m waiting for the kids at practices. And even though I haven’t retained more than the first two lessons it doesn’t stop me from trying to sharing my new language with anyone who will listen. When I pop off with some of the words & phrases I’ve learned Mike just looks at me with raised eyebrows. “Are you sure that’s even a real language? It sounds like gibberish.”
I realized that my brain was having a hard time remembering which phrases were which so I set out to find a way to really learn from Irish speakers. That’s how I found Lá Na Gaeilge at Marylhurst University. It’s their annual Irish Language Day and it was great! I spent my Saturday learning all kinds of great stuff about the language. I learned about the structure of the language, of the differences between Cork and the rest Ireland and lots of other cool stuff.
The best part of the day was definitely a workshop called ‘Tea with Grandpa’. I signed up for it on the recommendation of one of the attendees and I’m so glad I did. The first cool thing was that it was just the teacher, one other student and myself. Pretty much a personal lesson. Brían uses a way of teaching that is like immersion. He spoke mostly in Irish the entire time, except when explaining certain rules, etc. And he uses signs, like sign language, to help enforce the absorption of the words. He took us on a walk outside and presented us with very obvious situations so grasping the concepts and words was easy once I caught on. Before I knew it I was understanding things like take & give, here & there, old & young, tall & short…it was so cool! To see an example of it, you should check out Language Hunters on YouTube.
So, now I’m all excited to keep learning and get better at the language so that when I go back to Lá Na Gaeilge next year, I’ll be able to talk to the others and maybe even move up to the Intermediate classes. I’m just so glad that my brain can handle learning something like this! After three kids, I was beginning to think that all my college learning had been replaced with grocery lists, 4th grade math homework, game schedules, 6th grade science, permission slips, 8th grade field trips and, oh yea, maybe some work stuff too. Good to know there’s still some room in there!
Slán go fóill!
(Goodbye for now!)