Let’s face it, studying any language gets boring after a while even if the language itself is fun. To resolve this problem, we need to examine the nature of language and how to use that to our advantage. The most basic need for language is to communicate ideas, of course, and this I believe is one reason why it is fun. So far in the blog series, we have covered studying methods which for the most part have involved reading and writing. However, as effective as these techniques are, it’s always good to try other approaches.
One effective means of gaining knowledge in Irish is through a combination of reading and speaking. This may seem simple and it is on one level, but much can be achieved this way. Let’s examine one particular method of reading Gaeilge books that can yield greater results. First, choose a book appropriate for your level of Irish so you don’t get discouraged. As you start to read chapter one of that book, read it to yourself making notes as needed on what words mean what. After a page is complete, and you feel confident about understanding it on paper read aloud the whole page.
This is the stage where things really get interesting. Not only is your pronunciation and confidence level tested, you also get a feel for how you think in Gaeilge. To speak any language, it is essential that you think as a native speaker would when speaking their native tongue and Gaeilge is no exception. Why is this important, you may be asking? Irish is a Celtic branch language and is extremely different from English in most cases. For example:
Gaeilge Sentence: English Sentence: Literal Translation:
Bhí mé tuirseach. I was tired. Was I Tired.
As you see, the word order is different in both cases. To truly become skilled in Irish you must think like a native speaker, and using the above method will help put you on this path.
Read David's other blogs with tips for learning the Irish language here.