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Why learn Irish?

What are some reasons you are learning Irish?

July 13, 2018



I have Irish heritage, and I have just been intrigued by it.


ALLintolearning3 I'm happy to read this! I'm learning languages because I'm learning music (recorder and tin whistle) and a lot of the titles (and sometimes lyrics) are in Irish (or German or French) and I think it enhances the musical experience to be familiar with the languages.


I have always been a fan of Ireland, the country and especially the music. When I listened to Celtic Thunder, an Irish group formed by Phil Coulter I wanted to learn Gaelic and to understand this language. Actually, the possibility to learn it on duolingo is the reason I started learning (and relearning) more languages. I love how Irish sounds and the way grammar is used is so unique to me.


birgit72635 I'm happy to read this! I'm learning languages because I'm learning music (recorder and tin whistle) and a lot of the titles (and sometimes lyrics) are in Irish (or German or French) and I think it enhances the musical experience to be familiar with the languages.


It's in my heritage, and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to learn!

  1. Therapy. I needed to overcome childhood experiences of Irish being used as a weapon to inflict humiliation and pain. Choosing to learn it for myself gives me the chance to overwrite those experiences with new ones.
  2. I'm an Irish Citizen, live 25% of my time in Ireland not that far from two Gaeltacht areas, it's my language as much as anyone's.
  3. Not being able to understand TG4 and some TD's bugs me.
  4. Speaking Gaeilge would be a great way of winding up some of my Jackeen buddies who despise the language with a vengeance. This is likely to be my primary future usage of the language.


I laughed way too hard at this!

  1. I studied medieval Irish at uni and I'd like to update my knowledge so that it's not 800 years out of date.
  2. I'm an Irish dancer and I'm thinking I might like to teach in the future; it would be helpful to have Irish for that.
  3. I need to understand the Irish memes... I'm about 30% convinced Irish Twitter is laughing at me personally


To help my kids with homework. I was reluctantly ignoring any work that was brought home because I couldn't even pronounce it. It's definitely helping them, which I'm really pleased about: my eldest's teacher says she noticed as soon as I started because his confidence went up a lot. And he was saying new words and sentences too :) I don't want Irish to be a chore for them. Education in general really, and Irish was the subject I couldn't encourage. Now I'm sort of addicted to it, I want to know more for my own sake.


I have Irish heritage, but I simply adore old Irish folklore and the beauty of Gaeilge spoken.


A large part for me is heritage. I also have a slight (read: MAJOR) obsession with Irish culture and music, to the point that a large portion of my phone memory is dedicated to everything from traditional reels and rebel songs to new stuff by Seo Linn and Gaelic Storm. Back in high school, the foreign language was Spanish, which I was terrible at, with no other options available. When I found Irish, I fell in love with it. Couple that with the historical decline of the language, and it makes me want to be fluent even more. I would hate to see such a pretty language disappear, and would prefer to be a part of the movement bringing it back.
Being part-Irish, I take it as a point of pride to know even a little of the language of my heritage, where most people I know have no knowledge of their own culture's language, and have no desire to learn. It's a shame, really. Not gonna lie, I'm a bit jealous of the kids that get to go spend weeks at schools like TG Lurgan to get language immersion. Probably the only reason I'd want to go back to high school...


Since living in Spain and studying Spanish I've lost a lot of my Irish , grandkids come to visit and as all are in Gealscoils they can chat while in the pool or shopping , most people havnt a clue what they are speaking . I decided to do the course to brush up. I enjoy TG4 some good programmes and I love the music

[deactivated user]

    Well, I already know Scottish Gaelic and the worlds of Scottish Gaelic and Irish are pretty close. I have a little Irish in the Scottish side of my family and on my father's side, one of my great-grandfather was from County Cork and spoke Munster Irish.

    If you're looking for a more "pragmatic" reason: Irish, along with the other two modern Gaelic languages (Scottish Gaelic and Manx) have some pretty interesting linguistic elements you're not going to find in most European languages that are more commonly studied: VSO word order, very unique orthography and phonology, its own peculiar mixture synthetic and analytic language components, and it's a very idiomatic. These things make Irish and the other Gaelic languages more of a challenge to learn and will broaden your knowledge and understanding of languages in a very positive way.


    I had a St. Patrick's Day fervor and started Irish. Since I'm a bit OCD, I can't bring myself to quit, but for the record, it is the hardest language I have ever worked on. Truthfully, even though I have a touch of Irish, I'm really not that interested in it. However, there has been value. Irish do not use as many letters in the alphabet as English does, and its grammar structure has some quirks that have been challenging.

    Since I eventually plan on tackling some other languages with quirky, unfamiliar system, this is a nice way to get my feet into unfamiliar waters. I have no intentions of ever mastering Irish or being able to do more with it than basically being about to recognize familiar words if I do ever go there (that is possible, but honestly, I know most of the Irish speak English so learning Irish is actually impractical). Sometimes we do things that may not really have a purpose, but all knowledge has value.


    It's funny because originally I had interest in learning Irish because my boyfriend who has Irish ancestry expressed to me that he wanted to learn it. I honestly did not even know that Irish was a language. I thought my BF and I learning a language together would be fun if we got fluent enough to talk in public.

    Eventually, he did not like how the Duolingo course was set up and the lack of the pronunciation of words and lost interest. I, however, grew to love Irish and like the fact I was learning another language on my own. It's been fun when things click and I can recognize certain phrases or words outside of Duolingo.


    I love Irish culture and I want to keep the language alive.


    Many reasons, most of them around heritage & culture etc., but one major factor is so I can understand the commentary when I watch hurling & football on TG4.


    I salute you all who learned it, I have been learning português for about a month & am already better at that than my 8+ years of learning Irish throughout my years in school. Good on anyone for learning it but the reality is that it isn't very useful.


    'Use' is a relative term. For a person who derives pleasure from studying the language, or feels that studying it brings them closer to a part of themselves, that already sounds plenty useful. For a historian interested in any period of Irish history prior to the 20th-century, meanwhile, a working knowledge of (the relevant periods of) Irish is indispensable.


    I fully believe you that this is true (as sad as it is), but don't make the mistake and assume that the reason for it is the difference between the languages. It just shows that Irish isn't really taught well at school. It takes many people who learn Irish on their own only a very short time to get better at it than those who learnt it at school for many years. I think both teaching methods and motivation play a role there.

    As for usefulness, to be honest, I wouldn't strictly need Irish nor Portuguese or most other languages for anything. But as someone with an interest in languages, I find Irish really intriguing. I don't think I could enjoy learning a Romance language as much as I enjoy Irish.

    It's all a matter of perspective.


    I know where you're at with this and agree. I learned (just) how to memorise essays and take a beating from my school Irish. Never learned the language at all; just how to hate it. I picked up other languages quite quickly when I had to live and work in other countries though. The only time Gaeilge would be any real use to you would be in some bars in Boston Mass. or similar cities. I don't remember the last time I heard Irish spoken in Ireland apart from a Gaeltacht or TV. Even in the Gaeltacht I mostly hear English, especially from the kids. It's worth sticking with it though for the Irish. I've seen how the Welsh use their language to wind up English tourists, great craic.


    I have family that lives just on the soft edge of a Donegal Gaeltacht. My Uncle is a native speaker as was my father. I've tried several times to learn at least a small bit of Irish so I could at least exchange pleasantries with some of the old fellas in the pub, or talk about the weather. I've finished the Irish Tree here and and am now working my way around again to level everything up to Level 5.
    My young Irish cousins are in a Gaelscoil now as well. Hopefully when I get back over in September I'll be able to practice a little. Look at what the Israelis have done with Hebrew, there's always hope.

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