Why are you learning Irish?
Like all Irish children I to learned Irish in school, but I had hated it so much, until my final year in secondary school, when we done the Oral test, then i started to like it, but I had never tried so hard to keep it.
A few years ago I left Ireland in search of work, I moved to Norway, not so far away. I found myself working with many different nationalities out there and each their own language, which got a little annoying, so when I would meet or work with another Irish person, we had a terrible attempt at speaking Irish together, although the foundation was there, it was poor.
As I was learning Norwegian, I started to notice some, not many, similarities to Irish in Swedish, Danish and of course Norwegian.
As the years went by, I found myself obviously missing Ireland and started to become even more patriotic and proud of being Irish and so I started to try and learn but by bit again.
Now I am loving it, I just wish I had this passion for it when I was in school.
What has made you decide to learn?
I grew up (In the US) knowing that there was such a thing as the Irish language but had idea if it was even still a living language or if it had died out until I went over to Ireland to visit some distant relatives who lived on the west coast. When we finally got to their house I was surprised that not only did they speak Irish but their children (approx ages 2 and 4) only understood Irish because that was the language that was spoken around the house. They're parents explained that they'll learn English easily just from watching TV, listening to music and socializing at school so they make it a point to only speak Irish around the house so that they become natively bilingual.
Less than a week after visiting I went out and started buying every "Learn Irish" book I could find so that when I returned I would be able to speak more Irish with them.
It's a heritage language for me -- my family has been American for several generations now, but the Irish side maintained a pretty strong sense of ethnic identity. I've already learned my two other heritage languages -- English and German -- and since Irish is the only one left, it seems like a natural next step.
Plus, I like to support linguistic diversity and decolonization when I can. I don't imagine having one more halting Irish speaker in Oregon is really going to help revive the Irish language, but it can't hurt either.
For the songs.
Songs in Irish always sound so beautiful to me and I would love to be able to sing then without butchering the pronunciation.
Also there's the added bonus of being able to pronounce Irish words I come across in video games. Up 'til now the spelling bewildered me (still does, but I'll get there).
I don't claim to be a speaker of Irish or Scandinavian languages but one think I found interesting between the two just from doing this course is the Scandinavian word for beer, øl (Danish) or öl (Swedish) sounds very similar to the Irish word ól = drink.
Could just be a coincidence but the two cultures interacted a lot throughout their histories and I'd be surprised if there weren't a few loanwords between them.
There are a few loan words, and common words that have similar but different meaning, Irish: Siopa - Shop, Norwegian: Kjøpe - To buy, Swedish: köpa. Danish: købe. although the spelling is different the pronunciation is similar, the danish pronunciation is the most fragmented, but you can see that all these words at some point had a common origin.
We cant forget the vikings invaded Ireland, so its plausible that these words have similar origin, but perhaps lost its meaning in translation somewhere.
I looked up the etymology for öl and ól and it doesn't seem like they are related. Here are Irish terms derived from Old Norse from Wiktionary: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Irish_terms_derived_from_Old_Norse
We have three grades of mutation - soft (for example 't' changes to 'd'), aspirate ('t' to 'th') and nasal ('t' to 'nh'). One of the things that has surprised me is the different ways Irish and Welsh depict the same process. For instance, the eclipsis of girl is 'gcailín' - the 'g' is pronounced while the 'c' is silent - the 'c' is there to show what has mutated. However, Cymraeg just dispenses with the redundant letter altogether: 'merch' (girl) becomes 'y ferch' (the girl). 'Geneth' (girl in North Wales) becomes 'yr eneth'.
My great-grandfather (who I never knew, but I grew up hearing his life... he was a pretty interesting fellow) spoke Gaeilge, English, French, Latin and Greek... He was the first person I knew of who spoke many languages, and I guess that 'spoke' to me (well, the Greek, not so much). I did French at school, have been working on latin with my kids, and finally Irish was easily accessible:-) And now that I'm learning it, the fact it's so tricksy has some appeal:-) Like if I can actually master the grammar, I'll be able to manage any other language:-)
I'm Irish and doing my leaving cert (Exams in Ireland at the end of secondary school/High school) next summer. I've been learning Irish for years now and i'm still not very good at it haha. I found duolingo and started doing the french course, and then i found the Irish course and I think going over the basics of Irish here will help me with my exams next June :)
Wow, that's so cool. I think alot of us don't appreciate our native language. My parents are form South Asia and they've installed a great love of languages in me. (Mostly because they both speak different languages, one common language, and another language not their own) While I would love to be exposed more to my mother language, my cousins, who live there have no interest and find my passion hilarious. (Don't worry I gave them a nuckle for their thoughts)
Anyway, I saw your post and was wondering if you could share some aspects of Ireland and the culture there. I can't wait to visit there sometime in my life. <3<3<3<3<3
Cén fáth? Már ba mhath liom a bheith Gaelgoir- Táim i mo chónaí in Eirinn ach in aice le bhaile Átha Cliath agus is teanga deacra é a úsáid.
Tá fearg orm már tá teanganna ar a lán tire eile ach anseo nil muid bróduil as ár dteanga.
Cheapann go bhfuil gaeilge tabhactach már níl a lán teaganna ceilteach beo anois.
Már an seanfhocal- "Tír gan teanga tír gan ainm".
Tá scrúdaithe agam freisin!
^^ Céart go leoir- tá cleachtas orm ag fós ^^
Basically- I think irish should be a bigger part of our identity than it is.
I mean its not like we need to dump english or anything- its just so many other countries have their own languages which they can actually use but now we are missing a large part of our own identity.
We have become very "Americanised"- not saying that there is anything wrong about being American I just would prefer if Ireland was more Irish- otherwise what is the point of being in Ireland?
I would like if we have more gael scoileanna.
Some people say- "what about the foreigners coming into the secondary schools" but the truth is they would pick the language up easily enough if they were exposed to it- just as the chinese and japanese and polish pick up english when they come here.
Yeah the truth is we are just a lazy nation and up till now I was included in that- no more- I will learn Irish and promote it and live it- even if I would like to move abroad when I am older- Irish is a weak old man with a lot of knowledge and proud heritage- very original with a few words from the invading normans (Seomra-chambre), vikings (ól) and the english (bíllí).
We must take care of its rugged charm and nurse it back to health. We should teach "an cúpla focal" to our babies- play with them and read to them in irish and then send them to a gael scoil. Give them the chance to be bilingual and proud that they have an identity and a 2 thousand years of knowledge- then the sean fear gaeilge will smile!
I was born in the US as well as 3 or 4 generations before me, but my family has a very strong line of Irish descent. I've always been passionately interested in my Irish heritage, always immersing myself into what Irish culture was available for me. I feel such a strong connection to it, whether I'm listening to the music, watching/learning Irish dance, or teaching myself the native language. I'm a very proud American, but sometimes I get so jealous of people who are from Ireland because I want to have it be such a big part of me, but the only thing I'm missing is the most important factor--actually having been born there. I've been told I look very Irish, me and my entire family have an "Irish temper," and I pinned down the accent perfectly when I was four. So learning Gaelic is another step in bringing myself closer to my roots; sometimes I feel a little lost in the countless different cultures as an American, and Irish feels closest to home.
I live on the west coast of Wales facing Ireland. The fast ferry only takes a couple of hours into Dublin port. Here in this part of Wales the everyday language is Welsh, and as our language is related to Irish we can learn about our Welsh heritage through learning Irish. There are many words in common and Irish is easy to pronounce for Welsh speakers. Also it is useful to speak Irish when visiting Ireland. Slán agus beannacht.
I don't have a celtic heritage but I'm learning Irish simply because:
- I love its sounds and though many people find them harsh and German-like, it's very soft and pleasing to my ear
- I love how natives speak, with their nice accent going up and down, like waves hitting a rocky shore :)
- I love how it looks on page, with all those vowels and sineadh fadas that make words look like a meadow beaten by the wind
- It has an exotic and interesting grammar
- There's a lot of great Irish music
- It's the language of a rich and prolific culture
What made me decide to learn it? - the fact that duolingo provided the course.
Why am I interested in it? - I would like to finally be able to read and understand my passport (plastic donkey paddy me ;-p), and maybe even surprise my dad with a few words when I visit my parents (in Spain) this Christmas, or my Irish cousins when I next see them (a couple of times a decade) :-)
I did it just because it is easily available for me to learn it. I originally got on the Duolingo bandwagon because I wanted to brush up on my Spanish (two years worth in college), and then move on to German and French. That was a while ago, and, since I first signed up, I never really did anything with my subscription, until a few days ago, when I noticed that Irish was not a part of the rotation. So, I took a look at what was being offered, and was surprised how my own intellectual curiosity was being sparked. At that point I tried a few lessons, and became "hooked" ever since.
I don't know what will happen after I build my "tree", but, until I do, I will have fun learning the Irish language.
I have studied Scottish Gaelic for 7 years and now that I have started to feel like I had a solid foundation in that, I began looking into Irish and Manx Gaelic over the past year. Haven't really made much progress in either, so I'm glad Duo has added this course to help motivate me to learn more Irish. I'm mostly of Scottish and French ancestry, but there's a little Irish on both sides of my family and my great-grandfather (my father's mother's father) was a Munster Irish speaker. who immigrated to Canada. My grandmother even knew a bit, but my father did not grow up speaking it at all.
I have decided to learn Irish because I'm apparently meant to speak it whether I want to or not ;-). My maternal grandmother's parents immigrated to the United States from Ireland because they didn't have much choice if they wanted to survive. Now that over 100 years have passed my family has no real ethnic identity. My grandmother had some Irish, but was by no means fluent. She would rarely curse or sometimes say a phrase in front of us, but that was my only exposure to the language when I was young.
I used to be a flight attendant in the United States, and many years ago I was on a flight when a passenger came up to me and started speaking to me in a strange language. I looked at him and for some reason I blurted out, "I'm sorry sir, but I don't speak Irish." He smiled at me and said in English, "Then how do you know that is what I was speaking?"
To this day I don't know the answer to that question. Maybe he had been swearing at me (after all, I was a flight attendant and air travel is very stressful) and I recognized the words or the cadence of speech from that... or not. If this was the only time that had happened, I would have never thought of it again; however, there were 3 OTHER times in my life when strangers have approached me speaking Irish and there was no reason or clue that I might be capable of such a feat (that I could see). I was not in or around a place where people spoke Irish natively, I didn't have any insignia indicating Irish heritage and while I do speak passable Spanish when necessary, we all know that doesn't guarantee you know any other languages. When I would tell my grandmother about these encounters, she would say "Of course they thought you had Irish! Look at you!" This doesn't clarify anything though, since I am not red-headed or dark-haired in a stereotypical "Irish" way. I don't have an Irish name or accent (obvs).
My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. Her biggest dream was to win the lottery and take all of her family back to Ireland on an epic pilgrimage back. We didn't get to do that, but that doesn't mean that someday I won't go by myself. Maybe I'm meant to go back someday and pick up where my great-grandparents left off... and the language can only help. Maybe while I am there I can figure out why I already know the meaning of some of these vocabulary words when they are presented for the first time... in Irish. Seriously, why would I know that a "Ceapaire" is "a sandwich" without knowing or looking it up? See, I'm MEANT to know Irish!
I share a lot of the sentiments expressed by others here. It's an ancient language that's a door to another way of thinking, and to the distinct characteristics of the Irish people. I'd say the immediate impetus to get cracking came when I read these lines by Nuala Ní Dhomnaill in my new passport :
Labhrann gach cuinne den leathinis seo liom ina teanga féinig, teanga a thuigim.
Another image that's always stayed with me is from the old movie, 'The Quiet Man' where the character played by Maureen O'Hara confesses her deepest secrets in Irish. I think these two images (the hidden corners of the peninsula, and the hidden corners of the woman's heart) sum it up.
I grew up in Seattle/Tacoma USA in the '50s and 60s and the most intense avatar of Irish was the Catholic Church, in which my mother made sure I was an active member (CCD, Altar Boy, etc.) It turned out that I had a "gift" for learning foreign languages, but with no Irish around, I did Russian, Mandarin Chinese, and Attic (ancient) Greek at the University of Washington. This is a world-class university & I'm proud to have earned a Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature (& Language) there. I moved to Taiwan for a literature teaching job for 33 years, which improved my Mandarin & Taiwanese languages. This past year I discovered Duolingo! So better late than never (I'm early 60's)--I'm trucking along..... Dr. Dave Decker formerly of Tunghai University, Taiwan
My family originally moved from county meath in ireland and I've always wanted to be able to learn more irish history and the irish language. Turns out I might be able to go to dublin for work in a little under a year and I'd like to learn some of the language to try and show respect for the culture