Irish language courses
One of the best ways to learn a language is by attending a language course. Today, there are courses available in-person and there are also online Irish courses. Gaelchultúr is the largest provider of Irish language courses in the world and the first third level Irish language institution. Gaelchultúr have an international community of language learners with over 50,000 people having attended the various courses offered from over 30 countries. The services provided are of the highest standard and courses are available at all levels.
You can meet other learners in class and it’s worthwhile also making time to meet your classmate outside the class times when possible. The more opportunities you have to speak and practice, the more you will learn. Other ways of meeting Irish speakers include attending events such as language meet-ups, festivals and a Pop-up Gaeltacht. It’s important to create speaking opportunities as often as possible.
Television & radio
There are lots of fantastic Irish films and tv programmes available on TG4. Even if you don’t understand each word said, you can follow along with subtitles and in time you’ll begin to understand more. Eventually you won’t even need subtitles! Radio and podcasts are also great resources – turn on the news or listen to a show on sport or fashion – whatever you’re interested in. Again, you might not understand everything but take note of new words you hear, and you will quickly develop your vocabulary.
Start with books for children and gradually you’ll be able to read a novel of your choice. Children’s books are excellent at helping develop vocabulary and familiarising yourself with grammar. The images also greatly help with comprehension. Online newspapers such as Tuairisc.ie and Nós are also great sources of reading material and are easily accessible worldwide.
Visit the Gaeltacht
Here you will find some of the most beautiful scenery and the friendliest people in the country. It’s worthwhile visiting and attempting to order your pint of Guinness in Irish. You can visit on a holiday or there are also opportunities to attend week or two week-long courses throughout the summer months.
Although the stress of exams and grades aren’t necessary, you can set personal goals for yourself to help you remain motivated while learning Irish. Examples of goals could be to read a particular book, write a story or a letter, or even aim to achieve qualifications. Tasks which provide you with a sense of achievement along the way encourage you to continue learning.
Irish language courses may be the best way to learn Irish but attending one class a week isn’t always enough if achieving a high-level of fluency in Irish is your goal. You have to be willing to do a little bit of learning every day. You don’t need to sit down with a grammar book and dictionary, you can simply follow some of the other tips in this blog (television, reading, social events, etc.).
Be open and enjoy it!
You must be happy and willing to make a fool of yourself at times while learning a new language. You will make mistakes but everyone makes mistakes when they start out. Mistakes illustrate that you’re making an effort and that’s how you will learn and progress. Be open to speak as often as possible, meet new people and seize learning opportunities. And of course the most important thing – enjoy the process!
Finally, a tip you should always keep in mind is to be patient! Learning a new language takes time and not every step of the process will be easy. Without patience you will give up long before you reach the level of ability you’re aiming for. Every bit of effort and work will eventually add up though and you will be happy you stuck with it.
It's great that you’re interested in learning Irish and hopefully this post will help or encourage you along the way. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning Irish but the tips provided can be incorporated into most approaches to learning the language. Don’t forget to share this post with others who might be keen to learn to speak Irish. Ádh mór (Good luck)!
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