Since the launch in May 2008 of Gaelchultúr's e-learning site, ranganna.com, many people have used this resource to learn Irish or add to their knowledge of the language - including Shane Wagy from the University of Notre Dame. Nuachtlitir Ghaelchultúir spoke to him to find out what he thought of the three courses he has done so far on the site.
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Shane Wagy and I'm twenty-one years old. I'm from Columbus, Ohio originally but I'm currently living in South Bend, Indiana because I'm attending the University of Notre Dame. I'm studying Business Analytics with a minor in Irish. In my spare time I like to dance; I'm an Irish dancer and I partake in competitions in Ireland every year such as the World Irish Dancing Championships.
2. When did you start learning Irish?
I started learning Irish in January 2018 when I was in my first year in the University of Notre Dame.
3. Why did you decide to learn the language?
I decided to learn Irish because I was raised in Irish culture and I thought it would be interesting to learn the language. A friend of mine told me about the Department of Irish Language and Literature in Notre Dame, therefore I started learning Irish there.
4. How did you discover ranganna.com? Had you heard anything about the online courses beforehand?
I hadn't heard of ranganna.com before attending Notre Dame. My teachers use the site as a learning resource.
5. Tell us about the courses you've undertaken on ranganna.com.
I've done three courses on ranganna.com over the years: Gaeilge gan Stró! – Beginners Level, Gaeilge gan Stró! – Lower Intermediate Level and Gramadach gan Stró!. I used the physical books as well as the online versions. I learnt to speak about subjects such as my family, education matters, shopping, languages and health and I learnt a lot of grammar as well. These courses really helped my Irish.
6. How long did you spend studying the course content?
I spent approximately four months on each course.
7. What aspects of the courses did you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed listening to the conversations between the different people. These conversations helped me to form my own sentences and to understand the syntax of Irish. I enjoyed the exercises too - they were challenging but they helped me to make use of what I had learnt.
I really liked the interactive parts and I particularly enjoyed listening to the sound files. It was very interesting being able to hear the various dialects and the sounds were very helpful in learning Irish phonetics.
8. How did you apply what you had learnt?
Since starting to learn Irish on ranganna.com, I've had plenty of opportunities to use the language. I worked with Fiontar and Scoil na Gaeilge in DCU last summer. I spent the first part of my internship working on gaois.ie, collecting texts for the unilingual corpus. Later in the internship I was given the chance to go to the National Archives of Ireland to research material by An Gúm. I wrote and spoke through Irish everyday. After my internship I went to Donegal to practise my Irish in Oideas Gael for a few weeks. I also attended NUI Galway this year for a semester, so I got to use my Irish in Galway too!
9. What course would you like to do next?
I would love to do You and Your Computer on ranganna.com because I think this type of course is very important nowadays.
10. Would you recommend ranganna.com as a learning facility?
I would definitely recommend it as a learning resource. My Irish has improved greatly thanks to ranganna.com!