First things first: thank you all so much for getting me over 8000 views. I’m so grateful for the reception my blog has received. When I began I was positive that the only people reading it would be myself and my parents... maybe not even them... so when I find people consistently reading my work, and sometimes (just sometimes) actually enjoying it... That is more amazing than I can say.
To celebrate 10,000 views I’m going to have a competition and make another little announcement too... I can’t wait to get there!
Today I want to talk about the bane-of-your-existence that is Gaeilge. If you don’t know what Gaeilge means, then I’m sorry, but we have a huge problem here and it’s best if you don’t read on.
I am eternally grateful that I didn’t study Irish in primary school. When I moved, I was just going into First Year. Technically I would have been exempt from Irish (which is compulsory for most people), but my parents really wanted me to learn it. I can’t say that’s something I resent: I have always loved languages.
I am given to understand that the reason most people don’t like Irish is because it’s not very well taught in primary schools. I don’t know from experience, but a lot of people seem to believe this. Sometimes when pupils move on to Secondary they begin to enjoy it, but for many the stigma, the “boring, useless” stamp is still attached. That’s such a shame as there are some really great Irish teachers in our secondary schools, who are clearly passionate about the subject and try their best to make it enjoyable. I know because I’ve got one!
There’s also the idea that there’s no point in learning Irish, and I can really relate to this. When learning French, for example, you can totally picture yourself in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, the Ivory Coast... speaking French to people! But perhaps the idea that maybe one old man somewhere in Clare Galway won’t understand English isn’t incentive enough. But learning a language, believe it or not, is not just with a view to speaking it. Learning another language teaches us a lot about our own, and it’s really good mental exercise.
Irish isn’t as useless as you might think, either. There’s a whole TV channel in the language, for goodness’ sake, and there are even a lot of programmes in Irish made by the BBC. There’s also a radio station... really, if the media is your thing, you’re making yourself so much more desirable by learning Irish. Then there are government jobs and primary or secondary Irish teaching...
Regardless, even if you’re going to forget every bit of Irish the day after the exams, it’s a cross the vast majority of us have to bear, so we might as well give it our best shot.
Hm. I seem to have wasted a lot of words persuading you to study, and none actually helping. I think I’ll separate these posts into various parts... part 2, on the oral exam, coming tomorrow! J