For the next 3 months, I’m going to learn Scottish Gaelic (otherwise just known as Gaelic, as Irish Gaelic is more commonly referred to as Irish). It’s been a long time coming now. I’ve flirted with the language on and off for a while, and I’ve never given myself a big enough or solid enough goal to make it happen. But I have a dream of becoming a Goidelophone [a speaker of a Goidelic language], and there’s no time like the present.
Why Scottish Gaelic?
There are a multitude of reasons:
- It’s a beautiful language
- I love Celtic / Highlands culture, music, arts, etc.
- My ancestors were Scottish
- I would like to visit the Highlands & Hebrides
- There are Gaelic speaking populations here in the Americas (Canada)
… to name a few!
I definitely have intrinsic motivation to learn this language.
What’s the end goal?
3 months is a long time, especially as some of my language learning projects often go. What am I hoping to achieve by the beginning of February?
I would like to reach a B2 level in Gaelic, have little to no difficulty listening to programs on BBC Alba, and hold a 15-minute conversation with a native entirely in Gaelic. That’s a tall order, and I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think it’s always best to aim high, especially when you are motivated to meet your aims!
What will my challenges be?
Some challenges are always unpredictable. In this case, I suspect the biggest challenge I will have is finding conversation partners. Gaelic is spoken by less than 100,000 people, and it’s not every day that you meet someone who you can speak with (unless you live near the Gaeltacht). Even on sites like iTalki there are fewer speakers. I’ll do my best to engage them, but this is likely the biggest challenge I will have to overcome, even beyond the complex grammar and phonetics.
For this reason, if you have any suggestions or know of anyone that can help, please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter!
What resources will I use?
I have so many Gaelic resources already, that it’s hard to decide. As you can see from the picture at the top of this post, I have both the Teach Yourself: Gaelic and the Colloquial: Scottish Gaelic books, as well as some poetry and music. I think that’s a fine place to start. I may even use both TY and Colloquial side by side, since I have sound files for them both and it will give me some variety. I also intend to actively learn Julie Fowlis songs to sing.
All of the new words, phrases, idioms, etc. will go into flash cards.
Real flash cards.
My Turkish experience showed me that going analog with flashcards makes a huge difference, and I think that’s how I should start.
Though I don’t have a video to start my mission today (I am sick with a cold and don’t think it would be a very good video), I will be posting articles and videos along the way to mark my progress.
What about you?
Are there any language projects you’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but you’ve been holding off? How could you make a mission that motivates you to embrace that language? How are your language projects going in general? Let me know in the comments!