Saturday, 3 March 2012

Abair Leat - Irish Language Website Review

This will be an on going article as the site is new and still in Beta testing phase.

How I found out about the site?
Purely by accident is the easiest answer. I heard it mentioned on an RTE News bulletin and it piqued my interest straight away.  I made a point of sending myself a reminder to check it out the following day and I'm glad to say that it was one of those things that I actually got around to doing. I joined up eagerly but was immediately lost and confused.  This was not the fault of the website but more a damning indictment of how poorly the Irish language is taught in Ireland.

Why am I interested in it?
I would love to be able to speak my native language fluently as to me it represents our national culture and pride. I am not alone in saying that after 14 years of learning Irish (Gaeilge) I can barely string two sentences together. During my school years I hated the language and hated every class I attended.  I can imagine a foreigner asking me now why don't I speak my country's language?  The answer is that it bored me so much more than any other subject at school and the teachers taught from textbooks instead of breathing life into it and making it part of the classroom.

A language is a living and vibrant thing and it should be used free-form as part of everyday life. Spending 30 minutes a day discussing daily topics in school and then correcting grammatical errors as you went along would have been far more beneficial than a whole week of reading it from a book. That is after all how children learn to speak everywhere.

I would love to be one of those people who goes to Spain and similar holiday destinations and confounds the indigenous locals by speaking a language they couldn't possibly know.  Most Irish people have a secret wish to do this whether they tell you or not.

My hope for the future
I would like to brush up on my Irish by using it daily, talking to people in a natural colloquial way.  I believe the site is a great push forward for the language and I hope it brings it back into public focus in a big way. I will add to this article as I learn more from the site.  If you are Irish or of Irish descent, why not sign up and give it a try?

Abair Leat website
My advice to those who are like me is to have Google Translate open when you first sign up for the site. If your Irish is very bad you will not be able to navigate the site without help.  I initially started a post as part of the learning process and used Google to Translate 90% of that.  The site does have a translate option built in but I couldn't find it (he laughs) at the time.  I have since posted a second thread but I'm still a little lost.  I talked someone into joining the site who has a similar desire to learn the language; this should help both of us figure out the inner workings of the site as well as brush up the old lingo. The best thing I can do is to link to the 2 tutorial videos from the site on this article because my attempts to explain might confuse people even more.  If you sign up for it I would be interested in your opinion here.

Abair Leat Website

Abair Leat Tutorials

Abair Leat on YouTube

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