Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gaelic, now, is it?

Still busy, but hang on a minute.

During my working-from-home lunchbreak, I was noodling around the BBC iPlayer, and came across episode 1 of Speaking Our Language.  It only lasted 20 minutes, so I thought I'd give it a go. It's always instructive to encounter language learning - good, bad or indifferent - from the other side of the teacher's desk.  It wasn't bad at all, methodologically speaking, though a bit too much L1, maybe, and it was clearly low-budget and not on its first run.  I'll watch episode 2, anyways.

I'm road testing an iPad for work, so I had a quick shufty at BBC Alba's learning links, and found Learn Gaelic, with lots of links for beginners.  There's also BBC Alba, of course. And Radio Nan Gaidheal, which kills two birds with one stone: I like a bit of radio when I'm working, but Radcliffe and Maconie's banter, for example, can be distracting, and working with Radio 4 on is out of the question.  Radio in Gaelic means I get a bit of non-distracting company.  Of course, I might progress with the language, and then it would be no longer distracting...

Which would be cool. One big thing I know about language learning is that it depends on empathy with the language's dominant culture, which is why I've gotten nowhere with Mandarin, but did pretty well with Castellano. Gaelic: I can relate to the people, music, poetry, landscape, there are affordable courses in Glasgow, and one can be amongst native speakers in a few hours.  We plan to explore the Highlands and Islands next year, anyways.  And don't forget the whiskey.  A well placed "ciamar a tha sibh?" might lead to all kinds of adventures denied to your average holidaying Englishman.

Back to work.