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Brisbane man learns Irish in nine months

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Many people who grew up in Ireland will recall their struggles with picking up the Irish language.

 

Many of us spent 14 years trying to master grammar and memorise poetry, only to promptly forget everything the moment Paper 2 of the Irish Leaving Cert was handed in.

 

But an Australian man has now put the lot of us to shame, picking up the language in just nine months.

 

Queenslander Donovan Nagel says that the way Irish is taught in Ireland presents a lot of difficulties to students.

 

“I think the biggest problem with the way Irish is taught is that there is too much of a focus on grammar,” he told the Irish Echo.

 

“My philosophy is that grammar is the worst thing you can do when starting out with any language.”

Mr Nagel’s advice should be well heeded.

 

The Applied Linguistics graduate has spent the past 10 years travelling around the world and learning languages.

 

He is fluent in Mandarin, Greek, Hebrew, Georgian and three dialects of Arabic, as well as other European languages.

He is currently living in South Korea, and has started learning Korean.

 

The 28-year-old from Brisbane first started to learn Irish in January 2012. He cites his year living in Ireland as the reason for learning the language.

 

“I spent a year living in Cork and it upset me to see that so many people weren’t interested in Irish. I think in the whole year I lived there, I met four people that were fluent,” he explained.

 

He adds that having Irish ancestry – his grandmother’s family hail from Newmarket, Co Cork, and his grand­father’s family are from Co Antrim – was another strong motivational factor.

 

Mr Nagel returned to Ireland earlier this year and headed straight for the Gaeltacht to learn and speak Irish.

 

“I went over there with a very strong passive knowledge. I understood a lot but speaking it was very difficult. To be there sort of activated it, in a way.”

 

He suggests that Irish people should approach it in a different manner.

 

“I think a lot of Irish people have the Irish there, even though it’s dormant. I think people are just scared away as they focused on grammar in school. That was the mistake.”

 

http://www.irishecho.com.au/2012/09/27/brisbane-man-learns-irish-in-nine-months/20758

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I was in turkey before and some Turkish man was speaking Irish too me lol. I feel like such a dick when non irish know more than me.

 

Going to learn it some day though I'm crap at languages.

 

Ah i don't know, you seem to have picked up that foreign English language no bother, and I bet you have more Irish than you realise. Its like yer man is saying in the above article, a lot of the Irish we have is passive. Even in the English that we use, we use Irish structures, Irish words, Irish concepts. You might be surprised at how quickly you pick up your native language.

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Ah i don't know, you seem to have picked up that foreign English language no bother, and I bet you have more Irish than you realise. Its like yer man is saying in the above article, a lot of the Irish we have is passive. Even in the English that we use, we use Irish structures, Irish words, Irish concepts. You might be surprised at how quickly you pick up your native language.

 

That's what I used to tell my English teacher lol. I thought it was a legit excuse for my grades.

I duno. I did Spanish for 3 years and French for 2, failed both every yeah and now only know a couple of words lol.

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