Gaelic Epiphany

Its 9 months to the leaving cert and you suddenly find yourself at home watching ‘Afric’ without the subtitles, cos although you now don’t have the faintest clue what’s going on, you’re sure that on some level its bettering your Irish. After 14 odd years of learning the language you’d expect us to be fluent! Chattering away amongst ourselves as gaeilge but no, most of us still seem to be barely stumbling over the words.

Not that I don’t agree with learning the language. I’m all for keeping our culture alive and kicking but Irish is first and foremost a spoken language, so no amount of cramming a bulk of poems and stories down our throats and expecting us to regurgitate them on the exam paper will ever accurately reflect our knowledge of the language.

Languages have never been my forte, and it takes a serious amount of motivation to tease the books from the schoolbag to actually do a bit of study in them. Particularly Paper 2, which is the bain of most people’s lives when it comes to Irish in the leaving cert poems, stories , the play and dundundun staire na gaeilge. Call me crazy but I refuse point blank to learn off notes on any of these. It just seems like such a waste of time learning word for word how to paraphrase them, and you learn very little Irish through these notes, so here are my new found logistics:

30% goes for  Paper 2! Considering that I what we spent 100% of 5th year covering and all we’ve looked at this year, and all this time it was possible (unlikely yes, but possible) to get B without ever looking at the course work! If this is the fact of the matter then why are we clearly choosing to neglect the actually relevant aspects of the subject like putting more emphasis on the oral, aural and actual writing quality?

So, if instead of spending an hour trying to memorise pages worth of ‘Lig sinn i gcathú’ try spending some time getting to grips with

1 VERBS                                                               4 Tuisil guinideach

2 Seimhiú list                                                      5 Mo/do/a rule

3 Urú list                                                              6 Prepositions

Apply that then to your relevant vocab on an rialtas, timpeallacht or whatever  topics you want to learn. Et voila!

By the time the actual exam comes around you’ll be flying it, and honestly, I’d guess that you’ll get a lot further in the exams with a credible standard of Irish and a gist of the poems/stories then you would with an indepthe analysis of the course work and a gist of the language.

So no more learning off reams of notes, no more worries! 😀

Hopefully, this will help in some way towards your Irish studies,

Tog go bhog é agus slan go foil!

1 thought on “Gaelic Epiphany”

  1. Well done!! love your blog..we spend far too much time learning paper 2, I completely agree. I love speaking Gaeilge but I absolutely hate learning the poems..I’d love if our exam consisted of just having a conversation (or maybe if that was 80%, then I’d have a chance of getting a B!). Irish is a spoken language, it was never written when it was the only language of Éire. Is í an teanga beatha an náisiún!!

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