Tag Archives: Irish

The Multilingual Desire

Ever since I started using Duolingo to study languages, I’ve had a growing desire to learn multiple languages. There are many languages available on that platform, and it continues to grow.

My experience learning languages started in 1986 when I was 9 years old. I studied French in school until 1994, when I was 17 years old. I didn’t take French in grade 12, but instead challenged the final exam and passed it easily, getting full credit for the class. I was good at it. I had confidence that I could learn languages easily.

In university, I took a class in Japanese and enjoyed it a lot. I did very well in that class, and it helped me a lot when I moved to Japan in 2005. I had full intentions to learn the language and become fluent. I studied it on my own. However, I worked entirely in English. My interactions with Japanese people were with friends who spoke English well, coworkers who spoke English, students who I taught English, and people in shops. It was when I went shopping or out to a restaurant that I was able to use Japanese. As a result, I have no problem going shopping or ordering in a restaurant in Japan. My confidence in speaking Japanese didn’t grow at all. I didn’t speak well enough to have a conversation with my wife’s parents, or even with my wife. My listening improved, but my speaking did not. That’s my fault.

I started using Duolingo to relearn French. I also started doing Esperanto, since studying it has been proven to help people learn other European languages more quickly. I also started learning Spanish.

My studying has stalled recently. I’d like to get myself back into it. I’d like to focus on French and Japanese. French will be useful for future job prospects in Canada, while Japanese will be useful for me with my family and my in-laws. And since we plan to travel to Japan often, I can use it there.

But I don’t want to stop there. I want to get back into studying Spanish, as well as German, Norwegian, Russian, and Irish. My family heritage includes German, Norwegian, and Irish. My grandfather was born in Russia, so a lot of research into his family history has to be done in Russian. I think it would help. And I’d also like to learn Tagalog. I have some Filipino friends, and I think it would be fun to be able to understand what they’re talking about.

Are you using Duolingo? Are you studying a language? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, you can check out my Duolingo profile and add me as a friend.

Test Driving Languages – Irish

Flag_of_Ireland.svgI’ve begun my test drive of all the languages on Duolingo. And the first is Irish. Irish is the native language of Ireland, but is only spoken as a first language by around 80,000 people in Ireland. The country is dominated by English now. But there are more than a million people studying Irish on Duolingo.

Is fear mé.

— I am a man.

Alphabet

This is easy. It’s the same as English, so you don’t need to learn anything. There are some vowels with accents on them, and those alter the pronunciation.

Pronunciation

Wow. Difficult! It’s very difficult for a native English speaker to understand how to pronounce the words, as they just don’t seem to follow English rules. This will take a lot of getting used to. The word “fear” is pronounced “far” and it means “man” in English.

Grammar

Completely different than English. English is Subject-Verb-Object. Irish is Verb-Subject-Object. It takes time to get used to. Also, the thing I find very difficult is verb conjugation.

Overall Impression

Irish is difficult! I went through the first few lessons without reviewing, and I retained very little. I had to keep checking to see what the words meant. The language is so foreign to me, that it’s not at all easy to pick up. This is a language that will take considerable time and dedication to learn. But I’ll do it!

Are you interested in studying it? Or can you speak it? Let me know in the comments below.

 

My Roadmap to Learning Languages

Having started studying various languages at Duolingo, I have to make sure I don’t get myself in over my head. I need to pace myself and limit the number of languages I learn at one time. Duolingo isn’t the only thing I’m going to use, of course, but it’s one of the best ways to learn core vocabulary and grammar for free and efficiently. What it doesn’t help with is speaking and listening. Those can be learned in other ways.

At the moment, I’m working on French, Spanish, and German, and I’ve taken a look at Irish. French is what I’m focusing on, as it’s mostly a refresher. Since it isn’t new material to me, I’m tackling another Romance language at the same time, Spanish. I’ve heard Spanish is easier than French to learn. And then there’s German, which is my third main language to learn, but I’m not working on it as much as the others.

So, for now, I will concentrate on French and Spanish. As I finish the language tree for French, I will then change my focus to Spanish and German. Spanish should finish soon after French, so I’ll then switch to German and Irish. But what do I do next?

I’m thinking that after German, I may work on either Italian or Norwegian. However, there is another language that’s starting up in the next few days, Russian. It’ll be released into Beta soon, and I’m intrigued by it.

So, why would I learn Russian? My grandfather was born in Russia, and some members of my family are trying to trace his roots and find as much information about his ancestry as possible. If I learn Russian, it may be useful if I ever try to communicate with anyone in Russia or even visit my grandfather’s hometown to do a little searching on my own. I’ve heard Russian is a difficult language, and it’ll be my first Slavic language to study. Up until that point, I will have worked on mainly Germanic, Romance, and Celtic languages, as well as Japanese. A Slavic language means learning a new alphabet. That should be interesting.

There is one other thing I may work on while I’m doing the other languages, and that’s Esperanto. While it’s not a widespread language that has a home country, it has been found that if you study Esperanto, it can be easier to study other European languages. I think I’ll give it a shot.

In the long-term, there are other languages I’ll work on, including Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Dutch. Those are all available on Duolingo now. In the future, I’d love to try Greek, Welsh, Polish, Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Finnish, and Mandarin Chinese.

Too ambitious? What do you think? Do you have any language ambitions?

Learning Languages: Duolingo

Does anyone use Duolingo? I’ve decided to seriously start using it. I started about a year ago to brush up on French, but I’d like to try several languages.

Currently, I’m at level 4 for French (about to reach level 5). At Duolingo, there are 25 levels, and 4 is still pretty basic. Here are the languages I’m learning or going to learn there:

  • French (level 4)
  • Spanish (level 1)
  • German (haven’t started)
  • Italian (haven’t started)
  • Irish (haven’t started)
  • Norwegian (haven’t started)

There are quite a few other languages, including Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Esperanto, and Ukrainian. There are other languages under development at the moment, including Russian, Hungarian, Polish, Hindi, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Romanian, and believe it or not, Klingon.

So, that’s a lot of languages you can study at Duolingo. At least, that’s for English speakers. You can also study languages from your own native language, if available.

Have you tried Duolingo? What are you studying? You can find my profile here, and if you’re studying there, send me a friend request.