Top Irish language tips for parents of Gaelscoil kids
We’re delighted to have a guest article from Eoin Ó Conchúir from Bitesize Gaelic. In his article, Eoin goes through some tips that parents of children in Gaecoileanna can use. After reading the article, I’m sure this could also apply to parents of children in other schools too! Thanks a million to Eoin for taking time out to write this fantastic article. Eoin started his article off with a beautiful piece of scenery. Enjoy.
I met a woman lately, and we started talking about Irish. Her son is too young for school, and she doesn’t speak any more Irish than the average Irish person.
But she told me that she had a goal for her son, and that was to have her son fluent in the Irish language. She’ll be sending her son to a gaelscoil (Irish-medium school).
If you have kids in a gaelscoil, you might find that they quickly steam ahead with their Irish. Or if your kids are not in a gaelscoil, they may or may not be struggling with their Irish homework. And that can put pressure on you to either catch up, or try to help them out, right?
Despite all the pressures with “obair bhaile” (homework), there isn’t a better time to be learning Irish. There’s an energy – a vibrancy – with the language now. Here are some top tips for dealing with Irish.
Tip: Don’t get hung up on the séimhiú and urú
Irish language words can change depending on context (they’re said to “mutate”). There are certainly rule and patterns to learn these changes. But don’t get hung up on these.
This tip is wider than a simple letter “h” here or there. Have fun with your kids with and the language. Don’t let it be a medium of frustration and anger of homework being done at the last moment!
Tip: There’s more than one way to say something
Just like in English, different phrases and expressions can be used for the same thing. If you kid has learned an expression at school, don’t jump to telling them they’re “wrong” (and teach them this same approach!).
Tip: Hear the living language
The Irish language is a living vibrant language. It’s important for both you and your child to experience it that way.
Later on in the evening, watch TG4′s fabulous home-grown programmes.
Tip: Visit the Gaeltacht as a family trip
Visiting the heart of the Gaeltacht with the family is a great way to get a real taste of the living language.
I love Corca Dhuibne (the Dingle peninsula in Co. Kerry). Stay in a local B&B like Feirm Chinn Sléibhe, and let the bean an tí know you want to practice your Irish while you’re there. See the photo above of the view from the room!
Bonus tips: Make Irish part of your day
Labels: Pick one room in the house with your kid, and label items together in Irish. From now on, only use the Irish word for those objects.
Reading: Read interesting books in Irish together. There’s lots of interesting colourful books available in Irish.
Share your experiences below
What are your main frustrations with helping your children speak Irish? Or what has worked well for you? Please share your comment below, I would love to hear from you.
Learn more Irish
Take the free online course Irish for Beginners and practice it with your kids.
Eoin Ó Conchúir in Limerick is the founder of Bitesize Irish Gaelic, an online language learning concept. It allows you to learn Irish, going back to basics, while listening to a native speaker.