Gaeilge for Druids

May 28th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

A significant challenge on my Druid path has been the pronunciation of Irish words and names.  Fortunately, Dublin City University now offers free online Irish classes.  They do it through an educational platform called FutureLearn (www.Futurelearn.com), which was founded in 2012 by The Open University/UK.  Should documentation for CPD be required, one may purchase a certificate of achievement for a small fee.  Currently they are offering three classes:  Irish 101, Irish 102, and Irish 103.  I am now finishing 102, and have registered for 103, which is starting next month.

This is my first experience with university online learning, and I am exceedingly impressed.  I have spent much of my life studying and teaching in academe, and I have to say the class design is captivating.  I especially enjoy the Seanfhocal na Seachtaine (Proverb of the Week).  At the time of this writing the proverb is: “Nil saoi gan locht.” (“There is not a wise man without fault.”) The classes are a mixture of short lecture videos by Dublin City University academics, videos of social interactions (with transcripts), and short articles on aspects of Irish culture (ancient and modern). Quizzes and sections to practice writing are intermittent.  One of my favourite features is how pronunciation technology is integrated throughout.

I am pleased to see this kind of effort to help disseminate a minority language whose future is far from certain.  According to the United Nations, there are only 260,000 individuals who report being native, fluent speakers of Gaeilge.  For anyone interested there is no more convenient way to begin to learn Gaeilge.

March Crocus in my back garden stone circle

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