Friday, January 13, 2012


Right now, keeping my brain occupied is paramount. I don't want to wallow in grief. I haven't been doing much writing, but I've been reading up a storm, keeping myself busy at work, and I got some language CDs this week that I've started listening to in the car on my commute.

I chose Irish Gaelic, because I listen to a lot of Celtic rock and it would be nice to be able to figure out what some of the more obscure songs are actually about. (Yes, I know I could look it up online, but that's cheating.) Also, anyone can learn Spanish or French, but it takes a certain amount of effort to learn a language with only about 75,000 native speakers (100,000 fewer people than the population of Knoxville, Tennessee, the city I am driving to while listening to the language CDs).

I got the Pimsleur Quick & Simple Irish ("No Books! No Classes! Totally Audio!") because it was cheap and the whole point of getting language CDs was so I could listen to them in the car. The directions that came with the CDs say to only do one lesson a day and repeat it until I've got about 80% mastery before I move on. Each lesson is half an hour long. I did the first lesson twice and moved to the second lesson this morning, feeling pretty good at my mastery of about eight words of Irish, and the second lesson promptly kicked my ass. I guess I'll repeat it for a few days.

The directions also say not to use the CDs with language books or anything else like that, because it messes with the way the brain learns language. When I was in grad school, the big thing in teaching was brain-based learning, so I'm all over that. No books for me. And to my surprise, I really do seem to be retaining what I'm learning--and considering that my previous serious attempt at language, three semesters of college German, never did bring me anywhere near fluency (or past tense words), I think I'm doing pretty well.

Of course, the only word I really need to learn is one I learned in lesson one, which means "I don't understand." It sounds like "nihiggim," and I suspect it's actually two words, 'nee' and the verb 'higgim,' but of course I don't know because I've never seen the words written down and all I can do is attempt to spell them phonetically. In other words, I am illiterate in Irish.

I'm so ashamed.


Free Range Anglican said...

Your Irish, my Korean. I remember the Korean phrase for "I don't understand" because its "Morugessoyo" or something like that... which I've coupled in my mind as "More-you, guess, oyo" = "Your guess is as good as mine."

But a few well selected Gaelic words would surely give a little zest to a misty-mountain set novel, right?

Thinking of you constantly.

K.C. Shaw said...

Or I could just confound people when I dropped something on my toe, with a new bunch of cuss words. Probably won't get them from the Pimsleur CDs, though.

Kelly Robinson said...

Jealous that you're learning Gaelic. I keep pretending that I might learn Welsh, which is just about as ridiculous, ever since I bought a Welsh copy of Peter Rabbit (HANES PWTAN Y WNINGEN!)

I want to add that it's okay to wallow sometimes. Don't be afraid to if you find you need to.

K.C. Shaw said...

Welsh is another language I'd love to learn. Definitely one you ought to pursue!