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Learning styles

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 10:05 pm
by Victor Wilson
All right, so, I have scoured the forums, and I have found naught—yet, if one know of a thread discussing this, please forgive me—on the actually processes others have used to learn. I'm a hardcore syllabus follower: I attribute it to my experiences of foreign languages being in a classroom. So, I'm creating a syllabus for myself for the upcoming year—the year of Gaelic! What about you all? Do you prefer learning through strict immersion, reading novels, films, curse words, or what?

Re: Learning styles

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 11:30 am
by Janice Chan
For myself, I don't think that there is any one way to learn. Since we are almost all adults when we start to learn Gaelic, we come to it from a different approach that is probably influenced by our formal learning in school. I began Gaelic in a semi-formal classroom situation (community classes) and then in a formal academic setting (auditing a university course). From that good base, I have found that reading, listening to audio / video and immersion opportunities help me to make progress.

Everyone has a different learning style, and setting goals helps tremendously. The thing is to stick with it daily, even if it's only for 5 or 10 minutes.

Re: Learning styles

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 11:38 am
by Steaphanaidh Carlyle
I started with 'Can Seo' back in the 1980s (alas I didn't stick with it), and since then I went on to take a course at Atlantic Gaelic Academy (AGA), as well as using 'Speaking Our Language', 'Teach Yourself Gaelic', 'Gàidhlig Troimh Chòmhradh ' and Muriel Fisher's Gaelic courses, plus any other stuff I come across.

For all that my Gaelic is not what it ought to be, and as Janice just pointed out, you HAVE to stick with it.

Getting into some kind of environment (either in person or online) where you interact with others is going to make a huge difference and will actually let you use what you learn (as well as get corrected when you're wrong), and for that reason I highly recommend searching out a local group or go for an online course with AGA or SMO.

Gur math a thèid leibh/Good luck.

Re: Learning styles

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 3:34 pm
by Megan Moffitt
Take this for whatever it's worth. I force myself to learn by opening up a text-book and copying down word-for-word the text and even the illustrations of the book. Like a monk busy at work writing in a scriptorium, I copy into a composition book, or if I really want to indulge, I purchase a blank journal with a designed cover; you can find them at Barnes and Noble. The limitations of this way are: not speaking, and not listening to the words spoken-Gaelic is a living language! And also the isolation of a solitary monk learner. So, as Stephanie mentioned, you should diligently search for learning opportunities with other Gaelic speakers and/or learners. Also, don't get hung up on one book or course. Try them all out. They each have a different order and method of introducing new material progressively. Keep yourself inspired. Read inspirational quotes, have another person hold you accountable. I sense that you'll do fine. So long as you get started. 'S e obair latha tòisechadh-It's a day's work to get started. That's why I chose to just start writing. You could see the pages you've written as learning artifacts, and you can go back and repeat them over and over like a mantra. Dè tha Gàidhlig airson 'mantra'?

I use pen and ink to paper as my learning infrastructure. You might have a different preference like an app or audio file/CD. Try them all and see which one fits.

Oh, and do devote considerable time to pronunciation. That's a big one if you intend to go from book learning to real people. Listen to native speakers and proficient speakers whenever possible. Total Immersion Plus is something you should seek out. They have an ùlpan method based on Israel's effort to get their citizens fluent in Hebrew quickly. Wales used this method for Welsh and it has been used in Scotland for Gàidhlig. Why not attend one of our ACGA events in the upcoming year also? It will save you an expensive ticket to Scotland. Check out ACGA Gaelic Song and Language Week in North Carolina, and ACGA National Mòd in Pennsylvania. We would love to have you come attend.

Good Luck!

Re: Learning styles

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 5:04 pm
by Cam MacRae
I've done a bit of everything you mention, Victor, and it's all been helpful.

The best advice I was given was to use what I was learning as much as I could. Every day. Listen and speak, read and write.

Yes, you need grammar and vocabulary, but you need to use those for them to become part of you.

I like the idea of your Year of Gaelic! Let us know how you're doing. And come visit us on Facebook.

Re: Learning styles

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 5:07 pm
by Steaphanaidh Carlyle
Our Facebook page is at:
Out Twitter page is @ACGAGaelic

Re: Learning styles

Posted: December 16th, 2014, 4:31 pm
by GunChleoc
I started with singing along to songs to practice my pronunciation, and also reading up on how the pronunciation works. I put on Gaelic radio a lot. Then I went on to read up on the grammar and posting online with the help of a grammar book and a dictionary. The goal I set myself at that time was to write 1 sentence a day. The online resources I found most helpful were the dictionaries, the BBC site and Akerbeltz. You should also check out TAIC.

If you can find a teacher, I highly recommend it. If there is noe-one near you, take a long distance course.