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The GaelMinn Gazette is a monthly e-newsletter from Gaeltacht Minnesota. The Gazette carries news of interest to local and regional students, as well as helpful items for anyone who is studying the Irish language, anywhere.To sign up, go to our subscription form here.
Note: This e-zine is winding down! Our last issue will be September, 2017
Issue #142 sent out April 25, 2017
Copyright © Gaeltacht Minnesota 2017
We hope so. The important questions are the QUANTITY and QUALITY of the mistakes in your Irish.
Regarding QUANTITY, you probably aren't making enough mistakes! That's right, try to make a few more, the next time you use your Irish.
Oh, sure, we spend our adult lives trying not to get caught making mistakes, on the job, in front of the kids and in-laws, in public -- just as we learned in school, probably, where we were taught to seek the mistake-free life.
But people who make no mistakes learning a language do that mainly by keeping their mouths shut. If you're not taking any risks, or trying to say anything new, how are your language skills growing?
Of course, good QUALITY mistakes are nice. Let's take an example in English -- a real example from films of kids taking standardized intelligence tests. Asked what "priceless" means, one kid responds, "I don't know", and the other says, "It means it doesn't cost anything." Neither answer will be scored correct, but I think we'd all agree that the second kid knows something about the language that the first one doesn't.
A great habit is to take just 2-3 minutes after a conversation (or writing activity, etc., even if you're working alone) and give yourself a "performance appraisal", focusing on the mistakes you made:
Mistakes are your friend, in learning a language, although it usually takes a while to relax and accept that. Explicitly reviewing and building on your mistakes, instead of avoiding thinking about them, can not only help you learn faster, it can take some of the emotion out of tripping up in front of your friends. When you know you'll learn from those episodes, it's a lot easier to jump in and take your best shot!
We're coming up to summer, with June 5 probably being our last day in Central.
During the summer, the three classes go their separate ways, different locations, sometimes different schedules, although all the classes cut back to meeting every other week.
Your class may have already decided on a summer location, but it is always good to review options, so put on your thinking caps. If you have good ideas about where to meet over the summer, be sure to share them with your classmates and with your instructor.
NO class May 29, Memorial Day
Sharing ideas we learn from both instructors AND students.
Whether you go to a regular class, meet with some study buddies, or work on your own, each time you sit down to work on Irish, there's a point where you cross the line from your everyday life in English to concentrating on Irish. The question is, when do you cross that line?
Let's take a study group example, although it applies to the other situations. You drive to the meeting place, maybe get your coffee, walk over to your seat, perhaps chat with your friends, and at some point Irish becomes the official agenda -- you "punch in" at that point. Then, at the end of the meeting, you'll gather your materials, say goodbye, walk to your car, and drive home. Somewhere in there, you "punched out" of Irish time, and back into English.
Are you punching in late and punching out early? Do you only start thinking about Irish when you can't avoid it anymore, and stop as soon as the meeting or lesson is officially over? Working a little overtime is easy, and it will help you get more out of the time when you're "on the clock."
By describing parts of your routine, you provide powerful connections to habits that make it easier to use a little more Irish. And by using Irish before you focus on the specific class or lesson at hand, you'll be ready to move more quickly, and concentrate more fully, on the language you're learning.
This is easy to do, and the homework of coming up with your own statements is good for you. And just imagine what your group would be like if everyone were already in "Irish mode" before the official lesson started!
Comments and questions are welcome via e-mail