Monday, 13 January 2014

An Irish lesson

Irish homework

My son brought back some Irish homework today. It was a sheet of paper with drawings as you can see above. No written instructions in English. The only words on the page were in Irish. There were also 3 small drawings at the top, which I suppose, were the instructions.
The 3 drawings were : a bubble ( possibly meaning the child had to say the word), crayons ( which obviously means he had to colour the drawings) and socks. Yes, socks. What is that suppose to mean?? I still haven't found out so if somebody can help me there, I'd be grateful.
Let's pass on the socks thing. I asked my son to tell me what the words were in Irish. But how was I supposed to know if he gave me the right answers ? He was saying stuff I didn't have a clue about. I had to use Google translate to check. But the thing is, I don't know how to pronounce the words so I couldn't really tell if it was right. 
The thing with Irish language is that it's not pronounced the same way it's written at all. Take the name "Niamh" for example, you have to pronounce it "Neeve". See, the sound has nothing to do with the spelling.
I have learned a few languages in my life: English, Spanish, Italian and even Breton. But Irish has to be the most difficult one of all. The grammar is complicated and the spelling is incomprehensible. But I wanted to give it a try. I told myself that I would learn with my child. Well, I don't know if that's going to happen now...

The learning of Irish is compulsory from primary school, but considering most of the people I know don't speak a word of it, I'm not sure it's a good idea. Maybe it's not taught the right way.
In Brittany, the learning of Breton is optional. If you want you can enrol your child in a bilingual school, where the emphasis will really be on immersion in the language. There are bilingual schools in Ireland as well, and that, for me, is a better idea than Irish being a compulsory subject in all schools.
If it was an option in regular schools, maybe students who really are interested would take it, instead of having half a class who doesn't care and will learn by heart how to write a postcard for their exam ( which is probably very discouraging for the teacher as well).

Back to my son's homework. I still don't know how to say book, computer  or teddy bear in Irish. And I still don't know what those bloody socks are supposed to mean !