There is no formal way to learn Gaelic; some individuals may learn from family members, while others may pursue formal training through a college or university. In fact, Gaelic is typically incorporated into graduate programs in Irish studies or Celtic culture (which also introduce Welsh and Breton customs). However, interested persons can take more specific courses in traditional or modern Gaelic languages, literature, and culture.
There are generally no specific prerequisites for these programs, and program length may vary.
Gaelic Training Programs
Some schools offer study abroad programs, in which students interested in learning more about the Gaelic culture can attend a class in Ireland or Scotland and immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of these Celtic countries. Gaelic courses are offered at the introductory to advanced level. Training exercises often revolve around Gaelic children's stories, poetry, and songs. Students learn fundamental Irish or Scottish Gaelic language skills, such as:
- Reading comprehension
- Verbal pronunciation
- Sentence structure
- Conversational proficiency
Individuals of Irish or Scottish descent may decide to pursue Gaelic training as a means of connecting with their heritage. Additionally, individuals majoring in literature may find it beneficial to learn Gaelic, especially when concentrating on Irish works. Linguistics majors may also pursue Gaelic classes.
Workshops and Seminars
Individuals interested in Gaelic culture may find it interesting to attend Scottish or Irish festivals, such as the one hosted by Chicago's Gaelic Park (www.chicagogaelicpark.org). These types of events often last for several days. Participants can often hear the Gaelic language spoken by festival workers. They can attend cultural events, such as folk dancing shows or Gaelic musical concerts, and play traditional sports, such as Gaelic football. It is also a way to sample traditional fare.
Additional Gaelic vocabulary training may be attained through websites, which may offer tutorial videos. Instructional DVDs may also be helpful when trying to learn the language. English-to-Gaelic dictionaries and Irish and Scottish grammar books are also available.
Individuals seeking enrichment in the Gaelic culture have many options to do so, both inside and outside of the classroom, stateside or overseas. These courses, whether stand-alone, self-taught or culturally immersive, help preserve the rich history of the Celtic culture from which it stems.