What's the best way to learn a language? Immersion in the country where that language is spoken. Unfortunately, that opportunity isn't always available to those trying to learn a language, so the next best thing is making sure you get lots of time to practice conversing in the language you're trying to learn.
We are Jonathan and Amanda, a couple who want to immerse ourselves in and promote use of the Irish language. Irish traditional music and Irish language have been very important parts of our lives ever since we met in 2003, in a traditional music session and in an after-school Irish language class. Since then, we have continued our study of the language together, taking classes whenever and wherever they were offered, creating conversation groups with anyone who was interested, and practicing together as often as we could. We are now embarking on a great adventure. We’re moving to Ireland in July 2012 to enroll in a two-month immersion course in Co. Donegal and complete a Master's degree in Modern Irish at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
We are thrilled to be moving to Ireland to be working with this language that we love. We also know from experience that for people wishing to learn Irish the most difficult part of learning the language is finding opportunities to practice conversation with others. You can’t learn how to speak Irish from studying grammar books.
"Comhrá le Chéile" (Which means "Conversation Together") will be a way for people who are learning Irish to have a chance to regularly participate in online conversation groups, so they can improve upon their conversation skills in a supportive and friendly learning environment. We will use modern communication technologies such as Webinars to host bi-weekly meetings and inspire conversation and discussion among all present. Through use of our website (which will have discussion boards, a blog, Irish-learning resources, etc.) and email list, we will let participants know ahead of time about what topic will be discussed at the next "Coffee Hour" and give them resources ahead of time so they can prepare. We’re confident that both individual language learners and Irish language teachers will see Comhrá le Chéile as an excellent language-learning resource and will join in the conversations. The best part? It will be free to all participants. All anyone needs is a computer, internet access, and a headset.
To be the best facilitators and teachers we can be, we need to get to Ireland and become more fluent in the language ourselves. Your generous support of this project will help fund the costs of the immersion program we must participate in this July and will help us get set up in Ireland to create the Comhrá le Chéile website and the online conversation system. Every dollar counts, and we are incredibly grateful to those who contribute to our development as fluent Irish speakers and to our dream of spreading the use of this wonderful language.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh! (Thank you all very much!)
-Jonathan & Amanda
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