Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Regarding language acquisition...

Learning a new language as an older adult is daunting. If I had stayed with it some thirty years ago when I began, (and then gave up too soon), I might have been reasonably fluent by now in Scottish Gaelic. Back then I was in Montana, isolated from learning opportunities--not by location, but by ignorance and poverty, depression, lack of resources, and the idea that I was wasting my time anyway.

So here I am again, trying to learn Scottish Gaelic, only now there are so many resources, thanks to the internet, that it's confusing to decide which to use and where to start. So...start at the beginning: Madainn mhath! De an t-ainm a tha oirbh? Is mise Gayle. Ciamar a tha sibh? Tha mi gu math, tapadh leibh. Ciamar a tha sibh fhein? Tha mi gle sgith! A bheil thu gu trang? Tha! Tha mi gle thrang ag obair! Tha mi a'dol dhan Alba!

I couldn't have said any of this a year ago, much less understood it.

When I think of where I was and where I am now, it's amazing how much I've learned, and amazing how far I have yet to climb. But as someone younger, perhaps wiser told me not long ago, it's the journey, not the destination. And I must admit the journey thus far has been incredible. I've met the most wonderful people, listened to astonishingly beautiful music, learned to sing a strathspey, and dance a reel. And now we are going to Scotland, where I hope to find a part of my roots, and hear, perchance, the canan nan Gaidheal.

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