Brushing up languages

Last week in Scotland I tried to speak Scottish Gaelic as much as possible, and had a number of good conversations. At first though, I was adding quite a lot of Irish Gaelic into the mix, which works sometimes as the two languages are close, but not always. Last year I had a month between my visits to Ireland and Scotland, so had time to get my brain in Scottish Gaelic mode before going to Scotland. This year I only had a week, which wasn’t really enough. By the end of the week in Scotland my Scottish Gaelic was coming back.

Sometimes words that are spelt the same but pronounced differently in the two languages trip me up: for example man is fear, which is [fəuɾˠ] in Irish, and [fɛr] in Scottish Gaelic, which sounds like the Irish word for hay/grass, féar [feːɾˠ], which is feur [fiər/fjɔːrʲ] in Scottish Gaelic – not to be confused with fior (true, genuine, real) [fiər].

Do you need a while to brush up languages you don’t use very often? How do you go about it?

I generally listen and read a lot, and practise speaking to myself. Last year I also wrote something on my other blog every day in the language I was focusing on.

One thought on “Brushing up languages

  1. I take a text at the level last studied and plough through it until things start to fall in place.

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