Dedicated to the Gaelic Language of the Isle of Man
Imraaghyn Features

Gaelg as mish: October 2018

I would describe myself as a bit of a language freak really, the kind of person who hears somebody speaking a language, even for a few seconds, whatever it is, and decides that they want to learn it.

But as I can't learn them all, I have to be selective about how I get to my dream of being fluent in ten, and as by now it hardly matters to me what the last three or four are, I have been a little more creative with my choices of late, learning Kazakh (although I do live in Kazakhstan) and some of both Mongolian and Armenian.

But why Gaelg in the first place? I am not from the island, nor have I ever even been there, and until now the only contact I had ever had with Ellan Vannin and its people was a friend at university who although a very proud Manxman, didn't see his future over there after graduation.

It has to be the same reason I learned Russian and Italian. I just decided on a whim. Nothing more than that.

I was sitting in a cafe just after Christmas, deciding on New Year's Resolutions and a new language had to be one of them. The year before I had decided to learn Welsh, but found that I could not get any practice and I lost interest round about March time, having got to a fair level but unable to say very much. Again this time, something along Celtic lines entered my thoughts and at first Cornish was really tempting, but I ruled it out, perhaps prematurely, thinking that once again I would get no practice. With hindsight, it seems this was a mistake, but never mind.

Then I remembered a time when my Welsh-speaking sister mentioned that she knew a bit about Manx and it roused enough interest to check things out online. And as you already know, the resources available for learning are incredible, and seem on a par with some more significant languages, or if not, I felt at least there was enough stuff to get me very well started - so the decision was made there and then. I emailed Adrian and right from the start it was obvious that he was keen to help, and this being the final piece in the jigsaw, I got to work.

As a language teacher myself, mental energy tends to go on grammar and vocabulary all day long, sometimes until 23:00 and when I get free time I don't always want to get a grammar guide out, so I don't work on the Manx as often as I should. But I am happy that I can more than get by and even not needing it, I have decided not to learn any more languages until I get my Manx up to about B2 level, which for non-teachers = pretty fluent.

I and most other Gaelg learners have learned for pleasure. I don't need another three languages nor did I ever really need the ones I know now,  - apart from English son shickyrys;) and for sure I never needed the ones I learned and then forgot, but it is an honour for me to be able to speak to people in their own mother tongue, and although Manx is yet to reach this status, it is an honour to be able to speak it at all

Chris Trickett, Kazakhstan