It’s week 6 this week and that means that I am almost halfway through this semester. Time seems to be flying past but I am quite surprised at how well I have been able to keep up with all of my assigned work this semester. I can probably link that to the many gaps in my timetable; A six-hour gap on a Wednesday and a five-hour gap on a Thursday are too long to justify doing nothing.
One assignment that I’ve been working on is a group assignment for my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) module. It involves English-learning in Asia. As I previously studied Japanese I volunteered for the Japanese section. I began researching it yesterday and I learnt quite a lot more than I thought I would.
Teaching English in Japan mainly involves the grammatical and written aspect of the language, with not a lot of focus on the oral skills (or the Grammar Translation Method). I have spoken about this a little in my first blog. Due to this method, Japanese people are competent in reading and writing English, but it is almost impossible to get them to speak English. This has made me reflect on the Irish language and its use by Irish people. Are any of my readers Irish? Can you speak Irish fluently? (If you can, here’s a hilarious joke that one of my friends sent me!)
Most of us can barely speak Irish..
Japanese people spend six to eight years learning English and they are not quite capable of using it correctly. The Irish people draw an interesting comparison to this as we spend thirteen years (twice the amount of time!) learning Irish almost every day but after our formal Irish education ends most of us can barely speak Irish, let alone hold a simple conversation about the weather.
Why is this?
- Is it the educational system?
- The teaching method?
- The fact that most Irish people don’t feel that Irish is important to their lives after secondary school?
Now that I have plenty of time during the week I intend to research these questions myself, and at least attempt to formulate a possible reason. The language similarities we have to a country thousands of miles away is both intriguing and fascinating.