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Do you speak Irish?

12 June 2008

For the first time in 10 months, I was in an English speaking country…and it was very amusing.

Perhaps I took for granted everyday the ability to read signs, understand radio announcers, watch any television channel, and to eavesdrop while walking down the street. Living in a non-English speaking country has definitely affected my senses in that I am not bombarded by advertisements or hagglers the same why I would be back home.

But, to be in Ireland and be able to understand and communicate with everyone…it actually made me giddy. It gets tiring to have to over enunciate and speak slowly everywhere you go here. Or to speak what little Czech I know with exaggerated hand gestures and pray that my message is understood. So, it was nice to be somewhere where I could easily strike up a normal conversation without having to think much about using simple, short words.

While Gaelic is apparently still an important component of the Irish language, in fact it is the national language, street signs are usually in English and in Irish. However, 99.9% of everyone I talked to spoke only in a heavily Irish accented English.

And, as I was initially concerned that the Irish accent would be difficult even for me to understand, I think the months of working with Czechs learning English and speaking with their own accent made it easier for me to adapt to the Irish accent.

So, I chatted everyone up. The receptionist at our hostel. The servers at restaurants. The tables sitting next to us. Groups at the concert. The bus driver. The security guards. The homeless on the streets.

It was certainly fun.

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