Sunday, 20 July 2014

Saving Gaeilge

There was a post on facebook with a photo in relation to the people of the gaeltacht protesting that the new minister for arts, heritage and the gaeltacht doesn't speak Irish. Eventually the comments underneath drifted to how it's taught in schools via the current government's seeming lack of commitment to saving the language.
This got me to comment my own opinion and I thought it might make a good blog post, so here I am.
I'm of the view that it's (partially at least) the way it's taught in schools. So how do we change that? Practice makes perfect. Get the people speaking it regularly. TG4 does work to a certain extent in that I sometimes find myself trying to tweet "as Gaeilge" if I'm talking about something interesting I saw on the channel. But ultimately I don't tune in for too long because I cannot understand most of what's going on without subtitles.
My idea is based on getting teens conversing in the language. Have a compulsory class in secondary schools where it is mandatory to speak in Irish (as Gaeilge). Then let the teens chat and gossip with each other about anything they want during the class. The only condition being that they speak Irish. The teacher's role would be to make sure that no one drifts into comhrá Béarla (conversation in English) and any word they don't know in Irish can be written on the board so that the pupils can take it down so they know it next time. This could potentially be a class that even the least academic of pupils look forward to because it's almost like an extra break. It would get people used to speaking Irish and there maybe even new slang terms and cool words and phrases that would be integrated into everyday conversations - derived from the Irish speaking classes in school. That's what I think would save the language.
It's a language and not a cultural status symbol or heritage snobbery. The people who push for the literature end of things to stay compulsory in schools give off the status symbol / snobbery vibe at times even though I know that's not the intention. But to keep the literature, poetry and prose relevant (needed to maintain cultural heritage and identity), there should still be a written/literature Irish class as an optional subject in school. I know most people probably won't choose this class without parental pressure, but if people are happily speaking the language every day it won't die out.
That is how I think the language can flourish. Make speaking it relevant and cool to younger generations.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

CAD 3D Parametric Modelling

I noticed that I haven't done a blog since May, so I might as well do one now. I moved out of Gort. I'm in Tralee now. I'm sharing rented accommodation for the first time in years. But it's OK because my house mate Tom is a nice fellow and we chat like we'd known each other all our lives. He was very understanding when I told him about preparing my food separate from his and using my own utensils because of being coeliac.
I started a course in cad. 3D parametric modelling it's called. I like it. It's different from 2D in that you draw a random shape that's vaguely in the ballpark of what you want it to resemble. Then you constrain the dimensions and that brings it close to a more accurate drawing. After that you extrude the shape and put holes, chamfers and fillets where necessary until it becomes the component you want it to be. In 2D cad you have to be much more accurate from the start and if you need to see it from another angle you have to draw it again from the different perspective. But once the 3D part is drawn you can rotate and swivel it to look at it from any angle on the screen. We just did all individual components at the moment and we're due to move to assembly next. So the 3D cad is great because you can bring different components (saved as individual files) into a single assembly. Also, let's say you needed numerous parts like bolts (all the same size) for example, in an assembly, as long as the correct bolt is drawn once you can insert it in multiple places in the assembly. So it's very versatile. I am looking forward to doing assembly on the 3D cad.
The food situation is not good on the course. When I went to Fás (as it was called then) before I could get a fine dinner for a very low price. Now I have to be more careful because gluten (even cross contamination) will damage my gut. I tried the food in the training centre for a couple of weeks to see how it would affect me. I even told them I'm coeliac but I had pain in my stomach last weekend and minor cramps in the days leading up to that so decided to bring my own lunch from now on. It's the safest way.
Other than that the course is going well. The instructor is always smiling and enjoys a laugh whenever something funny happens. Solas (what Fás is called nowadays) has actually outsourced our course to a Galway company called Cad Services. Although we're still training in Kerry ETB Training Centre in Monavalley. But our instructor is employed by Cad Services. Anyway, that's what I have been up to since I blogged last.