Practice makes mastery.

Note: Most people are familiar with the Modern English proverb, “Practice makes perfect.” It connotes the trials and tribulations of repeated efforts to learn a new task well. It conjures up the image of the beginning musician struggling to learn the cords of her instrument. Perhaps, it evokes the scene of a budding Gaeilgeoir listening to a tape of spoken set phrases and repeating them over and over again.

But there is another subtle semantic variation of this week’s proverb that is better captured in the Old English version of this proverb, “Use maketh mastery.” Here the English word ‘practice’ like the Irish word ‘cleachtadh’ has another meaning. It also means experience. In this sense, mastery comes from doing. The maestro masters his instrument by performance, not just through the repetition of practice exercises. The Gaeilgeoir becomes fluent not from just doing her lessons regularly but by using the language.

In this spirit, we at Daltaí na Gaeilge invite you to do Irish. Join us at an immersion weekend. Use the language you are practicing and you will gain mastery.