Last night was my first free Irish class (the Irish language weekend set me back $60), and to my surprise only two other people showed up to take advantage of this great opportunity. During the Irish weekend, everyone was learning Irish because it was their heritage, but in this class there is a graduate student who is learning Irish because she is getting a PhD in English literature and would like to focus on Irish literature. So highbrow! It reminds me a little of the time I took Ancient Greek in college, and the professor asked us all why we were in the class; everyone was a Classics or Art or Linguistics major, but one preternaturally perky girl said she was going to Greece that summer so she wanted to be able to understand people. The professor just kind of stared at her for a second, then he said, “You do realize they haven’t spoken the language we will be studying for 2000 years?” To her credit, she stayed in the class and seemed to thrive. Anyway, last night we learned some forms of the verb to be, which of course is irregular just like in any language. We also talked more about the eclipsing and aspirating rules, when consonants get changed because of gender or whatever is going on in the sentence. For some reason, all these rules appeal to me, but I’ve always loved grammar. I remember making up languages just to conjugate the verbs as a kid. We still are far from fluent, but we learned some basic phrases, enough to make up a conversation: “Hello. How are you? What is your name? Where do you live?” We even got assigned homework, but hopefully there are no tests! I’d love it if this class stays as fun as it was last night. It made me feel like a kid again, having simple conversations in a foreign language. They say this is one of the best ways to stave off Alzheimer’s, along with word game puzzles, and it’s just as enjoyable.