Learn a language

As many of you will know, I have family ties to the Isle of Man, that gorgeous little lump of rock ‘twixt England and Ireland. And, on the Isle of Man, they speak Manx Gaelic. Or rather, they did. It’s been dying out now for a long while and the Manx Heritage Foundation have decided to do something about it.

Their latest step in this direction is a free smartphone app to assist people with learning Manx:

The ‘Learn Manx’ app is based on the successful adult language course ran by the Manx Heritage Foundation in the Island and is a fantastic resource for all those who are interested in getting to grips with Manx Gaelic.  ‘Learn Manx’ consists of ten units, each consisting of a variety of activities, whilst two additional revision lessons feature the TT Races as learning tools. The app will eventually cover 30 units in total, providing a fantastic introduction to the language to those unfamiliar with it, as well as a great revision course for those who already know some Manx.

The app development has been supported by a telecommunications company on the island.
Their spokesperson:

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to support the Manx Heritage Foundation in a merger between 21st Century technology and our Manx Gaelic language with origins dating back to the 4th Century.
Whether you use the Manx Language App for fun or serious learning it keeps our language very much alive.

And that’s the idea, right?

I’m going to give it a go and see how I get on. There are more gutteral sounds than in Afrikaans, so it might sound like I’m struggling with a nasty cough at first, but pretty soon, I’ll be able to fluently order a pint of Okell’s Ale or fluently find my way to the nearest pub to fluently order a pint of Okell’s Ale.

What could possibly go wrong?

Now all I need is an app to learn isiXhosa as well. Anyone?

Learn Manx (or Ynsee Gaelg) is available FREE from the Google Play store or from iTunes if you’re more Apple than Android.

Android link:



I’ve been running and then I’ve been packing. Things I have almost broken this evening include my right ankle and my age-old rucksack. I fear this will be its last trip abroad. The rucksack might have to go too.

This is a photo from our last family trip up north. It features Castle Rushen, the Manx flag and blue skies. It seems likely that we’ll probably see two of those things this time too.


Important family day today, as we took the kids to meet their great-great-great-great grandfather. A man known to me as my great-great-great grandfather and to my mum as her great – well – I’m sure you get the picture.

James Creer, the Weaver of Colby.

And he is, of course, dead. And has been for a while.
But his memory lives on in the Manx Museum in Douglas:

I don’t think that there are many people who know who their great-great-great-great grandfather is. Or was. 

Actually, after today, my kids have one over on me on that one.