Welcome and Happy New Year! I'm not really very active on this site, but now that the Holiday rush is over, maybe? Noticed your picture in Featured Members, and you remind me very much of another Mel (for Melanie) who is a good family friend.
Is linguistics your full-time profession? If so, that is a really neat thing to be doing! I've always been fascinated by accents and dialects. The Celtic store in Austin has a DVD series for sale on learning Irish Gaelic, which is put-out by RTE. I wonder if it's practical to attempt to learn that way- any advice?