Starting to learn Irish

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Starting to learn Irish

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1abbottthomas
okt 29, 2008, 4:18 pm

'Lang' rather than 'Lit'. Can anyone suggest a relatively simple beginner's guide to the Irish Language? I'm just back from the Wexford Opera Festival* and would have loved to join in the singing of The Soldiers Song in Gaelic (words given on the surtitles) but had no idea at all of the pronunciation.

*What a stunning new opera house! Great acoustics, comfortable seats and good sight-lines and all ready on time, too. The music wasn't bad, either! ;-)

2wigster102
okt 30, 2008, 12:15 am

I've been studying for awhile now, and the first thing I would say is to find a local group in your area, you'll really appreciate it, especially in the beginning. The first book that I started was Irish on Your Own, which is pretty good conversational Irish. It's tough to find now, and it was only ever offered on tapes, never on CDs. The Buntus Cainte series is also good. There are three books, and it's been updated with CDs now. It's really only basic conversation, with the assumption that you'll learn grammar as you go. If you're just wanting simple, to get a taste of the language, that's probably a decent place to start. There are three levels in it. The one that you'll find all over the place is Teach Yourself Irish. I wasn't so fond of that one personally, but it's easy to find and has been around forever. It does have a separate grammar book which I have found useful, but only after I got through some preliminary stuff. It is Teach Yourself Irish Grammar. Right now I'm leading a group in Progress in Irish, but it has no audio component and really no explanation... it really does require a class, or at least a tutor.

The grammar in Irish is unlike anything I've come across before, and the pronunciations are even beyond that. Find a good local group and get plugged in, it's really a lot of fun once you get past the first bit.

3abbottthomas
okt 30, 2008, 11:27 am

>2 wigster102: Thanks a lot for that advice - the Buntus Cainte books sound just the job but I will look around for an evening class or suchlike. I have a feeling that there are more folk in the US wanting to learn Irish than here in the UK, though.

4Sile
okt 30, 2008, 7:37 pm

Try the Irish Associations in your area, as they often run introductory courses.

5medievalist
jan 20, 2010, 2:00 pm

There are some decent free Modern Irish learning podcasts.

The thing about pronunciation is that while it looks to a native English speaker like there's very little relationship between the letters and the sounds, it is at least a lot more standardized wrt to spelling and sound than English is.

I would suggest making a list *for your self* of letters and words that you have and can hear that use those letters for a sound.

6jordsly
jul 12, 2011, 10:56 am

There is actually a Rosetta Stone for Irish. I have it, but I haven't really had time to really use it yet. I'm hoping to one day have the time.

7anglemark
dec 13, 2014, 7:35 am

I'm tempted to buy the Irish Rosetta, looking at it now. Would it be worth it for someone who learnt Irish at a basic level 30 years ago and has, well not kept it up because I can no longer carry on a converation, but at least kept in touch with basic grammar and vocabulary?

Does anyone know?

8aulsmith
dec 13, 2014, 7:52 am

>7 anglemark: It's my general understanding that all audio courses, with Rosetta Stone being top of the line, allow you to develop your listening and speaking skills, the ones it's hard to keep up with in the same way you can grammar and vocabulary. So I would say if you can't carry on a conversation anymore, it would be very helpful

>3 abbottthomas: more folk in the US wanting to learn Irish than here in the UK, though.

We don't learn languages over here, we export television and movies so other people can learn ours ;)

I've never met anyone in my area learning Irish, nor is it offered at in our local adult extension courses, despite living in a place where the majority of people are descendents of Irish immigrants. I would expect the interest to be higher in Great Britain where you can get Irish broadcasts and take a weekend trip to somewhere where they speak it.

Have fun.