The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2000 (July-December) » Surprising (to me) Role of Hiberno-English in Learning Irish « Previous Next »

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Thomas Muench ( -
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2000 - 06:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

While browsing the books on the Irish language at Irish Books and Media, I came upon a whole group of books on Hiberno-English. Thinking it would be interesting to see what was being said, I bought a few books. Upon reading them, I discovered two things. One, although I never gained an Irish accent growing up in Chicago, I did hear lots of parents who did grow up in Ireland, and as I read the books a flood of memories came back. I kept saying to myself, I've heard that. But then discovery two was even more surprising. I realized that if I often just translated the Irish I was trying to learn more literally, it too corresponded to my memories of Hiberno-Irish.

At that point I realized that the Irish way of staying things was not at all as foreign as my first impressions indicated, not at all at all. The idea I would like others to comment on is: Might it actually help in language classes to actually emphasize and use Hiberno-Irish as a medium to understand Irish. Maybe one needs to read Synge to build a feeling for Irish. Translating Irish into American English seems often to take the life out of it, or perhaps better said, to take the poetry out of it.

Any thoughts anyone?

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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2000 - 11:20 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

One book I read on learning languages recommended that learners listen carefully to the way native speakers of the target language speak English. It gives an idea of how they express themselves in their own language, thereby supplementing more direct study of grammar and texts. Irish speakers of English are quite similar, even though their Irish-influenced English has normally become their native language.

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