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Becky (
Posted on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 09:01 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm really eager to learn Irish, but I'm SO confused. I have no idea which dialect would be the best to learn. Which one would be understood better by the other dialects? Also, how should I go about learning Irish? Unfortunatly, I don't have any classes where I live, so my sister and I will be teaching ourselves. This isn't going to be very easy, but I am determined to learn Irish, even if it takes me forever!!! *sigh* Any advise would be greatly appreciated. :)


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Seosamh (
Posted on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 01:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

'Sighs' can be allowed in learning Irish, but not before you've even got started.

As for dialects, you could play it safe and learn Standard Irish, at least at first. Courses for self-study include Buntús Cainte (supplement it with a grammar book or Progress in Irish), Linguaphone (Munster bias and costs a fortune), and Teach Yourself Irish (the most commonly available course, a serviceable intro. with a lot of information but not very colloquial or comprehensive).

Especially if you have family connections to the country, you may want to choose a dialect from the first (and almost certainly by the time you reach a more advanced level).

The southern dialect, Munster, still has a certain cachet for some people and in Munster and maybe most of Leinster, it is the dialect most prefered by learners. Some tape sets use it but none are good, comprehensive introductions to the language. They include Irish for Beginners and Enough Irish to Get By. Ditto for the couple of CD-ROMs out there. All are useful to either get your feet wet in the language or to begin your transition to the dialect after learning the basics with Standard Irish. I think I heard that a new Munster course is going to be published, or already has been. Maybe someone else here knows about it.

Conamara Irish has the largest number of native speakers and is intermediate between the other dialects, hence it would probably be easiest for understanding the others. There is an excellent intro. to the dialect (actually a subdialect -- that of Cois Fhairrge). The title is Learning Irish by Mícheál Ó Siadhail. Get it with the tapes (that is true of any materials you work with.)

For Ulster Irish, there is a fairly good introduction, with tapes, called Irish on Your Own. It's sometimes available in Barnes & Noble and Borders. Cúrsa Closamhairc Gaeilge is a very nice little course and it may be back in print. Colloquial Irish may not be too far in the future, now that Routledge has published Colloquial (Scots) Gaelic. I know that the original draft was based on Ulster Irish, but they might standardize it - I don't know.

One of the better sources for materials is Irish Books & Media in Minneapolis (I think it is on the Net). is also very good. They are in Ireland.

The basic rule is practice, practice, practice.

Ádh mór/Great luck


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Becky (
Posted on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 02:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you Thank you Thank you! I no longer feel the need to sigh now. :) Most of the things you've listed I've seen before, but it's been hard to find out which ones are the best and which dialect they are. I owe you!

Well, I'm definetly going to practice, practice, practice. I'm homeschooled, so I'll have plenty of time to study Irish every day. Hopefully, I'll suddenly turn genius and learn Irish(and algebra)with lightening speed! Yeah, that'd be nice.

Have a really, really, really great day,

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Seosamh (
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 12:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


You should try to get in touch with some Irish students of your age in Ireland. It would be fun and would help learning the language. They also might help you get some materials that are aimed at young people. You might find an Irish middle or high school on the Internet that you could contact.

Slán agus beannacht,


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