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Brad Toben ( -
Posted on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 01:27 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


I'm very new to the Irish language and recently purchased "Learning Irish" (book and cassettes) by Mícheál Ó Siadhail.

Chapter One and Appendix One of this book deal with pronunciation in the Irish language and how spelling relates to pronunciation. Frankly I'm overwhelmed by the number of spelling/pronunciation rules there are in Irish! I've reviewed this chapter/appendix over and over again, night after night, but the small amount of progress I've made has come at a painfully slow pace.

Would those of you that know Irish well, especially any of you that started with "Learning Irish", recommended pushing forward in spite of the fact that I haven't mastered all the rules? Will the spelling/pronunciation rules sort themselves out over time, or is it important that I get them all right before moving on? Will the pain I'm experiencing now reap big dividends later? :-)

Ó Siadhail does have a phonetic system that he uses for much of the book, but I'd prefer not to get too dependent on such a thing.

Thank you for your input, and I look forward to the day when I can post any questions I have in Irish.



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James ( -
Posted on Thursday, October 03, 2002 - 02:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Brad, A Chara,

I started with the same material as you almost two years ago. By all means push on!!!

You can learn the basics of pronunciation such as:

Bh sounds like a muted W

Dh sounds like a Y sort of

mb sounds like a V

and the list goes on--- but then you'll encounter exceptions to each and every one of these rules.

By all means, press on. Learn to read and recognize the grammar rules and the pronunciation will follow. After almost two years of self teaching I'm finally getting comfortable with basic levels of reading, very basic levels of speaking and even more basic levels of listening comprehension.

If you think about it, it's in the exact reverse of how you learned your native tongue!

Keep at it and then do whatever you can to immerse yourself in a native environment. Whether that is a trip to a Gaeltacht or an immersion weekend with Daltai---no matter--just get around native speakers and things will sort themselves in no time.

Slan go foill,


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Al Evans ( -
Posted on Friday, October 04, 2002 - 08:23 am:   Edit Post Print Post


In my opinion (I'm on lesson 26:-), if you've got the cassette tapes, you're good to go. Just be sure to do all the exercises, and research the answers you don't understand (hint -- a few of the answers seem to be wrong).

As you go along, you'll learn the phonetic spellings he uses. They're somewhat helpful, but not as helpful as the cassettes. It will also help to do all Dr. Nancy Stenson's exercises, which you can find at:

Hope this helps,

--Al Evans

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Brad Toben (
Posted on Saturday, October 05, 2002 - 08:59 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

Go raibh maith agaibh!

Your suggestions have already made me feel better about how things are going, and the extra reader exercises will certainly help.

Le meas,


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