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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (October-December) » How difficult is it to teach yourself Irish? « Previous Next »

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Harold (205.188.209.13 - 205.188.209.13)
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 03:45 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I am thinking about trying it...I have no teachers in the area(southern WV, USA) that I know of...I would only have access to books/cds. I took Spanish classes in high school, didn't really retain that much, but I think it's because I didn't have the will...my native language is Engilsh, how does Irish compare to learning Spanish, when your native tongue is English?

(I hope that isn't too confusing!)

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Pádraig Mac G. (63.175.172.100 - 63.175.172.100)
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 03:01 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Hello, Harold in West by God Virginia,

We're getting a rash of this question. I'll say again as a person who was where you are and did a lot of wheel spinning trying to get started, the following link to "Giota Beag" will give you the best possible jump start on the business of learning Irish.

Brace yourself for something very different from what you're used to in learning Spanish. But don't get discouraged. Try to go at this with no preconceived ideas or expectations, especially any based upon your knowledge of English or Spanish.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/blas/learners/index.shtml

Slán,
Pádraig

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Oliver Grennan (193.122.47.162 - 193.122.47.162)
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 11:16 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Hi Harold,
For an English speaker it is more difficult because English has got so many words in it derived from Latin. These same Latin words crop up in Spanish (as they do in French, Portugeuse, Italian and Romanian) so Spanish has already got a familiarity about it.
Irish Gaelic has very little of Latin in it by comparison to these.
Furthermore, Irish has got some grammatical nuances which can be very difficult get right and appear quite daunting to a learner.

Nouns have male and female gender, which I presume is the same in Spanish.

Depending on the context certain nouns change in spelling and pronunciation, e.g. "saol" becomes "tsaoil", "fir" becomes "bhfear".

There are a small number of irregular verbs which need to be memorised.

Other than that, Gaelic is an Indo-European language, just like English or Spanish, so the construction of sentences, the logic behind putting sentences together is not very different from what you know already.

As Pádraig said, jump in by doing the Giota Beag course and see if you like it.

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Harold (64.12.96.234 - 64.12.96.234)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 04:38 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I've been to that site twice and I'm not very able to get around it, where exactly should I be going on it, and what should I be doing?

I bought the 'Learning Irish' book, and am probably going to buy a couple more tutorials in the next few months/weeks. I'm not going to study the language in depth right now because I have a lot on my plate with learning tinwhistle but when the time is right I'm going to jump into it full-force.

And another question, do colleges usually offer Irish language courses as part of their curriculum, and/or what are some good ones in the Eastern US that do?

Sorry for the eleventy billion questions...

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Pádraig Mac G. (63.175.172.56 - 63.175.172.56)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 04:51 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/blas/learners/beag1.shtml

Harold,

This link takes you one step closer to the "Giota Beag" program. If it's working for you, you should see a keypad with 15 lesson buttons on the right side of the screen. Click on Lesson 1

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Jen (207.95.235.128 - 207.95.235.128)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 08:50 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Harold, a chara,

The eastern US is a large area, geographically speaking! Where do you live? Are you inquiring about something that would be close to home for you, or are planning to move away from home? I am in the Philadelphia area, and the only university I know of in this area that offers Irish language courses is Immaculata College, in Malvern, PA.

Are you planning to seek a degree in Irish? If not, why do the classes have to be at a university? There are plenty of Irish teachers out there who are not affiliated with a school (and the classes are probably a whole lot cheaper too!). Check the Classes section of this site for teachers/study groups in your area.

Slán,
Jen

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Pádraig Mac G. (205.244.12.112 - 205.244.12.112)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:48 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Harold,

Boston College (or is it University now?) has an Irish Studies Program, and I believe the curriculum includes An Ghaeilge.

try http://www.boston.edu

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Pádraig Mac G. (205.244.12.112 - 205.244.12.112)
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:55 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Fan bomaite, mo chara, gabh mo leithscéal --

I sent you to Boston Baptist. Try this one instead:

http://www.bc.edu/irish

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Harold (152.163.188.1 - 152.163.188.1)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 07:26 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I'm in West Virginia, and I'm 18 years old, so I'm probably going to be going to college soon anyway, I have *no* idea of what I want to major in, but Irish Language is a real possibility. Just right now I know *nothing* and I fear that the actual classes will be for peopel who already know some of the language.

Anywhere from Maine to Florida would be ok, I was just wondering what schools there were...I'm still shopping around...I may even go out west, who knows at this point? But the probability is that I'll stay on the east coast...

I am going to check this site for teachers...I didn't even know I could do that. Thanks so much, everybody.

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Jen (207.95.235.155 - 207.95.235.155)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 09:49 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Harold, a chara,

Now that I know a little more about you, I should point out that Immaculata only accepts women as traditional-age undergraduate students. That is why I asked about your circumstances. Both male and female "adult learners" are free to enroll in classes, but that wouldn't pertain to you.

I can also tell you that from what I've seen, Villanova University has a well-established Irish Studies department. I don't think they offer Irish language courses, however. Still, you wouldn't have to give up the language aspect if you chose Villanova, as there many private Irish teachers in the Philadelphia area.

Good luck with your search!

Slán,
Jen

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Pádraig Mac G. (63.161.61.40 - 63.161.61.40)
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 11:11 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Harold,

Villanova, unfortunately (its my Alma Mater) doesn't appear to be offerimg classes in Irish despite the fact that it has an Irish Studies Program.

The one place on the East Coast I've found offering An Ghaeilge is Boston College.

Don't confuse this with Boston University or Boston Baptist.

I seem to recall some sort of linguistics activity going on at Tufts. You may want to check out their website. These are all a far trek from W.Va.

Áed mór ort,
Pádraig

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Michael Noonan (209.246.81.197 - 209.246.81.197)
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 10:28 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Hello Harold;
You ask a very practical question. Even in the cities of the northeast it is difficult to find people to speak Irish with. That is changing as more universities and club host Irish classes.
Learning Irish is definitely different from Spanish. Not only are there many more words similar between Spanish and English than Irish-English but the phonetics are much more different between Irish-English than Spanish-English.
Hopefully you will find a class or group to learn with. However, if you do not a good substitute is to listen to tapes. Also, there is a Gaelic show out of Fordham University's radio station. It is called Mile Failte. They have live audio streaming of the show every Saturday morning and archives of past shows at: http://www.wfuv.org/
Good luck
Slan go foill( Bye for now)
Michael

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Harold (205.188.209.13 - 205.188.209.13)
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:07 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Ok...I (naively) thought there would be a lot more colleges that offered similar programs...what about the rest of the United States, particularly California?

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Pádraig (205.244.12.207 - 205.244.12.207)
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:51 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Harold,
If you enter "Irish Studies" into an search engine on the web, you'll discover many leads in the direction of what may interest you. Meanwhile, I came across this one for Catholic University in Washington, DC which even has a masters program in Irish Studies.

http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/irish/

One thing is for sure, if you really decide to make I.S. your goal, you'll need a thorough grounding in An Ghaeilge. As the commercial says, "don't leave home without it." By the way, CU offers Irish language courses, although many of its Irish literature courses are probably "in translation" or focused on the English speaking Irish writers.

I understand that you're just beginning to think about your future, but if your interest continues to be with Irish culture, it might help to be aware of this:

The best university programs in Irish Studies are in Ireland. (duh) However, you might want to get your feet wet by exploring what's available in the U.S. by way of undergraduate work. By the way, I notice that the majority of the so-called American university Irish Studies programs are focused on Ireland, its history, its literature, and its culture with little or no work in the language itself. I'm an old man and its not likely I'll find myself in your place again, but if our positions were reversed, I wouldn't look twice at a university program unless it could provide me with courses pointed at mastering the language.

Given a working knowledge of the language, doors begin to open in all aspects of what Ireland has to offer in the academic world. Incidentally, Ireland is rich in untapped opportunities for the archaeologist -- another possible career choice.

Well, I've managed to run my mouth long enough. I hope some of this helps.

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Pádraig (63.175.172.79 - 63.175.172.79)
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 09:08 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post


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Odhren (129.71.229.168 - 129.71.229.168)
Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 03:48 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Hey Harold, I'm in Southern West Virginia too! I've just started trying to learn Irish. But, there's no teachers or courses around here at all, i've looked. I'm trying to do it on my own for now though.

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seamus omorain (159.134.170.175 - 159.134.170.175)
Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 04:04 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

a chara
has anyone got information on leaving cert. bonnleibheal Gaeilge
Mise le meas
seamus omorain

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