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Jen ( -
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:57 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Chairde,

From what I've read, the different dialects often vary greatly, and can create real confusion, especially to a new learner.

So I'm wondering, to the established learners on the board, do you focus on one specific dialect? Which one? Why?

Pádraig has pointed out that the BBC program "Giota Beag" emphasizes the Ulster dialect, therefore one might become very confused if they also use learning materials emphasizing other dialects. I get the impression that most learners tend to favor the "southern" dialects, for a variety of reasons. Since I have no real preference, it seems like it would be most beneficial for me to learn what is most common (therein lies my greatest opportunity for help, study groups, etc).

I just started with a book/cassette titled "Teach Yourself Irish". It does not mention a dialect, but claims to follow Standard Irish. How does Standard Irish fit in with the varying dialects? Are certain dialects similar enough that they can be learned together without too much confusion? I have the impression that the biggest overall difference is between Ulster and the "southern" dialects; is that a true statement?

I'm beginning to think I should pick one dialect now, and try to stick with it solely, before I get too far involved and completely confuse myself. Do you agree?


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Pádraig Mac G. ( -
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 02:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


One link is worth a thousand words. Check this one out, and if it doesn't help, there are quite a few others if you just enter a search for "Irish Dialects." My experience is that what goes into print is standardized and most of the variation is in the pronunciation. I've heard it said that Munster is pretty much middle-of-the-road. On the other hand "de gustibus non disputatem est." For reasons sentimental and just because I like its sound, I lean toward Ulster.

Here's the link.

Slán agus beannacht,

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max matthews ( -
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 03:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post

My advice is that unless you plan to spend time in Ulster rather than the other three provinces, then I would endeavour to learn a Munster dialect. I say this for two reasons 1: the Ulster dialect loses much of the charm of 'traditional' Irish - the seemingly disreguard for long vowels etc and 2: In my experience a Munster dialect is understood in all four provinces whereas even some native Irish speakers have difficulty in understanding Irish speakers from Ulster. Dare I say it (I know how touchy some of the readers of this forum are!)- it is like a 'foreigner' learning English with either a broad New York accent or a Glasgow accent - or learning German with a Hamburg or or Vienna accent (although for personal reasons I always try to speak my German with a Vienna accent). May be that sums it up - it is a matter of personal choice.
No matter which dialect you chose - good luck

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