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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2003 (April-June) » Grammar Resources « Previous Next »

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Brian McCall (24.35.52.213 - 24.35.52.213)
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 01:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi.
I am a new learner of Irish and I am trying to figure out the best approach to learning the language. I have studied other languages and they each seem to come with their own unique demands and best rules for learning them.

So far, I have decided that the best approach would be a rigorous study of the rules of grammar along with an intensive vocabulary-building regimen. After I become proficient in how the mechanics of the language operate, then I can focus on the actual usage and pronunciation. There is one problem, however. I cannot find ANY good resources for learning grammar, verb conjugations, rules of lenition or any of the other exotic features of the language. All I have been able to find are texts and audio-learning guides that focus on learning expressions in a contextual void. I can say "Cad e mar ata tu" but I have no idea how that phrase is constructed. I have no clue what "mar" means. This is the problem common to all resources I have been able to find. They are all too focused on very limited and inflexible situational phrases that offer no insight into the mechanics of the language, so that if I were to say something to a native speaker, and they did not respond precisely as the book demonstrated, I would be lost.

Could anyone here offer me some suggestions? Thanks in advance.
Brian
Email: ignuit@yahoo.com

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James (199.112.58.37 - 199.112.58.37)
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 03:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Bhrían,

Part of what you are confronting is inherent in the language. Cad é mar atá tú and Conas tá tú mean the same thing but there is a different structure to each that is as much dialectal as it is grammatical. The partition of Ireland and geographic separation of the gaeltachtai (I think that's the plural--not sure, though)along with other influences has created a unique situation for the learner. Words in one part aren't used in another. Phrases used in the north aren't common in the south. Spelling of words even varies from region to region. It's a mess for the beginner, and I am still a beginner so I feel qualified to make that statement!

I would recommend the following if you want to get a more "technical" introduction to grammar.

1) Micheal Ó Siadhal "Learning Irish" with tapes. The dialect is Cois Fharraige which is a bit different but I am drawn to it for some unknown reason. You will find that he is far more grammar centered than most other learning resources.

2) Irish Grammar by McGonagle. I'm not sure on the spelling of that name. I'll check and get back to you. This is a very small reference book that lays out anything and everything the beginner to novice might want to know. It isn't very well organized, however, at first glance. If you take it in small bits, though, you will find it very informative.

Whatever you do, pick a dialect and get as proficient with it as you can. It'll make picking up the others much easier. If you bounce about from one to the other in your beginning stages you may find yourself more confused than conversant.

This is a great language. I call it the language I love to hate. The rules and exceptions to rules, the idiomatic expressions, the lenition, the eclipsis---it can really fill your brain rather quickly. Hang in there, though. It's just a fascinating ride.

The only other recommendation is to stick with this site. Some of the contributors to this site are among the most knowledgable people I've ever met (In fact I've never "met" any of them, but you know what I mean.) Any questions you have can and will get answered on this site--eventually.

Faílte agus Ádh Mór Ort,

James

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.200.7 - 65.128.200.7)
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Bhríain,
I couldn't agree more with James.
Ó Siadhail has an extensive, but simple way of looking at the pronunciaton and other rules of the language (mar sampla. That most of the prepositions lend eclipses to the nouns following them.).
Also, though it concentrates on the Cois Fharraige dialect, and he explains why in his book, where there are differences with other parts of the Connaught region, he shows them to you. (To me it's mostly a breathing thing, or how fast you talk.)
As far as this site - it's totally the best. You might take notice of the grammar section for easy reference. And as James mentioned, some of the contributors (No, not me - not yet anyway - I'm still pullin' my hair out, especially with, like you said, those idioms, or idiot phrases, 'cause they'll make you feel like one. LOL!) will do most anything to try to get your head around it.
Bhoil, Fáilte romhat isteach! Tabhair spraoi leat. 'Gus go n-éirí t-ádh leat.
Slán, le meas,
Maidhc.
P.S. - Try listening to "RnaG" @ rte.ie
Even if you don't understand a word of it, it still helps.

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Patrice (68.170.78.36 - 68.170.78.36)
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 08:50 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi,

I tried to buy this set ::Micheal Ó Siadhal "Learning Irish" with tapes:: through Amazon.com and they no longer sell the tapes or even the book with the tapes. ARGH! And the only tapes available are used and being sold for $100 (when the original was only $39!). Know of any other places to purchase this set for a reasonable cost? Thanks for your help.

Patrice

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James (199.112.58.34 - 199.112.58.34)
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 03:34 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Skip Amazon and try Barnes&Noble.com or Booksamillion.com

I bought mine directly from B&N about 2 years ago. The other option is to go into your local bookstore (preferably one of the larger chain stores) and ask them to order it for you.

Of course, I'm making the assumption that you are in the states. I'm not sure what to do if you're outside of the U.S.

Le meas,

James

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Maidhc Ó G. (65.128.208.12 - 65.128.208.12)
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 09:39 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I just got mine on E-BAY about a month and a half ago for twenty bucks, including shipping. It came with the four tapes and in mint condition.
-Maidhc.

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Patrice (68.170.78.36 - 68.170.78.36)
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 06:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks James and Maidhc! Yes, I'm in the US. :o)

Patrice

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Beth (204.111.92.127 - 204.111.92.127)
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 11:34 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

You can also order them from www.litriocht.com or from Oideas Gael's shop - www.oideas-gael.com. And probably any Irish bookshop with a web page, too.

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