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McCoy ( -
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 05:14 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

I am a new student to Irish. I am an American with an Irish heritage. I am in the third generation of my family born in the US. My family originaly came to Boston from Cork. I was born in the southern US away from my extended family but we maintain frequent contact.
I have been interested in learning Irish for a few years now but have always put off getting started. A few weeks ago I purchased the Pimsleur cds to listen to on my daily commute to work. They seem to be pretty good as far as repition and simplicity goes but I am concerned about the dialect. It is my understanding that the Pimsleur cds use the Munster dialect. In my ignorance, I do not have any preference as far as dialect goes, but I wonder should I be concerned learning a dialect that is not as commonly used as others. Is this something to worry about? Is it like my slight southern accent compared to my families heavy New England accent or is it more than that?
I found a few past posts to this group regarding Pimsleur but I could not find any posts from fluent speakers who have heard the lessons. Thanks in advance for any help that you may be able to provide, with luck I may someday offer help to eager new students as well...

Le meas,

Aodhagán C. McCoy
(Real Name that's always mispronounced)

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Jonas ( -
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:41 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chara,

I don't know your criteria for fluent, but I have spent many months in the Gaeltacht-areas speaking only Irish. I have worked through the medium of Irish, I use it with those of my friends who speak it and I read prose, poetry and academic works in Irish. And yes, I have heard all the Pimsleur tapes - if you have any questions beside the dialect question I'll be happy to answer them.

I do not quite understand your remark about the Munster dialect being "not as commonly used as others". I hope you haven't read that silly review on Take my word for it, that reviewer did not know much about Irish. Sure, his remarks are funny (or pathetic) if you have spent a lot of time in Ireland, can speak Irish and have a sound knowledge of different dialects and their status. I'm afraid that those who are beginners might actually believe him.
(If you have indeed read that review I'll be delighted to point out all the errors in detail.)

As a speaker of Munster Irish I can assure you that it is still the living language of whole communities, just as Connacht Irish and Ulster Irish (the other two main dialects). None of these three are more (or less) correct than the other two. I have spent many summer in one of the Gaeltacht areas of Munster, I have heard only Irish spoken around me for weeks and I have only spoken Irish with the people. Besides, many of the greatest books (both prose and poetry) are written in Munster Irish and this has had a strong impact on the teaching of Irish - many are learning Munster Irish.

So if you want to buy the Pimsleur course, which is indeed in Munster Irish, do not worry. It is one of the three main dialect, the dialect whose pronunciation is closest to Standard Irish and the language of a prestigeous body of litterature. More than that, it is the living language of whole communities of Irish speakers in Munster.

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McCoy ( -
Posted on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 01:29 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


Thanks for the info. I did read the reviews on Amazon so thanks for clearing that up. I have already purchased the Pimsleur lessons and have been using them for a few weeks. I think that I must be the worst person ever at retaining information when it comes to languages. I'm going to stick with it though.

One problem that I have found is that the Pimsleur cds are audio only lessons. This worries me because I also want to learn to read and write. With the obvious steep learning curve involving spelling and phonics I would like to work on this as well. Do you have any suggestions of Irish\English books or dictionaries that have the Munster pronunciations cleary laid out?

Thanks again for the response and the help.

Aodhagán C. McCoy

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