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Jim ( -
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 11:01 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Tá an leabhar "Teach Yourself Irish" agam. Along with the accopanying cassettes. Tá sé go hiontach!

I appreciate its practicality versus Micheal Ó Sídheal's leabhar. (an leabhar breá eile) In Michael's book one must go threough nearly 20 chapters before one gets to "Dia dhuit!"

I also like that they avoid internatial phonetic symbols. Learning the phonetic symbols and Irish spelling is like learning two languages at once.

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Dawn ( -
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 11:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


It's nice to hear someone else is using the program besides me! What chapter are you in?


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Larry ( -
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,

Cassettes?? I tought there was only ONE cassette with Ó Sé's book, no?

Le meas,

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Jim ( -
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 11:55 am:   Edit Post Print Post

a Dhawn a chara,

Bhuel...I'm in lesson 2 only. But as you can see I am fluent in Gaeilge Briste. I've been flirting with this language for about 10 years. It always seems that family and work prevent me from advancing beyond my "advanced beginner" stage. Ach, the kids are getting a little older and I'm a little more established ag mo phost- I may be able to make the committment now. Agus tá rud maith eile is R naG and my cable modem- what a great reesource!


Yes I bought a version with 2 cassetes. Casette 1, side A has a pronunciation guide and lesssons 1,2, and 3. (níl mé cinnte) It is in the car, so I'll check it out on the way home.

mise le meas,


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Donald Conry ( -
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 06:32 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I would like help with the proper pronunciation of the phrase: Banrion na Mara.
Would it be as it appears: "Ban-re-on nuh Mar-a", or is that incorrect?

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Dawn ( -
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 10:58 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jim, a chara,

I thoroughly understand where you are coming from! I am in the "advanced beginner" stage of several languages. The reason I don't advance further is always a lack of connection with native speakers. So as you can imagine, I've only gotten myself deeper into the same predicament with Irish!

I'm just finishing lesson 13. I guess I should be trying a little harder to write in Irish by now, but I have gotten into the bad habit of only listening to and reading the language without speaking or writing it. An easy trap to fall into with any language, especially when you're on your own.

Btw, I have two cassettes also.

Donald, a chara,

According to my dictionary:

ban-REEN nuh mar-uh (with the a's being short)

Of course, there's always room for different dialects.


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Jonas ( -
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 05:52 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Nice you're enjoying Teach Yourself Irish! Still, it is a far cry from Learning Irish. I speak rather fluent Irish myself and have been involved in Irish circles from years and I've never met anyone being able to speak Irish because of Teach Yourself Irish while I know many speakers of Irish who are almost fluent today and got their foundation from Learning Irish.

I agree that it's a flaw in Learning Irish that you don't learn such a basic phrase as Dia dhuit until you've been studying quite a long time. Another, more serious, flaw is that many learnes have the impression that the dialect of Learning Irish - Cois Fhairrge - is THE correct form of Irish.

Having said that I still rank Learning Irish much higher than any other Irish course book - and I've both read and reviewed them all. Most other books are barely anything more than phrase-books with just a hint of grammar. It makes it very easy in the beginning and you do learn some useful phrases but this method will never enable you to begin to form your own sentences - in other words, you won't be able to hold any longer conversations in Irish. Teach Yourself is not just a phrase-book and it is very easy to learn from - but that easiness comes at the expense of a thorough understanding of Irish grammar.

To sum up, most books are easier to get through than Learning Irish just like it's easier to climb a low hill than a high mountain. The view will be less inspiring, though...

Still, most of this is a matter of opinion. When I started to learn Irish I wanted to spend long periods in Irish-speaking areas without having to resort to English. Thanks to Learning Irish I succeeded, I've lived and worked for three summers in 100% Irish-speaking areas in the west of Ireland and I've only spoken Irish. I speak Irish only with all my friends there. Of course I've had to speak and practice to be able to communicate in Irish, but I would never have got that far without Learning Irish. On the other hand, for those who are interested in being able to say some nice phrases, commenting on the wheather or asking for the way, and then switch back to English muddling through Learning Irish would be overdoing do it.

However, there is one thing I fail to understand in Jim's first comment. How on earth is it good to avoid the international phonetic symbols?? I fully understand that not everyone want to learn or use them, but in that case you can ignore them, can't you. Just reading the word lists and listening to the tapes just like with other courses. If, on the other hand, you want them then you have them there. As I said, I understand if you don't want to learn IPA but why is that extra-help bad?

Slán go fóill,

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Jim ( -
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 08:25 am:   Edit Post Print Post


I think you are right on with your comparison of the 2 books. Mar sin é, I would bet a new learner would have a better time starting with "Teach Yourself Irish" then graduating to "Learning Irish."

To be fair, I started with "Learning Irish," so perhaps that is why I am having such an easy time with "Teach Yourself."

I grant phonetic symbols are ultimately indispensable. Trying to write phonetic representations assumes that the writer and the reader have the same accent in English.

For a beginner, phonetic symbols offer 2 challenges. First, “Learning Irish” uses 53 phonetic symbols- some are not in the IPA. My “Foclóir Póca” lists 14 IPA symbols.

Second, I often didn’t have easy access to the tapes when I was working with the book- so then I was dependent on the written phonetic help to figure out how the words would actually be pronounced. Then I would try to compare the “Learning Irish” and “Foclóir Póca “ and the Irish and they would all contradict each other and what my poor, small English-trained brain was telling me to pronounce. This made me a little frustrated.

I’m inspired that you made it! It gives me hope. Thanks for making me aware of your experience.


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Bradford ( -
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 08:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara,

Have you looked over Gaeilge agus Fáilte? I know it's a fairly new book and was recommended as a good companion to Learning Irish by someone who's taught Gaeilge for over thirty years.

If you have, just wondering what your impressions were.

Le meas,


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Dawn ( -
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 11:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agat, a Jonas. I appreciate your opinion. I think I will finish Teach Yourself first, since I might as well finish what I've started (and what I already have purchased). Would it be a good idea for me to use Learning Irish afterward? I would hate to start at the beginning again. I've already done that too many times!

I love IPA symbols! They may not be perfect; but if you take a little time to figure out what sound each symbol represents, it makes pronunciation so much easier. I am confused on one point, though. In Teach Yourself it appears that only certain consonants have broad and slender sounds, but in Foclóir Scoile they give broad and slender symbols for every consonant, including b, c, n. It seems however that these consonants don't really change. It's just that when they are followed by an e or i it creates a "glide".

Jonas, that's one nice thing about living in Europe - the proximity of so many diverse cultures and languages. Living in here in Midwest America is a little.......restricting. Lol.

Hmm, does Learning Irish use only ONE accent on their tapes? That's one of my complaints about Teach Yourself. The speakers have different ways of pronouncing words. Not helpful! Jonas, if you could look at my thread "Dialect Help" and give me some hints, that would be great!


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Jonas ( -
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 08:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It would certainly be a good idea to use Learning Irish after TYI (the other way around would be pointless). Of course, there will be some repetition...

Every consonant in Irish has both broad and slender sounds; the only exception is h.

Sure, living in Europe is fun if one likes languages. My own city, Helsinki (our capital) is a perfect example of language change. When it was founded it was 100% Swedish speaking and remained so until the late 18th century. During that time many Germans moved to Helsinki as the city became more important and made it a bilingual city - Swedish and German (and were talking about the capital of Finland!). A mere 150 years ago both Swedish and German were more widely spoken than Finnish here. In the second half of the 17 century Helsinki expanded quite rapidly and many Finns moved here. During that century Finland was a Grand Duchy under the Russian Czar so many Russians came here as well. Prior to the first World War both Helsinki and Viborg (our second city) were places where you would hear Swedish, German, Finnish and Russian every day. After WWI Finland became indenpendent from Russia and most Germans had moved during the first World War. Still, sixty years ago Swedish was still the first language although Finnish has taken over since then. We Swedish-speakers are still quite a large minority hear though. As long as Russia was communist there was almost no contact between the countries but now many Russians from St Petersburg visit Helsinki regularly, so these days you hear Finnish, Swedish and Russian again. German has been replaced by English, though. Well, that's a short linguistic history ;-)

I've posted a reply to Dialect Help.

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Julia Mann ( -
Posted on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 08:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Reading this discussion has really helped me. I have been working with TYI for months, but am still having trouble understanding the word order, especially in relative clauses. The few examples provided just aren't enough. I was in Ireland a couple of weeks ago, and bought a children's book in Irish, "Faoin Sceach Gheal" about the famine, and the original text in English, hoping that by trying to translate it, it would begin to make sense. Armed with my Foclóir Gaelilge-Béarla, by Ó Dónaill, I am getting the idea of the story correctly, but the English version is very "loose" and the Irish translation is so literal, that my lack of grammar knowledge is frustrating me. I need to learn the grammer. I've been toying with getting Learning Irish but have hesitated in spending the money on yet another book. But now, you've convinced me. I'll find a used one, to soften the blow. Go raibh maith agaibh!

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