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Patrick Brazil ( -
Posted on Saturday, December 06, 2003 - 08:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Howdy! I am about to start learning Irish. I do not have access to a proper classroom setting, thus I'm limited to learning via a tape/book course or a computer program. The obvious question then is which (if any) would everyone suggest. I checked out a tape/book from the library but I found the broad/slender concept pretty confusing. Also, it seems strange that there are so many words that have letters that aren't pronounced. I'm assuming that this is apparent when the broad/slender concept is understood.
I would appreciate any and all help in this!


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Jonas ( -
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 06:21 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Patrick, a chara

I understand you very well indeed, when I first began learning Irish I was totally confused by what I thought was the strangest spelling I had ever seen. Why was "leabhar" pronounced /l´aur/. Having a good book, a preferably tapes, is crucial. I'll be happy to give more advice on pronunciation (it is in fact quite easy when you understand it) but it would be good to know which book you are working with. Different books take different approaches, some good and some... well, less good ;-)

Slán go fóill,

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Patrick Brazil ( -
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 03:56 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hi, Jonas.
The name of the book I have right now is "Learning Irish" by Micheal O Siadhail.
I was looking at and they had a program called Irish Now! V9.0, but it's $60. Kind of expensive. I did however order a book/tape called "Irish on your own" by Eamon O'Donaill. Rest assured that I will be coming back here often; I'm sure that I'll have a lot of questions. What method did you use to learn Irish?


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Jonas ( -
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 04:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I wasn't as fortunate as you have been ;-)
My first course was made by Linguaphone, quite possibly the worst producer of language courses you could find. The price was about ten times that of Learning Irish and the content was less than a tenth. I'm not exaggerating, I think Linguaphone should be ashamed of themselves, they charge high prices for crap products. Only those with no experience of language learning buy from them, at least that's my experience. (Back then, in 1996, I was very much a beginner in the field of linguistics and language learning. These days I feel a bit more confident ;-) )

I then bought Learning Irish and I'm truly glad I did so. Otherwise I would have quit, without having learned anything. At the same time, in the summer of 1997, I joined the army. Going to the army is compulsory in Finland, as in many other European countries. There are many inconveniences with being in the army, but at least it provided me with lots of spare time when all I could do was to read Learning Irish. Having completed my compulsory year in the army I had some free months in the summer of 1998 before I was going to university in the autumn and I managed to get a job in Ireland. I lived with a wonderful family who spoke no Irish at all, but their neighbour was a native speaker and I started to practice the Irish I had learned. I also spent some shorter periods in the Gaeltacht outside Galway City and on the Aran Islands, and for the first time I was surrounded by Irish. Before going back to Finland I attended a course at Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne and that was the last time I actually learned Irish. By now I spoke quite confidently. After that I've been back many times, I have worked for some months in the Gaeltacht and I've visited my friends for some weeks now and then. I always speak Irish with them and with everyone else in the Gaeltacht areas. I also exchange e-mails in Irish with my best friend in Ireland.

So, my learning experience consists of having read through Learning Irish and after that speaking, speaking and speaking. And listening, of course.

I hope to see you here many times in the future, this is a great place to ask questions. Please feel free to ask if there is something else you'd like to know!

Slán go fóill,

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Jessica Ní Chonchúbhair ( -
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 06:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas. I think it is very obvious that you have an extremly exciting background. I for one am interested. You are from Finland. Did you go to college here in Ireland? I thought that you were a native speaker, your quailty of Irish is so high! Can I ask what it is that you studied? Your knowledge seems endless. Tis interesting...

Please do tell.

Jessica :)

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Jonas ( -
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 05:35 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jessica, go raibh míle maith agat! Is ana-dheas ar fad é seo a chloisint uait. :-)

I can't say I find my background exciting at all, it's almost identical to that of most of my friends and indeed of almost all those whom I know. Of course, not many have been to Ireland and speak Irish, but instead they've been to countries such as Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and so on.

No, I did not go to college in Ireland, my whole education has been in Finland. I've studied Marketing at the Business School here in Helsinki and I graduated this autumn after having studied for five years. Well, I must confess that not all of those five years have been spent studying. I have the good fortune of having many good friends here with whom I spend a lot of time, I've been active in the student body (organising parties, participating in parties but also more "serious" activities), and then time spent with girls, of course ;-) That's my education in short, I graduated just in time, because my younger brother has started his studies at my university this autumn. He also looks set to become very active, and was voted first year student of the year two weeks ago. Well, now I'm drifting from the subject...

Anyway, now that I've graduted with a MSc(Econ) I'm on my doctoral studies and should obtain a PhD in some years, le cúnamh Dé. I'm also teaching at the university while conducting my doctoral studies. As for my knowledge, it is far from endless, there are lots and lots of fields in which I know absolutely nothing, I assure you ;-)

Now that I've gone on a bit about myself it would be nice to hear about you as well as other members here!

Slán go fóill,

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Jessica Ní Chonchúbhair ( -
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 01:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Bheul, go raibh maith agut a Jonas. I think that this board is slightly impersonal. So it would be nice to share some stuff. If other members would like to aswell, that would be brilliant.

I'm in an all Irish secondary school. In my last year, before i get to go to college!! I'm planning to do a Celtic Studies Degree. Hopefully being taught through Irish. I can't wait. I hold Irish very dear to my heart, and am delighted to have found this site.

Jonas, is it your intention to become a Lecturer?

Tóg go bóg é!


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Patrick Brazil ( -
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

This is probably a really stupid question, but I thought, "what better place than the internet to ask a really stupid question? It's not like anyone can point and laugh at me!" So, anyway, one of the reasons I want to learn Irish is because I would like to visit there someday (I lived in the UK or two years) and would like to be able to converse. I am a little worried about one thing though (and here is the potentially stupid question part.) Is it safe for us Yanks to go to Ireland? I remember when I was in the Airforce in the UK (1987-89), we weren't allowed to go there because of the violence and hatred of Americans. Has this changed? Of all the ways I can think of dying, being killed by a car bomb isn't the way I would choose. Anyway...

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Aonghus ( -
Posted on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - 04:52 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't know what gave you the idea that Ireland was an unsafe place for Americans. Many, many american tourists come to all parts of Ireland.

There was a violent conflict in Northern Ireland, but the violence was directed against either the other side of the conflict in the North, or the British security services who were also a party to the conflict. This conflict is now mostly being dealt with by negotiation, but there are violent elements still active on both sides.

(People have strong opinions on this conflict: the statement above is intended to be as neutral as possible)

I'm not aware that Americans were ever involved directly. Any tourists who were killed or injured will have been killed or injured in a bomb balst in a public place.

I wouldn't expect to converse much in Irish though - outside the Gaeltacht areas, you will not recognise Irish speakers!

If you want to speak Irish, you will need to go out of your way to do so.

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Larry ( -
Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 06:11 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara.

I've just picked up on this thread and have noted your comments concerning Linguaphone.

I have to honour to consider Diarmuid Ó Donnchadha, the author of that course, as a personal friend having met that fine man a few years ago. Perhaps you're familiar with his other works concerning the Irish language??

Le meas,


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Jonas ( -
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 12:29 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde!

Táim thar n-ais aríst! ;-) The last days have been really busy so I haven't visited Daltaí.

Jessica, a chara
I don't know if I could say that my intention is to become a lecturer since that is what I am. I'm the lecturer in the Department of Marketing at my university. Is é "Lektor" an focal atá againn as Sualainnis.
It would be rather sad to be 25 years old and have no ambitions left, don't you think? ;-) So no, I do not see my current job as lecturer in Marketing as a post in which I inted ro remain. Having said that, I think it's great fun at the moment and I do enjoy it.

Larry, a chara
I am glad to hear that you know Diarmuid Ó Donnchadha. I've never met him myself but I've certainly heard of him. He has done a great job for the Irish language in many ways and I respect him a lot - I hope to meet him some day. That doesn't mean that the Linguaphone course doesn't remain the worst course available. However, the blame should fall on Linguaphone (the company) alone. They have a standard form that all their authors have to go by and it is that form that is so tremendously out of touch with reality. The Irish Course in particular is not worse than any other course. Having a keen interest in languages I've looked through some five or six Linguaphone courses in different languages. They are all almost identical; in this case identical have to stand for useless. On the top of that, they all have prices that could be but by 90% (no exaggeration at all) and still be much too high. As I said, this is because of Linguphone's attitude towards language learning (and towards ripping off customers) and no blame should fall on Diarmuid Ó Donnchadha nor any other author. I'm sure he did his best given the rules he had to follow. The course as such is not as good as Learning Irish or Teach Yourself Irish but not outright bad. If its price were to be about 50% of the above mentioned courses it would be worth considering. Now it is about 500% higher, and it is that difference in the relation between price and quality that makes my blood boil when I hear about Linguaphone ;-)

Diarmuid Ó Donnchadha has had nothing to do with the pricing of the course and none of all my criticism should be attached to him.

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