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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (April-June) » Chapter 2 Learning Irish « Previous Next »

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RobinF (66.87.137.230 - 66.87.137.230)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 01:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello! After days reading through the archives and discussions, so I thought I would impose everyone here for some help.

I've been going through 'Irish on Your Own' for the last few weeks. It doesn't have much coverage for grammar, so I have started the lessons in Learning Irish, as many people recommended here.

And, as everyone else seems to, I have a few questions. First, since the dialect is different, am I going to be horribly confused? I can easily recognize the difference, but the pronunciation from Irish on Your Own seems to have stuck with me -- can I apply the same 'rules' to words in Learning Irish, or should I just adopt the Learning Irish pronunciation and "re-learn" the pronunciation of words I already know? For example, I constantly catch myself saying something closer to "muy" than "mah" for maith, since that is what the tapes have. I'm worried that I'll end up speaking some sort of mishmash between the two.

2. Lesson 1 suggests that people who are interested in a more "methodical" connection of pronunciation and spelling use the appendix for the rest of the lessons. Is this worthwhile to puzzle through now, or should I not worry about it until I'm more comfortable with speaking?

3. In Text I for Lesson 2, #11 (Nach bhfuil duine ar bith sásta?) is translated as "Isn't anybody satisfied?" -- why isn't this "Aren't people pleased at all?" I know it has to be word order, but is there some rule that covers this?

4. Does anyone else think the woman on the first tape from Learning Irish sounds...scary? Yikes!

5. Irish on Your Own notes that Dia duit is not used as a "common greeting" -- that it is too formal for most speech. However, other sources (including the Workbook by Nancy Stenson for Learning Irish -- what a great find!) use it to the exclusion of anything else. There seems to be a number of native speakers here, what's the scoop?

Go raibh maith agaibh! Hopefully I can post more in Irish soon! -- Robin

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Fear na mBróg (159.134.109.201 - 159.134.109.201)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 01:21 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

[Nach bhfuil] [duine] [ar bith] [sásta] ?

[Isn't] [person] [at all] [satisfied] ?


Is "Isn't anyone satisfied" go ndéarfainnse.


Back when religion was big in Ireland, "Dia dhuit" was in fashion. I mayself say "Hello", "Heilieo", "Cén chraic", "Cén scéal", "Conas atá?"

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RobinF (66.87.137.230 - 66.87.137.230)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 01:47 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you! But please..."go ndéarfainnse"? I'm still learning how to look up things in the dictionary -- and this one stumped me. Sorry!

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Fear na mBróg (213.94.243.11 - 213.94.243.11)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 02:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dúirt sé
Deir sé
Déarfaidh sé
Déarfadh sé
Deireadh sé

He said
He says
He'll say
He'd say
He used to say / He'd say

Dúirt mé
Deirim
Déarfaidh mé
Déarfainn
Deirinn

Déarfadh + mé = Déarfainn
Déarfadh + mise = Déarfainnse

Is "Isn't anyone satisfied" go ndéarfainnse = "Isn't anyone satisfied" is what I'd say

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RobinF (66.87.137.230 - 66.87.137.230)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 05:10 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ah! That makes perfect sense. Thanks for your patience with a complete beginner. We must get awfully tedious sometimes. -- Robin

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Chris (66.237.84.203 - 66.237.84.203)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 07:03 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I work out of the same two books--but I spend most of my time in 'Irish on your Own.' Don't worry about the dialect differences; you won't even notice it after while. Just pick your favorite dialect and continue to pronounce it that way. Hearing the different dialects will help your understanding, anyway.
As for the differences in the two books: It's an interesting contrast in teaching and learning philosophies. Irish on your Own gives the conversational approach and lets you pick up on much of the grammar as you go along—only introducing minimal rules. Learning Irish gives you a methodical (but sometimes overly analytic) approach to grammar, but is not as strong on everyday conversation in my opinion.
You have chosen two very good books; they complement each other fairly well—each filling in gaps for the other’s weaknesses.

As for your question on the 'more methodical approach'--unless you have a photo static memory, just go ahead and work through the book and look at those pages as you need them.

On your question number 3, remember that direct translation of specific words and word order is not a good idea--it will drive you crazy if you worry too much about that. Things are, in many cases, just not said the same way in English vs. Irish. This is one reason that I like Irish on your Own--you learn how to say something as an entire thought rather than word by word.

The womans voice on that tape is... different, isn't it... She sounds as if she is talking through her teeth...

From what I have gathered about "Dia duit" (God be with you), it seems that it is used in more formal or official settings--or with people you are not familiar with. The new "Turas Teanga" program/book gives a good explanation of that.

Ádh mór!

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Cathach (82.69.43.174 - 82.69.43.174)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 07:09 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Robin, re your Question 4, women from the West of Ireland are a tough breed and can indeed be scary, although they have hearts of gold.

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RobinF (66.87.137.230 - 66.87.137.230)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 07:52 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agaibh!

I picked up Irish on Your Own first and I do like the "whole thought" approach to learning vocabulary and general grammar rules. But, I am a really detail-oriented, rule-ish sort of person and knowing WHY something is done makes me feel like I understand it, rather than just rote memorization of a phrase. I know people have found Learning Irish daunting, but I find that I really like the very nitpicky way it handles things. I spend a lot of time looking things up.

Which brings up the dictionaries -- my lovely husband (who doesn't want to learn Irish, but seems more than interested in ME learning Irish) bought me an enormous Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla (Ó Dónaill), English-Irish (De Bhaldraithe), and Foclóir Scoile. No pocket dictionary yet, but I'm sure he's just waiting to find one.

The question comes down to: are there any hints on how to look things up? With all the changes to the fronts of words, sometimes I can't even being to fathom how to look things up. I can easily recognize aspiration and eclipsis, and figure out at least what the first letter of the word should be, but after that...? Is there any way for someone who doesn't yet know all the possibly declensions/conjugations to guess?

I'm trying to get through the posts here in Irish (and eagerly awaiting the publication of Harry Potter in Irish in July), but it's a heck of a lot harder than I expected to find things. Any tips?

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cailinfiosrach (134.226.1.114 - 134.226.1.114)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 08:35 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hey Robin,

If you think that woman sounds scary now, just wait until you get to the part where she cleans the gate with a knife! Never could get my head around that bit! That book at times can confuse and intimidate me about things I already know well, but what can you expect when it teaches you 'Isn't anyone ever satisfied' from the beginning, you know? It was my first, though and still very dear to me. Keep plugging away, it gets easier, belive it or not! Don't worry about mishmash, just accept that there are differences and learn as much as you can from all your materials. You can sort it all out later -- if necessary.
: )

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Pádraig (4.154.82.217 - 4.154.82.217)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 08:40 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Robin, a chara,

Sounds like you have all the dictionaries you need, but if you want to add An Foclóir Póca to your collection, you can order it through this site. Click on "home" and then on "shop" for details. If I remember correctly, Foclóir Póca has a number of appendices in which sample declensions and conjugations (with infinitive forms which you'll need in most cases when looking up verbs.)

You also might want to check out the Christian Brothers Grammar. Even though it presumes some knowledge of Irish, it's a nicely compacted overview of everything you always wanted to know about Irish but didn't know how to ask.

Go mbeannaí Dia thú,.

Pádraig

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Pádraig (4.154.82.217 - 4.154.82.217)
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 08:46 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

If I remember correctly, Foclóir Póca has a number of appendices in which sample declensions and conjugations (with infinitive forms which you'll need in most cases when looking up verbs.)

Add the phrase "are listed" after the closing parenthesis above. I like nitpicky stuff too.

Pádaigh

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RobinF (66.87.137.230 - 66.87.137.230)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 12:07 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I do have a copy of Christian brothers grammar, as well as Mogonagle's (like I said, a compulsive book buyer). The explanations in Dillon's version of Teach Yourself also help a bit. Most of it is just confusing me at the moment (we poor english speakers often forget about all the tenses and things, because we don't deal with them. Subjunctive? Past Habitual? Huh?)

Trying to figure out pronunciations is a good sticking point (especially since it seems that most of the books assume British English pronunciation, so when they say "as pan in English" I have to remember that it's not the broad, super-flat A of my midwestern US english!

And - after a few glasses of good Merlot -- the "Tá Máirtin agus Bríd sásta" takes on a whole new meaning. Satisfied? What *were* they doing?

Thanks! -- Robin

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Cormac Ó Donnaile (212.209.194.26 - 212.209.194.26)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 10:17 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A little off topic, but is "Irish on Your Own" the same book as "Now You're Talking", I've seen them both mentioned in the same breath as it were...

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RobinF (192.18.101.5 - 192.18.101.5)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 10:31 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I believe so -- the same person does them. I think the original coursework (called "Now You're Talking) had video tapes? The cassette version is done by Passport Books.

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Fear na mBróg (159.134.109.143 - 159.134.109.143)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 11:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post


Quote:

With all the changes to the fronts of words, sometimes I can't even being to fathom how to look things up. I can easily recognize aspiration and eclipsis, and figure out at least what the first letter of the word should be, but after that...? Is there any way for someone who doesn't yet know all the possibly declensions/conjugations to guess?




Well, let's say you're reading some Gaeilge and you come across:

Bhí sí ag moladh a choda gruaige.

Well, you look in a dictionary and you most likely won't see "coda" nor "gruaige". At this point, what I'd suggest to you to do is go to:

http://www.csis.ul.ie/focloir/

Type the word in and hit enter. It'll tell you that there's no actual noun, "coda"... although there is a noun, "cuid", and the posessive case of it is "coda". Similarly, "gruaige" is the possesive case of "gruaig".

Yes, there are very definite ways of conjugating nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions. You just have to learn them. Once you've learned them, go learn the irregulars/exceptions/unique/special ones!

As for compound words such as:

Bunleibhéal

"Leibhéal" means "Level" and "Bun" means "Bottom/Foundation".

Bunleibhéal means Foundation Level. Most likely you won't see this word in a dictionary. But... once you get to know the prefixes, or maybe spot them by guessing, you can look up "bun", and see that is a prefix and means "foundation". Then you can go look up "leibhéal" and see that it means "level". For instance, here's a tricky one:

srónbheannach

See if you figure out why that means "rhino". I'll give you a clue in anyway, "ach" is kind of a postfix on the end of that.

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Chris Dixon (81.77.124.114 - 81.77.124.114)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 12:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Now You're Talking was a BBC NI publication, to accompany a TV series. I don't think the videos were ever available commercially - although I'm not sure if they could be ordered from BBC NI.
Although Irish On Your Own is by the same authors, and draws on a lot of the same material, it is substantially updated and the presentation is different, with more of an emphasis on a self-study approach - as the title suggests.
Now You're Talking is currently out of print, with no plans for a reprint, but you can still come across the odd copy in bookshops in Britain or Ireland.
Le gach dea ghuí!
Chris

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RobinF (192.18.101.5 - 192.18.101.5)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 01:16 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde -- A quick semantic question -- the word-order thing throws me every time, and I'm probably over-thinking things this early in the lessons.

How would I express the difference between
'No one here is happy" (the people who are here are not happy) vs. "No one is happy here" (the people are not happy in this place)

Níl duine ar bith sásta anseo -- vs...???

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Fear na mBróg (159.134.109.143 - 159.134.109.143)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 02:00 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Firstly,

aon mhadra = any dog
aon bhuachaill = any boy
aon duine -> éinne = anyone

Even in English, there's ambiguity between "No one here is happy" and "No is happy here", by which I mean that the second one could possibly have the same meaning as the first, although not vice-versa.

No-one is happy being here / No-one is happy to be here
Níl áthas ar éinne bheith anseo

No-one who is here is happy
Níl áthas ar éinne atá anseo


For example:

He is quick. (adjective)
He ran quickly. (adverb)

In saying "the people who are here", you've got an adjective. In saying "the people here", you've got an adverb. Although unfortunately they're spelled exactly the same. They're not spoken the same though, you'll find they've different stress, as in "four" vs. "for", "to" vs. "too". If there's ambiguity, it's not the languages fault, it's the constructor of the sentence's fault, because we all know there's plenty of vocabulary and grammar to express yourself accurately in any good language. Improvise!

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RobinF (192.18.101.5 - 192.18.101.5)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 02:08 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agat -- I am definitely overthinking this, and your examples helped immensely. I went back into the archives for a discussion of 'ar bith' as well.

I need more vocabulary... back to the books! - Robin

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Fear na mBróg (159.134.109.143 - 159.134.109.143)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 05:36 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

There's a good few examples in Gaeilge of ambiguity, where a computer wouldn't have a clue what's going on, but a person would. For example:

am briste

This could mean "broken time" or "break time". That is, there's such an adjective "briste"... but there's also a noun "briseadh" - the posessive case of which is "briste"! This is how it works with the vast majority of verbs.

Examination Hall = Halla Scrúdaithe

...or does it mean "Examined Hall", because "scrúdaithe" is the posessive case of "scrúdú".


Another example:

Dúnadh an reacaire

That could mean "The vendor was closed" or "The closing of the vendor" - ambiguous to a computer, but intelligible to a person.


Here's an example in English:

I could do that back when I was a kid.
I could do that if I practised more.

The first one is past tense, the second one is conditional mood.

--

While I'm still going here, here's another one:

Meirceánach = (adjective) American

Meirceánach = (noun) American eg. I saw an American

When you say:

Teach Meirceánach

You could mean the adjective Meirceánach, or... the plural posessive case of the noun "Meirceánach", which happens to be "Meirceánach".

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RobinF (66.87.137.230 - 66.87.137.230)
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 09:44 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

But like in English, these will usually be clear from context, right? Like 'your', 'you're' and 'there', 'their', 'they're'. I hope that these will become clearer as I get more words under my belt and start making sentences other than who is satisfied and if they are here, a la Learning Irish. :)

You have been so helpful, thanks to you all!

BTW, is there some 'permanent' thread that I should be posting questions on Learning Irish to? Or is everyone starting a new conversation each time?-- Robin

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Fear na mBróg (213.94.242.201 - 213.94.242.201)
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2004 - 05:47 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Language is all about sound. The human evolved a voicebox. Written language is just a supplement to that and came probably hundreds of thousands of years later.

Do you have text messages where you are, on mobile phones? There's a limit on how long each message can be; in Ireland, it's 160 characters. As such, you'll see things like this:

Wer r u?il b bak l8r @ bout 5 o clok.Der was loads of peple der d last time i was der.

People don't differentiate between "your", "you're", "they're", "their", "there", in text messages. There's no need to - we're working with the sounds. You ask will these usually be clear from the context... Yes, they must be. In places were it isn't, people have improvised. Take the English verb "cut", the past tense of which is "cut", the present tense of which is "cut". Where I'm from, you won't hear people say:

I cut the rope

when they mean the present tense. The past tense is always assumed, even though according to a grammar book or whatever the above is perfectly entilted to indicate present tense. Instead you'll hear:

I always cut the rope

There's things like this in every language. You yourself don't have to worry about over-coming possible ambiguity, just follow the crowd, speak as they speak, you're guaranteed that they've already made an adaptation!


(This is the English language part of the Forum. So, Yes, it's the learning part.)


Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat a chara.

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