https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Irish course seriously needs to be revised

Are they ever going to do something about the atrocious audio on this Irish course? The pronunciation of the speaker is absolutely terrible. Why could they not get a native speaker of Irish to do the audio? It feels like more of this insulting attitude towards our native language whereby it's treated as a language inferior to all others. Because it doesn't matter however the heck you pronounce it sure it doesn't? I'm sure for a course in French they wouldn't get someone who speaks French as a second language and with very imperfect pronunciation. This entire Irish course needs a complete revision as it is a very mediocre effort at a course in Irish. It needs a lot more input from native speakers of Gaeilge and should be far more professional, and more in-depth (a person will finish this course and have only a very basic knowledge of the language.) The people who have put together this course seem to have done the very bare minimum and it is, as I have said, an extremely mediocre effort. I hope they do review the course soon.

2 years ago

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/brittalexiswm

They ARE revising the course....

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Yes, very fair comments. Yes there are very great Irish courses out there, which I am making use of, and I have increased by comprehension of Irish by probably over 100% by studying, reading and listening. My main concern is not that duolingo's course don't teach enough Irish, but that it would teach bad pronunciation, e.t.c. And the Irish course is definitely less in-depth than some of the other courses. For example is doesn't have the "Immersion" option. (or it didn't last time I looked, maybe I need to check that) And it also contains a fair amount of glitches and errors (or it did the last time I used the course). But I guess I heard really great things about duolingo and was expecting way more than I actually got. I finished the whole course in a few weeks and didn't know much more Irish than when I started. ( I didn't used it on it's own by the way, but along with Progress in Irish and New Irish Grammar by the Christian Brothers). I've since devoted a lot more time to textbooks with very fruitful results, and to be honest you can never beat a book that just sets down all the rules for ya. I think it's better than any computer course. RnaG and TG4 are great as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

To each their own. There are lots of Irish people that sat through years of Irish classes in school that would rather undergo a painful medical procedure than open up a copy of New Irish Grammar by the Christian Brothers, but find that Duolingo is a convenient and even enjoyable way to re-engage with Irish. It may lead them to watch some stuff on TG4 or listen to RnaG occassionally.

As for the pronunciations on Duolingo, I've probably learned more from the discussions about the problems than I would have from listening to a good speaker of Donegal, Connemara or Kerry Irish. The reader makes many of the same mistakes that speakers of school Irish make (particularly around the pronunciation or not of the séimhiú), but some of the criticism is over the top, because it doesn't take account of variations in dialect or accent - this is particularly true of the critcisms that rely on wiktionary as a bible for Irish pronunciation. Judging by the relatively small number of participants in these threads, I'm not sure that many people actually read the comments and learn from the discussion about the pronuciation issues, but then I'm not sure that anyone who is trying to learn by parrotting particular phrases is doing themselves any favours anyway. Whoever the new speaker is (and I really think that there should be a lot of different speakers, not just one), I hope that they don't speak Irish with a strong regional accent.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

The only issue with getting an accent-neutral Irish native speaker is that they rarely exist. There is no 'standard pronunciation' for Irish, so most just speak it how they learn. Now, you might find speakers who use words not found in their dialect (freisin for Ulster, for example, or madra for Connacht/Ulster), but you won't generally find someone who doesn't speak in a dialectal manner of pronunciation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I'm deliberately differentiating between dialect and accent here. There are people within each of the major dialects who speak with relatively neutral accents. While many people might find Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh's voice very mellilfluous, I don't think he'd be a good voice for Duolingo.

The issue of dialect is separate. Apart form some grammatical differences, there are conflicts between the pronunciations used for certain words in different dialects that go way beyond accent differences - I think that it would be unfortunate if Duolingo used a speaker of Connemara Irish that pronounced mná as "m-raw", for example.

This obviously happens with other languages too - Parisian French and Québécois are different, the Portuguese spoken in Portugal and Brazil is different, the Spanish spoken in Spain and in Latin America is different, the English spoken in different countries is different, and Duolingo just picks one, and does what it can to accommodate the others. I'm just not sure how it will go about picking a primary dialect for spoken Irish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh has a clear voice in Irish, that is what a distinct clear accent sounds like in Irish, who would be better? Máirtín Tom Sheáinín, would he be okay?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

If the sole purpose of the spoken sentences in Duolingo was for people who were already familiar with the cadences of Munster Irish to translate from spoken Irish into English, or to transcribe what was being said, then Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh would be a fine speaker. But judging by the number of people who have no previous exposure to Irish, and who are relying on IPA to get a handle on the sounds of Irish, it might be a bit of a stretch.

Learning materials in any language usually use a "neutral" accent - even for learning English, you can find a neutral mid-Atlantic accent that doesn't overly emphasis any given dialect, yet will be unambiguously clear for a learner. Another Micheal, Micheal D, has a fine speaking voice, but nobody would ever suggest that he'd be a good choice for a language course (as a general rule, any identifiable voice would probably be a poor choice for a language course!).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I think that it would be unfortunate if Duolingo used a speaker of Connemara Irish that pronounced mná as "m-raw", for example.

See, I think it would be best if this happens because "m-raw" is actually the most common way of saying it, with "m-naw" only being used in Munster.

I'm just not sure how it will go about picking a primary dialect for spoken Irish.

I say go with Connacht. It has the most native speakers and, given the base of TG4 and RnaG in Connemara, it's likely the one a speaker is most likely to encounter.

But, I'm also partial to Connacht Irish to begin with, so there is that.

But in general I do agree. Honestly, I wouldn't have a problem as long as whichever they chose was consistent. I don't want to hear madadh but then hear mná with an n.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

See, I think it would be best if this happens because "m-raw" is actually the most common way of saying it, with "m-naw" only being used in Munster.

I don't think that's true. The most common way of saying it in Ireland today is "m-naw", because that's what most people learn outside the Gaeltachts. The most obvious example would be Mary Robinsons famous use of the phrase Mná na hÉireann in her acceptance speech. (I can't find a link to just the speech, but this should jump to the location in a TG4 documentary about her: http://goo.gl/NYuN9c ).

  • Mná is one of those words that probably 90% of the population of the Republic recognize, even if they "don't know any Irish". And 80% of them pronounce it using the Munster pronunciation.
2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

I for one, know well that there are different dialects (and sub-dialects) in Irish, and have never relied on wickionary for pronunciation. The problem with the duolingo audio, dialects aside, is that the speaker fails to recognise set rules of Irish pronunciation, and that some of the pronunciations she uses will not be found in any of the dialects :P I listen often to native speakers on Irish language radio etc for aid in my pronunciation. It might be helpful if duolingo had audio for all three main dialects, or it might be just as well to stick to one dialect and leave it up to the learner if he wants to follow a particular dialect later on. As Connacht is by far the most natively-spoken dialect, that would probably be the best option to use.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I have a bit of a problem with the whole "nativism" issue. I'm not sure that Connacht is the most widely spoken dialect of Irish these days - what some people deride as "non-native" Gaelscoil Irish might hold that distinction. If you're a regular listener to RnaG, you'll be well aware that they have no difficulty finding guests with fluent Irish that weren't brought up in a Gaeltacht.

The simple fact of the matter is that the dialects are a barrier for learners of Irish. The reality is that the Irish speaking community is so small that you'll hear all the dialects at once if you try to listen to Irish language Radio or Television, for example. So while a learner only needs to learn one dialect to be understood, they have to familiarise themselves with them all to understand what they hear. The Caighdeán sort of dealt with this for the written language (not completely, as it still allows for dialect variation) it's just a pity that they didn't define a formal Caighdeán dialect for learners. (I understand the sound political reasons why this wasn't practical then, though I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea now).

I also want to emphasise the fact that, however unintentionally, the "bad audio" on this course has actually been very helpful to me. In a real class, with a real teacher, you would expect feedback on your pronunciation when you made mistakes. That can't happen with Irish on Duolingo, but because of the feedback, good and bad, on the audio that is here already, I have learned to look out for some common mistakes, that are probably quite common for people who learned Irish in Irish schools (and I'll differentiate here between Gaelscoileanna and ordinary Irish schools, where the normal medium is English, and Irish is just a subject that is studied for a few hours a week).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Connacht is the most widely spoken dialect by a long shot. Gaelscoil Irish isn't really a consistent "dialect", it often varies quite substantially within even one school depending on how well the student takes to Irish and varies even more across the country depending on what province the school is in.

Even if you wanted to learn, there is no "Gaelscoil Irish", just various Irish-English hybrids of varying pronunciation and grammar.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I have a bit of a problem with the whole "nativism" issue. I'm not sure that Connacht is the most widely spoken dialect of Irish these days - what some people deride as "non-native" Gaelscoil Irish might hold that distinction. If you're a regular listener to RnaG, you'll be well aware that they have no difficulty finding guests with fluent Irish that weren't brought up in a Gaeltacht.

Yes, but Gaelscoil Irish isn't a person's native language, and therefore it can't be considered a true dialect of Irish. It's a (poorly learned) second language.

But, I can see we're going to get into the whole native v. non-native as "better" issue and I'd rather not go there.

So while a learner only needs to learn one dialect to be understood, they have to familiarise themselves with them all to understand what they hear.

This is true for any language that has a decent amount of dialectal variation, though. Unless you expect all native speakers to always speak a Standard with you, that is.

The Caighdeán sort of dealt with this for the written language (not completely, as it still allows for dialect variation) it's just a pity that they didn't define a formal Caighdeán dialect for learners.

They did, and that's the problem. They defined the Standard, and then expected native to write and speak exactly like that. What I think would have been best would have been to take a dialect and make it the standard, but also accept the other dialects. That way, when learners learn the Standard, they're actually learning a dialect of Irish, not something made up solely for them, and it doesn't harm native speakers who write in their own.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mvk20
mvk20
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I definitely understand that people's feelings about language are very strong and very personal. I also think that the dialect of the native speakers of the Gaeltacht should be seen as the ideal(s) that one is to strive for, and that efforts need to be made so that the so-called Gaelscoil dialect does not overrun the native speakers' ones.

That being said, I definitely fall into the "Is fearr Gaeilge briste, ná Béarla cliste"* camp. I think it's important for people not to allow linguistic snobbery to put people off of learning and using the language. I do indeed think it is much better for a ton of people to be speaking less than perfect Irish than for the language to be restricted to ancient texts and an ever dwindling minority of native speakers. I think that the only way for the language to survive is to embrace everyone's efforts to speak, and to improve their command, of the language.

As long as the predominant texts and audio samples in the mainstream Irish media (R na G, TG4, Irish language supplements to the major papers, major publishing houses) are of a high quality, learners who are encouraged to use the language will eventually gravitate towards those ideal forms as much as they are able to. In the United States, we know how hard it is for first generation immigrants to achieve native-like fluency in English, and it's usually only their children who are able to attain that level of mastery in the language. I think that all we can hope for is for everyone to do their best, and over a course of generations the number of people using the language at a very high level will hopefully increase. I really do think that the only way forward for the language is for everyone to be as welcoming as possible to anyone using the language to the best of their ability.

Sorry for the ridiculous length of this post. I just see a lot of negativity in Irish language learners' circles and I fear that it could hinder any chance the language has of continuing to be a living and vibrant form of communication in the future, rather than just becoming a symbolic relic.

*Broken Irish is better than clever English

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

This is true for any language that has a decent amount of dialectal variation, though. Unless you expect all native speakers to always speak a Standard with you, that is.

You can learn French French, and not have to deal with Québécois, You can learn Spanish Spanish, and totally ignore the existence of Latin American Spanish until you want to and are ready to engage with it. But there are very few resources available to anyone who wants to stick to a single dialect of spoken Irish. If you're just interested in Irish as an intellectual curiosity, you can ignore all but your chosen dialect, but if you want to actually use Irish, you will quickly be faced with the issue of handling dialects.

The irony is that the dialects survive precisely because Irish was so weak. If Ireland had done a better job of becoming a bilingual country after independence, there would now be a single dominant dialect. And given the obvious flow of the statistics, the Gaeltacht dialects will be a historical artifact within 2 generations at most, and the "non-dialect" dialect will be the defacto standard dialect

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/proinsias123

I love that dialect standard idea. Is there anyone currently trying to implement it, do you think?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

"But there are very few resources available to anyone who wants to stick to a single dialect of spoken Irish."

There is one very important resource and that is na Gaeltachtaí. No better resource exists for learning Irish.

"If you're just interested in Irish as an intellectual curiosity, you can ignore all but your chosen dialect, but if you want to actually use Irish, you will quickly be faced with the issue of handling dialects."

If you want to actually use Irish, you're best bet would be to go to a Gaeltacht, where you will need to use a dialect.

"That being said, I definitely fall into the "Is fearr Gaeilge briste, ná Béarla cliste"* camp."

As for me: "Is fearr Gaeilge chliste ná Gaeilge bhriste." :)

speaking of Gaeilge bhriste, you said "Gaeilge briste" when you should have said "Gaeilge bHriste" :P (sorry I don't mean to be rude, I just couldn't resist pointing that out XD)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

"If you want to relegate the Irish language into the realms of historical curiosity, then "lean oraibh". "

It is true that many people reduce Irish to a mere curiosity. But I for one, think it is best to treat Irish as what it is: a living language, by learning it how it is actually spoken by native speakers. Many people have this attitude: "Irish is a dead language, but it's still cool so let's kinda keep it alive by using it to write silly poems. And while we're at that let's get some common (preferabley funny) English phrases, and make completely literal translations of them into English [ so that they actually make absolutely no sense in Irish] That way we'll make Irish enjoyable and people will appreciate it!" That is reducing Irish to a curiosity, and it's doing it's damage to the language. Irish is still natively spoken, and it is equal to any and every other spoken language, so it should be treated as a language, and with due sensitivity to it's native speakers. No one likes to have their language butchered without any effort to speak it right. I'm fully conscious however, that my attitude may be discouraging to other people wishing to learn Irish, but I have no wish to discourage you. I think it is great if people want to learn our language, and fair play to ye. However I hope my thoughts may be helpful to other people who have been wondering about this subject

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mvk20
mvk20
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Of course good Irish is better than broken Irish. That's why I talked about striving for ideal forms, and doing things to the best of one's ability. And of course we'd all be better off going to a Gaeltacht to improve our Irish. But we don't all have the means to do that, or do it with any great frequency. I just think there are a lot of folks out there putting people off of learning and using the language. If you want to relegate the Irish language into the realms of historical curiosity, then "lean oraibh". I suppose I probably made a mistake with that cúpla focal as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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The Caighdeán sort of dealt with this for the written language (not completely, as it still allows for dialect variation) it's just a pity that they didn't define a formal Caighdeán dialect for learners.

Could that have been one of the reasons for developing the Lárchanúint, as found in e.g. the IPA of An Foclóir Póca ?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Yes, but "the system" didn't adopt the Lárchanúint the way it adopted the Caighdeán.

There's an interesting conversation about the Lárchanúint on the Daltaí boards from 2007 - and I don't think the situation has changed much since then: http://www.daltai.com/discus/messages/13510/23585.html?1171832075

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
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I’m a bit confused by two consecutive posts from Do_chinniúint in that conversation:

As stated in literature published by the Institiúid at the time: “For those already fluent in Irish, this core dialect [viz the Lárchanúint] is not meant to displace their existing dialect but is intended as an alternative medium for use in more formal contexts”.

and

The "lárchanúint" is dangerous because it says that the way one speaks is incorrect.

For those of you who are Irish and pronounce the word “film” with two syllables (i.e. with an epenthetic vowel between the L and the M), would you consider your pronunciation to be incorrect if no English language dictionary offered that pronunciation?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

English speakers don't see their language as being under threat (even though lots of Irish accents are disappearing - you won't hear kids with this accent any more - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0q-_gWOYjY for example). And there aren't English language "activists" agitating for or against whatever project they feel will have an impact on the language. But Irish is a) under threat, b) has activists that will have an opinion about this trend or that trend, c) has an occasional issue with "them up in Dublin", even when "them up in Dublin" are just blow-ins anyway, and d) is burdened with the "pious aspiration" tag at this point.

So policies that are supposed to help support the Irish language survive and thrive are sometimes subject to a degree of infighting. or are deliberately ignored by the Government, because it's not worth the hassle, or get a lot of fanfare and then ignored by the people on the ground. Sometimes they make good headway (TG4 has done better than many people predicted when it was first set up, and despite the attitude of some people to the Gaelscoilleanna, demand for them ensures that that sector will continue to grow), sometimes they fall by the wayside. Something like the Lárchanúint, which was an attempt to put a structure on something that will happen organically anyway, fell victim to the protect vs promote dynamic that sometimes affects these issues.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

"The simple fact of the matter is that the dialects are a barrier for learners of Irish."

The dialects aren't a barrier. A brief article on the different dialects will tell you the main differences between the dialects, and with that as a starting point, you're soon easily tell the difference between the dialects (apart from the fact that it's easy to tell the different accents of each province/county apart. For example, when you know that in Connacht Irish "agam" and "agat" are pronounced "a'm" and "a't" that's an easy way to tell the Connacht Irish when it comes up. (I think they may pronounce them the same in Ulster, but then it's easy to tell a Donegal from a Galway or Mayo speaker.) Listening to Irish radio, I also find that I usually can easily distinguish a native from a non-native speaker. Some non-native speakers do have very good pronunciation (e.g. Liam Ó Maonlaí or Brendan Gleeson). No, the dialects are not a barrier. However, the Caighdeán Oifigiúil does present a huge barrier. And the gaelscoils present a huge barrier, in that they are creating an increasing void between native speakers and learners of Irish as a second language. It is a serious issue that native speakers and the products of gaelscoileanna are not able to understand each other's Irish. In fact an article on this problem remarked that native speakers often switch the television channel when these urban speakers come on. The expression "Gaeilge líofa lofa" is also used by native speakers to refer to people from gaelscoileanna. People need to stop making the dialects into an imaginary barrier. It's really not hard at all to pick a particular dialect and follow it. Inventing a new form of Irish that's easier to speak is not preserving the language, it's damaging it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

"They did, and that's the problem. They defined the Standard, and then expected native to write and speak exactly like that. What I think would have been best would have been to take a dialect and make it the standard, but also accept the other dialects. That way, when learners learn the Standard, they're actually learning a dialect of Irish, not something made up solely for them, and it doesn't harm native speakers who write in their own."

This is exactly right. Although may elements of Munster Irish have been accepted as "standard" (I don't know why) For myself, I'm going to learn through Connacht Irish, but not limit myself to it. I'd want to be able to read in and understand all the dialects. I would say though that Munster Irish should be taught as the standard in Munster, Connacht irish thought in Connacht and Leinster, e.t.c... But the students in school should also be thought about the other dialects so that people in different parts can understand and accept each others dialects. (If you think about, if people understood and accepted each other's dialects, you would start to see the dialects evolving and coming closer as people adopt properties of the other's dialects for the sake of mutual understanding. Just like there are different dialects of English, but an Irish person will be completely used to hearing an American accent and is easily able to talk with an American despite differences in pronunciation. Or again, think about how, when you listen to a lot of modern songs, there's almost like a particular dialect that's often used in singing that combines elements of American and English pronunciation.) There can be an understanding between the dialects without a standard form. After all, variety is always good :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Just a minor stylistic note - As you can see in some of Galaxyrockers posts, you can indent a quoted section to make it stand out a bit more. Just start the quoted section with a greater-than sign and a space (though I find that when I press the Post button, Duolingo processes the symbol, and doesn't create the indent. I have to Edit the post after I post it, and re-enter the greater than sign to get the indenting to work).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Oh, thanks! :D I was wondering how to do that

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zanzibarman

With regards to the relative lack of involvement in comment sections, I know the iOS app doesn't show any of that. I primarily do the exercises on my phone and didn't find out about the more fleshed out website.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ClionaJoyce

Just to note for people who have not spoken Irish in a verbal conversation, I think the whole dialect thing is a lot more forgiving in real life. Obviously for a learning platform like school or duolingo there needs to be some kind of standard; but like Cockney people can be considered to have bad grammar by the standard of Queens English, most people wouldn't correct them while having a conversation (it would be kind of rude) as they understand this is how an established group of people speak. Similarly I have seen people correct Irish on Duolingo that would be accepted in any verbal conversation and that would be considered the correct version in some dialects. (it was just adding one or two letters)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kana_Kaida
Kana_Kaida
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A lot of the languages don't have the "immersion" option or the "words" options. I believe French and German are on Trees 3.0 or higher right now. Irish is far newer than French, German, or Spanish and like a lot of other languages it doesn't have all of the options that those languages do yet.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mvk20
mvk20
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Like galaxy said above, Duolingo isn't the end all be all of language learning. But it may be the begins all be all of language learning. What I mean is that Duolingo is great for getting people started on learning a language, and getting them far enough that they can then progress on their own using other sources and materials. It is a great tool, put in the hands of many people, free of charge. Added visibility for the language on a major platform adds prestige as well. For those of us that care about this language and hope that its speaker base grows in both size and competency, that has been a gift to all of us. Of course the course isn't perfect and there should always be efforts to make it better, as is currently taking place. But as I said, I think it's been a great thing for the language and I hate to think that the creators of it might have been discouraged from putting it out there, as is.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

While doing a strengthening exercise this morning, I came across this thread from over a year ago. Some of the comments by dubhais, one of the original contributors to this Duolingo course, have some interesting insights on the Gaeltacht vs Gaelscoil issue.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/liamh3

Thanks, have been reading through this thread and have looked now at the other one. Fact is that Irish is still dying in the Gaeltachtaí for the most part, and can't recede much further, as it did at the start of the 20th century in the Déise part of Tipperary I am from. Personally, I feel this constant and incessant receding is damaging to us as a people and would like to reverse it, but to do so means adding Gaelscoil Irish to the mix of dialects. It means urbanising the language and pushing out from the centres of power. Irish has been a rural language for so long that the link between rural life and the language (and traditional music, and half-empty landscapes....) is hard to recast as one that also embraces - here it comes - "Pale Irish" ;-).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

There's an article in today's Irish Times about the continued decline of the East Galway gaeltacht and dialect.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/liamh3

Noteworthy in that article is the apparently well-supported call for an urban gaeltacht in Knocknacarra. We need these throughout the country (as well as schools incl. secondary) as part of a broader move to revitalise rural towns as well as buoyant cities like Galway.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Guys, I came across these two interesting quotes from an t-Athair Peadar Ó Laoighaire that relate somewhat to this topic, so I thought I'd share them here:

‘It may be laid down as a general rule that, such is the innate antagonism between the two languages in every phrase, that so surely as a word is used figuratively in one it is certain to be taken literally in the other, and to express outrageous nonsense.’ [speaking of Irish and English]

and:

'By far the most important matter in connection with the revival of our language is the syntax. If the syntax be good, we have good Irish, even if half the words were foreign. If the syntax be bad, the language is not Irish at all, even though each separate word be the purest Irish.'

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

@liamh3 - I think native Irish could be preserve by urban speakers if a greater amount of music (not like sean nós but new stuff), media, etc are produced in native Irish. That way people will have to know their pronunciatioin and idioms to understand it and more will pick it up in their speech. Their seems to be a marked lack of contribution by native speakers to the preservation of their language, while it is the urban speakers who are all on fire and doing so much for the language, which is why urban Irish is breaking away into a new dialect. I think something needs to be done about this imbalance.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ezkertia
Ezkertia
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I agree that something should be done about the audio, but otherwise I think you're being a bit harsh in your criticism. None of the Duolingo courses are terribly in-depth. If you are a native speaker of Irish, I'm sure the Irish team would welcome your concrete suggestions for corrections and improvement, but bear in mind that the Irish course is a labour of love on the part of all who contributed, and it's a far cry better than nothing.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

It's not like Duolingo is the only course for Irish. There are several textbooks that are much more in-depth and better, in my opinion. It's just people don't want to do it the old-fashioned "hard" way so they turn to Duolingo.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ezkertia
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I certainly didn't mean to imply that the Duolingo course was the only one out there for Irish, but it does make Irish accessible in a way that textbooks don't--it's freely available, it's mostly non-technical, and it's interactive in a way books can't be, with audio and immediate feedback on exercises. There's no question it has its flaws and limitations, but I think it provides a much more engaging, less intimidating initiation to Irish than, for example, O'Siadhail's Learning Irish (although the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive).

You say that "people don't want to do it the old-fashioned 'hard' way" as if it reflects badly on "lazy" would-be language learners, but there's something to be said for good instructional design that keeps a learner's attention and helps them engage with the material they're learning in meaningful ways that will help them remember. In a classroom setting, a good teacher can provide this even if the materials he or she uses don't. But for independent learners, there's tremendous value in having materials that present the language in a way that is interesting, friendly, and relevant to the learner, as opposed to simply laying out a bunch of phonetic, morphological and syntactic rules. I want to be clear that I'm not trying to hold up Duolingo as the be-all and end-all of approaches to language learning, nor am I trying to suggest that the presentation of rules has no place in language teaching. My point is that Duolingo has found certain ways to add interest and engagement to independent language learning, and I believe that's to be commended, not derided.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

A few things:

1) They have new audio, and are reviewing it currently. For the first speaker, they only got to hear 10 samples, and apparently nothing in-depth. For this speaker, they're listening to everything. It should be released with Tree 2.0. The difference between this and French is that French uses TTS, so people understand it's not entirely accurate, whereas here they got a real speaker, which would lead people to assume she knows what she's doing.

Though props to the team. After a few initial discussions, they did acknowledge the error in the audio and worked on correcting it.

2) Duolingo isn't meant to take anyone to an intermediate level of the language; it can only teach the basics. Why? Because it doesn't have you speak or listen, really. Nor does it give you much option to write, except the few translations to Irish it gives you. Duolingo can be a decent start, but it's not capable of taking you to a decent level in a language on its own, and it certainly shouldn't be looked at as a single learning tool, but merely as the first of many.

That said, I do believe that there are coursebooks out there (Learning Irish, to name one) that are better than Duolingo, but I think you're expecting too much. Which, granted, does happen a lot since people seem to think Duolingo is the end-all-be-all of language learning.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

And that's great news that they're reviewing the audio. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pancakes-R-Us

Totally agree on the audio, but I still am enjoying this course very much. There are a few websites that offer native translation that I know of. This course would be absolutely amazing if they had native speakers doing it! Heck it would be above and beyond if they got the three main dialects in there, but hey, that's asking a bit much.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

(I'm moving this response back up to the root level to allow room for replies)

There is one very important resource and that is na Gaeltachtaí. No better resource exists for learning Irish.

There are two obvious issues with that approach. One the one hand, most of the people interested in learning or improving their Irish don't have the resources to spend significant amounts of time in a Gaetacht. (any more than most of the people interested in learning French or Italian can spend a substantial amount of time in France or Italy). Secondly, the Gaeltachts simply don't have the capacity to support the numbers who could benefit, if those learners had the time and money to spend more time in the Gaeltacht. Just look at the Cúrsaí Samhraidh - English speaking kids speaking Irish to other English speaking kids. In theory they are staying with Irish speaking families, but in practice that's almost meaningless, with 8 or 10 daltaí in a house. You could achieve almost as much by holding it in Darndale or Kilbarrack.

If you want to actually use Irish, you're best bet would be to go to a Gaeltacht, where you will need to use a dialect.

Did you really just say "Irish is no use to you unless you're in a Gaeltacht"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

I'm using this post to respond to the one above:

--"If the sole purpose of the spoken sentences in Duolingo was for people who were already familiar with the cadences of Munster Irish to translate from spoken Irish into English, or to transcribe what was being said, then Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh would be a fine speaker. But judging by the number of people who have no previous exposure to Irish, and who are relying on IPA to get a handle on the sounds of Irish, it might be a bit of a stretch."--

Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh just speaks Irish, Máirtín Tom Sheáinín just speaks Irish. That is what Irish sounds like. They are not "extreme" regional speakers of Irish, they are just native speakers of Irish. I do not understand this, they are the perfect role model for pronunciation. How can listening to native speakers be too extreme for "mere" beginners. In every language you try listening to native speakers, isn't this obvious?

If I had no previous exposure to Japanese I wouldn't be afraid to listen to an actual Japanese person.

And if somebody were using the IPA, wouldn't the best thing be to actually hear the sounds from somebody who produces them effortlessly?

--"Learning materials in any language usually use a "neutral" accent - even for learning English, you can find a neutral mid-Atlantic accent that doesn't overly emphasis any given dialect, yet will be unambiguously clear for a learner."--

A neutral accent such as that simply doesn't exist in Irish. There is a standard phonology in some languages, but in many there is not. Irish is one of the languages for which there is not.

How would this neutral accented speaker pronounce broad r versus slender r?

How would they treat the r in "Cuirfidh", would they devoice it or not?

How would they say Leathgháire, with a ch or gh?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

"Did you really just say "Irish is no use to you unless you're in a Gaeltacht"?"

Nope, but it's one of the only places where you'll have a chance to speak it. You're comments on staying in the Gaeltacht sadly are very true. Apart from the point about most of the people being English-speaking, the Courses are very costly. I have to check out whether there are other options for staying in the Gaeltacht, outside of Gaeltacht courses.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

but it's one of the only places where you'll have a chance to speak it.

Do you honestly think that resources like TG4 and RnaG are only relevant to the residents of the Gaeltachts, and that if you're not physically in close proximity to a Gaeltacht, there's no point in speaking Irish?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Let me ask another slightly provocative question (in the thought provoking sense, I mean!)

Judging from your comments, you'd support the abolition of compulsory Irish in Schools. Would you go further, and actually restrict Irish to courses that had a specific immersion component (presumably subsidised, of course)?

Do you think Irish would be stronger now if Irish had never been mandatory in Irish schools, and for NUI matriculation, and for entry to certain state jobs?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

< Do you honestly think that resources like TG4 and RnaG are only relevant to the residents of the Gaeltachts, and that if you're not physically in close proximity to a Gaeltacht, there's no point in speaking Irish? >

Oh no, I think they're fantastic resources for all learners of Irish and I don't think it matters whether you live close to a Gaeltacht or not. But I do think it's good to rely on native speakers as a pronunciation guide, and also to learn all kinds of idioms and phrases that they use that can help us learn how to speak Irish naturally (you can pick up a lot of the abbreviations and phrases that they use by listening.) And these phrases and things are helpful to know because they make it easier to understands native speakers when they're talking (which some of them do at a lightning pace xD ). If you can't get to a gaeltacht, than RnaG and TG4 will have to do. But I'm of the opinion that it's better to learn through one dialect (without completely excluding the others) than to use the standard. Of course there is, as I think you mentioned, a distinction between pronunciation and accent, so if you choose to learn say the Connemara dialect, you're not committing a crime if you don't speak it with a Galway accent. xD But one should try and pick up the particular sounds of Irish that are important to pronounce (the slender consonants and the aspirated c's and g's are commonly neglected by learners, for example). But of course there's no need to treat one dialect as infallible.

< Judging from your comments, you'd support the abolition of compulsory Irish in Schools. Would you go further, and actually restrict Irish to courses that had a specific immersion component (presumably subsidised, of course)? >

Do you think Irish would be stronger now if Irish had never been mandatory in Irish schools, and for NUI matriculation, and for entry to certain state jobs? >

I wouldn't say to abolish compulsory Irish. But I would support an absolute revision of the course in the schools, seeing that it's an absolute failure. It should be far less focused on the reading of Irish, and conversational/spoken Irish should be given a lot more time. I'd say only to have native speakers teaching it. The immersion component would be very profitable but I'm not sure of it's practicability. Maybe the schools could require a minimum amount of time spent in a Gaeltacht area. And as for mandatory Irish: if it were to be effective it would need to more mandatory, mandatory outside of school. People are learning Irish and then getting no opportunity to use it. If Irish is going to be taught mandatorily, a need for it must also be put in place. Say if the following laws had been put in place long back: All advertising, signage, etc, must be in Irish along, Irish tv stations are to broadcast only in Irish, all government application forms, garda application forms, etc, must be written in Irish, all members of government must be fluent in Irish, all government businness business conducted in Irish, all schools taught through Irish, and Irish the only official language of the country, the need for Irish would be there, and by the next generation Irish would be the main language of the country. You and I would be fluent, native speakers of Irish today. By studying how Irish was taking over by English, we could have put in effect a scheme for making Irish take over again. Some of this could probably still be done, but it really should have been done a long time ago. At the moment, students are being forced to learn a language that they will never have any need for. What's happening in fact, is that they're being thought to learn Irish just to get points in school and not out of love for the language. So to sum it up Irish is too mandatory and not mandatory enough. If they're not going to make it mandatory outside of school than they should make it optional, so that way people will choose the language out of love for it. But it's hard to predict whether that will happen. Maybe they'll just say "Great, now we don't have to bother with stupid Irish any more, I'm definitely not gonna bother learning it." Probably there'd be a mix of both reactions. Sorry this post is embarrassingly long. :(

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

This came across this excellent article: http://tuairisc.ie/ta-mo-fhoghraiocht-chomh-maith-le-do-fhoghraiocht/ It makes the point I've been trying to make: In what other language will you find the the learners' pronunciation is preferred to that of the native speakers? It's in Irish by the way.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Very good article that makes a very good point. Now, if only it'll be heeded (which I doubt).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Yes, I was delighted to find that article and to these those very necessary points being made. This is also a good article: http://www.acmhainn.ie/athchlo/lorganbhearla/lorg03.htm

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

'nother link: http://www.irishlanguageforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=1701 ^Some will find this very informative. Also there's a native speaker or two there giving very helpful advice.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

That link isn't working for me. However, I'm a member of that forum, and believe I know which thread it was.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Sorry, I don't know why the link's not working. It's a thread called "Common mistakes learners make" And yes, I saw that you were on there :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

That type of thing is very common with 'I start my new job tomorrow' and similar types of sentences.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

On a side note: does anyone know whether they intend to add some of the other options to the Irish course? (The fluency gauge, "Words" and "Immersion"?)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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Immersion is definitely off the table for Irish, Dutch, and all newer courses. I don’t know about Words. The fluency gauge seems to be of questionable merit, even if it were available.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Oscar0799

Ok. Yeah, I was kinda suspicious about the fluency gauge. "I'm 13% fluent in French, really? I'd never have thought it..." I don't know what it's based on...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ClionaJoyce

Just putting this out there, I think there could definitely be an immersion for the Irish course. I might be wrong, but I don't think it would be too much work to do it seeing as they have it for other languages. If people don't think there is enough Irish to English material (which I think there is, going off Irish web magazines and newspapers as well as all the Irish books there are) they can just do English to Irish? But maybe the demand to be translated isn't as strong, I saw companies come to duolingo to get their websites and such translated, perhaps that's the motivation with the existing immersions.

2 years ago
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