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https://www.duolingo.com/Shanow22

A suggestion to those learning Irish.

Shanow22
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Irish grammar is incredibly difficult to unfamiliar newcomers to the language. Irish spelling and pronunciation may look also impossibly difficult and inconsistent at first but there is a pattern. Irish spelling and its pronunciation are actually far more consistent than English.

I have received countless number of questions on the complex grammar and pronunciation of Irish. A lot of these questions have come from people who can hardly form a basic sentence.

The patterns will come naturally and gradually overtime. Do not get worked over the grammar or the spelling for now. Stick to the basics. Learn basic grammar and vocabulary and how to form basic sentences. I am familiar myself from learning other languages, with the desire to speed things up. But recognizing these patterns takes time.

So I really can't stress it enough. Master the basics. Ignore the urú's and the séimhíu's. If you are fortunate enough to live or visit Ireland or if there is an Irish language center near you, try basic conversations with people and ignore the complex grammar for now.

I strongly believe you will learn the language far more quickly this way. Once your vocabulary and ability to form sentences improves, this is when you will notice the patterns in Spelling/Pronunciation as well as grammar. Then you can delve into the harder stuff.

I really encourage people to learn like this. And if you have any Irish speakers in your proximity or online, all the better.

Go n-éirí an bóthar libh go léir :)

It's great to see all the positive feedback. One person was saying that some people have taken this aproach too far and hence completely ignored grmmar completely and coming out with things like 'Tá mé fear.' In oppose to 'Is fear mé... I respect that point of view also, But I argue that you should not fret about using the incorrect grammar.

For those in Irish-speaking Ireland, we are very familiar to these types of mistakes. Don't worry, we won't kill you in some pagan sacrifice to the gods :p We will generally just correct you and overtime, as I mentioned previously, there are patterns. They will come to you slowly over time. But once you've reached a proficient level, the things that seemed so hard at first, make you wonder why you struggled with them in the first place. My main agenda here is I don't want for people to take up Irish and then quit shorty after due to archaic grammar and Spelling/ Pronunciation

Our spelling may appear incredibly difficult at first. But patters start to emerge over time. If someone was to present with a word in English that I had never before, and a word in Irish I had never seen before. I would. I could give a far greater guess at the pronunciation for Irish word

2 years ago

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/CadetheBruce
CadetheBruce
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I studied Scottish Gaelic before I studied Irish. With learning Scottish Gaelic, I always found there is much more of the "Don't worry about rules and getting things perfect--just do it" attitude than I've found with Irish. I genuinely think it is a better approach. There's no point in obsessing over grammar rules or pronunciation if it ultimately obstructs you from ever actually learning and using the language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knoxienne
Knoxienne
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Extremely encouraging words. Perfectionism can have a paralyzing effect on us.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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I think this hits the nail on the head, perfectionism can be a big problem.

However, that's different from saying that grammar or spelling is a problem. I don't think that avoiding perfectionism means completely leaving out grammar. I don't get every lenition right and don't use every construction correctly and it's not a big deal, but if I hadn't at least read up the grammar so I know what to expect, I think I would be completely frustrated because things wouldn't make any sense.

Of course, it all depends on your personal learning style. So if you can't make use of grammatical explanations and they are just daunting to you, follow the advice of the original poster and ignore them.

But if you're someone like me who wants to know some theory about how everything works and why things are said the way they are said, don't let anyone discourage you to look up things. GnaG is an excellent resource (better than what I know for other languages) and sometimes I like to read whole sections in it just out of curiosity even though I only went there to look up a very specific thing.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I agree, but I think it can go too much in the other way as well. People just get so away from trying to use grammar correctly that they stop caring and just use bad Irish. It's really the middle path that needs to happen; don't push for 'perfectionism' immediately, but rather over the course of years, and don't accept horrible things like tá mé fear.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Windrammer
Windrammer
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Good old Aristotle.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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Yes, of course avoiding to learn grammar formally doesn't mean avoiding to learn grammar at all. If you don't have the grammar, you don't speak the language, it's as easy as that. You can avoid reading up grammar rules, but then you need to invest a lot more time to figure out the rules from examples. I for one think that this is the much harder and more frustrating way, but people are different.

It's also why I consider Duolingo utterly useless for learning new grammar. It's great for learning vocabulary and practising the grammar that I already know in the context of full sentences, but for learning the grammar in the first place I need additional resources. But again, it may be working for other people.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Toretha

Hm. I find if I read grammar rules before I've seen them used a lot they're useless to me, but if I've run into a rule in action for a while, it THEN benefits me to read the rule, because then I've hit it enough to make sense. I like Duolingo for that because it's fairly low stress and low focus on the grammar rules, but you're right that there is a point at which those rules are easier to learn from reading than practice.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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What I like about GnaG is that it doesn't only give you the rule itself, but lots of examples to illustrate it in different contexts. So you do see them in action, in some way.

I should probably also say that by reading I mean just that, I don't try to actively memorise them or anything. It's often an interesting read for me ("oh, that's a funny way to say this") and when I see the construction "in the wild", I often recognise it, while I guess I would be puzzled if I had never seen it before.

Now just reading up grammar for the sake of it is probably something most people don't have the motivation for, so I usually only end up doing that when I want to write something in Irish and can't figure out how to say it correctly - but then I get stuck and follow interesting links etc. And this is probably the most inefficient way to write something because a sentence can easily take me half an hour this way, but I'm building up a feeling for how the language works, so I think it's worth it.

Anyway, that might be might my tip to Irish learners (or actually any language), whether they like grammar or not: Try to write as much as you can, and if you don't know how to express something, look it up or ask. And ideally get your text corrected by someone who has better Irish than you. When you actually use the language instead of just consuming it, you learn the most.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guitardude2000
Guitardude2000
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What is "GnaG"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Gramadach na Gaeilge is an English translation of a German guide to Irish grammar. (An annoying advertisement has been adding to the title page recently, unfortunately, but I imagine traffic to the site has increased quite a bit since Duolingo started teaching Irish). It is a very helpful guide with concise descriptions of most of the grammatical issues that people grapple with. But it's greatest strength is that it's well organized and it is easy to post a link directly to the explanation of a particular point when someone asks a question.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guitardude2000
Guitardude2000
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Ahh, feicim. Go raibh maith agat!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RG710
RG710
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What you just write is actually one of the ways that I use to learn my second language and it works. I notice that I do so much more better when I don't really concern about the grammar but to just form sentences, it can be the simplest sentence as long as you learn something. Great advice simple but works.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin
Tattamin
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Also, it is basically what duolingo tries to teach. Learning new words and expressions and repeating them over and over until they come to you automatically, without thinking about the why or the how.
I was struggling with my Russian and was about to print declination tables etc. to have at hand while studying - and then consciously decided to not do that and just learn and accept whatever duo is throwing at me. I feel so free now, just concentrating on the actual sentences.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnDunach
AnDunach
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Aontaím céad faoin gcéad a Sheán.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saraheliz17

Thanks Shanow22!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Guitardude2000
Guitardude2000
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Thank you so much for this post, wonderful advice! Like others have said, it isn't good just to throw grammar to the wind, but don't let your lack of grammar keep you from using what Irish you do have . It's very nice to have a sort of "mini-Gaeltacht" on Duolingo where you can always ask others with more Irish than you for help and corrections.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/filipmc
filipmc
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Thanks

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StanStanDaMan

Thank you for the encouragement! It is so odd, but I am beginning to see the pattern, at least in word choice and word order; it's not what I expected at all. It is familiar in an eerie way.

Edited two months later to say that I'm definitely seeing the patterns. So I would agree with the idea that learning strategies should change from more simple to more complex as the student progresses. After all, two year olds can learn this language!

1 year ago