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https://www.duolingo.com/lakumi

What dialect of Irish Gaelic should I learn? *help!*

lakumi
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I started learning Irish Gaelic and got really excited about it, when I found out about the different dialects. I am now discouraged and confused. I don't know which one to learn. The iPhone app I am using to help me learn is very useful, but I don't know which dialect it is teaching me.

Next, I checked duolingo out as well, and they teach the Connacht dialect. I don't want to start duolingo because I am afraid it might be different from what I've already learned. What are the different dialects? Which dialect is the most useful? Can I understand and talk to people of different dialects? What are the differences between each one?

Also, duolingo says that they teach the "standardized Irish" (an Caighdeán Oifigiúil) . But, they say that is is a written, and not a spoken standard. I want to speak the language, and if the dialect duolingo teaches is only meant to be written, than whats the point? Could I speak the "standardized irish" they teach and still have people understand me?

ps I asked this question on yahoo answers but no one ever answered me so if you give me a good response I might give you a lingot :)

2 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Duolingo does not teach the Connacht dialect. Duolingo teaches "standard Irish", but the speaker that they use is from Connacht, so she has a Connacht accent, and occasionally uses Connacht specific forms.

If you want to engage with Irish in any form, you will need to be able to understand speakers from different dialects anyway, so you're not doing yourself any favours by focusing on any specific regional dialect - learn "standard Irish", and be aware of the occasional regional exceptions that occur. All of the dialects are mutually intelligible, with just a little practice (much of the difference can be describe as "accent", which just takes getting used to, and the grammatical and vocabulary differences are not that great, given how much you have to learn anyway).

None of the dialects are particular more useful than any others - if they were, then that dialect would have become dominant. At this stage of the game, the only "dialect" that is growing is "standard Irish", and with increasing intercommunication between people from different regions, the more extreme differences between the dialects are tending to disappear anyway.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lakumi
lakumi
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Thank you so much! The reply was very helpful.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FredWeasley11005

go raibh maith agat! (did I say that right?) I was pondering the same thing for a while but could not reply after I started the course over. This was a lot of help!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JordanD00
JordanD00
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If you use the standard Irish to speak to Irish speakers they will understand you. You can also speak with that written form and it'll work fine. In Ireland, we learn how to write Irish in school and use that for the spoken exam as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lakumi
lakumi
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Thanks for the reply!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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I don't want to start duolingo because I am afraid it might be different from what I've already learned.

This wouldn't be a problem, but actually an advantage because you would be used to hearing different accents and develop more tolerance for dialectal differences. In the end, for knowing Irish you want to be able to understand all three major dialects - which isn't really a problem, because the differences aren't that big.

Just expose yourself to all of them by using different resources (or when looking up words on teanglann.ie, check all three pronunciation examples) and over time you'll automatically become aware of the systematic sound changes between the accents.

As for the Irish that you speak or write yourself, as long as you don't have a preference towards a dialect, it's probably a good idea to keep your grammar consistent with the Caighdeán. However, even the standard allows different versions here and there, so you have some choices which put you closer to one dialect or another. But I wouldn't worry much about that, just pick whatever version you like. It won't be a completely consistent native dialect then, but people will understand you either way.

Eventually, I think most people develop a preference for some dialect, and once you become aware what the differences are and which way you like best, there's still time to check out the details and become more consistent in using the accent and grammar of a single dialect.

Myself, I was planning to use Caighdeán grammar, but started out with some resources that taught Munster pronunciations, then looked a bit into Connacht because it seemed a bit closer to the standard, and finally ended up doing a language course in Donegal. The result is some kind of watered down Ulster Irish, where I replace some Ulster features or words with things the Southern dialect have in common. And as long as I'm aware that I'm doing that, I'm happy with it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lakumi
lakumi
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Thanks for the helpful response! Caighdean is the one duolingo mostly teaches right?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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Yes, the Duolingo course basically has its written sentences conforming to the Caighdeán, but uses a Connacht accent for the audio (because, as you correctly wrote, the Caighdeán is a written standard, so it doesn't say anything about pronunciation).

Note that for most sentences the audio is not really in an actual Connacht dialect, but it's just the written (Caighdeán) text pronounced in a Connacht accent. Even though sometimes she does say an actual dialectal form that doesn't completely match the written word, but if you come across such sentences where pronunciation and text don't seem to match, just take a look at the sentence discussions to clear things up.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lakumi
lakumi
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Thank you so much! You are so helpful with this. I also have confusions with the order of subject, verbs, etc.. in sentences and conjugation in irish. Sorry if i'm bothering you with a lot of questions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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It's easier to answer this in the context of a specific example, but the basic word order is PSO: Predicate (Verb) - Subject - Object. If you want to read more about the theory, have a look at GnaG: http://nualeargais.ie/gnag/satz2.htm#der%20einfache%20Satz

You can also read up about verb conjugations on GnaG if you like. I'm also happy to help there, so feel free to ask, but about conjugation in general I could write several pages and I'm not sure what you're specifically looking for, so without a more specific question that wouldn't be very helpful.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lakumi
lakumi
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Also a sort of off topic question. I see you are learning a lot of languages. Are you fluent in most of them? Also, do you mix them up at times?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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Also a sort of off topic question. I see you are learning a lot of languages. Are you fluent in most of them? Also, do you mix them up at times?

Your post was at the maximum thread depth, so I'm replying to a different comment of yours.

First of all, you need to consider that anything below like level 8 or 9 isn't really worth being called learning a language, but just checking it out for a few hours or days. That already reduces the number of my "real" languages a bit.

I'm a native German speaker and fluent in English. My next best language is probably Dutch, which is similar enough to German that learning it was completely different than other foreign languages. I could learn the basics and then my passive comprehension (of written texts) was already good enough that I could go ahead and read random stuff on the internet. My spoken Dutch is weaker because I don't have the chance the practice it. These three are the languages that I think I could possibly have meaningful communication in, and Duolingo didn't play a big role in it.

Then there's Irish, which is my main focus and the strongest language of the rest. I think that I know the theory reasonably well if you give me enough time, but my vocabulary is too limited and I'm still too slow to apply the theory to non-trivial sentences while talking, so I'm not really fluent in it. But I think I'm on my way there.

The rest (French, Spanish, Swedish) is basically just languages that I thought I should know something about, then started doing the Duolingo course for a while and eventually lost motivation. I probably couldn't say a straight sentence in most of them.

Do I mix up languages? It mainly happens with languages that I haven't used in a while. If I want to think up a sentence in them, it can happen that a word or even structure from a different language comes to mind first. After doing some Irish exercises and then switching to another weak language of mine like Swedish, I want to start every Swedish sentence with a verb. But I think I'm usually aware of it and notice that it's wrong before I actually say or write it.

Another related effect is that when I'm unsure about Dutch grammar, I tend to use English grammar even though German grammar would be much closer and is in most cases correct there. But it's a foreign language, so it's supposed to be different from my native language, right? :-)

2 years ago