Fourth milestone reached: Keep on learning!
I have finished three fourths of the tree now. Time for a couple of more thoughts.
Right now am coming out of a low point in learning irish. There were probably two reasons for the low.
The first reason is a property of the irish language I really wish it didn't have. And who knows, maybe it doesn't and it is all in my imagination. It's like this: In the beginning I was told that differentiating the slender from broad pronounciation was important since it could result in different meanings. Now I know they really weren't kidding. The problem: There seems to be a far bigger number of similarly sounding syllables reused in a lot of words over and over again. You may remember from one of first posts here: This exact problem was one of the reasons why I failed learning Japanese. I really hoped that I would not encounter that problem ever again!
I call this problem the t-c-barrier since it seems to occur mainly words starting with the letters t and c. Best examples are probably ceathair, cathaoir, cathair, ceachtar, ceantar and several others. I didn't think I would run into so many near-homophones. On the other hand I should not be surprised that I do. Just the fact that there are two whole conjugations for single- syllable verbs. That heavily implies that the language has a lot of very short words which in turn suggests that a lot of sounds are reused with some variations. Again, this is just my impression.
But then there is the second problem. The verbs. Oh boy! When I browse through my leech list in Anki, usually 20 percent are adverbs, 10 percent are nouns, 70 percent are verbs. Verbs are brutal! I know this is not an Irish specific problem. I have done some research and it seems verbs are much more difficult to learn than nouns in pretty much every language. But I can't remember them to be that hard in English or Latin. Or Japanese for that matter. Part of the problem seems to be that very few of them are recognizably indo-european. Which sounds plausible: verbs tend to loaned much less than other kinds of words and are being used more often. To me they also seem to have to little distinct features that would make them easily rememberable. And many of them are short.
So, if somebody is still working on Tree 2.0: Get rid of any Verb skills with more than five lessons! They are just pure torture and not fun at all! That past forms of verbs are relatively simple to form was initially nice, but I was not happy for long: The variations of the irregular verbs were pretty much worst-case when it comes to c-t-barrier. It's been almost four weeks already and I still have difficulities remembering many of them. (come, went, etc.)
So where do I go from here?
Well, I tell myself "it has to get better". Because there can't be a limitless reservoir of short verbs. Also, there are much more nouns than verbs. And the irregular forms, while annoying, should be used very often so maybe they will come to me automatically in time. As for the rest of the c-t-barrier words: I have no idea. I will see. All this put me through a phase where only stubbornness pulled me through. Hopefully it is a thing of the past.
One other thing: I purchased "The Smoking Room" and "Mad Weekend" in both irish and english versions. I am very happy about that! Thank you very much for that recommendation! I so much wished that I had something like that back when I was learning English or Latin. But the bilingual texts I had were Oscar Wilde or Julius Caesar. These books here are a whole new level of accessability. I already recognize about 60% of an irish sentence in one way or another, but only if I know the translation already. This is very promising at this stage!
I also started to wonder how I will continue after I am through with with the Duolingo tree. I will make a short run through my other three learning books I have: "Complete Irish", "Irisch für Anfänger" and "The Irish People's Lessons". In fact, this is how this irish thing started for me: I wanted to get a quick overview and review the learning material. I never really intended to actually learn the language at that time. Still, some people argue that I should continue on with more difficult stuff as soon as possible. But Duolingo does have its shortcomings and this way I may be able to get around some of them. And maybe I will actually do the review I originally planned.
Also I wonder if I will pick up another language at Duolingo. Something boring this time. Something that I won't be asked as often why I do that.
Well, I am pretty far on the tree and just went back to see if I could remember any of the verb from the Verb 2 section....nope...didn't get any of them without first hitting that skip button a million times. I just can't learn this many verbs at once and I really don't understand how you conjugate them without seeing the conjugations written out. I can't even tell you which ones are irregular. I feel like doing duolingo is like getting your first year of Irish in....your first year....where you forget most of what you learned...it will take lots and lots of going over and book work before I feel like I have actually learned the language. Right now I have stopped doing down the tree because there really are so many words I don't know....going to take a lot of reviewing before I can move on again.
Congratulations on making it this far. I found your review of your progress very interesting - I am also at the last checkpoint at the moment. Early on in the tree I had to make a conscious decision to "hang in there" which never happened before when I was learning a language; i usually just get on with it once I took the decision to learn it. I found that it definitely got easier though, and now there is no chance that I will give up.
Oh dear! Is Irish that difficult? - I've just looked the first lesson. For light relief, can I suggest Norwegian as a second language? Its verbs are even simpler than in English!
I can't say yet if irish is that difficult. Every language has areas that are difficult, it's just that some have more than others. The thing is: Irish has also areas where it is pretty easy, at least compared to German, maybe English, certainly Finnish (shudder).
So far I classified it with "medium difficulty". I am still doing it. Like I wrote, that problem with the short, silmilar sounding verbs may be only a phase. Once I get to the less common words it may get better again. Who knows? The Grammar is still relatively easy and so is (at least to me) the pronounciation.
I see you have level 16 in Welsh. While it is another branch of the island celtic languages I would expect that most aspects would be about equal in difficulty. I would be interested if the near-homophone problem is also there.
Where I work, someone is already learning Norwegian so it is an option. But I am tending more to Italian. The person sitting in front of me at work is italian.
Actually, I don't think that Irish is special with those many single syllable verbs. If you have a look at the (stems of) of the verbs in the basic vocabulary in English or German, it's true for most of them. For example, if you give it a try and check them, all of the verbs in this comment have only a single syllable. And it wasn't even intentional.
So I think it will get better over time as you learn and read or even write those verbs more often.