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  5. Finished my Tree! Moving on...


Finished my Tree! Moving on...

So I‘m finished with my Tree!


Took me almost a year. Sadfully longer than I hoped. But maybe I put too much emphasis on learning the vocabulary. I don’t know. Keeping my tree golden is almost ridiculously easy so it seems I have been doing something right. But I have to admit that I have gone through a low point two months ago with little progress, and I am aware that now begins the most dangerous part of my learning endeavor. The tool that controls my efforts is now mostly gone and I have nothing that can really replace it. So I have to keep going myself.

Right now I have two plans. For one, thanks to recommendations on this board I have two volumes of the “Open Door” series in both English and Irish. “The Smoking Room” is still somewhat too difficult for me. But “Mad Weekend” is brilliant! Now, I still can’t read it, but when I read both versions side by side I can make sense of about two thirds of it. I thing in the introduction I understood all but three words and there was one grammar construct that I could not decypher. But all in all it was very encouraging.

Apart from that: I tried some irish radio. I mean, I can often figure out what they are talking about, but usually only by some familiar keywords: “Aimsire”, “Ollscoil” or “Trump”. What makes the listening comprehension difficult for me are the verbs at the beginning of the sentence. When I try to get into listening to a language I don’t understand much yet I have to get into the sentence firs, and that often takes two or three words. In Irish, the most important part of the sentence is then already gone. (Japanese was easy in that regard: its verbs are at the end)

I also tried some videos, but I also thing it is too early. (and much of it is geoblocked anyway)

Oh, plan 2, I almost forgot: I have three more Irish teaching books. In fact, I didn’t plan on learning Irish at first, I just wanted to get impressions on different teaching methods and used Irish as an example. I will pick one of them an use it to repeat what I already know and add further words to my vocabulary. Which is at about 1200 words so far. About four words a day so far. That’s okay I guess.

BTW: It seems to me that there are only teaching books for beginners out there on Irish. Is there nothing for more advanced learners? It almost seems to me like everybody only has it for one year in school. Strange.

Anyway, I am glad that this course had a native speaker. It was sometimes hard to listen and unfortunately only some sentences had speech, but I like that much better than computer generated language. Also, when I started to feed Anki my learned words I made the Connacht dialect my dialect of choice and the Speaker here sounded very familiar to that.

April 27, 2017



Raidió na Gaeltachta is very convenient because you can listen to it live, or via podcasts, when you have time. But because you can't subtitle radio, you do need to have enough of a vocabulary to be able to keep up. News and Current affairs programs are helpful, because you often know what they are talking about, and can fill things in from context, but if you aren't familiar with what's topical in Ireland, they won't be as helpful. And the variety of voices that you will hear on a program like Cormac ag a Cúig is very helpful for understanding some of the dialect questions that arise in the discussions here, and why the issue of "the correct pronunciation" can be so contentious at times.

To help build up your vocabulary, TG4 can be helpful, but it's not as convenient, as you have to pay attention, and try and find a balance between reading the subtitles versus just listening to the audio. You can't multitask (check twitter, knit, do the crossword) while you're watching TG4, as you might do when watching other TV, because you typically have to pay more attention. And while some of the more interesting stuff on TG4 might be geo-blocked, there should still be plenty available for the purposes of helping you improve your aural Irish!


I occasionally listen to Raidió na Gaeltachta, but not yet for comprehension. Mostly in order to get more familiar with the sound of the language. Hopefully that will eventually help me later.


Congratulations on finishing your tree!

What is the grammar construct that you couldn’t decipher in the introduction of Mad Weekend ?



I know it means "their" but I am not yet sure when and why it is used.

Totally new words were suíocháin and uile. There were others but they were pretty easy to remember because they are based on words I already know, like fiorscéal and ólchan.


I’d guess that s’ in this case is a contraction of seo ; if that’s the case, then this structure typically uses an emphasized prepositional pronoun of ag, e.g. an chlann s’acusan or an chlann s’acu féin (“their own children”, literally “this offspring of them” — this use of ag is partitive).


Makes sense, especially because it is an emphasized situation.

We had the partitive use of ag in the course, right? I think "roinnt acu" was an example. It's going to take some while before something like this becomes intuitive.


Funnily enough, Breandan2014 used s' acu féin in his comment on my Slán go fóill thread.

The NEID has an ... s'agam in it's entry for "my", an ... s'agat in it's entry for "your" and an ... s'acu in it's entry for "your".

I tend to interpret that construct as "the ... that I have", or "the ... that they have", and sort of assumed that the s' was a degraded form of the copula (in the same way that "is ea" has become sea, but that's a functional understanding, (it works for me!) not a formal etymology. The FGB suggests that s' is derived from seo, and gives these examples:
"(d) (Followed by pron. forms of ag denoting ownership, relationship) An teach seo agamsa, "my house". An baile seo againne, "our town(land)". An mhuintir seo agaibhse, "your people". Ní hé Brian seo acusan atá mé a rá ach Brian seo againn féin, "I am not referring to their Brian but to our own Brian".

but it also says "s' could be a grammatical form of: 's » · have » · be » "

The full sentence from Deireadh seachtaine craiceáilte is D'ól said an chéad bheoir s'acu ón mbuidéal céanna - it means the same whether you translate it as "they drank the first beer that they had from the same bottle" or "they drank their first beer from the same bottle".

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