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https://www.duolingo.com/magickman

Anyone already learning Irish?

magickman
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Seeing as Duolingo has announced it will be adding an Irish course, I wondered if there were any Duolinguists who were already learning the language, are interested in it - or even speak it!

Mícheál is anim dom. Tá cúpla focal Gaeilge agam anois, ach táim ag foghlaim go mall!

My name's Mike. I have a few words of Irish, but I'm learning slowly. :)

Conas atá sibh, a Dhuolingo?

Some random facts about Irish:

1) The name of the language in Irish is 'Gaeilge' (Gayl-guh). In English it is simply called 'Irish'. 'Gaelic', which you sometimes hear used, refers in Irish to the 'Scottish Gaelic' language.

2) Irish is a member of the 'Goidelic' branch of the Celtic languages, along with Scottish and Manx Gaelic.

3) Irish uses Verb-Subject-Object word order, which only 9% of the world's languages use.

4) Irish has no verb for 'to have'. To express ownership you say something is 'at' you/me/him/her/them etc.

'Tá leabhar agam' = 'I have a book' = Lit: 'Is book at me'.

'Tá ríomhaire agat' = 'You have a computer' = Lit: 'Is computer at you'.

5) There are no specific words for 'yes' and 'no' in Irish. To answer a question you repeat the verb in a positive or negative form.

'An maith leat é'? = 'Do you like it?' = Lit: 'Is good with you it?'

'Is maith' = 'Yes' = Lit: 'Is good' 'Níl maith' = 'No' = Lit 'Is not good'

Like many bits of Irish, this has crossed over into how the Irish speak English:

'Did you see him?' 'I did'.

6) Like many languages, Irish changes the ends of words to express different meanings, but like the other Celtic languages it also makes changes to the beginnings of words. These changes are called Séimhiú (softening) and Urú (Eclipsis). This means depending on grammatical context a word such as 'bean' ('woman') can be:

Bean (pronounced 'ban') mBean (pronounced 'man') Bhean (pronounced 'van').

Tá mé ag tnuth le gaeilge ag foghlaim ar Duolingo! :)

4 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/adamyoung97
adamyoung97
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Wow.... Those are some neat facts. Some things I noticed:

-No. 4 is like Hungarian and Turkish (They both say "There is my/your/his etc.):

  • Könyvem van - I have a book
  • Benim kitabım var - I have a book

Not possessing something, therefore, is said using There isn't:

  • Nincs könyvem - I don't have a book
  • Benim kitabım yok - I don't have a book

-No. 5 is the same as Chinese, and Hungarian and Turkish when asking if there is or isn't something (including possession):

  • 你有没有一个姐姐?有/没有 - Do you have a sister? Have/Don't have (Yes/No)
  • Van nővéred? Van/Nincs - Do you have a sister? (Lit. Is there your sister?) There is/There isn't (Yes/No)
  • Senin kızkardeşın var mı? Var/Yok - Do you have a sister? (Lit. Is there your sister?) There is/There isn't (Yes/No)
4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/magickman
magickman
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Yes, I've noticed some of these similarities before. Irish definitely has quite an alien syntax to an English speaker. It's one of the reasons it can be a challenging language, but it also makes for some quite interesting constructions!

For example, Irish has no pluperfect tense, so you have to say you are 'after' doing something.

'Tá mé tar éis mo dhinnéar a ithe' = 'I have eaten my dinner' = Lit: 'I am after my dinner eating' . This is another one that has crossed over into the Irish speaking English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
patbo
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That's not a pluperfect. That one would be something like "I had eaten".

As I understand it, "tar éis ithe" is a tense that doesn't really exist in English (outside Ireland anyway) and means "I have just finished eating". That is, you can't say it any more two hours later.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/magickman
magickman
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I thought I might have got the tense name wrong. Thanks for the correction. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/underwood.jones
underwood.jones
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Thank you for this great introduction to the beautiful Irish language! I am greatly looking forward to the Irish course on Duolingo, and plan to take it as soon as I am able :) I have made multiple attempts to learn Irish, however the pronunciation is quite challenging for me as the subtle nuances present some great difficulty to beginners. As there have not been a great deal of resources out there that allow the beginner to hear the words (and their various altered forms) it has not been approachable for me to learn with books (though I have a few that are sitting on my shelf, only their first few chapters showing any signs of wear!).

I am on tenterhooks anticipating the Duo course as the ability to listen to and hear the words may finally give me the edge over pronunciation I have been so longing for in Irish!

Go raibh maith agat Duo!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/magickman
magickman
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I know that feeling well enough! One of the big issues is that there's no real central/standardised pronunciation of Irish. A standardised pronunciation does exist, but it's a bit of a mash-up of the three very different main dialects (Ulster, Connaught and Munster) and not everyone likes it.

On the other hand, the pronunciation rules aren't really as difficult as the crazy orthography makes it seem. It's actually fairly regular, it just takes an English-speaking student some time and some exposure to start reading the words 'in Irish' rather than in English. It's something that I'm still working on myself.

Listening to the language as much as possible is the key thing.

Radió na Gaeltachta is an Irish language radio station run by the State broadcaster RTÉ (Radió Teilifís Éireann). It has talk shows, news programmes and music and can be streamed from their website. The lack of accompanying text can be an issue, but it's good for getting used to the sounds of the language and identifying words and sentences you've learned in actual speech.

TG4 ('TG Ceathair') is the state-run Irish language channel. There's news, talk shows, drama, sport and children's TV shows - including foreign shows dubbed into Irish. Again it can be streamed from the website.

Finally, Cólaiste Lurgan are a 'Gaelscoil' (Irish speaking school) in Galway. They're fairly well known in Ireland for doing covers of popular English songs 'as Gaeilge'. They do a number of videos for their music which also have lyrics -very useful for picking up some words and pronunciation! Search for 'TGLurgan' on Youtube.

Ádh mór a underwood!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kaybird13

I studied Scottish Gaelic last year (part of which included comparing it to Irish) so even though I don't know a lot of vocabulary I can still pick out the basic sentence parts. (: Really looking forward to having Irish on Duolingo!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fionnchu
Fionnchu
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I taught myself the basics of Gaeilge pre-Net largely by lessons in the Michael Ó Siadhail "Learning Irish" book but I lacked the tapes; that series was in the Cois Fharraige Conamara dialect of Co. Galway, a default compromise for the Connacht (Western) version halfway between Uladh (Ulster/Northern) and Mumha (Munster/Southern). It is a linguistics-heavy textbook and not that enjoyable. The last province of Ireland, Leinster, lacks its dialect but most people use the "school Irish" taught in most of the Republic of Ireland which as "Conas atá tú?" shows resembles Munster more. Later I used the BBC-NI Gíota Beag series to hear the language and download the simple but effective lessons. That was much more fun, with a strong Northern accent that is heavier than the Western type. The BBC series is lamentably brief compared, say, to the wealth of resources for Welsh on that BBC site. But it's free, and the BBC resources for both Irish in limited form and Welsh in much more are worthwhile. Sadly, the Irish-language ones on the Ireland media sites I have found less so, but this may be changing. Magickman seems to be more current with what's on offer. I think the progress of sites online may have been countered by the recession: check RTÉ, RnG, and TnG/4 for possibilities. BBC and RTÉ may prevent some overseas viewing. I am in the U.S. and I find this happening more and more with RTÉ, for instance. (Sorry this is all one block on this entry system). I went to Oideas Gael in Co Donegal summer 2007 for two weeks immersion. While I was a solo learner, I found when entering their classes that I was among many who had taken Irish at universities abroad or had knowledge from school way back or from their children in school in Ireland, so I was at a disadvantage. While I could read to keep up with classmates, and could write, I lacked the ear to hear the language as spoken everyday, and struggled mightily to keep pace. I tried speaking it and nobody could easily make out what I said as I lacked practice with others, rather than a book and hearing it and saying it back to myself. So, the limits of self-taught lessons, I can assure you, are present in Irish, which lacks the clearer connection of words to sounds that, say, Spanish does. Irish is so old that many letters are no longer pronounced, and the reforms in spelling to simplify it the past half-century while they eased the problem still carry with various dialects their own idiosyncratic articulation. This may be exaggerated in practice as learners usually opt for a simpler version as taught in schools, anyway. But for me, the gap between seeing the letters and hearing/ speaking the words is large, and as a adult visual learner, a real barrier. I have not used Rosetta Stone in Irish but I have been told that it teaches a Munster version, and I predict if Duo persists in Irish they will opt for a similar one, as most schoolchildren get a compromise version of the language/ accent as used by the state and media anyway. Of course, as I am slowly learning French on Duo, that's tough too! (As an experiment, I am learning French only by Duo for now to see how that compares with the way I learned Spanish and Latin in school and how I picked up Irish in various odd ways. Not sure how long I can progress in French only by Duo, but it's intriguing to see what works and what does not in such a data-driven medium for a solo learner like me. I wanted to try a language from scratch by this method.) The same sonic challenges if in different combinations persist in Welsh as in French and in Irish, I can tell you. But, having a bit of fluency in Irish, as my immigrant family spoke it in my grandparents' time less than a century ago, makes me proud, and Irish (as a fading language in much of the Gaeltacht, let's be honest) needs support from learners old and young. I hope Duo inspires new speakers. Ádh mór, a chairde/good luck, friends.

4 years ago