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Seeing the mouth, teeth and tongue when listening?

I find it quite difficult sometimes to replicate the consonant sounds in Gaelic. It struck me just now that it'd be cool to be able to see a gaelic speaker's mouth/tongue movements when learning the words. I've been watching BBC Alba to try and get that effect but I'm not fluent enough to follow much of what they say yet. Just some thoughts :)

January 29, 2020



You can listen to my cousin talk for free. He speaks as if one day they're going to charge him per word. Though watching his mouth might be hard between the chain-smoking.


This might help https://learngaelic.scot/sounds/index.jsp


That's a great idea !


It's a funny thing, but if I can't make out what's being said I often look away from the screen and then the words seem clearer somehow. I do sometimes listen, then speak along with the audio file a few times to try to copy it. I only do that with the clearer speakers though.


Yes I found that a couple of times - if I closed my eyes the distinct words suddenly made sense in my brain


I don't know why that is. I don't even need to close my eyes, just looking away from the screen and not focussing my eyes does it too. Maybe it frees up more brain for the auditory process? But I thought the auditory cortex was separate from the optical processing system.

I remember once arguing with my godson about whether or not a particular actress was saying a line. The face could be seen, but she was so disguised as to be unrecognisable. He said, don't look at her face, look away. I did, and at that point my brain supplied the clear information that this was indeed the voice of the actress in question. Maybe a neurologist knows how that works.


It's because you're not reading the words, so the part of you brain that has spent years learning to sound things out phonetically in English doesn't come into play.


But in neither of these examples was I actually reading any words. Hmmm. Intriguing.


You might find "Speaking Our Language" - an old Gaelic course from the BBC helpful. A lot of it is on YouTube.

Learn Scottish Gaelic in just 5 minutes a day. For free.