Irish audio, and the Irish 'r' sound.
Just wondering - is the lady who recorded the Irish audio a native speaker, or did she learn it as a second language? I'm nearly sure she has mispronounced quite a few of the words.
There's also the fact that it sounds like she's using the English 'r' sound (alveolar approximant for the linguists out there), rather than the native Irish 'r' sound which is closer to the tapped 'r' in Spanish (alveolar taps).
I know in school in Ireland and N. Ireland, we usually get taught with the terrible Anglophone pronunciation, but as this course stands to be one of the biggest sources for Irish education on the web, we might be better with a more native-sounding pronunciation.
I hope this doesn't sound overly critical of the course. So far, you guys have done a fantastic job, and I'm ecstatic to see this finally coming to life, and seeing how many people are interested in learning Irish.
Maith sibh, agus go raibh maith agaibh ó Thuaisceart Éireann! ;)
I don't speak any Irish yet, but after watching some videos on YouTube, I got the impression that most Irish speakers (even in videos recommended for good pronunciation) seem to have English accents, although to varying degrees. Being a native german speaker, some characteristics that I would consider typical of an English accent, especially the retroflex r and gliding vowels, are immediately recognizable. Now, of course I might be wrong and that's just how proper Irish or some of its dialects should sound, but I found an old video of a monolingual Irish native speaker and there are no traces of anything resembling an English accent, as far as I can tell. However, I couldn't find any other video of people sounding like him. How does he sound to more recent native Irish speakers? Are there still people around who talk like him? Are there videos of them?
My mother and her family talk like him, albeit in Donegal Irish. You will find plenty of native Irish spoken on TG4: http://www.tg4.ie/ . I also find it highly unlikely that that fellow, or any native Irish speaker living in the 20th century, was 'monolingual'. They might have been reluctant or inhibited speaking English but nearly all were well able to. My grandparents spoke English as a second language very well, as did pretty much everyone in their Gaeltacht village, few of whom had more than a primary education. It is true that increased exposure to television and radio has probably caused accent shifts among native speakers (as it has among Irish speakers of English) but there is still a marked difference in tone and pronunciation between native speakers and the Irish who learned it in school. Note too that the pronunciation of many words varies among the three dialects. The Irish in the recordings on Duolingo uses a (rather approximate) form of Munster Irish.
Seán Ó hEinirí (the man in that youtube video) was genuinely unable to speak English, Séamas Ó Catháin mentions this a few times in his accounts of the Mayo Gaeltacht in books like "A Mhuintir Dhú Chaocháin".
Fair enough, though that would have been a very rare phenomenon even in the mid-twentieth century in Ireland. My point in replying to Lispinchen was rather to assure him/her that Irish has not turned into a language that sounds like English simply because its native speakers can speak English too.
People from true gaeltachtaí talk like him. There are videos. It is kind of late right now, or I would look for them.
You're right. That video of a monolingual Irish native speaker, his name being Seán Ó hEinirí (1915-1998), is exactly what Irish is supposed to sound like, and did sound like. Authentic Irish sounds nothing like English since Irish is a Celtic language but English is a Germanic language, just like Deutsch. The vast majority of Irish speakers alive today however, don't sound like him and instead speak Irish with Anglophone accents. One thing I would like to know whoever is whether there are still young people, meaning children and young adults, who still speak Irish like him or whether even they now speak with Anglophone accents. A similar situation exists in the Breton language, a celtic language spoken in north-western France, whereby traditional speakers found in old recordings sound authentic, but nowadays most people who do speak it, do so with a thick French accent, because they are not native speakers.
Have a listen to the Doegen recordings of native Irish speakers, made in 1928 to 1931, which are here https://doegen.ie/ There are two R sounds in Irish, by the way, one broad and one slender. The broad is made by ghosting your tongue behind the hard ridge at the front of the palate. The narrow is almost like the traily middle-class Irish T sound that you hear when bourgeois Irish say an English word ending with T. There's a long discussion of the Duolingo course on the Irish Language Forum here http://www.irishlanguageforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=3241&start=20 (there are also various discussions on Reddit and Quora). I find her pronunciation pretty ok, to be honest. It would be nice to have a few different speakers - for instance if they could get a few of the native-speaker actors from the TG4 soap Ros na Rún to record some - normally I'd never approve of someone being asked to work for free, but since Duolingo is free and non-profit, they might be kind enough to do a page of phrases each ar son na cúise!
Ní dóigh liom i ndáiríre, muna bhfuil riomhairí ina múinteoirí náisiúnta ;)
I've heard quite a few alveolar taps in her speech, I think it's just they're quite diminished and hard to pick out, the main difference is that it sounds almost impossibly looser