The basics of Irish Gaelic pronunciation
I was having trouble figuring out how to say some of the vowels and what the long vowels were so I looked up how to pronounce Irish.
This will help many beginners like me.
I've seen many many comments in the first lessons asking pronunciation. It would certainly improve learning Irish if I had some basic help with sounds of Irish. I am with Rewjeo. Some languages require some technical starting information when you are learning them. How would you start to learn Mandarin without understanding the 4 basic tones? How would you speak Japanese without understanding that there are 3 alphabets to their language? Throwing the language I find with unfamiliar concepts is extremely complexing. I am no expert and no linguist but I feel that this is needed for languages we as native English speakers find very foreign. When you learn Spanish, German, French, or other similar languages, they are very similar in terms of alphabet, and most pronunciation (Romance languages and Germanic languages) so we don't need to take so much time learning these things. I don't think I ever saw a part in a Duolingo course that explained accents or umlauts. It helps learning those. I know that I will have to just keep repeating what the recordings say, but I believe that some starting tips of pronunciation helps a lot in getting me started.
Also thank you Gine for the lingot! I appreciate that.
It's actually even more complicated than this, although you don't need to bother about it right now. But, for instance, capall and capaill are distinctive in real life, but not according to that chart. I would advise eventually getting around to the Wikipedia page on Irish Orthography and the various links therein, although I understand that that article can be... intimidating. It will also help to have the audio all fixed here.
Honestly this article or one like it should be in a very, very prominent place on this course. Irish does use the same alphabet as English, yes, but it uses it in a very different way. I feel like having students start learning Irish without understanding its unusual approach to spelling and pronunciation is a little bit like having students start learning Russian without actually teaching them the Cyrillic alphabet and just hoping they pick it up on the way. I know it's not Duolingo's way to just throw all of the technical information at people, and that not everyone likes having that thrown at them (though I do love it, myself), but this just seems too important to me to not address.
On a somewhat related note, I just had a thought: what if the course added several sentences with recordings along the lines of "Capaill nó Capall?" where the only distinction was between slender and broad consonants in order to help us learn to hear them?
I think your recording idea is a great one. There are two problems with it, for me: 1) The Irish speaker used in the recordings has drawn so much criticism (poor woman) that I fear I wouldn't trust it if her recordings were used. 2) Duolingo has no volume control, and since its default setting is so loud I don't use the audio at all. But in theory, and if those issues were addressed, having contrasting recordings would be really useful.
Use this to check difficult words whenever possible. The pronunciation might be alien in the beginning, but you unconsciously start to understand through the course. I recommend that you do not rely on the Irish voice here. She has generally a bad pronounciation and does not differenciate between slender and broad consonants very well (except for broad s and slender s).
But I do agree that they should start off the course with a pronunciation skill.