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Finished the tree! What next for Irish?

Finished the Irish tree yesterday A million thanks to everyone who put it together and to everyone who explained and encouraged and prodded!!! :D :D :D

So, to cut to the chase, what will I do next in Irish?

I just discovered Barbara Hillers' online Irish course material. You can think of it as a review of everything you've just learned in Duolingo.

Each lesson includes vocabulary (very familiar to us!) and grammar (very familiar to us!) plus a short conversation and a section "Teanga Is Cultúr " with poems, sayings, songs, riddles.

I'm starting with the summer course link because it includes Audio Files of the vocabulary, conversation, and songs, poems, etc.

Summer course material


Summer course Audio Files


Links to all her course materials at the bottom of this page:


Here's a sample from one of the Teanga Is Cultúr selections. Just add the peas and beans and you already know all the words.

Amhrán: Nóra Bheag (‘Song: Little Nóra’)

Is maith le Nóra prátaí rósta

Is maith le Nóra im leo

Is maith le Nóra pis agus pónaire

Is bainne na bó san oíche.

Nóra likes roasted potatoes

Nóra likes butter with them

Nóra likes peas and beans

And cow’s milk at night

Audio file


January 23, 2015



Comhghairdeachas leat (arís)! Ar an drochuair, tá ainm úsáideora Gaeilge orm cheana féin.


Go raibh mile maith agat (arís)! Ar an drochuair nó ar an dea-uair??? :D

I was bound to come a cropper sooner or later and this is the perfect point to hand in my badge.

Still, as my last hurrah, I could offer that Dubhais (Dubh Ais meaning "black ridge") is a large mountain and surrounding moorland overlooking Belfast. A quick search turned up these folks having fun climbing Dubhais.


Thanks to you and the whole team for the lovely Irish course!


Ná déan é sin! Bheadh sé iontach deas níos mó ainmeacha Gaeilge a fheiceáil ar an tsuíomh seo. Dála an scéil, an sloinne Gaelach é Magoo? Dá mba sloinne Gaelach é, Heather nó "Fraoch" Nig Oo an t-ainm úsáideora a bheadh ortsa!

Tá an ceart agat. It's a common placename (I'm aware of three), but the one to which my username refers isn't in Belfast :) I've never had occasion to ascend that one, and it's pronounced differently as well, I believe. I write in the shadow of the fíor-Dhubhais ;)

Go ndéanaidh a mhaith duit (arís!). Actually, we'd be grateful if you could share your experiences, both postive and negative, as someone who had worked through the entire course, especially if you had minimal exposure to Irish previously. We'd be most interested in things not covered by reports, particularly lesson content and whether more (or fewer) lessons on certain topics would be useful. No subjunctive requests, please ;)


Tuigim, tá mé leat! Instead of FraochbánMacGeough I should have used a daughter prefix, so FraochbánNigOo it is. It's a good thing I'm only wandering about Ireland (and beyond) virtually with Google map or I might get into trouble! :D There are more Black Ridge mountains than I realized.

Duolingo is a terrific way to learn the basics of a new language. And the Irish course has all the great duolingo features. You folks did a fabulous job. I started with absolutely no background and now I have enough basic knowledge of Irish to sort out meaning from natural speech and writing. I can translate sentences, but I still need to build up a repertoire of everyday things to say.. In the course, I really loved the pictures of Ireland and the people.. And, even though I understand all concerns, I loved the voice. Lots of depth and character.

Now my plan is to do bit of reviewing using Barbara Hillers' course material. I'm going to make my way through the chapters, consolidate my gains with the grammar, glean new vocabulary, listen to all the conversations and poems, etc. and see if I can work them into some Lingots for Stories entries.

Here's a list of few of my own nuts-and-bolts challenges that may help as you are revising the course and working on Tree 2.

Once we have the Flashcards feature for Irish, internalizing certain types of new vocabulary could be so much easier -- for skills where big chunks of new words are presented, for learning the prepositional pronouns, for learning the gender of nouns, learning the numbers, days, months, countries (especially the prepositional pronouns because I think several ships ran aground at that point)

Once we have Immersion for Irish, we'll have all the advantages of building vocabulary and discovering how native speakers use the language.

The system of spelling was unfamiliar I could see it was regular but I couldn't detect all the patterns. Karen Reshkin's video and pdf helped me over that hurdle. Adding a skill to that teaches the dipthongs and the main broad/slender variations could be a plus. It's not hard, but it's unfamiliar enough to English speakers that we need to be walked through it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIokUII7LX0

Distinguishing functions of the irregular verb "bí " and the copula "is". How about a lesson in Verbs: Present 1 that focuses on their separate functions. At each introduction of a new verb tense, it would be very useful to have a clear recap of where we stand with irregular verb "bí " and the copula "is". This Bitesize Gaelic page helped me initially to sort that out http://www.bitesizeirishgaelic.com/blog/the-proble-of-being-in-irish-gaelic/ After that I sought out the paradigms where past, present, and future all stood revealed.

The Copula Sentence structure with the copula isn't always transparent to a beginner. I was often uncertain whether something important was going on with relative clauses that I needed to grasp, or whether I was just dealing with some remnants of obsolete grammar and should simply memorize situations like "add an echo word at the end of a sentence for é, í, iad" or "insert "ea" if the subject flips to initial position in a sentence".

Root and Stem with Conj 1 and Conj 2 I was very slow to grasp the difference between the root (dictionary form) and the stem (the form to which verb endings are added), when working with Conjugation 1 and Conjugation 2 verbs, even though it is obvious in your explanations. So I wasn't surefooted in forming the regular verbs on my own. Once I started working with the dictionary this point cleared up. Click the Grammar tab of wonderful http://breis.focloir.ie/en/gram/b%C3%AD and so many things start to make sense.

More Verb Stuff --Maybe it's just me but some of the major verb skills felt a little dense, for instance, Verbs: Past 1. I might have arranged the lessons within that skill to form a pattern:: Regular Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Negation/Interrogative. The aim there would be to group the regular verbs together to get comfortable with the pattern of forming the past tense, then to memorize the irregular verbs past tense, and finally, when I was firm with the verbs, to eclipse or lenite them in the question and negative patterns.

--I never quite grasped the "do be" translations. "I do be running with my brother." Just a note to myself to go back and see what that was all about.

--One housekeeping item. Some of the duolingo paradigms use the term "autonomous" and some use the term "passive". You might want to revise them so they all say "autonomous/passive", or whatever you choose, just so they are all consistent.

That's all that comes to me right now. Hope it's helpful. It all very minor stuff. I easily filled in any gaps and actually enjoyed searching around online.


Go raibh míle maith agat. Go mbainidh tú sult as na lingots. Chonaic mé an Dubhais sin inniu, agus mé ag dul go dtí an t-aerfort.

I'll share this with the Team, whenever we start work on the new Tree. Let us know if you think of anything else. As regards new features like immersion and flashcards, I don't think we have much input, at least at the moment.

As an aside, the translations of the present habitual sentences have been a subject of discussion within the team previously.

"Do be" is a Hiberno-English translation that reflects the influence of Irish on English as spoken in Ireland. The extent to which it is still used varies from place to place, but I think it is fair to say that, like Irish, Hiberno-English in general is in decline in the face of globalisation.

In my case, I seem to use this structure almost exclusively in questions, for example, Do you be there often? expecting "I do" as an answer rather than "I do be". I don't use it in statements, preferring "I am". I wonder how prevalent this usage is in other parts of Ireland. I might ask the Team, when they're less preoccupied.

Translations other than "do be" are accepted for most of these sentences to the best of my knowledge, but most of these fail to capture the habitual aspect of the action. Nonetheless, we do go to great lengths to accommodate other varieties of English throughout the course, but all of the Team speak some form of Hiberno-English, which will inevitably colour the course greener than others :)


Thank you for the lingots and for the "do be" explanation. The greener the better. Till Flashcards become a feature, people can use the Memrise.


And so many possibilities for immersion. I'm immersing in Iarla Ó Lionáird at the moment. :D


These comments are really useful; thank you.


Go ndéanaidh a mhaith duit! I enjoyed the course hugely. I'm now practicing my Gaelige by converting all these Béarla usernames into Irish.

So... for your ainm úsáideora Gaeilge--

What do you think about Scian ? Short and sweet. Searching online I found a book of poems in Irish entitled Scian. It was written by Tomás Mac Síomóin, who is described as a present day exponent of the Irish Revivalist movement. Seems just right for Team Irish. :D


Congratulations! (: well done!!


Thanks so much, Azure_Waters.


You are welcome (: I hope to do the same in the near future!! (:


I just renamed mjaumjaupurr and GeniusJack in Irish. :D

How does Uisce_Gormghlas strike you? I think it sounds just as beautiful in Gaeilge as in Béarla. :D


That is simply marvelous!! (: thank you so much for sharing this with me!! ^_^ I love it!!! Have some Lingots =D


Congratulations!! :D Thank you for sharing that resource - it looks amazingly helpful.


Thank you, mjaumjaupurr! It just occurred to me to find out what Irish cats say.

We start out on solid dictionary ground: Meamhlach = (act of) mewing.

Then things get shaky. Some people theorize that Irish cats must then say "Meamh, meamh".

But from practical experience others argue they've never heard a cat say such a thing. These folks take the position that Irish cats all speak Béarla and simply say, "Meow, meow." But one intrepid theorist thought this couldn't be true since Manx cats meow in Manx, therefore Irish cats must speak Irish.

Went on to investigate "purr". This one was easy. crónán cait= purr of a cat.

So what do you think of meamhmeamhcrónáncait ? :D


I love it! Thank you! Meamh! I think I may have heard a kitty say that once or twice, though I've never been to Ireland. Linguistic studies of meows are so fascinating. I'm sure Irish cats are bilingual so they say both meow and meamh.

Here's 20 lingots for each letter of my new name. :D


I should change my username to that :D


But what if people start confusing us? :P


True :P And my cat pictures doesn't even have an awesome hat...


I bet SaoiSean is also possible (maybe even preferable). Your choice unless an expert weighs in to the contrary.


Just to tell the two of you apart, how about SeanSaoi ?


Genius can be translated (dictionary again) as Saoi. It's an Irish word. It comes from Persian and can also be translated "magus" or "man of letters" as well as "genius".


Is Teanga Is Cultúr translated as "Language is culture" in the book?


HaHa! Everyone who commented on the discussion has now had their usernames turned into Irish. I've even reinvented heathermagoo as Gaeilge: FraochbánMacGeough

You could have réaltrarocker or if you prefer to rock multiple galaxies réaltraírocker (poetic license allows for fluid word order and a little macaroni in usernames ).

I also found "galaxy" described as the "Bealach na Bó Finne"/way of the white (straw-colored) cow, which seemed to hold out infinite possibilities.

The motto for Galway City (for your coat-of-arms) was pretty neat, but all in Latin, and so it was disqualified.



Champion of Irish

It's noble with a touch of the crusader. And you still have your alliteration with Galway!

But in the end it's your choice. :D


Just so you know, Bealach na Bó Finne isn't the generic term for "galaxy". It's the specific name of the Milky Way that you can see on a moonless night.


Oh, yes. You're right. And that matches the dictionary entry below. Réaltra, a generic astronomical term for any galaxy, and the charming Bealach na Bó Finne.! -- The Way of the White Cow -- for The Galaxy, i.e. the one containing our own solar system.

Speaking of White Cows, I saw a webpage in one of my searches mentioning a restaurant in Galway named Bia Bó Finne. Yum, yum. Which I also saw is "neam, neam" in Gaeilge.

Do you have the answer to my other pressing question? What do cats say in Ireland???

galaxy, s. 1 Astr: Réaltra m. The Galaxy, Bealach na Bó Finne. 2 Foireann f niamhrach (spéirbhan, etc.); cruinniú m taibhseach (de dhaoine cáiliúla).



Here you can see it expanded a little bit more. i.e. it's more clear which galaxy they're referring to.


Thanks. Very helpful. A galaxy of football stars "slua mór réaltaí peile" had never occurred to me. :D


Blush! Mea culpa. No reflection on the book! That was just me on the loose. Should be Language and Culture. And I have just zapped it altogether so as not to cause further embarrassment to myself or the book. Thanks so much for catching that. :D


Congratulations! I can't wait to finish my first tree.


I've been taking the usernames of folks on this discussion and changing them into Gaeilge. :D

What do you think about "conchúbhair". It's an older spelling of Connor (Conchúr) associated with the old kings. The Ó Conchubhair Donn is " is the Chief of the Name of the Clan Ó Conchubhair, titular Prince of Connacht"

There's one living right now in Sussex, England. Who knew?



Sounds cool, might have to change my username :)


Best of luck. It was really exciting to complete the tree.




Go raibh mile maith agat! I'm eager to learn much more Irish. In the meantime I'm giving everyone's username an Irish twist.

Since niamhwitch seems to hold both light and darkness, what do you think of:


niamhracht -- Brightness, lustrousness, resplendence

diamhracht -- Darkness, mysteriousness; bewitchment

:D :D :D


Congratulations, FraochbánMacGeough! If you're going to change all the names, no one is going to comment.


Too late to turn back now. ulchabhán for you. :D


Congrats! I find Irish hardest of all - the sentences really throw me. So mad respect!


Go raibh maith agat! I think Gaeilge will be easier if you have an Irish username. I've veered off on mythology now and someone has to be crowned, Niamh of the Golden Hair. NiamhChinnOir Looks like you were just in the right place at the right time.

Initially, many features of Irish are unfamiliar to us English speakers. But I was so excited at having the opportunity to learn it that I just kept going. I was very slow at first. Then, at a certain point, I resolved to finish one skill set per day and in that way moved on steadily to cross the finish line.


Is mise Niamh. ;-)


Uh-Oh! I ran into this back with the geniusjack and the cats! Don't worry. Give me a minute and I'll sort it.

[thinking, thinking, thinking...]

OK. Sorry for the mixup. But happily, stumbles are steps on the pathway to perfection. And there is no dearth of knockout Irish goddesses.

So how does this strike you?

niamhwitch has prior claim to all niamh usernames, including but not limited to niamhrachtdiamhracht and NiamhChinnOir :D :D :D


racheal.cr2 if she chooses to accept, will be crowned EdaínEchraidhe (Edaín the horse rider). Her story is told in Tochmarc Étaíne (The Wooing Of Étaín). Lovers parted, mortals outmaneuvering the gods, the birth of Conaire Mór. :D :D :D



Tg4 is a great resource. Lot's of quality programmes in Irish. There are one off treasures and a few long running (slightly annoying, but watchable) soaps. www.tg4.ie


Thanks for the link. TG4 is a great resource for Irish learners. :D

[deactivated user]

    I just discovered something you can do! (I came by yesterday, but didn't suggest anything.)

    What about clicking on words and practicing with the flash cards? I just tried that in Spanish and DL has a whole list of words I've learned, including some I haven't touched in over a year! Wow...


    Happened upon a very neat Irish name: Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh. It's the title of a Sean-Nos song about a fisherman trying without much success to woo his ladylove.


    Sadhbh means sweet-lovely. She's the mother of Oisin in mythology. Nice to have choices.


    With the words and translation! Thanks so much for the link. Lovely blog. Julie Fowlis launched me on this Celtic odyssey. I wanted to understand what she was singing in Scottish Gaelic. And along the way I am discovering so many other treasures.


    You should take a listen to the singer interviews on the site, particularly to Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh of Dún Chaoin, Co. Ciarraí and Brían Ó hÁirt, who was the first American to win the Corn Uí Ríada for Irish singing. Julie Fowlis and I have been trying to arrange an interview for a couple of years, but she's been a little busy. :)


    Thanks for mentioning it. That would be great! "Words" doesn't show yet for me in Irish, though I have it with German and Spanish.

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