I think it was Rob had asked a question about Irish language learning some time ago but unfortunately, his whole thread got erased during our database bug. I thought I might as well give a beginner's advice on learning Irish. I have been lerning Irish for almost a year now. I am by no means good at it, also because I hardly have time to learn the language properly but I thought I might give you a few tips of book and other resources you may want to use if you decide to learn Irish.
One of the basic problems of Irish is that it is a language that does not have a "standard', there is no "standard Irish", no "one Irish" people could learn. the language changes a lot depending on which region of Ireland you are from and this can get confusing for beginners.
As far as I was concerned, I decided to learn Ulster Irish. I must confess I chose almost at random, not having a clue, and because you need to take a decision at some point. I then visited County Donegal, in Ulster and fell in love with it, hence my name, but originally, I chose to learn Ulster Irish almost by accident. Most people don't want to learn Ulster Irish and prefer Conemara Irish, because this is the language you'll hear if you watch TG4, the Irish language chanel in Ireland, most of the Irish media are based in Connemara besides. Ulster Irish sounds more like Scottish which is why even some Irish people make fun of it (Students from my Irish class make fun of me because I love Donegal. If only they knew it was my name on these boards, there will be no end of laughing!).
IRISH LANGUAGE BOOKS AND DVDS.
Still, Ulster Irish is lovely, and the North West of Ireland, which I love so much, is a real place of culture when it comres to the Irish language and music so people may still be interested in learning that particular dialect. For those of you who may be interested in Ulster Irish, one of the best books on the market is "Now you're talking", by Deirbhile Ni Churraighin and Eamonn O donaill. Unfortunately, the tapes that go with the book are out of stock in Ireland, but you can find the same book, either in the US or online from the US, with tapes, under the name "Irish on your own" (published by Passport books). I work mostly with that book myself. It's got an excellent reputation, and I personally find it stunning, easy to work with, it provides you with a lot of information and is an excellent starter on the language.
As Irish Grammar can become daunting, I'd suggest another book you could work with contemporaneously, " Teach yourself Irish" by Duiarmuid O Se and Jospeh Shiels. This book is the reference book Alswythmyth Uni uses on its Irish language Degree. The Irish it would teach you is supposed to be standard Irish, the Irish they speak in Dublin. The problem is, hardly anyone is a native Irish speaker in Dublin and there is no real Dublin Irish as such. The Irish it teaches is fairly bookish and if you only work with it, you sometimes find yourself using words actual Irish speakers don't even KNOW themselves. Yet, it provides consice, clear, excellent Grammar rules. The Grammar isn't too much in it but it provides you with excellent foundations to start working on the language. The book also contains a plethora of excellent exercises.
Excellent books of more standard Irish like Connemara Irish are Buntus Cainte, which you can buyt online. An excellent but more advanced Conemara Irish book is Turas Teanga. They also made a Turas Teanga DVD which is an absolute stunner. It is an Intermediatish level book and DVD but it still goes quite slowly, and makes sure it repeats a lot of the points made during lessons. Lessons on the DVD are lively, there are drama scenes on each topic perfomed in Irish and subtitiled in English at the same time, which are then repeated without the subtitles, so you see how much you get of them the second time round. Also, it is called "Turas Teanga" because it proposes a Tour of the language (whc=ich is what Turas Teanga means) so you get to visit every single region of Ireland in this DVD with its scenery, culture, music, poetry, but also its indutries and businesses. I personnally LOVE it!
A good Irish English dictionary is the O'Donaill "Focloir Gaeilge-Bearla". It simply is a classic. The only problem is that is does not include some of the more modern Irish words, because it was compiled quite a olong time ago but it still is one of the best on the market. "Now you're talking" also advises on buying the English Irish Dictionary Edited by De Bhaldraithe. I bought mine on the Internet. You would only need an English Irish dictionary, however, if like me you REFUSE to accept the fact you can hardly speak Irish at all and insist on sending random letter in Irish to Irish speaker you know :wink: . You really don't need to buy an English Irish dictionary at beginner level else, because you don't need to be writing in Irish a lot at first. Still, if you want to buy one, I can recommend that one.
IRISH SPEAKING RADIO.
For those of you who may want to HEAR the language a lot to get to speak it faster, you can always plug yurself onto radio Na Gaeltachta, the Irishspeaking RTE Radio from the Gaeltacht. Just go to RTE's website (http://www.rte.ie
) and under "Radio" written in Blue, you have the names of four radios. Radio 1, 2fm, lyric fm and Radio na Gaeltachta. Just click on the little blue logo representing a speaker by the name Radio na Gaeltachta, you'll need Real Player or a similar program to listen to it. Sometimes, the connection to the Radio is very bad and you can't listen to it properly. But it works most of th time and is really great, all in Irish. You can also pay about eight Euros a month if I remember well (five pounds sixty, seven or eight US dollars) (I don't seem to be able to access their website just now to check) to watch a few hours of TG4's Irish language TV programpmes online. Their web address is: www.tg4.ie
An excellent website you may also be interested in is the Daltai na Gaeile website (http://www.daltai.com
). It provides you with very basic Irish lessons, a shop where you can buy Irish language books and Irish language related items and most importantly a bulletin board where people like me rant for hours about the Irish language (
) and provide you with good advice on how to learn Irish at the same time. One of the boards is bilingual and is for posts in both Irish and English, the other one is an Irish language only bulletin board. There, you could get further information on good Irish langugae resources for people of all standards.
IRISH LANGUAGE COURSES
Also, I will never recommend it enough: go to Ireland and attend Irish language courses in the Gaeltachtai, the Irish speaking areas of Ireland. An excellent one I know and often go to is Oideas Gael... in County Donegal (I love Donegal, in case you haven't noticed :wink: ). They propose Irish langugae courses but also various Irish cultures courses where you can learn Sean-Nos, Irish traditional singing, Donegal dances, pottery, harp, bodhran or where you can go hill walking. Most courses take place in the wondrous village of Glencolumbcille fourty five minutes away by bus from Donegal town. It's a bit of a journey to GET THERE in the first place, but it's well worth it. It's an excellent course and it doesn't cost too much for what it is either! Their website address is: http://www.oideas-gael.com
GO N-EIRI AN BOTHAR LIBH (GOOD LUCK)!
Well, here goes. However you do it, if you start on the Irish language learning adventure, please don't feel discouraged: Irish can be hard to learn, and some Irish teachers, like the one I have in France for instance tend to only focus on the Grammar, which can put you down. Whatever you do, don't feel discouraged: an Irish language course in the Gaeltacht or a good discussion with someone who speaks better than you can do more for you than long debates on verbs in the past tense. Irish is a stunning language, but beware, when you start, it does tend to be addictive!...
I think most people from my class in France would tell you that all right
. If you have questions, if you want to broach on the subject, correct me on seomthing I just said please feel free to reply to this post, or pm me. Although my Irish isn't very good, and I don't know much Irish myself, I'll do my best to help you. Go n-éiri an bothar libh ("Good luck", in THE LANGUAGE :) ). Dun na nGall (who signs in Irish, "Dun na nGall" being the Irish form of "Donegal" when she writes on this particular forum
). PS: STRIKES ME ThS COULD BE A STICKY, NOW I'VE WRITTEN IT AND IT SOUNDS INTERESTING BUT I DON'T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS IT WORTH KEEPING ON TOP OF THE SCREEN FOR USERS TO SEE?