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What I Learned About Irish Language Dialects

Bitesize BEO Dialects

We recently held a Bitesize Beo Dialects live event. It was given by Siobhán, our Language Assistant (whom you can ask for help when you’re a member, plus she hold monthly Skype calls for members).

These are members-only events but we thought you should also have a chance to learn a bit more about Irish Gaelic dialects. Here is what I learned from the event:

  • The three main dialects of Irish have some big differences, but the biggest differences are very common phrases. In other words, it’s the fundamentals of the Irish language that all of the dialects share, and you’ll get familiar with big phrases of the different dialects.
  • Conradh na Gaeilge on Twitter post a lot of news about the Irish language and events
  • The Irish language does have spelling patterns (see our course on Udemy for pronunciation) – and each dialect follows somewhat different pronunciations for each of the patterns.
  • There are no magic tricks for learning Irish Gaelic dialects
  • If you’re starting, just learn “Irish”. You can concentrate on a particular dialect later.
  • Irish native speakers understand all dialects more or less, especially because of broadcast media that the last generation or two have grown up with. So don’t worry about what dialect a phrase is from – just use it!
  • Listen, listen, listen, and read. Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4 are your friends. TG4 have Irish language subtitles on many of their shows when you use their online player.
  • teanglann.ie is a highly-respected resource, for learners all the way to university professors.

If you remember, a few weeks ago, we made a lengthy video on the Irish dialects topic. You can watch it below.


To help you further, we’re adding the Bitesize Beo dialects event presentation and speaker’s notes below:

Do you have a question on Irish language dialects? Are they holding you back? Leave your reply below this blog post.

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