Emma and Ben discussed the challenges that Irish language learners face in maintaining a routine during the Summer months, and gave tips on both offline and mobile-friendly learning resources for the holiday season!
As Ben says, we all deserve a break but sometimes we worry that if we put a learning routine on hold for the holidays we might never get back to it . Emma agreed, pointing out that people also worry that they will lose ground through lack of practise during the holidays. She recommended keeping learning light during the holidays – doing less, and learning in a more passive way.
angela asked if the Duolingo App is a good choice for summer learning
Emma explained that Duolingo is useful for vocabulary building, pronunciation and building simple sentence structures. The downside is that you don’t have a guide to the grammar of Irish and why certain things are the way they are. It is a good starting point for people who just want to dip their feet in but if you’re any way serious about learning the language, Duolingo will work best alongside another course or book.
Emma’s recommended offline learning tips and resources
- Label items around your house to help build your vocabulary.
- Gardening – label your plants and flowers with their Irish names.
- Use a whiteboard marker to write ‘Focal an Lae’ (‘word of the day’) on your mirror every morning
- Cooking – write some recipies in Irish.
- Short Stories in Irish for Beginners le Ollie Richards (available on siopaleabhar.ie) – Eight stories in a variety of exciting genres, from science fiction and crime to history and thriller at A1-B1 level.
- Pharaoh’s Daughter by poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill – poetry book with Irish poems and their English translations side by side.
- The novel Dúnmharú ar an Dart by Ruaidhrí Ó Báille
Ben’s recommended offline learning tips and resources
- Keep your kids learning Irish nature words during the Summer by downloading beautiful nature treasure activity sheets illustrated by kerry artst Dómhnal Ó Bric from the website of Tuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta.
- Have a laugh while learning by reading ‘An tAthair Pádraig Ó Duinín – Bleachtaire’ by Biddy Jenkinson. Tongue-in-cheek tales of the distinguished compiler of Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla re-imagined as a Sherlock Holmes type amateur detective! Or learn a new proverb (seanfhocal) each morning by sticking a copy of Garry Bannister’s ‘Proverbs In Irish’ in your pocket!
- Keep a diary of your holiday – a challenging but rewarding way to push yourself to do a little every day. If too arduous take notes and finish it off when you get home.
Emma’s tips for mobile-friendly learning
- Check out Irish-related social media on Instagram and Tiktok: @gaeilge_bheo / @gaeilgesabhaile /@molsceal / @irishwithmollie / @meoneile#gaeilge on social media. Guilt-free passive learning!
- Try and caption / translate your own posts in Irish on social media if you use them.
- Try your hand at some translation – if you have a song or a poem that you like, try to translate it. It will encourage you to look up words in the dictionary and build sentences. Your version may not be 100% correct but it is a fun way to practice and learn by using something you’re interested in.
Ben’s recommended mobile-friendly learning
- An Nuacht Mhall podcast (Spotify/Apple Podcasts) – take a little break from news and current affairs by listening to the news just once per week, read slowly in Irish!
- Listen to Aistí Ón Aer (RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta on RTE radio app) – newly written essays from a variety of writers on a wide rang of topics.
- Bitesize Irish – check out our superb range of courses and resources online!
Casey asked about helpful ways to remember what words to emphasize in speaking.
Emma answered that this is a topic that we touch on in our Dealing with Dialects module. The basic rule of Irish is that the first syllable of most words should be the strongest. However, in Munster Irish the stress may be on a later syllable, if it has a síneadh fada.
We have lots out sound recordings in our courses here at Bitesize which help with pronunciation but even using sites such as teanglann.ie or focloir.ie to listen to words being pronounced will help you tune your ears into how the language should sound. Mimic those sounds out loud to yourself. The website leighleat.com has lots of kids books/poems available with recordings to listen to. Use those to your advantage and read out loud with them if you can.
Ruby asked for help understanding the overall most important things to know about the Irish language.
Ben recommended Bitesize Irish’s cheat sheet ‘Things You Need To Know for Irish Language Learners’ as a great starting-point. Download your free copy today!
Raoul asked when cases an initial ‘s’ becomes ‘tS’?
As Ben explained, this happens in 3 scenarios:
- (1) Feminine nouns that start with ‘s’ in the nominative singular following the definite article. eg sráid > an tsráid.
- (2)Feminine nouns in the nominative singular that start with ‘s’ following the preposition+ definite article pairings ‘ag an’, ‘ar an’, ‘as an’, ‘chuig an’, ‘faoin’, ‘leis an’, ‘ón’, ‘roimh an’, ‘thar an’, & ‘tríd an’. And also after ‘den’, ‘don’ and ‘sa’. In the ulster dialect singular nouns of both genders that start with ‘s’ take the ‘t’ in this context.
- (3) It also happens when singular masculine nouns starting with ‘s’ follow the definite article in the genitive case: seomra (room) > an seomra (the room)> doras an tseomra (the door of the room)
- Note that you cannot place ‘t’ on the start of words beginning with ‘sc’, ‘sf’, ‘sm’, ‘sp’ or ‘st’.