Starting to learn Irish
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'Lang' rather than 'Lit'. Can anyone suggest a relatively simple beginner's guide to the Irish Language? I'm just back from the Wexford Opera Festival* and would have loved to join in the singing of The Soldiers Song in Gaelic (words given on the surtitles) but had no idea at all of the pronunciation.
*What a stunning new opera house! Great acoustics, comfortable seats and good sight-lines and all ready on time, too. The music wasn't bad, either! ;-)
I've been studying for awhile now, and the first thing I would say is to find a local group in your area, you'll really appreciate it, especially in the beginning. The first book that I started was Irish on Your Own, which is pretty good conversational Irish. It's tough to find now, and it was only ever offered on tapes, never on CDs. The Buntus Cainte series is also good. There are three books, and it's been updated with CDs now. It's really only basic conversation, with the assumption that you'll learn grammar as you go. If you're just wanting simple, to get a taste of the language, that's probably a decent place to start. There are three levels in it. The one that you'll find all over the place is Teach Yourself Irish. I wasn't so fond of that one personally, but it's easy to find and has been around forever. It does have a separate grammar book which I have found useful, but only after I got through some preliminary stuff. It is Teach Yourself Irish Grammar. Right now I'm leading a group in Progress in Irish, but it has no audio component and really no explanation... it really does require a class, or at least a tutor.
The grammar in Irish is unlike anything I've come across before, and the pronunciations are even beyond that. Find a good local group and get plugged in, it's really a lot of fun once you get past the first bit.
>2 Thanks a lot for that advice - the Buntus Cainte books sound just the job but I will look around for an evening class or suchlike. I have a feeling that there are more folk in the US wanting to learn Irish than here in the UK, though.
Try the Irish Associations in your area, as they often run introductory courses.
There are some decent free Modern Irish learning podcasts.
The thing about pronunciation is that while it looks to a native English speaker like there's very little relationship between the letters and the sounds, it is at least a lot more standardized wrt to spelling and sound than English is.
I would suggest making a list *for your self* of letters and words that you have and can hear that use those letters for a sound.
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