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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 3:56 pm 
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My son's just turned 2, we're living abroad and the mammy is from another country altogether. So the only person to teach him Irish is me, but I also have to teach him English and help with his other languages.

Long story short: I'd love to hear what tactics others have used, or have heard of, for teaching young children when contact with gaeilgeoirí isn't possible.

He doesn't use TV/websites/tablets so those aren't an option. I often leave RnaG on in the background, so at least he hears natives. He loves books, but the only Irish books I've seen for kids tend to focus on single words, so I can do that myself by just translating the picture books he already has into Irish.

So far I've decided to stop singing him songs in English and switch to Irish songs. He accepted this quite easily since he loves getting sung to, so he's not picky. I found songs here: http://songsinirish.com/tags/children/

Stories in Irish (if I had any) probably wouldn't work. He's usually adamant that I read stories in English, so I won't try to force Irish there. For now.

Next I was thinking of speaking Irish to him every other day. At the start I'll have to let him reply in whatever language, since he doesn't have enough Irish, but eventually the hope would be that he'd reply in Irish. Or another variant would be to speak one language at home and the other when outside. I think a separation is important because I've seen that learners who mix two languages end up avoiding the hard aspects of each. If I let him get into that habit it'll be hard to fix it later.

Improving my own Irish is for a different thread, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I have enough Irish for most of our conversations (about eating, clothes, and Duplo trains).

A thought for anyone with a younger child: My son made great progress in his various languages from 18 to 24 months. Maybe the task of teaching him Irish would have been easier if I'd started before the 18-month mark.

So that's my situation. I'm using songs, I plan on bringing in a speak-Irish-every-second-day regime, and I leave RnaG on in the background. Anyone got other ideas? Experiences?


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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 7:42 pm 
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There have been a large number of good books in Irish for children produced in Ireland, and you can order them online.
Here are some links to online shops:

http://www.siopa.ie
https://www.folens.ie
http://www.cnagsiopa.com
https://www.kennys.ie

Some books come with CD's where the child can listen and follow along. If you get your son interested in one or more of them, at that age he may want to listen to it over and over again, and then you'll have him hooked on Irish.

One very cute bedtime storybook I can recommend is Oíche mhaith, a Bhéirín.

There are also music CD's of children's songs. One very good one I have is the 2-CD set "A stór is a stóirín", on which Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin sings 36 different songs, with several lullabies included.

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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 8:16 pm 
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Thanks Caoimhín. There certainly is a lot more than last time I looked.

I can't tell a good book from a bad one without giving it a quick read, but I'll be in Dublin in September and I'll drop in to Siopa Leabhar on Harcourt Street. (I presume that's still the main shop for Irish books in Dublin.)

And I'll look for Oíche Mhaith, a Bhéirín. Books featuring a baby bear are usually a hit with him.

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Last edited by Our man in Brussels on Tue 25 Jul 2017 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 8:22 pm 
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Perhaps you are not a fan of television, but TG4 produces several children's shows in Irish that can be viewed on your computer or tablet/smartphone at any time for free.

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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 8:42 pm 
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Cúmhaí wrote:
TG4 produces several children's shows in Irish


Indeed. Having so few resources over here it's a pity to ignore TG4's offerings. But I'm going to continue without TV for the moment since I like that he plays with toys instead of watching TV, and I've seen other kids happily watching cartoons in languages they don't understand, so I'm kinda sceptical about how much attention kids pay to the language used by these programs.

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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 8:46 pm 
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Our man in Brussels wrote:
I've seen other kids happily watching cartoons in languages they don't understand, so I'm kinda sceptical about how much attention kids pay to the language used by these programs.


Actually you are right. Studies (I cannot cite this, but you will have to trust me that I didn't make it up) have shown that children can watch over 10 hours of TV a day in a single foreign language (usually English) and will never learn any of it. Even after years they cannot even introduce themselves. They say it is because children do not learn language except from other humans.
Of course, if they already know the basics and regularly speak the language, then the watching TV will increase their knowledge and familiarity. But I am not sure at what point it goes from being useless to useful. And obviously if you can avoid television, do so!!

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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 10:49 pm 
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For a bilingual training of a child it is best, when both parents speak to the child in their native language.
So, if you want a trilingual training, you need a third person.

So, either a nanny or a menage á trois (as they call it in Brussels.) ;)


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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul 2017 11:53 pm 
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Labhrás wrote:
For a bilingual training of a child it is best, when both parents speak to the child in their native language.
So, if you want a trilingual training, you need a third person.

So, either a nanny or a menage á trois (as they call it in Brussels.) ;)

Ha! I saw you were online and I did wonder, is Labhrás writing the solution to my struggle?

But no, Labhrás was trying to either ruin my finances by suggesting an exotic nanny, or ruin my sanity by landing me with two spouses that I have to get everything approved by! :D

More seriously, something involving a native speaker might be possible in the future, but that could be years away. I agree that parents should give priority to talking in their native language. If he starts to struggle with English, then I might have to cut back on the Irish and focus more on passing on my native English. But he's currently making good progress in a few languages, so I want to make a start on Irish during this phase of easy language learning.

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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jul 2017 7:11 pm 
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Labhrás wrote:
or a menage á trois (as they call it in Brussels.) ;)


I believe you mean ménage à trois
:LOL:

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PostPosted: Tue 08 Aug 2017 1:30 pm 
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I've made this webpage: Teach Young Kids Irish

It's still rough and incomplete, but it's a start. I've to go offline now but I'll be back in mid-September and I'll do more work on it then. I'll probably split it up and put the info for adult learners on a separate page. And I'll make a better list of the stories and rhymes to sing/read with young kids.

So I won't be active in this thread this month but I'll be back with new questions about books and about dialects in September.

Thanks for all the help I've gotten already!

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A page I made: Teaching Young Kids Irish
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