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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr 2018 5:03 pm 
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Hi again,

Though school is eating my time, I'm still trying to learn Irish.

I made it through Duolingo two years ago and have since moved on to Stenson's books and Nualeargais and whatever else I can find. PotaFocal is by far the most helpful as far as sentences are concerned. Obviously, I know of Focloir.ie, Teanglann.ie, and Tearma.ie as well.

As I look up sample sentences in the dictionaries, it's quite apparent that, unless I alter my idiomatic approaches to match a native Gaeilgeoir's, I'll never be able to guess how to say something the way they would. And for sure, I haven't the means to move to the Gaeltacht and figure out how they speak and what their idioms are all about.

In the TED Talk below, Breandan mac Ardghail mentions that Irish language students typically botch their conversations with each other--even though they understand each others' broken Gaeilge just fine--because they parse the language incorrectly, in ways they understand from their natively English perspective. If this is the evolution and future of the Irish language, then it's a tectonic shift, one which was perhaps inevitable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kw-of3UBgg

So, in all naivety, I have to wonder if there is some transitory method to start idiomatically parsing things like a native Gaeilgeoir--and if there's any point of having it in opposition to what we have already.

My question is: would there be any merit to priming students by creating a silly broken English that matches the VSO syntax and idioms/lingo of the Gaeilgeoirí? Like, a ladder to the roof?

For instance, from Focloir.ie:
"I'm going out tonight to big it up" - "Tá mé ag dul amach ar an ragairne anocht"

Which could be transliterally parsed as:
"Yes me at going out on the revelry tonight"

Absolutely, this very basic and uneducated example sounds ridiculous, and the average classroom might not get much done in the first few days because of the ensuing ridicule and laughter. So why would anyone want to even try thinking like this, especially when they're often told to stop relying on their native English to cross over to Irish? And wouldn't this just add another layer of complexity to an already complex learning process?

I'm not definitely sure about that last line, at least in the grand scheme of learning Irish. But my theory is that, if this style were developed further, it might give native English speakers a stronger basis for thinking about the order in which words go in the Irish language, and just as importantly, how to idiomatically mimic Gaeilgeoirí. Once it becomes more-or-less habitual, the transition from English to Irish could be less of a leap and more of a hop.

So, it's basically learning two languages--one of which would be new, and might pickle someone's English pretty bad. But I'm curious to know if it could accelerate the process of achieving fluency in Irish by creating a (rather absurd but possibly effective) sympathy English to transition over to Irish from.

I just don't know, and it would be a heck of an experiment, one that may be a total waste of time. But given Irish's current state, I figure any idea towards bridging that gap is worth a welcome.

Please share your thoughts and insights as to how this could succeed, fail, what not. I know it's kind of a bizarre idea, but sometimes crazy can unlock the future, and I do eventually want to speak Irish fluently before I die, whether I get to Ireland or not.

Sláinte,
-Jon


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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr 2018 5:23 pm 
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Werewoof wrote:
For instance, from Focloir.ie:
"I'm going out tonight to big it up" - "Tá mé ag dul amach ar an ragairne anocht"

Which could be transliterally parsed as:
"Yes me at going out on the revelry tonight"


Tá = Is, am, are
It doesn't mean "Yes", except as an answer to an "An bhfuil ...?" question.

Your idea isn't that ridiculous.
Of course, any speaker should know that he is saying e.g. "Is" (tá), "Was" (bhí). "Went" (chuaigh), etc., instead of "Yes" as an answer, or
that something is "at you" (agat) instead of that you "have" something, i.e. to understand and know the literal meaning of words and phrases and rebuild them in translation.
So, if you want to say "I have a house" in Irish you should be aware that there is absolutely no "having" in Irish and you have to rephrase it as "Is house at me" instead of (only) thinking that "tá ... agam" means "I have".


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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr 2018 7:54 pm 
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Okay, thanks for that clarification.

I do think at times it seems really easy to quickly parse an English sentence in Irish without much thought, but it's because I got used to using things like the "Tá ... agam" building block for appropriate situations. But I just have to wonder if school courses focused on transliterating the Irish idioms and syntax into some "Béarla Nua" would help establish a mental framework for learners to anticipate how to construct more complicated sentences as Gaeilge sooner, and with less time looking up dictionaries to see "how a Gaeilgeoir would say it". I usually directly translate from English to Irish, gan cora cainte, and I'm usually wrong. I suppose I have my own version of Gaeilge, to an extent, but I'd prefer to be understood by the majority of speakers!


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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018 4:21 am 
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Esperanto has long been suggested as a way to learn languages via intermediary, because it is so easy but yet so grammatically based. Just an aside.


The tough part about Irish is knowing which prepositions to use. The phrases, the idioms, you can learn those. But the prepositions still often surprise me. It just seems sometimes like there are five options that are correct in one sentence, but a very similar sentence can only have two options, one of which is not one of the five from the other sentence.


The biggest issue, I think, with your idea, is that you must have a teacher with "native mindset" Irish to teach this English. And if you had those teachers in the first place, this problem wouldn't need to be solved. But those teachers do not exist. Because there are more teachers in Ireland than there are native speakers of Irish, and the overlap is definitely less than 100%.

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018 6:12 pm 
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Werewoof wrote:
For instance, from Focloir.ie:
"I'm going out tonight to big it up" - "Tá mé ag dul amach ar an ragairne anocht"

Which could be transliterally parsed as:
"Yes me at going out on the revelry tonight"


Good to use a few examples like that to explain the word order. But I don't think you need a system of it, once students understand a few basics. It would only be confusing to use it all the time.


Werewoof wrote:
Breandan mac Ardghail mentions that Irish language students typically botch their conversations with each other--even though they understand each others' broken Gaeilge just fine--because they parse the language incorrectly, in ways they understand from their natively English perspective. If this is the evolution and future of the Irish language, then it's a tectonic shift, one which was perhaps inevitable.


Unfortunately that's true. Learners understand each other but often don't understand native speech. There is even a new "dialect" now called "Urban Irish".

There aren't many materials for normal speech in Irish. Like in English and French etc we use a lot of abbreviation and also elision. You rarely see that written down in any textbooks. Whereas for learners of English that is explained and written, for example speech is written as it's spoken they write "can't" "won't" , not "cannot" or "will not".
In Irish a native speaker would never say "níl a fhíos agam" we say "Níl'íos'am".


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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018 11:54 pm 
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Cúmhaí wrote:

The tough part about Irish is knowing which prepositions to use. The phrases, the idioms, you can learn those. But the prepositions still often surprise me. It just seems sometimes like there are five options that are correct in one sentence, but a very similar sentence can only have two options, one of which is not one of the five from the other sentence.


I absolutely sympathize. :stoning:

Cúmhaí wrote:
The biggest issue, I think, with your idea, is that you must have a teacher with "native mindset" Irish to teach this English. And if you had those teachers in the first place, this problem wouldn't need to be solved. But those teachers do not exist. Because there are more teachers in Ireland than there are native speakers of Irish, and the overlap is definitely less than 100%.


Ouch. I don't doubt you. But it hurts to know.

Thanks so much for your input and insight!


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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr 2018 12:19 am 
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Bríd Mhór wrote:
Good to use a few examples like that to explain the word order. But I don't think you need a system of it, once students understand a few basics. It would only be confusing to use it all the time.


I often get surprised by the way the Irish parse things: at times it seems predictable, but others, not at all. Understandably, I don't think an exhaustive list of Irish parsings and idioms in English would be sensible: Irish is kind of doomed to change in some ways, and I think the only way to cope with that is to embrace it, I guess whatever that ends up being. But perhaps if there was just enough information to build a solid mental foundation upon so that learners could more accurately predict how to say something from an "Irish mindset", a good deal of Irish could be preserved whilst building upon it in inevitable new directions.

I mean, maybe that already exists and I'm just blind to it? I just hope it isn't exclusive to the Gaeltacht. If it is, I hope there's some way to make it not exclusive.

Bríd Mhór wrote:
Unfortunately that's true. Learners understand each other but often don't understand native speech. There is even a new "dialect" now called "Urban Irish".


I have mixed feelings about it: on one hand, I want to learn Irish the way it used to be spoken, but the chances just seem slimmer and slimmer. On the other hand, it's reasonably exciting that Irish isn't gone, but changing, like Old English becoming what it is. But it's more upsetting to witness a passing than to hear about it.

Bríd Mhór wrote:
There aren't many materials for normal speech in Irish. Like in English and French etc we use a lot of abbreviation and also elision. You rarely see that written down in any textbooks. Whereas for learners of English that is explained and written, for example speech is written as it's spoken they write "can't" "won't" , not "cannot" or "will not".
In Irish a native speaker would never say "níl a fhíos agam" we say "Níl'íos'am".


BOY, would that be handy. :LOL: I don't know how many times I've expected 5 syllables and gotten 2 or 3.
Although, if Irish were to progress from the traditional sense, perhaps it would be a benefit for the next generations to enunciate each word, then let it get a little sloppy as generations pass on.


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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr 2018 1:58 pm 
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Don't be so defeatist!
It seems that way at first, but it actually is not as hard as you might think to find good Irish.

There are thousands of books out there written in perfect Irish, and they are not that hard to find (the one issue with them is they aren't all that fascinating, often).
It is also easy to hear native speakers if you watch the news on TG4 (beware of almost everything other than the news though, or at least skeptical). The reporters, for the most part, are flawless, although do not listen closely to any of the people they interview.
There are many websites that can help with pronunciation of individual words, including forvo, fuaimeanna, and even teanglann.

In general, it is not actually that hard to find non-Urban Irish. If you want to learn it, you can. The reason for the Urban people's Irish is that they did not want to learn the "native" version. They first learned their cúpla focal in primary school and probably didn't pay any attention to pronunciation, grammar, idiom, or anything. Later in life, when they became actually interested in Irish, they did not start over from scratch, but kept their urban foundation. They improve their Irish mostly by speaking to one another, not to native speakers. They are interested in an "Irish speaking culture" that is entirely separate from the culture of the Gaeltacht. They are not criminals and their culture is perfectly valid as well, but my point is that they have chosen their Urban Irish--it is not that they had no other choice. On the other hand, there are other people in Ireland who have a different interest in Irish (aka not the urban kind) who are able to learn and speak fluent, native-sounding Irish by actively seeking it out.
AT LEAST (caveat) that is my understanding of the situation. I could DEFINITELY be wrong hahahahahahaha

The radio/television show "Comhrá" is a great example of how possible it is. I haven't listened to more than 20 or so of them, but everyone I have heard so far has had patent Irish. And not all of them have been native speakers. Yes, they are all very old, but that is because the show premise is interviewing old people before its too late, not because the only people who were able to learn Irish well are all dying (God forbid)

I, of course, do not have perfect native Irish.... yet. But I am optimistic that it will get there.

ps: i think I edited this 40 times. sorry :(

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PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2018 2:30 pm 
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Sorry I haven't replied in a week. I'm afraid school will kill me if I look away from it. :darklaugh: Will get around to this eventually...


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PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr 2018 2:09 pm 
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Cúmhaí wrote:

In general, it is not actually that hard to find non-Urban Irish. If you want to learn it, you can. The reason for the Urban people's Irish is that they did not want to learn the "native" version. They first learned their cúpla focal in primary school and probably didn't pay any attention to pronunciation, grammar, idiom, or anything. Later in life, when they became actually interested in Irish, they did not start over from scratch, but kept their urban foundation. They improve their Irish mostly by speaking to one another, not to native speakers. They are interested in an "Irish speaking culture" that is entirely separate from the culture of the Gaeltacht. They are not criminals and their culture is perfectly valid as well, but my point is that they have chosen their Urban Irish--it is not that they had no other choice. On the other hand, there are other people in Ireland who have a different interest in Irish (aka not the urban kind) who are able to learn and speak fluent, native-sounding Irish by actively seeking it out.
AT LEAST (caveat) that is my understanding of the situation. I could DEFINITELY be wrong hahahahahahaha


No, I think this comment perfectly sums them up. They're not interested in Irish as it's spoken/lived in the Gaeltacht, but as a marker for their "Irish speaking culture". And that's fine, except they often view theirs as the only true "Irish speaking culture", and thus they decry those who want to interact, learn, protect and use the native methods as being "purists". They're actively trying to kill off the native language, imo, for their Urban Irish, which they view as being "better" and more the future. That's what upsets me, as, once the last speaker of Connemara Irish is gone, I'll really have no reason to go back to Ireland or interact with the language (tho maybe there'll be some other Gaeltacht left by that time). To me, it's all about the Gaeltachtaí, and it's a shame what's happening to them because of Urban Irish.


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