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PostPosted: Sat 22 Oct 2022 6:42 pm 
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Hi this is my first post on the forum. I am curious as to whether or not it matters to other learners to sound as 'native-like' as possible. In other words, have you chosen a particular dialect and actively work on your pronunciation and phonemes to sound as close as possible to a native speaker from a particular Gaeltacht?

There are two schools of thought out there on this topic. Some people say it is 'fake' to try to sound like someone from a different part of Ireland. You should just use English phonemes and your regular accent in English when speaking Irish as a learner (caol and leathan consonants are unnecessary for communciation some say, bilabials not important etc). Other people believe you should always emulate native speaker speech. I personally enjoy trying to get the 'native' sounds 'just right'. It does not bother me in the slightest if someone I'm talking to in Irish isn't bothered doing this or views it as unnecessary! To each their own. One of the reasons I love Irish is that it sounds so different to English.

I was at a Ciorcal Comhrá today and one person asked me if I was from Cork! I am actually a Dub! I do my best to speak Munster Irish (as my great grandparents from Gaeltacht Múscraí). If there was a living Leinster dialect I would probably learn that.


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PostPosted: Sat 22 Oct 2022 10:18 pm 
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You should try to sound like a native speaker. If you learn French, you try to sound like a French person, right? Chinese as spoken by learner in Dublin just won't be good Chinese, not unless it closely follows the pronunciation used in China.

The people who say it is fake to try to speak with native-level pronunciation are ultimately contemptuous of the language and its speakers - or are Galltacht residents who use Irish for identity politics reasons, while actually having no genuine interest in it.

If you say "amac" instead of "amach", then that is a colossal error in your Irish. That is all there is to it.


Last edited by djwebb2021 on Sat 22 Oct 2022 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat 22 Oct 2022 10:23 pm 
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Dáltha an scéil, nách maith an rud é go bhfuil an blas chómh nádúrtha agat go gceapaid daoine gur cainnteóir dúchais thu! Maith thu, a Thúirín Dhubh!


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PostPosted: Sat 22 Oct 2022 10:41 pm 
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I agree with Djwebb.
If you want to learn a language but don't bother to master even its basic sounds, then why do you learn that language?

My old teacher used to tell us "Ní leithscéal ar bith an tírghrá ar an droch-Ghaeilg" (I'm not 100% sure it's the exact sentence unfortunately), ie. "patriotism is no excuse for bad Irish". Many learn Irish because they love their country but they don't bother with anything, in the language, that doesn't exist in English: English pronunciation and English translated word for word in every sentence... They're happy enough with pretending...

I can't stand badly pronounced Irish, whenever I hear people who speak like that (in videos or radio, since I don't live in Ireland), I stop the program or shut off the sound and read the subtitles when possible... a bad pronunciation makes by ears bleed, and badly pronounced Irish is even hard to understand, to me...

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Agus is í Gaeilg Ġaoṫ Doḃair is binne
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Oct 2022 10:43 am 
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Broad and slender consonants are absolutely critical to the structure of the language. Saying they are unnecessary for communication is like telling a learner of English they needn't bother distinguishing voiced consonants from voiceless ones. It's probably worse actually since broad/slender is so important for declensions.

I'm amazed at how little care is given to bother teaching pronunciation in schools, my school anyway. I'm a fifth-year student and I've been learning Irish for a few years despite having an exemption from sitting the exams (I lived out foreign til I was about 10). I joined classes last year and I'm now doing it for the leaving cert. I'd always heard complaints of it being badly taught but I was amazed recently at just how inept the curriculum is at teaching things I assumed to be 'the basics'.

I sat down with two classmates the other day to explain things they didn't understand but wanted to improve on. For about an hour and a half, we went through broad/slender, how to tell the gender of nouns, the declension of bád and cloch, etc. All things that they never had explained to them. One of them had done German and knew what cases were, he was amazed to find out that Irish has them too. Neither were ever taught the application of grammatical gender or even how to guess which is which. Both were relieved to learn that urú and séimhiú are principled sound shifts and not just random spelling changes.

None of these concepts are really very difficult in isolation, yet the teachers in Ireland seem to think they are so difficult that it's better to avoid explaining them at all. Actually, all this does is confuse people who have to decipher the language from guesswork. It's easy to justify not knowing something by saying it's not important or relevant but all these things are very important. In my opinion, it's impossible to have a good knowledge of the language without these things.

(I won't even start on the difference between is/tá, something my teacher said they know to explain)


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Oct 2022 10:46 am 
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baeris wrote:
(I won't even start on the difference between is/tá, something my teacher said they know to explain)

correction: something my teacher said they didn't know to explain


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Oct 2022 4:10 pm 
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baeris wrote:
baeris wrote:
(I won't even start on the difference between is/tá, something my teacher said they know to explain)

correction: something my teacher said they didn't know to explain


Well, that's a teacher who should be sacked.

The copula is about identification and classification. The substantive verb (tá) about modes. As PUL explained many times.

Baeris do you have Papers on Irish Idiom, which is a collection of PUL's essays?


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Oct 2022 7:56 pm 
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djwebb2021 wrote:
baeris wrote:
baeris wrote:
(I won't even start on the difference between is/tá, something my teacher said they know to explain)

correction: something my teacher said they didn't know to explain


Well, that's a teacher who should be sacked.

The copula is about identification and classification. The substantive verb (tá) about modes. As PUL explained many times.

Baeris do you have Papers on Irish Idiom, which is a collection of PUL's essays?


I don't know, I can't say whether she should lose her job but it's a pity that the conditions are impossible for any one of my classmates to really get a good command of Irish in the class.

I don't have that but I do have Notes on Irish Words and Usage, an invaluable resource. Have you by chance a pdf of it?

Le gach dea-ghuí,


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PostPosted: Sun 23 Oct 2022 8:13 pm 
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baeris wrote:
djwebb2021 wrote:
baeris wrote:
baeris wrote:
(I won't even start on the difference between is/tá, something my teacher said they know to explain)

correction: something my teacher said they didn't know to explain


Well, that's a teacher who should be sacked.

The copula is about identification and classification. The substantive verb (tá) about modes. As PUL explained many times.

Baeris do you have Papers on Irish Idiom, which is a collection of PUL's essays?


I don't know, I can't say whether she should lose her job but it's a pity that the conditions are impossible for any one of my classmates to really get a good command of Irish in the class.

I don't have that but I do have Notes on Irish Words and Usage, an invaluable resource. Have you by chance a pdf of it?

Le gach dea-ghuí,


Not a PDF but an ODT of the RIA's transcription of it.


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PostPosted: Sat 29 Oct 2022 1:40 pm 
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TúirínDubh wrote:
Some people say it is 'fake' to try to sound like someone from a different part of Ireland.

I know you're not saying this, just referencing it.
My experience is that native speakers don't think this, they just think you have good Irish.

Irish phonology is so far from English phonology it doesn't really come across the same way as putting on another English language accent in a fake manner.
I'm in Iorras Aithneach at the moment and a musician here from Sussex has good Galway Irish. Nobody sees him as putting on a fake accent, he's just seen to have good Irish.

It's no different from how Canadians who learn French often speak with a Québecois accent, but that isn't seen as fake by people from Québec.

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