Tips for helping learn the tricksy parts of the Irish language?
September 19, 2017 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Miko and I are leaving for Ireland (Dublin, Galway, Aran Islands, etc.) in early October, and we're having enormous fun learning Irish. Could use fluent speaker assistance in cutting through the competing information.

Would love help with pronunciaton, uru, seimhu, etc. Just finding consensus on how to say Hello! is driving me batty. I've memorized three different pronunciations, and NOT based on regional dialects.

A little help, le do thoit? Go raibh maith agat!
posted by Lipstick Thespian to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, one more thing: assume I'm kicking ass on Duolingo already, and am conversant with the basics of grammar. I just want to know from a native speaker how to analyze a word to know which vowel sounds to use and which consonants to strees. I also know what is meant by leathan le leathan, coel le coel. So just talk about slender/broad if you have to and I'll get it quick.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:45 AM on September 19


This Twitter account does phonetic spellings on request and is generally very helpful so maybe ask them? They also recommend abair.ie .

Other than that I can't help you but have you tried tuning into Raidió na Gaeltachta or TG4? Fair warning, sometimes the people being interviewed have (like myself) awful Irish but you can rely on the presenters having good spoken Irish.

The soap opera Ros na Rún is probably a good place to hear every day Irish being spoken.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:15 PM on September 19


Mango Languages has an Irish course. I find they pair nicely with Duolingo. The pronunciation is done by multiple real people and there is an option to work on your speech, as well (I've never used this, though since I usually do it on public transit). You may already have free access through a public library.
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:40 PM on September 19


MeMail me if there are specific words or phrases you want to know how to pronounce! I'll have to think about it a bit to write up more generalized advice though!
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:58 PM on September 19


I think the biggest trick with knowing which vowels to pronounce, which you kind of have to get a feel for yourself through practice, is understanding which ones are there *just to show how the consonant should be pronounced*. For example when you go from a nominative to a genitive, a lot of times you add an i before the final consonant. That i is just there to tell you that the final consonant should be palatalized. This is why slender/broad vowels never "contradict" each other, and must be consistent on both sides of a consonant.

Stress varies by dialect, but initial stress is going to be correct more often than not.

There's also a nice mnemonic for which consonants don't get lenited after s: CAT MAP (sc, st, sm, sp don't lenite)

I'm not sure what exactly you are asking about the consonant mutations otherwise. I am a formerly fluent, now kind of rusty, non-native speaker.
posted by karbonokapi at 1:15 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Not to be a downer but hardly anyone speaks Irish ever in day to day life in Ireland aside from a couple of tiny pockets in the west..
posted by Lucy_32 at 2:49 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Not too worried about how many people "have the Irish" when I'm in Ireland, I've literally just fallen in love with it for its own sake.

I think it's gorgeous that it exists at all, and I want to be fluent one day. Everyone has to "have the English" now. Why not go for one of the oldest languages on the planet, and learn what it can teach you?

Not only that, but uisce is a gloriously poetic word.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:15 PM on September 19 [3 favorites]


It is important to remember that "standard" Irish (an caighdeán) is really an amalgam of different dialects, that the dialects differ from each other in some significant ways, and that no-one really speaks standard Irish as a day-to-day language. So you're bound to encounter different pronunciations and phrases. The confusion is part of the richness of the language.
posted by Grinder at 11:52 PM on September 19


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