Ar cheart domsa Gaeilge a fhoghlaim fós?

Fáilte (Welcome) Forums General Discussion (Irish and English) Ar cheart domsa Gaeilge a fhoghlaim fós?

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #36616
    DasBroc
    Participant

    Dia dhaoibh

    Táim ag foghlaim Gaeilge le cheithre bliana agus tá grá don theanga agam agus taitneann foghlaim liom, ach anois táim ag fiafraigh dom féin: “An bhfuilim ag meilt ama? Ar cheart dom teanga eile a fhoghlaim?

    I’m not Irish, nor of Irish descent and have no means to live anywhere in Ireland, much less near a Gaeltacht, so how does me trying to speak Irish help the language at all?

    I really have put a lot into this: I (briefly) visited the Gaeltacht three times, I even spent some time studying Celtology in Germany.

    I care about the language, but I’d like to feel that my efforts have actually amounted to something.

    #44691
    eadaoin
    Participant

    Braitheann sé ar cad ba mhaith leat!

    Are you enjoying it?
    are there other languages/ pastimes you want to spend more time on?
    why are you learning Irish?

    eadaoin

    #44692
    Jonas
    Participant

    I cannot tell you what to do. I’m not Irish either, no Irish connection, I don’t live in Ireland… I hate to admit, but I have to admit, that I’ve felt it more rewarding to learn French and Italian than Irish. I don’t count English (extremely rewarding) as it was a compulsory school subject, but Irish, Italian and French are all languages I decided to learn voluntarily.

    Some of the main differences

    – There a millions of people with whom I have to speak Italian/French if I want to speak to them. All the people in the world with whom I have to speak Irish, rather than English, would probably fit into my office.

    РThe largest metropolitan area where French is the main language is home to around 12 million people, the largest metropolitan area where Italian is the largest language is home to around 3 million people. There are countless French and Italian cities with several hundreds of thousand inhabitants. There is no Irish town with even 3000 people where Irish is the main language. The entire population of Ireland is smaller than that of Lombardia or Rh̫ne-Alpes, the entire population of people speaking Irish daily is smaller than that of Lecce (50th largest city in Italy) or Terrebonne (10th largest city in Quebec, perhaps 70-80th largest French-speaking city in the world.

    – A wealth of literature (both prose, poetry and academic literature), music, films etc.

    I could go on, but the point is clear. Is we take a utilitarian perspective, Irish is not the first language one decides to learn. Then again, I knew that when I started and I have never ever regretted the time and effort to learn Irish. I love Corca Dhuibhne, I love the Irish language as such…

    So in the end it boils down to how you feel. I don’t want to say that you “should” learn Irish for any reason, but if you like Irish, as you appear to do, then obviously it makes perfect sense to continue.

    #44699
    DasBroc
    Participant

    Well, I do enjoy it, but there are definitely other languages I could be spending my time on.

    The reason I started studying Irish was that as an Afrikaans-speaker I have some perspective on what it’s like to speak a language that has had to historically defend itself against the all-mighty English. Moreover the Irish and Afrikaners had a fairly close connection until the rise of Apartheid.
    I also found it interesting that whereas both languages started out in roughly the same position from some perspectives (languages spoken by the ill-educated rural poor confronted with English as the language of the urban middle and upper classes) Afrikaans has gone on to thrive whereas Irish has continued to decline.

    Since then, I’ve just come to love the language itself, it’s particularly rich and pleasant to speak and very expressive and it’d be a shame if it died out.

    I was never particularly worried about the fact that so few people actually speak it and there is at least some measure of literature to enjoy, even if much of it is quite old. What has come to annoy me far more is the way so many Irish people claim to be able to speak the language, yet can’t. (But that’s a rant for another time.)

    I suppose what it comes down to is that studying Irish sometimes feels a bit like an ecentric hobby, and that I just wish at times it was more like learning Italian or French. (Or rather, I sometimes feel that it should be. It is after all an official language of the EU.)

    #44700
    An Lon Dubh
    Participant

    Well, as an Irish person, I love it when people from other countries learn Irish, as it injects some objectivity into the whole thing.
    As you said, many Irish people claim to speak Irish when they really don’t, however often this isn’t a case of lying, but actually thinking that the bit they have constitutes fluent Irish or think they’re semi-native automatically, simply because they’re from Ireland!
    Foriegner learners, in my opinion, bring things back down to Earth, as they simply see it as another language that should be learned in the same way as any other. I’ve learned all my Irish from either native speakers, academics (i.e. from Diarmuid Ó Sé’s Corca Dhuibhne book), or guides and materials provided by foriegn learners, such as Jonas above, the owner of the Cork Irish website and Lughaidh, another member here.
    I really think my own Irish wouldn’t be half as good, if it were not for learners from other countries, either from providing materials or directing me to the correct materials (Jonas is the reason I got Gaeilge Chorca Dhuibhne). So please keep learning Irish! 🙂

    #44703
    Onuvanja
    Participant

    I think that as foreigners we have to accept that learning Irish is an eccentric hobby, as you say, but then some people even study dead languages like Latin, Ancient Greek and Sanskrit and derive immense pleasure from reading original texts in those languages. Compared to them, we’re still in a somewhat better position. 🙂 What’s more, nowadays you can immerse yourself in Irish-language culture without having to leave the comfort of your own home, so to say. With RnaG, TG4, Youtube etc, there’s more stuff out there than any of us can possibly consume.

    What is frustrating, of course, is the lack of opportunities to practice Irish in a natural setting, i.e. with native speakers, as you would do in the case of any other language. Which means that it’s hard to become or stay fluent in Irish and you end up with the annoying feeling that you’ll never quite master the bloody language, pardon my French. If that’s what’s nagging you, why not set yourself some sort of goal, e.g. sitting the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) test and work your way up the level required for that? That would keep you motivated and help you improve your Irish in the process.

    #44711
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    I’ve definitely “given up” on Irish in the past. I began studying on my own probably about 10 years ago, but I’d never claim to have put in 10 solid years of study into the language. There were at least two breaks in there somewhere of probably over a year in length where I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to learn something I wasn’t realistically going to find anyone to speak with.

    I have since resolved that I will most likely be studying the language for the rest of my life. I don’t listen to Irish every day (like I know I should) and there are sometimes a week or so that goes by without me putting active work into my studies, but I don’t think I’ll ever give up again. Not to place judgment on people who do give up – I perfectly understand that it’s in most cases a logical decision.

    I’ve found that, in a way, being an Irish studier is almost as important to one’s identity as being an Irish speaker. I simply enjoy learning the language and trying to make what progress I can. Every time I make head-way or understand something that I couldn’t understand before, I feel a sense of connection, pride, whatever you want to call it. You do have to think about what you want to accomplish and what it’s worth to you: do you have to be fluent in a language to feel you’ve benefited from learning it? Do you have to speak it with others, or is reading it enough? There are so many questions and facets to language learning, speaking, living, that no one can really answer them for you. And, as I have shown to myself, you don’t have to decide now and forever. There is no one saying that, if you want to study Irish at all, you have to study it so much. You can give it up now and pick it up 10 years from now. You could spend 1 hour studying a week for the next 10 years. There is also no reason you can’t study more than one language. I think some people are afraid to try because they think they will get confused or that their brain only has so much language-memory and you don’t want to run out. I tend to think these fears are mostly illusory. There are enough polyglots out there that I think you can definitely learn Irish and another more “useful” language at the same time. And of course, there is nothing wrong with quitting altogether, but I can see in your original post that you’ve got enough Irish now that any further work you do will only move you forward, not backward.

    #44715
    DasBroc
    Participant

    An lon dubh:

    I know exactly what you mean about the “objective attitude to learning Irish”. I had many a “disagreement” with my Irish ex-girlfriend because of it. As you say, I don’t think it’s a case of outright lying, but rather the idea that “Irish people can instinctively speak Irish.”. As well as ” Well, that’s not how I learnt it at school!”.

    That said, thank you for the encouragement it definitely helps!

    Onuvanja:

    Actually, while I was studying Celtology, I was actually easily outnumbered by the people studying Sanskrit or Latin! :gulp: (Which was also one of the reasons I decided to quit studying Celtology).

    But ja, I had been considering the TEG as something to go for in the future.

    Héilics Órbhuí:
    That’s definitely true, personally, I’m just more concerned about how much time my Irish study takes up, rather than whether I could mentally handle that many languages. In fact, studying Irish has probably benefitted my study of other languages just because having had to work so much on pronunciation has kind of “loosened up my mouth” for speaking other languages.

    Gur maith agaibh!

    #44716
    Lughaidh
    Participant

    but rather the idea that “Irish people can instinctively speak Irish.”. As well as ” Well, that’s not how I learnt it at school!”.

    I also noticed that many Irish people believe that. It looks like a 18th or 19th century belief and I wonder how people of the 21st century can still believe that, at least in a “developped” country. As if language were a genetic thing. Like, if you have Irish ancestors, you’ll automatically be able to speak Irish better than people who don’t have Irish ancestors. Lol.
    If it’s school that teaches that, it’s about time they change their programs and teach people to think more by themselves about such subjects.

    #44719
    DasBroc
    Participant

    Ja, I think that attitude seems to influence the way Irish is taught in schools. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on reading poems and short stories, but less on speaking and listening.
    Which meant that I’d hear people simply pronouncing the “ch” as a “k”, broad “gh” or “dh” as if it was just a “g”. My ex-girlfriend once complained that whenever I spoke Irish it sounded like I was shouting at her. This worried me for a bit, until I listened to my recordings again and realised that it was the stress pattern in spoken Irish that was freaking her out.

    #44721
    Jonas
    Participant


    Which meant that I’d hear people simply pronouncing the “ch” as a “k”, broad “gh” or “dh” as if it was just a “g”.

    Yup, that sounds horrible. Same thing with pronouncing é as [ei] and ó as [ow]. It’s natural, as the sounds represented by “ch”, “dh”, “é” and “ó” don’t exist in English. I don’t ridicule anyone’s accent and I have no problem with people making mistakes. The problem is that when they don’t accept that it is a mistake but insist that their pronunciation is right, because they are Irish.

    As Lughaidh knows, the most popular French producer of language courses, Assimil, has a short introduction to Irish (more like a phrasebook with grammar). This course, written by an Irishman in France who probably is an English-speaker, actually teaches that “ch” should be pronounced [k]. As the sound [x] exists in many languages, including major ones like Spanish, German and Russian, I have half a mind to write Assimil to ask why they don’t teach [mu’ker] for Spanish mujer, [bu:k] for German Buch, or [[kÉ™rɐ’Ê‚o] for Russian хорошо

    Nobody would take such a course seriously. Yet somehow it seemed fine to give the equally erroneus pronunciation for Irish.

    #44724
    DasBroc
    Participant

    “As Lughaidh knows, the most popular French producer of language courses, Assimil, has a short introduction to Irish (more like a phrasebook with grammar). This course, written by an Irishman in France who probably is an English-speaker, actually teaches that “ch” should be pronounced [k].”

    That is ridiculous. It’s that sort of thing that sometimes makes me wonder whether making Irish compulsory in schools is really such a good idea.

    #44725
    Jonas
    Participant

    “As Lughaidh knows, the most popular French producer of language courses, Assimil, has a short introduction to Irish (more like a phrasebook with grammar). This course, written by an Irishman in France who probably is an English-speaker, actually teaches that “ch” should be pronounced [k].”

    That is ridiculous. It’s that sort of thing that sometimes makes me wonder whether making Irish compulsory in schools is really such a good idea.

    It is ridiculous. To be fair, the problem may be more with Assimil than with bad Irish. I had a look at Assimil’s course for my native Swedish, and the pronunciation is just as bad. Among the many errors, the worst is that they don’t distinguish between “u” and “y”. Always with the “y” pronounciation, disregarding “u”.

    It means that Assimil teaches learners to pronounce hur how and hyr rent in the same way, just as nu now and ny new and countless other pairs. My personal favourite is that their pronunciation for du you becomes dy slime. Going around calling everybody “slime” is not the best way to make friends…

    So while it is ridiculous to confuse “c” and “ch” in Irish (at least ridiculous to claims it’s ok), it seems that Assimil has a more general problem.

    #45280
    Rogha Bhríde
    Participant


    … I have half a mind to write Assimil to ask why they don’t teach [mu’ker] for Spanish mujer, [bu:k] for German Buch, or [[kÉ™rɐ’Ê‚o] for Russian хорошо

    Iontach Jonas. Déan le do thoill!
    Great. Oh please do! (And while you’re at it, send a copy to the Department of Education. Oh, and remind them that the Irish alphabet is not the same as the English one. Try teaching German using the English alphabet.) Oh and to any learners of Irish in Ireland – don’t be hard on yourselves. How could you learn a language which was, and still is, taught using the wrong alphabet? Beyond words.

    Agus chuig DasBroc: (Is maith liom an tainm!) Má bhaineann tú sult as, lean ort ag foghlaim na Gaeilge. Is iontach an rud gur fhoghlaim tú í.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.