Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish, Spanish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:44 pm

iguanamon wrote:
galaxyrocker wrote:...The program, Na'atik, was in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a town in Quintana Roo. Very few people there spoke English...

Many years ago, I was stuck in Felipe Carillo Puerto in the middle of the night, while on my way to Chetumal. it was pre-internet (or rather pre- "useful" internet). I was on a bus headed out of Cancún and the bus broke down in the middle of nowhere, sometime after midnight. We were picked up by a passing cattle truck and dropped off at Felipe Carillo Puerto at 3 in the morning. I had the Lonely Planet guidebook with me and I consulted it for any information about the town. In pure "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fashion it said "of no interest to travelers".

At the time, my Spanish would have been around B1. I needed it because there was nobody who spoke any English... especially at a bus station in Felipe Carillo Puerto at 3 am. Believe it or not, I was able to get tortillas, rice and beans at an open restaurant at that time while waiting on the bus to Chetumal. It really puts your language level in focus when you need vocabulary and don't have it. You either become good at using what you do have, quickly (circumlocution may be awkward but it is useful), or you're in trouble!

So, we eventually got onto a bus for Chetumal, at the Belize border, which passed through the jungle darkness of Quintana Roo, stopping everywhere with people getting on and off the bus at random stops in the pitch black darkness of the middle of the wilderness, sometimes with a chicken in tow. Your post brings back a lot of memories!


It's funny how that happens. The school in the town was only set up because the director fell in love with a man there, and wanted to help by teaching English; their Spanish and Yucatec (yes, you can go an learn Mayan!) programs help subsidize the scholarships they give to all the local kids learning English. Otherwise, there's still not much there in terms of things for tourists. It's great, actually.

It's hard to recommend a show as I don't know what you mean by "slow and interesting". As far as documentaries go, I quite like the documentaries on RTVE from Spain, but I find the documentaries on Deutsche Welle to be more attention grabbing and varied. Deutsche Welle Español Documentales. DW's documentaries have more of a global focus and the narration is pan-hispanic. You might like them.

If you want to do a native TV series, at this level (I don't really know what your level is. Maybe A2?), I would recommend something with which you are familiar in English with a Spanish dub and srt files. Still, if you don't want to go through all that, I started with Catalan by watching "Els germans Kratt" (without subtitles) - the Catalan dub of "The Wild Kratts", which is an animated show about animals on PBS. In Spanish, it's "Aventuras con los Kratt" in Latin America and "Los Hermanos Kratt" in Spain. Even without subs, it is fairly transparent. Of course, my language background helped me a lot. "The Wild Kratts" has the advantage of being aimed at pre-teens, so vocabulary won't be too simple and yet, at the same time, not too advanced. The shows are about 25 minutes long, so there's not a huge time investment involved. I'm sure you can find them on youtube.


You're right about my level. I'd say it's a fairly strong A2, but that I don't yet have the grammatical knowledge or vocabulary necessary for a full B1. When I mean "slow and interesting", I was generally referring to documentaries. I like learning things, and they're one of the few things that can keep my focus, and presenters often speak slower during them, or so it seems. So I'm very grateful for mentioning the documentaries you listed. I will definitely look into them, and will likely switch to focusing on Spain Spanish because of my plans to move to Europe next year.


MorkTheFiddle wrote:Sounds like a marvelous trip.
I was going to recommend Deutsche Welle, but iguanamon beat me to it. If you subscribe to Netflix, you may find a series there that interests you. (The only reason I subscribe to Netflix is for language-learning purposes. Normally I avoid subscription servies, but I like the fact that some of the TV shows and movies have subtitles or closed captioning in the TL. I find that very useful.)


Thanks! IT was a great trip, and I'd recommend it if you have the time/money and need to improve Spanish! I definitely am not a fan of Netflix, but it's a tradeoff I've made with my roommates where they pay for other subscriptions I use more often; it has proven nice for finding Spanish language stuff, though (such as the documentary on Peru I watched), though not so much for Irish language haha.
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Sun May 24, 2020 5:59 pm

I don't know why I haven't been more active in keeping up a log, even when I visit the site regularly (multiple times a day, even!) to read the insights and other people's logs. Maybe it's because I haven't been as focused on language learning as I feel like I should be; and this was even before this whole mess with the virus (which I was kinda hoping would've dragged me back into it).

That said, I have been back into doing more with Irish, attending a weekly meetup online, and chatting with friends in Discord and Telegram, which is always great. I need to get back into listening more, as I've started reading again thanks to Clo Iar-Chonnacht offering a free ebook weekly. I also bought a 4000 page corpus of native speech based on the area I want to focus on, and intend to read through all that once I finish the other books I've been reading. I've also started doing college-level math, which I find super interesting as well. It's kinda fun.

As regards to Spanish, I haven't been doing much at all, and my skills are definitely slipping. I think it's because I was stuck at a lower intermediate plateau, and that I let perfection be the enemy of good with regards to my pronunciation (the single and double r still get me), and I couldn't read much right away and didn't persevere through stories like I did with Irish. I've gotten my hands on some graded readers, so I might start with those, and the "Uso de español" series, and see what comes of that. I did also find a "Spanish for Reading" book from the 70s which is interesting, and which I might also print and use to help some too, if I can focus long enough to devote any time to it.


And wanderlust is of course kicking in too. I'm kinda interested in Norwegian/Swedish (or even going into an entirely different family with Finnish!) or Russian (just for reading/listening, at least at the moment), or Basque or X, though I haven't done anything to actually get started with them. I think part of the problem is I need some form of accountability, and I just currently have none, which is quite frustrating but also understandable. And, honestly, I don't really need the languages, y'know?

That said, I wanted to talk about the Super Challenge, for anyone who reads this. Is it just me, or do the times required seem out of whack for anyone else? Like, a "book" only being 50 pages long, whereas a movie is considered 90 minutes (which means 4 tv shows in Irish, as there's very few movies...). Maybe it's just because I read faster and struggle staying focused during films/tv shows (even in English!), but it just seems like it's way out of proportion for me on how it counts. 60 minutes would seem better, though I do understand that's not really a "movie". Just some random thoughts I had about it, before I signed up and then dropped out because I knew I wouldn't make it as things currently stand.

One other thing I wanted to discuss too, which I've found super interesting, are two programs that are currently on TG4. The first one is called Saol Trí Ghaeilge and is hosted by Ciara Ní É, who is a famous "personality" around the Irish language, on Twitter and in-person among those outside the Gaeltachts. Now, her Irish is good, don't get me wrong, but it's clear she's not a native speaker. In this show, however, she goes around to the urban places and show how the youth and such are using Irish, and lots of people praise this as a "revival" of the language and show that the language has a future (even if there's really very few similarities between the language, used as a hobby by these youth and that of the actual native speakers in the Gaeltacht areas), and lots of people cite that show to showcase how much Irish is growing (it's not), etc. etc.

Contrast this with another show, which was only two episodes, of the title Gaeltacht2020. In this show you have a long-time Irish-language journalist, who isn't from a Gaeltacht herself, as far as I'm aware, actually look at the numbers in the Gaeltachts and realize there's a problem. She travels to all of them interviewing locals about how they feel, and what's happening to the language/the area. And, really, the situation couldn't be more dire. It's pretty much all doom-and-gloom, sadly. One native speaker even compared the way outsiders treat the Gaeltachts as like being on an "Indian reservation", where people just come to gawk and treat them like a product to see, without any regards to the area and the culture. Not to mention the lack of employment in the areas, and the difficulties in housing there -- it's actually easier for someone from Dublin who has no Irish to buy a holiday home in these areas than it is for a native speaker whose family has lived in the area for generations to get permission to build one; it's a mess and a half. Yet very few people, outside the crowd that's focused on native Irish (which is a very small minority of learners, especially those on Twitter) talk about this show or how the Gaeltachts need to be saved. There's this huge contradiction within the Irish language crowd (though sometimes I wonder if the urban learners can really even be said to have Irish or rather "English in Irish drag", as one native-speaking linguist called it) about the future of the language, and if it's ok to let the Gaeltachts die as long as "Irish" is used somewhere. I know which side I lean on, but it's always frustrating to see this, and even some people saying the Gealtachts should die, as they're holding the language back and we should all embrace the future of "Dublin Irish" (English sounds, English grammar, but heaven forbid you use any loan words!). It puts me in a very pessimistic place with regards to the language, and has led to more than one argument.

Here's a Twitter link to to a trailer for the show, which is enlightening enough, in my opinion: https://twitter.com/TG4TV/status/1253073426568355843 I'll see about finding some of the articles/other trailers to it.

And, sadly, it seems like Scottish Gaelic is now on this path too. I know a native speaker from Lewis who was visibly upset about the fact it's getting harder and harder to use Gaelic there because of all the people moving in. And he was struggling with his political identity and wanting to preserve the language. Really, he said the only hope he sees for the language there is from straight-up linguistic discrimination, which he doesn't advocate, and it was heartbreaking to see him struggle with this, as he's clearly more comfortable in Gaelic than English, even if he's clearly a native speaker in both.


Anyway, those are my rantings currently, maybe I'll get more structured with my learning and come back with some more rantings or updates. Also, if anyone has read this far I'd appreciate any help I can get about pronunciation and intonation. Those are my worst two things with regards to Irish (and definitely Spanish since I can't roll my r), and, really, I enjoy studying grammar as I think syntax is super interesting, but I just don't care about phonology enough, so any advice is appreciated there.
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Tue May 26, 2020 5:42 pm

Maybe I should've signed up for the super challenge in Irish after all, especially on the reading side of things. I just finished another book, which brings my total up to approximately 670 read pages in the past two weeks... That's like, 13 books, right? (Still don't get the difference between reading and movies in terms of content length, though maybe it's just me being more of a reader than a movie/tv watcher). Now if I can just keep this up, and incorporate some Spanish in there on top of the math. Just need to figure out how to do it.


That said, the book I read was Bealach na Spáinneach, by Liam Mac Cóil, the third in his "Lúcás Ó Briain" series. It was alright. Good for language practice, and a decent enough story that I stayed up way too late several nights reading it, but overall the ending was a big let down for me. I don't really want to spoil it, but it was just enough of a let down to upset me, though I'll still recommend the series to people, even if there was some word usage and prefixing usage in the book that was clearly non-native and which no native speaker would likely use (at least the ones I asked), such as prefixing "domhain" to things for 'deep', instead of "dú", which is usually used with colors. Quite frustrating, really. But for now, I'm turning my attention back towards older works, as well as the transcripts of the corpus I bought.
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby Mista » Tue May 26, 2020 6:51 pm

How many pages do you read per hour, then? I have to say, if you read 50 pages per hour in your target language, you're doing really well. I read at about that speed in Norwegian (my native language) and in English (which I have been reading since I was 10), but in French, I'm still at around 25 pages per hour, even after completing 2 SCs. On the other hand, I usually do better with the reading than the watching/listening, but that's just because I like it better.
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Tue May 26, 2020 9:25 pm

Mista wrote:How many pages do you read per hour, then? I have to say, if you read 50 pages per hour in your target language, you're doing really well. I read at about that speed in Norwegian (my native language) and in English (which I have been reading since I was 10), but in French, I'm still at around 25 pages per hour, even after completing 2 SCs. On the other hand, I usually do better with the reading than the watching/listening, but that's just because I like it better.



I'm not quite sure how fast I read in Irish (or in English even, for that matter), though I'd say I'm maybe close to 35 pages an hour, or a little more, judging from my reading this morning. Though of course, it all depends on how interested I am in the book as well! Really, I think it comes down to just what you said -- I like reading better than listening and watching TV (even in English), so I'm probably just better at that and that explains a lot of the discrepancy (and I usually multitask when reading, like going for a walk or something). I also just find it easier to stay focused on reading; my attention span is bad enough (sometimes I wonder if I don't have ADHD), but watching TV just seems to make it worse.

It is nice to see that other people do prefer reading to listening/watching. Thanks for the input!
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Sun May 31, 2020 11:36 pm

I've finished another book in Irish, this one 135 pages, bringing my total up to around 800 pages read in Irish in the past few weeks. It was a collection of stories from what is known as Ceantar na n-Oileán in South Connemara. The area includes Leitir Mór and Leitir Mealláin as well as the other islands out that way. It was a good collection, published back in 1929. Very rich, native Irish, though there were some things used in it that have since fallen out of speech, sadly (one example was 'bloaidhch' instead of 'gloach' for 'call'), as they were quite interesting. It was also written fairly dialectally, which is my main goal.

I did manage to watch about 50 minutes of Irish TV, rewatching Gaeltacht2020 because I know most the speakers there are natives (as opposed to a good chunk of TG4's stuff), and will watch the second episode probably over the new few days. Then I'll have finally completed one movie according to the Super Challenge (I know I harp on this a lot!). It's a shame there's just such a lack of material in Irish as to really get good exposure through movies/tv. Maybe I'll go back to watching the news, as at least the main presenter there is a native speaker so that's something.
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish, Spanish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:39 pm

I've started rereading a book in Irish, Máire Phatch Mhóir Uí Churraoin: A Scéal Féin. I chose to do this because I know the quality of the Irish is great, and that it hasn't been standardized too much, something that's hard to find even in dialectal books nowadays. It makes things difficult, when trying to focus on a particular dialect, as even authors from the area write differently than they speak. I wouldn't say it's strong enough to be a diglossic situation in most cases, but it's still pretty different at times.

Anyway, this one will be nice to give it a quick reread; it's less than 100 pages and after that maybe I'll turn to Cladaigh Chonamara, or to another old book I've found online, Sgéalaidhe Leitir Mealláin, which is also from the area (I'd love to buy a copy of this; sadly, I haven't seen any for sale). There's a few more I might buy from the area/time if I hit my goals in other things (It's how I encourage myself -- set goals and allow myself to buy books if I meet them!).

I would also appreciate any tips for rolling the r. It's something I'm still struggling to do, and I think it's putting me off Spanish as a mental block. I also think I might dabble around with other languages. Pāli still interests me, as does Basque and Japanese, Latin and Ancient Greek (and those are just the ones I have at my house here; much more at my parents' in storage). We'll just have to see where it takes me, as math and Spanish should be the primary focuses for me.
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:47 am

I've finished Máire Phatch Mhóir Uí Churraoin: A Scéal Féin again, bringing my total number of pages read in Irish up to around 900. I struggled with this one, just because I struggled to focus; I haven't been reading much in English lately or been doing much math either. It's been a mess. But at least the gyms are open again, so that's one thing I can do to keep healthy/improving myself. Otherwise, I've just been doing a bunch of nothing all day. Sitting around on the internet doing literally nothing but refreshing Reddit and Hacker News multiple times an hour. Quite frustrating. I did watch some videos on trilling my "r"s yesterday, but still couldn't get it. Just gotta keep practicing more I guess. I should get back into my Spanish stuff too, as I really want to at least improve my passive skills, though I'd also love to improve my active ones eventually.

Otherwise, not much else to report. Just me being lazy and unmotivated lately lol. I never realized how useful classes were for me, as they gave me an impetus to really focus on my language skills and improve them. It's how I got my Irish to where I could do stuff with it on my own, and from there it was fairly easy. I just need to find that same drive for Spanish or any other third language really.
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galaxyrocker
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby galaxyrocker » Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:31 am

I always go through spurts like this with things. I'll binge a lot, then die off any basically do nothing for several months. Well, not nothing, but basically nothing, just the bare minimum with the language. That said, I started a book, Cladaigh Chonamara, with the intentions of word-mining it to pick up a lot of words I wouldn't know that relate to the seashore and such. The book was originally published in the 30s, and features wonderful, dialectal Irish, even if a bit dated; the updated version has ruined a lot of that. Thankfully, I have the old. However, I got through roughly two small chapters and had over 200 words in Excel to translate and I just got tired of it, and never felt like looking them up. So I stopped reading and working on that for a while.

I did read, however, last week, another Irish book, Cuimhní Cinn Cháit Ní Mhanáinn, a collection of memories of the author, which was written in nice idiomatic Irish (even if the grammar and spelling were standardized). She was born in Ros Muc, so it's a subdialect of the subdialect I'm focusing on, which was useful. Also brings my reading total up to over 1000 pages now, not that that's anything great this late into things. Especially since I don't know when I'll read another book in Irish; my interests just wax and wane too much for me to be consistent, and it doesn't help Irish doesn't have a wide range of literature already, and it drops even further when you want native speaker authors.

That said, I've been toying with the idea of restarting Japanese using a combination of MIA and Genki (since I already have the textbook and workbook). My plans to move to Ireland fell through, and I'm starting to take this as a sign that maybe it's not meant to be (this is the second time in 4 years this has happened!), and am thinking of applying for the JET program, though I fear I might be getting too old as it's meant primarily as a youth and culture exchange (though I think my high school teaching experience should hopefully help there). It's still tentative, as most of the reading/videos people suggest are all anime/manga and I don't have a huge interest in that stuff, so it's harder to find good recommendations on easy to read works and video to immerse myself in.

I've also been thinking of doing MIA with Irish, since I've got hours of native recordings from the dialect I want to learn, with transcripts. It'd be extremely useful to listen to intently for a few hours a day, and I know I would quickly improve. I have the time to do both, really, if I structure my day better instead of just sitting around playing Switch all the time. And, of course, there's finally still Spanish which I'd like to keep dabbling in. Unfortunately, the school I work at has started tracking copies so I don't know if I can print out all the worksheets I wanted to (400+ pages of them) without having to pay! Maybe I can slip it in somehow. But I also honestly think trying to juggle Spanish/Japanese at the same time would be too much for me, especially if I refocus on Irish again. Also, I started a blog for South Connemara Irish, where I'll also include lessons on some grammatical features of Irish as well. It's called Is linne amáireach which means 'tomorrow is ours'. It's been helpful for keeping me focused and learning stuff, that's for sure.

Anyway, that's enough talking into the void for now.
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Re: Nótaí Galaxyrocker -- Irish and Wanderlust

Postby tangleweeds » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:56 pm

galaxyrocker wrote:I always go through spurts like this with things. I'll binge a lot, then die off any basically do nothing for several months. <snip> I did read, however, last week, another Irish book, Cuimhní Cinn Cháit Ní Mhanáinn
Don't be too hard on yourself. So very many otherwise very enterprising people have talked to me about having way more trouble than usual focusing, despite of course having hoped to accomplish whatever aspirations with all this pandemic free time. Even occasional TL reading is better than many people I know have managed. I myself have only gotten my brain working again about a month ago.

galaxyrocker wrote:That said, I've been toying with the idea of restarting Japanese using a combination of MIA and Genki (since I already have the textbook and workbook). <snip> It's still tentative, as most of the reading/videos people suggest are all anime/manga and I don't have a huge interest in that stuff, so it's harder to find good recommendations on easy to read works and video to immerse myself in.
I empathize, I'm in the same position with finding Japanese materials for input. If anyone has suggestions... I'm watching Alice in Tokyo, which is great as a woman to observe female mannerisms, though I've gotta ignore the main character's over the top mugging and keep my eyes on the secondary characters.

galaxyrocker wrote:I've also been thinking of doing MIA with Irish, since I've got hours of native recordings from the dialect I want to learn, with transcripts. It'd be extremely useful to listen to intently for a few hours a day, and I know I would quickly improve. I have the time to do both, really, if I structure my day better instead of just sitting around playing Switch all the time.
If nothing else, keep this idea alive in the back of your skull. You're at a level where I think you would benefit from this a lot. I'm not at that level in anything but French, and only because I learned it so young.

galaxyrocker wrote:Also, I started a blog for South Connemara Irish, where I'll also include lessons on some grammatical features of Irish as well. It's called Is linne amáireach which means 'tomorrow is ours'. It's been helpful for keeping me focused and learning stuff, that's for sure.

Anyway, that's enough talking into the void for now.
I know, it feels like that sometimes. But I enjoy everything you post here about Connemara Irish--it's super useful to me, as I'm focusing on that dialect too. And your blog is excellent! Please do continue when your muse speaks. We're are indeed out here listening!
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