Not all those who wander are lost

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Iversen
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby Iversen » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:19 pm

My one and only paper dictionary is the Collins Pocket Irish (2. reprint, 2008), which fortunately mostly is capable of send me from weirdly inflected verbal forms to the relevant headwords. And that's important because I have chosen to focus on learning the simple analytic non-Munster forms instead of the synthetic ones in my old TY. It would be more difficult to go the other way, ie. trying to learn the synthetic forms with a textbook that only mentioned the analytic ones.

I have added the link to Teanglann to my favorites under 'other languages'.
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:44 am

Wow, I'm glad to see people who are ahead of me on the road offering support.

I'm finding Irish fun, but very hard.
Samoan rates as difficult on the FSI scales, but the pronunciation is straightforward and I found the grammar simple even if it is very alien. Like any language it is very difficult to get to higher levels, but to get to a B2 or something, it's not very hard. I eventually pushed to a very high level for a foreigner.

Tagalog has similar ease because of its transparent orthography, but it does have some pretty complex grammar. It is easy to approximate a decent pronunciation, if you can get used to all of the palatalization, and for me there are the 4000 or so cognates with Polynesian languages. It's funny and it's a refutation of the simple version of the input hypothesis that my Tagalog isn't absolutely perfect and C2. I stopped pushing myself when I could speak well enough to date and to get around easily. Filipinos are very nice about foreigners who try to speak their language, but let's not get carried away here; I'm about an B2 speaking, even if I can understand every word of the Tagalog telenovela that is playing in the background as I write this. I just have never transferred my comprehension to my production. Take that input hypothesis!

Spanish has its difficulties. There are a wonderful variety of dialects, but I think that the difficulty with that sometimes gets over hyped. It's always Spanish, even if you have to shift gears. Spanish has some aspects that I will admit that I have not mastered--the subjunctive (why, why, why?), the two forms of the verb "to be", (but why, I know the rules, but why is now?), and the endless irregular verbs. It does have many thousands of cognates from Tagalog and English. Those "pure" vowel sounds are also easy for someone who has already learned Samoan and Tagalog.

And then there is French, more cognates, harder pronunciation, and similar grammar (maybe fewer opaque grammar rules), all designed to lead a beginner like me into thinking he knows more than he does.


Then there is Irish. Few cognates so far. A complex, though logical orthography that I haven't figured out yet. Grammar that I only have a few clues on.
It's taking a while to beat it into my head. But what a joy it is! I'm a complete beginner, and I'm slamming myself into it every day. I'm bound to make progress if I keep slamming into it. I had a similar stage with Spanish, but it cleared up pretty fast. I keep grinding into Buntús Cainte, and it seems to be getting a little easier, but I need to supplement it with some grammar. I know all of the arguments about how that one doesn't really need a conscious understanding of the grammar to speak, but give me a break, I was expecitng strange things to be happening to the front part of words, and now it is, but it looks like it's rule based, so why am I waiting to intuit it when the rule has already been figured out. I think I need another course that has explicit grammar as part of it. Living language may work, but I have a course on order from Belfast that I have hopes for. Considering all of the discussion in some fora about purity of dialect, I will admit that if I have any opinion about dialects, I find Ulster Irish to be attractive, but I will admit that I'm am an ignoramous.

It is always important as a nonnative speaker and a guest in Ireland to remember that I know nothing, and that I should listen.
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Iversen
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby Iversen » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:02 am

There are cognates, but sometimes they are so well disguised that you have a hard time spotting them. I have mentioned some of them in my log a few weeks ago, but here are a few more from yesterday's study:

Tá de phriblibhléid agamsa :.. I had the privilege (or rather: was! the privilege with me..)
.. ar shiondróm Down : (of) Down's syndrome
Is é an aidhm atá againn... : it is our aim (or rather: is! it the aim (which-is) at-us...)

ps: I use exclamation marks in my hyperliteral translations to emphasize that the initial position of the verb in an Irish sentence doesn't make the sentence into a question as it would have done in other languages. Of course Sfuqua knows that, but others might read those translations as questions.
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:03 am

I continue to be a happy camper with Irish.
I discovered another resource that I really like and that adds some fun to the whole process -- _Basic Irish Conversation and Grammar (Bunchomhrá Gaeilge agus Gramadach)_ & _Irish Day by Day (An Ghaeilge ó Lá go Lá)_. These are available from Ben Madigan press, http://www.benmadiganpress.com/.
There is a great deal of similarity with Assimil courses, but some changes. Basically, most of the book is made up of pages with Irish on the left hand side and English on the left. The second book moves into more reading and contains some pages from a novel. The lessons start out very short, but for my taste they start off too fast for my grey head. I suspect I am missing the week or two of overly slow language that you get in many Assimil courses. Buntús Cainte is just a tiny bit slower, and while I can't do the "conversation" parts of the lessons the first time through; after a few times, I can mostly keep up. I'm a beginner, and I should find this challenging -- and it is.

It is so refreshing to be a beginner, I absolutely suck at everything. I have a huge language crush on the language. Everything about Irish is cool. I keep thinking about times I could have used Irish in Dublin last summer (not too many really), but it would be so much fun to use. Out in Galway there would be a few chances. And if not, who cares, there are plenty of chances to read it.

Irish has several dialects, and my impression is that there are 4 main versions; feel free to correct me if I oversimplify things. There are three big ones out in "the wild", and there is an "official version" that is taught in school. _Buntús Cainte_, according to what I have read, follows the "official version", but with a Connacht pronunciation. _Bunchomhrá Gaeilge agus Gramadach_ follows the Ulster dialect, although it mentions the others.
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nooj
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby nooj » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:09 am

It's a pleasure to read your blog.

If you like Irish music (with Irish language of course), I recommend the channel Trad TG4.

Good luck with your studies.
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:27 am

I've let this log sit for a while, but not my Irish. Irish continues to be a joy and I learn a lot about the language every day. I have continued to study and have continued to make progress. While my bars haven't moved much, my knowledge of Irish has, and I understand a lot better about how I have to study it. I sort of forgot how hard it can be to spit out a sentence in a language that you are unfamiliar with. I need to slow down and study the orthography (alien, but logical mostly), the phonology, and the prosody. I need to see how this interacts with the lexical and syntactic systems. In other words, I need to study, and not just grind away at half baked shadowing of lessons and hope for the magic of my "language acquisition device" to put it all together. Anyway, I love languages, so this isn't any problem.
Since I have no practical reason for learning Irish, other than for fun, this isn't a problem. I have half a mind to try to take an A1 or A2 test in Irish next summer but I really am not in a hurry. Anyway here is a long version and a short version of a movie about the state of Irish in Ireland today. I have Irish friends who find these clips tragic; I guess I'm silly, because I find some sections funny.

Short version :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KzmZ17uD1M

longer version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqYtG9BNhfMl

While I am having innocent fun with Irish, Irish language has been a dangerous tool of sectarians to divide people in Ireland. There is bad feeling (with plenty of reason) on both sides for and against a revival of Irish. For some people, speaking Irish is a political act. Most people would give a foreigner a break, but I will readily admit that I have no opinion whatsoever about any issues in someone else's country. All of my friends in Ireland don't care much about this stuff, but some people do.

I strongly have no opinion. If anybody does, please stay away.


I do love Ireland. My God, the light! The green of the hills! The history that you can't help but stumble over every few steps! The ancient, before Druid ruins! The people! the people, the people! The sweet 15 year old Irish girl in Burger King, who was probably half African, who wanted to talk about anything that had to do in California, and who told my daughter and me hysterical stories about high school in Dublin. The old guy in the bar, who spend about 4 hours writing down suggestion of an Irish reading list in English and how much books had meant to him (I still have the napkins that he wrote the list on). The young man who practically cried because he was so proud that his daughter spoke Irish so much better than he did. The rocks with scrapes from the Ice Age on them (I realize that they are all over the place in Northern Europe). The fascinating mixture of rocks around Dublin! The beautiful, strangely sparse, set of species that you find growing on a hill. To touch the rocks at the bottom of Dublin Castle which were laid by Vikings (or more likely Viking slaves)! To stand on the spot where James Joyce finished his first date with Nora Barnacle! To ride a boat out to where the Liffey opens up into the Irish Sea, and listen to the Waterboys song about recent Irish history(I don't care what you say;that is what it is about), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAiOjxkCS0g !

I didn't mention the bookstores in the first draft; there is one on every block in Dublin, it seems. There is one in San Jose.

Hey, I am completely smitten by Ireland, which even annoys Irish friends, but I thought I could tell you folks here on the Internet, of course in complete confidence.

corrected to fix my usual mispellings...
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:21 pm

I've been plugging through lessons, spending more time on just pronunciation than I originally thought I would have to.

Here are the steps I've been following with the Ben Madrigan books, which are very similar to Assimil in layout:

1.Put the audio for the lesson on repeat and listen while reading the English side, then while looking away from the page, repeating until I can understand what the sentences mean without looking at the English. Note any big problem areas.

2. Keep the audio repeating while I read the Irish side until I feel I know how to pronounce each of the words. Note any big problem areas.

3. Read the Irish aloud, and then listen to the audio until I feel that I can read the Irish fluently and clearly.

4. Put the audio on repeat again and shadow the lesson while reading the Irish until I can read aloud/shadow at full speed.

5. Shadow the lesson while reading the English side until I can do it at full speed.

6. repeat the process for as many earlier lessons as I have time for.

Look up answers to problems I identify...

I
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:43 am

I've gotten tired of the Ben Madrigan books. They are excellent, but I think that they should come a little later in my journey.

Trust the wisdom of those who have gone before. Buntús Cainte is about exacly the right speed for a beginner. I somehow never found the audio to Progress in Irish before, and now that I have, I think that it may make a wonderful support for BC. The audio for PiI is not anything spectacular, but it is a great support for a beginner like me. I stumbled on to some resources that let me make 14000 anki cards for BC. These 7000 half baked, flawed, notes on BC. As I work through them, I will have to correct or delete many of them.

I'm going to knock off now and watch something dumb on TV...
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:09 am

And I'm back to one of the first courses I used, Colloquial Irish.

Somebody who reads this topic may think that I am lost, aimlessly rambling between beginner courses, but I really don't think that is true. I'm learning a lot about Irish. I keep taking side tracks and learning this or that about Ireland or Irish. There is always so much to learn about a foreign country.

When I was a kid, long ago in the post-WWII era, I always felt like an outsider. I grew up in the Lily-white suburbs to typical white American parents. We just moved more than most families; my father was an engineer, a really good one in the old days, when you needed humans to figure out electronic circuits. He could never hold together office politics to make it past the completion of his first project, and off we would go to another Lily-white suburb in another city where my accent would be wrong, stupid kids would make trouble and I would make a few friends. My parents were on the right side of civil rights in the '60's; they just wanted to get my brother and me into good schools.

I read a lot.

When I got in college, my father's career collapsed, and he wound up taking a 60% pay cut and moved to teaching college. He loved his work the rest of his life. I made it through college as a mediocre student, still feeling like an alien, still trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I taught at a school I hated for a year and then joined Peace Corps Samoa.

It saved my life. I was thrown into a non-Western country where everywhere I looked there was a wonderful, functioning society that had nothing to do with who was in the A-group in high school, or who had the bigger house in the suburbs. Everybody smiled, but I couldn't talk to anybody. After a few months of "the wonders of Peace Corps language training" and "the wonders of immersion", I still couldn't say anything, I couldn't flirt back at the young women who were trying to tease me; I was alone in the middle of people...

I decided to study Samoan with all my might. Every second I wasn't working on it I felt guilty. I talked to everybody all the time whether I made sense or not. I memorized huge vocabulary lists. I memorized textbooks. I read the newspaper and the Bible aloud until my throat hurt.

I learned Samoan very quickly. Samoa was a great place for a young man to get over his stupid life in the suburbs.

I've always kept a little bit of that, "I feel guilty if I'm not working on the language" feeling ever since Samoa. While I learned Tagalog with a much less Draconian schedule (more like "fluent in three months" and then keep talking for 34 years) after I learned Samoan, I still have an idea that studying a language has to be an all absorbing process.

I offically retire from busting my puwit(Tagalog) to learn another language. I meant to say this when I started this blog, but my old bust my muli(Samoan) instincts kicked in.

I'm just fooling around with Irish. I'm a skilled(hoho!) language learner with a (mostly?) functional brain, so I probably will learn the language up to an A2 or so pretty quickly. I'm most certainly not going to strain myself. My day job (teachig adolescents) is challenging, and I don't have time/energy to kill myself in two directions.

I do love learning languages, and I am developing a love for Irish, not just Ireland. Perhaps the fundamental thing about Ireland that keeps me coming back every chance I get is the wonderful people there... Some of that wonder is recorded in the language.

I'm still a very happy camper. Language study keeps me sane (or as close as I can manage). I am starting to be able to produce novel sentences (at the Michel Thomas level).
Maybe an A1 or an A2 test is not crazy for next summer.
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sfuqua
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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:59 am

I changed my "bar" in my signature to reflect more what I am doing, just building up hours, grinding away at lessons or skipping ahead if they seem too simple.

I can read Irish aloud with increasing confidence. This is a big deal. Irish has three main dialects wich often means three ways of pronouncing anything, but it is pretty regualar, although pretty alien. I haven't memorized any big tables of correspndances, but I'm starting to see through the veil with Irish. I can build sentences in the present tense that I think are correct. I have enough background in linguistics that I think I am figuring out Irish phonology. I love the weirdness of Irish, combined with familiar aspects.

In the "it doesn't make any difference" category of news, I recently got some more results back about my DNA.
The abiltiy to analyze DNA has rapidly changed with recent large increases in databases and the massive increases in analysis of ancient DNA. Since the DNA that any individual gets depends as much on random chance as on ancestry, the big emphasis on percentages of this or that nationality are misguided. Ancestry has a big effect; you have to have the ancestry for it so show up.

Anyway, I am clearly massively British in my ancestry. I seem to fall right into the middle of ancient DNA from the time of Roman Britain. If I am compared to modern inhabitants of Britain and Ireland, I have a big chunk of of Welsh DNA and another big chunk of Scotland/Ulster DNA. My Irishness seems to be from people who were put into to Ulster plantation to dilulte the "native Irish" in the region.

Of course this is all nonsense. I might even have a grandmother from Galway, and it is just barely possible that I might not have any DNA from her.

It's sort of fun, when falling asleep to realize that eyes similar to mine looked on the events of history.

Of course, you could also get similar results from a psychic and take it seriously.

Irish has a VSO structure that brings the verb to the front of the sentence and reminds me of Samoan. The pronunciation is falling into place. I need to accelerate how fast I'm moving ahead, since things are going well.

I'm still having fun.
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