Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Goireasan ionnsachaidh, ceanglaichean feumail is mar sin / Gaelic learning resources, useful links etc.
Àdhamh Ó Broin
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 12:29 pm
Language Level: Fileanta
Location: Glas-achamh
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby Àdhamh Ó Broin » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:55 pm

Without any shadow of a doubt, the key is to keep a keen eye on what you know, not what you don't know. It's so easy to stare blankly into the vastness of the language and think that you'll never get it. But it is eminently possible. Just look at the people above here who have all learned to fluency. After a few weeks and the first few phrases and basic sound of the language are beginning to penetrate into your brain, stop and remember that before you began, you had nothing but slàinte!

So the key, without a doubt, is to eat small portions regularly.

I would have to disagree with the above post to certain extent, about necessarily sticking to one particular book or course. You can easily get sickened with the style of the course without that meaning that it's a bad course. You're just bored with it, and that's completely natural. It's so easy to think that you're bored with learning Gaelic, or that you can't do it. This may just be because you're getting sick to the back teeth of one particular tack. Try something else!! There's no crime in not finishing a course. I read every single Gaelic learner I could find, but not in one go, in the sense of it not being interspersed with other things.

I found that by reading the history of the language on the side and learning as much as I could about its contribution to the culture of Scotland, I was able to supplement my enjoyment of speaking the tongue itself with a strong sense of being involved in something very important. That's a good feeling to have. Everyone has different reasons for learning Gaelic, but anyone committing themselves to learning it and thereby to its future nourishment can feel proud of their contribution by understanding the background to its narrowly avoided demise :D

Although over-listening can cause a sense of being swamped with what you don't know at the beginning, I cannot recommend anything more highly than listening to recordings at Tobar an Dualchais. There is nothing better than the sound of native speakers, largely unburdened by modern affectation, speaking Gaelic in as natural a form as it gets. Perhaps this is more useful as you get a bit further on, but its absolutely fantastic to get a broad sense of the sound of the tongue, and makes for a beautiful experience at any time of day! People recounting stories often speak a little slower than those in debate or discussion on the radio too -like Ruairidh MacIlleathain does in his 'Litir'- and this can be invaluable for getting correct emphasis with phrases or passage of phrases without having to listen to them as spoken by Coinneach mòr at 100mph! :priob:

My motto when I was in the thick of learning the basics?

FAKE IT 'TIL YOU CAN MAKE IT BABY!

After you've got a hold of basic conversational Gaelic, stop thinking of yourself as 'a learner'; think of yourself as a fledgeling Gaelic speaker. If you spend the whole time thinking of yourself as a learner, it can be difficult to ever leave that mindset. There is no-one, as the clichè goes, who is not 'a learner of Gaelic' on some level, native or otherwise, but it is essential -if you decide its more than just a wee social and a bit of fun- to be learning to accept the idea that Gaelic is something that belongs to you, something you can carry with you everywhere you go, not just a hat that goes on and comes off once or twice a week when you've a spare minute or two or you're at class. Say everything you possibly can in Gaelic every day, talk to the wall, describe to yourself what's happening with everything you do, even if you don't get past tha mi.... it's a great thing to make Gaelic at home with you everywhere.

If you have children, whether they're going to Gaelic medium or not, they make the perfect conversation partners, because they don't judge you, they're naturally patient (maybe I've got good kids :P ) and even if there's no sense in which Gaelic is part of your cultural identity and you just enjoy learning languages, it will do your child no harm whatsoever to have Gaelic spoken around the house. If you have a dog or cat, they're your new convo partner now, even if they look at you sideways. Dogs are terrific to practice new phrases on, especially commands! :naireort: :moladh:

There are probably a million and one other things, but I think that's enough for now.

The absolute best of luck to all of you....

Guma a thèid leibh uile!

Níall Beag
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Chan eil gaidhlig agam agus cha bhi
Location: Dún Èideann, Alba
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:30 pm

Àdhamh Ó Broin wrote:After you've got a hold of basic conversational Gaelic, stop thinking of yourself as 'a learner'; think of yourself as a fledgeling Gaelic speaker. If you spend the whole time thinking of yourself as a learner, it can be difficult to ever leave that mindset. There is no-one, as the clichè goes, who is not 'a learner of Gaelic' on some level, native or otherwise, but it is essential -if you decide its more than just a wee social and a bit of fun- to be learning to accept the idea that Gaelic is something that belongs to you,

I can state quite categorically that it is not essential. I am not a Gaelic speaker. I am not a Spanish speaker. I am not a French speaker. I am a learner of all of them, and I am very glad to say that I will never leave that mindset. The moment I believe I am a "speaker" of a language, I believe that what I say is correct, and I stop learning.
If you have children, whether they're going to Gaelic medium or not, they make the perfect conversation partners, because they don't judge you, they're naturally patient (maybe I've got good kids :P ) and even if there's no sense in which Gaelic is part of your cultural identity and you just enjoy learning languages, it will do your child no harm whatsoever to have Gaelic spoken around the house.

It will do your kids no harm except that it will teach them bad Gaelic. If you want your kids to learn Gaelic, the last thing you should be doing is exposing them to a bunch of learner errors because they will naturally take it on as though it were correct.

Níall Beag
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:58 pm
Language Level: Chan eil gaidhlig agam agus cha bhi
Location: Dún Èideann, Alba
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby Níall Beag » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:12 pm

Practical tip
Learn to appreciate what's called "idiom".

When you say you "can't wait for" something, realise that you aren't literally telling us that you are incapable of waiting, and accept that there is no reason for Gaelic speakers to say the same thing.

When you go to "look something up" in a dictionary, notice that there is no upwards motion, and realise that there's no reason for the Gael to use it.

When you "take it easy", remember that "easy" here isn't the antonym of "difficult", but is related to "being at ease" or "relaxed" or "at leisure".

Learn to identify idioms in your English and resist the temptation to tr*nsl*t* them literally.

User avatar
GunChleoc
Rianaire
Posts: 4313
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:26 am
Language Level: Mion-chùiseach
Corrections: Please correct my grammar
Location: Dùthaich mo chridhe
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby GunChleoc » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:44 pm

Àdhamh Ó Broin wrote:this can be invaluable for getting correct emphasis with phrases or passage of phrases without having to listen to them as spoken by Coinneach mòr at 100mph! :priob:

:lol:
Oileanach chànan chuthachail
Na dealbhan agam

Gràisg
Rianaire
Posts: 1546
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:04 pm
Language Level: Caran robach sna laithean seo
Location: Inbhir Narann
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby Gràisg » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:43 am


LisaT
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:58 pm
Language Level: Non-existent
Location: Glasgow

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby LisaT » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:44 am

Moran taing, Gràisg! Looks useful. I may even have to sign in to twitter more regularly to pick up a few useful phrases.

Lx

sr3nitygirl

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby sr3nitygirl » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:43 pm

There's also a Twitter (pseudo?) user named Gaelic Tweets which appears to re-tweet anything with a #Gaelic hashtag in it.
It can get a bit noisy, but is useful for tracking down users sometimes.

LisaT
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:58 pm
Language Level: Non-existent
Location: Glasgow

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby LisaT » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:02 pm

I was just thinking that the books I got for my 4 year old son have been quite useful. They're the Nursery Links books which are written in English but everything that is spoken is written in Gaelic. Above the text are pictures and the speech is in bubbles. It puts the Gaelic with phonetic underneath and the English underneath that. I think the aim is to give the sort of vocabulary that your child will need in a GME nursery and is aimed at parents who have no Gaelic. It's linked in to a website where you can hear each phrase being said - sometimes it shows that the phonetic version is a bit out but it's been good to give us some basic vocabulary as a family. "Tha i fuar (it is cold)," is one of my son's favourite things to say, and he can use it appropriately.

Lx

User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1655
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:55 pm

I used music to practice the sounds, and akerbeltz to learn how the sounds worked. If you can afford it, I can warmly recommend Blas na Gàidhlig to learn the sounds.


I thought I'd just mention that your local library may have it too, or might be willing to get it if you ask for it. If someone found out if there's a straightforward way of donating books to a public library, I could be persuaded to donate a few to key libraries. I've actually been meaning to find that out but I've just not had the time...

conmaol
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:37 am
Location: Dùn Èideann

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby conmaol » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:35 pm

If you want to learn something about the Gaelic language, its history and and its speakers. the Open University has a free 15-hour course that you can do, called "Gaelic in Modern Scotland" -

http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/ouconte ... 9&direct=1

Gordon Wells
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:18 pm
Corrections: I'm fine either way
Location: Beinn na Faoghla

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby Gordon Wells » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:48 pm

conmaol wrote:If you want to learn something about the Gaelic language, its history and and its speakers. the Open University has a free 15-hour course that you can do, called "Gaelic in Modern Scotland" -

http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/ouconte ... 9&direct=1


And if you want to learn something about island communities where Gaelic is spoken, the Guthan nan Eilean/Island Voices project provides a whole bunch (150+) of locally made short video clips in Gaelic and English - http://guthan.wordpress.com/about/

As language teaching material the Gaelic videos are really aimed at post-beginners. But there's lots of authentic speech interview material which can be useful for tuning in your ear, even if you're understanding very little at this stage. Put on a playlist while you go about your household chores... Transcripts and translations accompany every clip.

Uilleam
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:18 am
Language Level: Very basic
Location: Vilnius

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby Uilleam » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:09 pm

The biggest problem with learning Gaelic is the lack of native speakers to converse with so you do have to take a more aggressive approach to your language learning than most other mainstream languages.

Niall Beag points out that there is no learning style but I disagree because each individual has their own way of learning. Mostly language learning, not just Gaelic but any language comes down to the method of instruction. Some methods may be easier for some people than it is for others.
Many years ago I went to night classes for German that was supposed to take me to intermediate level but after the course I found that not many people really retained much or could hold a basic conversation. I find self study more effective with the help of a native speaker.

I agree with faolig, people are always looking for more resources or material and dont really learn. The best way for this is to choose your learning materials very carefully and utilize them to the optimal level. If you keep looking for other resources this will slow you down or maybe even confuse you. I normally pick my material and then pick another to supplement what I am using.

I also agree with Akerbeltz and that is to focus on what you know already. The more you can talk with someone the better and the more your conversational skills will improve but do it, speak it and listen every day. At the end of the day I dont not believe anyone can teach you a language, it can only be done by you. Sure a teacher is a learning tool so is a book and cd but its up to you to make it work. Learning a language takes dedication and discipline and you really need to want to learn.

I started learning Gaelic around the early 1990's through the National Extension College with a great course called Gaidhlig Bheo but unfortunately that course is now out of print. Needless to say I never did complete the course due to work commitments and moved over seas so Gaelic then took a back seat. In recent years I have became quite fluent in German and that purely self taught through an audio and reading course that constantly broke down every sentence and explained the meaning as you went but also by reading.
I am currently learning Lithuanian but will also start Gaelic again from scratch. The materials I have chosen for Gaelic is Teach Yourself Gaelic and Colloquial Gaelic and I will use the pod casts also from BBC Alba.

The way I am learning at the moment is by kind of focusing on communication and not really taking to much notice of the grammar with Lithuanian anyway. That seems to be falling into place as I go along. In a short time I have became quite conversational. Quite how it will work with Gaelic I dont know because I have no one to speak with yet.

The conclusion!
1. Pick your learning material and pick something else to supplement it. Dont keep searching for more.

2. Time and dedication, I put in at least 2 hours per day even after work, some days three or four.

3. Focus on what you know and speak as much as possible and listen as much as possible, dont get bogged down with too much grammar.

4. When speaking with a native or fluent speaker dont be afraid to make mistakes.

5. Listen to songs in Gaelic, find the lyrics online and try and tr*nsl*t* with a dictionary, it all helps.

Language learning can be as easy or as hard as you make it yourself. Keep speaking, keep listening and keep reading and try and immerse yourself into it as possible. I wish you all success.

User avatar
akerbeltz
Rianaire
Posts: 1655
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:26 am
Language Level: Barail am broinn baraille
Corrections: Please don't analyse my Gaelic
Location: Glaschu
Contact:

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:48 pm

Nice summary. I'd like to add that especially in the absence of native speakers, install as much Gaelic software (see our section on Gaelic software) on your computer as possible. It's quite astonishing what you pick up just by hitting the boring Clò-bhuail button a few times a day :)

Just cause your PC/Mac came with Safari/Internet Explorer doesn't mean you have to stay in a forced marriage - get a divorce or at least start playing the field, maybe cohabit :priob:

If you're sharing a PC with non-speakers, that's no excuse. Set up a user account, then you can install stuff just for yourself. Not user if Mac does user accounts that keep software separate, would be good to hear from a Mac user how you do that. I keep meaning to do a YouTube clip for PCs... sigh, so little time.

CairistionaNicD
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:16 am
Language Level: Beginner to early intermediate
Location: Ottawa

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby CairistionaNicD » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:31 pm

I don't know if it's a tip, per se, but the best thing I ever did for Gaelic was look at SMO's Facebook page. Right at the beginning of their "friends" list was a group right in my hometown. I checked them out, they were active, I contacted them, and lo! my first ever in-person conversation in Gaelic. They have ceilidhs every month for singing and just chatting, plus have a very good Gaelic adult choir and a new Gaelic children's choir that just started up. Having an opportunity to use the language in real time has been like a miracle to me, as I've been struggling to find more exposure. I love this forum, too, as there are actually some active users. Before I found it, I started my own (www.reddit.com/r/gaidhlig if anyone's interested), but like a previous person said, everyone's subscribing and no one's talking.

faoileag
Maor
Posts: 1392
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:19 am

Re: Top tips for new Gaelic learners?

Unread postby faoileag » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:05 am

Fàilte a Chairistìona! :D

'S e moladh math a th' agad an sin.

Tha sinn toilichte gum do lorg thu buidheann Gàidhlig.

Sin an dòigh as fheàrr Gàidhlig ionnsachadh, anns a' bhith ga bruidhinn.

Tha an duilleag reddit agad math cuideachd. :moladh:

Cum ort! :D

Welcome, Cairistiona! That's a good recommendation you have there. We're pleased you've found a Gaelic group. That's the best way to learn Gaelic, by speaking it. Your reddit page is good too. Keep it up!


Return to “Iomradh is Ceanglaichean / Reference and Links”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest