http://www.foramnagaidhlig.net/foram/vi ... 5&start=75
Akerbeltz made the following comments, which I agree with:
I think this is a topic worthy of a separate thread. so I'm starting one here. Please join in!I am the first person to slate typos on roadsigns, printed materials and so on where a little bit extra effort could have prevented this kind of nonsense. BUT a couple of things to think about
- having a native speaker as a teacher is a privilege these days which not everyone has. I would recommend you learn all you can from them without arguing over their in-class spelling or non-use of the dative case. You can always look up the right spelling at home and re-inforce what you learned. Arguing with the teacher in such a case is counter-productive. Your teacher may well be aware/embarrassed of the fact their spelling is shaky but there are no CPD course one can take, on the whole. If you met the Dalai Lama, would you argue about his peculiar English?
- Often there is no single right answer as to how to spell something. àrd/ard, aobhar/adhbhar, brùthadh/bruthadh, mór/mòr ... and so on are all legitimate spellings depending on what school of spelling you follow, like color and colour. As a learner one favours simple answers but there often aren't any, especially not in a language like Gaelic. You're better often learning a little flexibility sooner rather than later.
A non-native teacher who has actually studied Gaelic grammar and spelling can give you that fine - accuracy at 'book' level - but the idiomatic range, the pronunciation (including the melody) and the gut-feeling reactions like "yes, you can say that / no you can't / actually I'd say it this way.." - that is all irreplaceable and worth solid gold.
Natives are often accused of being unhelpful to learners, but usually this is due to a sense of inadequacy in themselves as regards 'their Gaelic'. How often have I heard: 'Oh I don't have good Gaelic, I never learned it, I'd be no help to you, you probably know more than I do etc etc'. Occasionally it somes out a bit disdainful - 'Who taught you that?', but the reason is probably the same.
Be patient, be grateful, reasssure them, if necessary play down the importance you yourself put on grammar / correctness etc. 'That's schoolbook Gaelic - I want the real thing! That's what only you can give me.'
Get them to say phrases to you, get them to pull you up on pronunciation, laugh with them about your inadequacy.
Never put them on the spot. Don't ask them 'why' something is, or how to spell it. Win their trust.
I wish in Scotland we could have more of what comes across as the 'respectful inclusion' you seem to find in Cape Breton with the concept of elderly native speakers being honoured as 'elders' and brought (physically) into the events and processes of the culture-and-learning Gaelic world. The fluent learners there seem to have picked up far more of the idiomatic expression and accents of those elders than fluent learners I know in Scotland, who in many cases are highly competent high-register users (and all credit to them for that) but with little local colour.