Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationship

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faoileag
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Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationship

Unread post by faoileag » Mon May 06, 2013 2:31 pm

This came up during a previous thread whereby someone mentioned that his native-speaker teacher 'didn't bother with accents' in class, which had mixed reactions.
http://www.foramnagaidhlig.net/foram/vi ... 5&start=75

Akerbeltz made the following comments, which I agree with:
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.
I think this is a topic worthy of a separate thread. so I'm starting one here. Please join in! :D

My thoughts:

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.



Níall Beag
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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Níall Beag » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:28 am

faoileag wrote: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'.
I'm not sure if that's really the biggest problem.

I've spent time with people who're learning all sorts of languages, and I hear similar numbers of complaints about natives in just about any language. English phonology is a pretty poor match for the sound system of a lot of languages, and Gaelic is one of them. Scottish English isn't as bad as South of England English for it, but it's still miles off. Eedz ooffen ar too oonnaztan peppel oo epeeg vid an etron assent.

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by GunChleoc » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:38 am

It can be quite tiring for a native speaker to follow what someone with a heavy accent is saying, which is why accent training is important but sadly all too often neglected. Faoileag raises good points though. I e-met a fluent native speaker who writes beautiful Lewis Gaelic and sometimes thinks it isn't as good as my SMOG - I don't agree with her on that and I do tell her so!
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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Frangag » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:19 pm

Dh’imrich sinn a-chianaibh gu baile-beag aige sin tha mi a’céilidh bean cleachd a leugadh a bha faigh brath is àrach anns na Hearadh. ‘S math sin!
I’m guessing here that ‘aige sin’ is the relative form of ‘where’. Probably wrong!
Also not sure about 'I'm accustomed to...'

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:19 pm

Frangag wrote:I’m guessing here that ‘aige sin’ is the relative form of ‘where’. Probably wrong!
Right on the second count! :-p (Leg pull!!)

You use the preposition and then the relative form of the verb.

I think here you need "anns a bheil" (lit("in which is"), but I've been away from Gaelic for a wee bit too long to be sure.

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Frangag » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:02 pm

Halò
Thanks - 50% then? That's a pass ;-)) I've just had a look at TAIC (Lesson 21) ''S e an speur an rìoghachd anns am bi an iolaire ag itealaich' which is translated as 'The sky is the kingdom in which the eagle flies'. So assuming that literally is 'in which (where) the eagle flies', why the future 'bi' here?

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:01 pm

Frangag wrote:Halò
Thanks - 50% then? That's a pass ;-)) I've just had a look at TAIC (Lesson 21) ''S e an speur an rìoghachd anns am bi an iolaire ag itealaich' which is translated as 'The sky is the kingdom in which the eagle flies'. So assuming that literally is 'in which (where) the eagle flies', why the future 'bi' here?
It's a mistake to call "the eagle flies" the "present" in English. It's actually habitual (you can call it "present habitual" if you like). Gaelic has no present habitual and uses the future instead.

If you used the present, you would literally be saying the kingdom in which the eagle is flying -- ie now, at this precise moment. It would not say whether or not this flight was a common occurrence.

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Frangag » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:05 pm

Tapadh leat - tha mi a' tuigsinn a-nis ach chan eil mi a' tuigsinn carson a tha thu a' cleachdadh 'bheil' !

Am I right to put the 'a' after carson?

If it's habitual, could I just have said ' anns a bheil / anns am bi mi a’céilidh bean a leugadh - where I visit a lady for reading ?

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:39 pm

Frangag wrote:Tapadh leat - tha mi a' tuigsinn a-nis ach chan eil mi a' tuigsinn carson a tha thu a' cleachdadh 'bheil' !

Am I right to put the 'a' after carson?
Yes, but again this is a habitual sentence -- "why you use", not "why you are using" -- so carson a bhitheas.

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Seonaidh » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:56 pm

...in which the eagle will be flying. Yes, it's right (apart from the fact the verb-noun is "itealachadh"). I would have been slightly more concise, viz "'S e an speur an rìoghachd anns an itealaich an iolaire": that does not use the veb-noun, but the actual verb - and is reasonablt tronslotable into English as "The sky's the realm where the eagle flies".

I'm just wondering whether you're confusing "anns an itealaich..." with "anns am bi .... ag itealachadh". Either can be used for a "habitual" action - and either can also be used for the future.

As for "anns a bheil", yes. Whenever you have this sort of construction in Gaelic, e.g. for something like "in which", "for which", to which" "of which" and so forth in English, it's the preposition (almost invariably the "him" form - "on him", "of him", for him" etc.), followed by the wordlet "a", "am" or "an" - and then the "dependent" form of the verb (e.g. "bheil" rather than "tha"). "bheil" is actually the only time you'd just have "a" - otherwise it's "an", unless before B, M or P, when it's "am".

Put it this way - there's less difference that you ight suppose between the pronunciation of Gaelic "a bheil" and Irish "an bhfuil".

Just seen your comment a Nèill - no great probalem with "carson a bheil..." here. Yes, it does imply an actual, transitory thing - but that's not so very wrong. Better maybe a "habitual" form - as it's something you "always" do - but no great prob. I'd tend to go with "bhios" anyway. Oh, and note "carson a bhios tu...", no H.

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Frangag » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:01 pm

Tapadh leibh to you both, ach ciamar a chanas mi 'to you both'? I've found various things but none seem to fit! Do I use (le) cheile in some way?

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Níall Beag » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:03 am

Frangag wrote:Tapadh leibh to you both, ach ciamar a chanas mi 'to you both'? I've found various things but none seem to fit! Do I use (le) cheile in some way?
"both" is rendered as "the two of you" -- "an dithis agaibh" or "an dithis dhuibh". Just like in English, you typically wouldn't want to say "I gave it to you the two of you" -- "you'd say I gave it to the two of you".

So in Gaelic, we'd end up with "tapadh leis an dithis agaibh". However, I suspect a native would just stick with "tapadh leibh" alone, as the longer version sounds a bit clumsy.

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Frangag » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:51 am

Tapadh leat, A Niall!

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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by GunChleoc » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:35 pm

(apart from the fact the verb-noun is "itealachadh")
Not according to AFB:

http://www.faclair.com/ViewEntry.aspx?I ... 4D6E5E0AA5

Dwelly has itealaich, itealaich also.
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Re: Learners and Native-speakers - an interesting relationsh

Unread post by Seonaidh » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:57 am

A rèir Robasdain,:-
itealaich v -achadh fly
- but what does he know? A rèir Mark tha thu ceart, co-dhiù.

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