“Is it bigger than a breadbox?”
“Is it smaller than a mouse?”
Chances are you’ve played the game “Twenty Questions” at some time in your life. It’s a great way to keep children (or adults!) occupied on long car trips.
Know what else it’s good for? Practicing your Irish!
This is a view from Corrán Tuathall, Ireland’s highest mountain. It’s in County Kerry, Ireland
Welcome to the fourth installment of “Tea and Grammar,” in which I help you demystify some of those grammatical terms that get thrown at you when you’re learning a language.
If you’re like a lot of adult language learners, you may never have learned these terms in school (or, if you did, unless you’re a teacher or an editor, you’ve probably forgotten them).
It can be pretty intimidating, then, when you start running up against technical “grammar talk” in a language learning course (and trust me: you will). It’s grammar, after all, that tells you how the language works.
So, pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a package of Mikados, and get ready to learn a little about “possession.”
It makes me cringe every single St. Patrick’s Day.
At some point during the morning, either on TV, on the radio, or in person, I know I’m going to hear someone say it.
“Say what?” you ask. What else but…
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!
(Makes me shudder just to think about it!)
It’s time for another nibble of Bitesize Irish Gaelic!
From time to time, we’d like to offer you a little taste of what the Bitesize Irish Gaelic on-line learning program has to offer by highlighting one of our lessons.
In this highlight, we’ll look at one of our conversation lessons: Meeting a stranger.
Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin. Photo 2008, by Audrey Nickel
I was watching the addictive TG4 soap opera Ros na Rún one day, and I must admit, I stood up and cheered when I heard this line:
Ní hé an Béarla teanga na tíre seo! Is í an Ghaeilge í! (English isn’t the language of this country! Irish is!).
(My husband just shook his head. He’s used to me shouting at the computer screen in Irish, and has long since given up asking “what?”)
Animal names in Irish are interesting things.
While many of them come from obvious Indo-European roots, with a clear similarity to such names in other languages (for example: capall (horse), asal (donkey/ass), and bó (cow)), others are rather interestingly descriptive.
“Go north two blocks and then turn west.”
Compass Rose at the NE corner of Powell & O’Farrell Streets, San Francisco, CA http://www.flickr.com/photos/ecastro/354578085/
“He came from the south.”
“The wind is blowing from the east today.”
Last week I wrote a post about the different uses of “up” and “down” in Irish (“Up, Down…In Irish, It’s All Relative!”).
In that post, you learned that how you express these concepts is relative to your position, and depends on whether the thing you’re talking about is moving away from you, toward you, or is in a static position.
You’ll probably not be too surprised, then, to learn that there’s a similar system for the points of the compass: North, South, East, and West.
Welcome to another installment of our Irish Learner Profiles series! In publishing these profiles, we hope to showcase the diversity of the international Irish learning community.
Earlier this month, we introduced you to Marina, an Irish learner who lives in Russia. Now we’re going visit a country that’s a little bit closer to Ireland, to a place where another Celtic language — one closely related to Welsh and Cornish — is spoken.
Think you could figure out how to pronounce something like this without help? Photo: 2008 by Audrey Nickel
One of the first challenges of learning a new language is learning how to reproduce the sounds of that language correctly. That’s why often the first question a new learner asks when seeing an Irish word in print is “how is that pronounced”?
A related challenge faced by those of us who communicate with newer learners on-line is how to CONVEY the sounds of the language in such a way that, in the absence of a recording or a live person to emulate, the learner can at least come close to the correct pronunciation.