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The GaelMinn Gazette is a monthly e-newsletter from Gaeltacht Minnesota. The Gazette carries news of interest to local and regional students, as well as helpful items for anyone who is studying the Irish language, anywhere.To sign up, go to our subscription form here.
Note: This e-zine is winding down! Our last issue will be September, 2017
Issue #143 sent out May 25, 2017
Copyright © Gaeltacht Minnesota 2017
These days there is plenty of text available in Irish on-line to use as practice material for your Irish studies. But many students haven't progressed far enough in learning Irish to be able to, say, read a newspaper article. For many of us, translating something like that is still a lot of work.
That gets frustrating, takes a lot of time, and the result is that many students at the beginner and intermediate levels are missing great opportunities to learn from these on-line sources.
The secret is to forget about "reading" this material. Promise yourself you will work with a block of text without looking up any of the meanings of words in a dictionary, there will be no translation.
What does that leave? How do you learn from text without reading it?
There's plenty of practice to be had without translating. And if you're willing to work with text without getting its meaning, it is easy to process one article, throw it away, and move on to the next. You can get a lot of grammar practice in that way, exposing yourself to many more examples of good Irish usage than you'd get from taking the time to translate it all.
For material, we suggest going to http://nuacht1.com/ , which aggregates articles from several sources. Just take the link to any article, process it, and move on to the next.
As for "processing", here are some starting suggestions. But once you learn to work with text without translating, you'll be able to think of more ways to process it, and to adapt what you do to your level of ability in the language. (Most of these activities are easier to do if you print and mark up the article, but you can figure out other options that suit your own style.)
IMPORTANT!!! Do not try to do all these things at once on any one article. Pick one thing to work on for a while, then later you can tackle something else.
You can get great practice from Irish text no matter what your level. Just resist the urge to touch your dictionary, pick a grammar point to work on, and you'll learn plenty about how the language works from these activities.
We're coming up to summer, with June 5 probably being our last day in Central.
During the summer, the three classes go their separate ways, different locations, sometimes different schedules, although all the classes cut back to meeting every other week.
Your class may have already decided on a summer location, but it is always good to review options, so put on your thinking caps. If you have good ideas about where to meet over the summer, be sure to share them with your classmates and with your instructor.
NO class May 29, Memorial Day
Last meeting in Central, June 5
Sharing ideas we learn from both instructors AND students.
Is it your goal to be boring, even annoying, in conversation? Probably not.
But are you willing to be boring and annoying if it helps you learn to speak Irish? That's probably a sacrifice you are willing to make.
We encourage you to be boring for the sake of a good cause, namely, better Irish conversation. And one good way to be boring is to be repetitive.
When someone asks you a question -- or when you hear a question in something you are listening to, perhaps a CD of exercises -- try repeating it before you answer.
We'll give you some examples of how this would work in English. Imagine you are talking to a friend and you get this:
You: How are you?
Friend: How am I? I am fine.
You: Do you like this weather?
Friend: Do I like this weather? No, I don't.
You: What did you eat for breakfast?
Friend: What did I eat for breakfast? Eggs!
Now, if the people you talked to at home or at the office repeated everything you said before they answered, you'd kill them. But they aren't trying to learn Irish.
Repeating the question helps build the connection between the question and the answer. And if you are responding to a teacher or recorded source, immediately repeating what they said is good practice.
To that end, especially if you are a beginner, you can literally repeat the question without changing "you" to "I", etc.. Of course, if the teacher says, "Cé hé tusa?" (Who are you?), repeating "Who are you?" is a little odd. Do it anyway. Later, when your skills and confidence grow, you can try turning the question into "Who am I?", and then answering.
This practice gets you speaking a little more Irish, has you speaking when you've just heard a good model, and helps build a "library" of questions you can ask others. It also provides a clear context for what you're saying in your answer. In Irish, because of the way we handle "yes-no" questions, the question and answer are linked more tightly than they are in English. It is almost surprising to many students how paying close attention to the question can help them provide correct answers.
So be a little repetitive, even if it seems odd. Everyone will survive, and you'll get better and better at fielding (and asking) questions in conversation.
Comments and questions are welcome via e-mail