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03/27/17

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The GaelMinn Gazette

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

Our Most Recent e-zine

Issue #141 sent out March 27, 2017

Copyright © Gaeltacht Minnesota 2017

CONTENTS

TIPS, TOOLS, AND TRICKS

----------CONSONANT COUNTING

Here's a listening activity that is easy to grasp, helping you focus on the sounds of the language. But it is more challenging to execute well and diligently than it might seem at first.

The principle is simple.

  1. Find a source of spoken Irish. Good sources are Raidió na Gaeltachta at http://www.rte.ie/rnag/ and TG4 at http://www.tg4.ie/ .
  2. Pick a consonant sound, like a 'd' or 'b' or 'm' sound, say.
  3. Listen to five minutes of the sound stream, and make a mark every time you hear that consonant. Do not give the slightest thought to what they are saying. Try to ignore words and just detect your chosen sound.
  4. When you've done five minutes, stop, throw your sheet of marks away, and schedule a time to repeat the activity the next day.
  5. Stick with the same consonant for a couple of days, then choose a different one.

What are the benefits of this activity?

The hardest part is keeping things simple, just counting occurrences without thinking about meaning or mutations or other extra information. Once you develop this skill, of just listening for one thing, your listening practice will be much more focused, efficient, and helpful.

GAELTACHT MINNESOTA NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

----------THANKS TO OUR VOLUNTEERS!

We had a great crew of volunteers at the Landmark Center for the St. Patrick's Day events. Thanks to everyone who helped introduce Gaeltacht Minnesota and the Irish language to a wider audience. That kind of volunteer effort definitely makes us a stronger organization.

Special thanks to Maureen for so ably playing the role of Fearless Leader. And thanks to Mary and Shari for entertaining and educating a roomful of participants at their "Irish for Tourists" presentation.

----------OUR SPRING WORKSHOP?

Many of you may be wondering about our annual Saturday spring workshop. So are we ... that is, we have lost access to our usual venue at St. Thomas and we haven't quite figured out how to cope with that.

Sorry about the mystery. At this point we simply do not know if we'll be able to hold a spring workshop, but keep an eye on our site for further developments.

----------CLASS SCHEDULE

NO class April 3 (St. Paul spring break)


LESSONS LEARNED

Sharing ideas we learn from both instructors AND students.

----------UNLIMITED IRISH AUDIO AVAILABLE, FREE!

We often hear from students who are looking for things to listen to, especially stuff they can read along with, or where they'll at least have a pretty good idea of the subject. (Raidió na Gaeltachta streams are great, but rather challenging, of course.) And we have just discovered an unlimited source of spoken Irish.

You!

These days it is ridiculously easy to record your own voice. Your phone, your laptop, and your tablet all have simple tools you can use to create your own audio file.

So record yourself speaking Irish, and listen to it later.

The first objection you might raise is that you don't pronounce Irish as well as you should, so won't listening to yourself just reinforce bad habits?

Not at all. It will actually make you MORE aware of inconsistencies in the way you speak. You will hear yourself speak as others hear you, and comparing what you hear on your recording to what you hear from teachers and other sources will help you improve your pronunciation. Musicians and actors know that self-recording is both unforgiving and helpfully revealing, and by listening to yourself speak you focus on areas you need to improve.

And the process of making the recording forces you to make an explicit effort to speak Irish properly -- an effort you may MEAN to make each week, but that you might not get around to. (If you made a recording every week and threw it away without listening to it, you'd still improve your Irish!)

Why record yourself? You can customize the content, for one. Record vocabulary lists and play them when commuting or exercising, using them as "audio flash cards". Record common questions ("How are you? Where do you live?") and respond, to practice standard conversation.

Record a short poem, listen to it and try to speak along with it, and use it as a tool to memorize a small bit of the literature. It's funny that so many people will listen to an Irish song over and over to learn it, but they are reluctant to record a short poem or story and listen to it over and over, in the same way. (And when you record from a written text, you can follow along as you listen and strengthen spelling-pronunciation connections.)

So if you want a powerful tool to help you touch Irish more often, improve your pronunciation, memorize useful vocabulary and literature, and get material that is just right for your level of knowledge . . . get your recording system going!


Comments and questions are welcome via e-mail