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Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Learning Irish

Learning Irish can be a challenging and rewarding task. Whether it is to move to Ireland, read Irish-language literature or just to study for personal benefit, learning the Irish language can result in many different advantages.

Irish is a Goidelic language that originated on the island of Ireland. It was historically the native language of the Irish people, and is also the oldest vernacular language of Western Europe. Today, it is marked as the first and national language of Ireland. A small minority of the population speak it regularly, but a high percentage know it as a second language after English.

As Irish is a unique language, some will find it challenging to learn. Nevertheless, there are many different means of learning Irish on one’s own time that can adapt to the mind and time schedule of any kind of student.

How to learn to speak Irish

The traditional way to learn a language is to enroll in a course and practice out of a text book. However, we now live in an age where we can be past this approach, and not have to conform our schedules or learning styles to the academic world. Plenty of other ways are possible to learn the Irish language outside of school.

Learning Irish software or DVDs

One of the most common ways to learn a language today is by using these comprehensive software packages. Anyone who knows how to use a computer will have a successful and interactive learning process if they choose to go about it this way.

Rosetta Stone’s Irish Program – Most people have at least heard of Rosetta Stone, as it’s the most popular language-learning software company, and they have developed a variety of programs. Rosetta Stone has put together a three-level Irish language program, which can be bought through individual levels, or all three at once. Beginners can start out learning language basics with Level 1, and move their way on to learn advanced topics like polite requests, telling time and directions in Levels 2 & 3.

Transparent Language’s Irish Program – Transparent Language is another language software company, and they sell two different programs. Their Premium Edition Irish Program starts learners off with basic vocabulary, and takes them through reading, listening, writing, videos and stories. The Irish Byki Deluxe 4 Program uses a 3-step process, and has materials also compatible with iPhones and MP3 players.

Books for learning Irish

Basic Irish: A Grammar and Workbook – This book has a “jargon-free” approach to common grammar structures that exist in the Irish language. Its text comes with vast terminology that is introduced and explained through examples, translation exercises and a key. It is a good book for those who learn the traditional, academic way but would like to do so on their own time.

Websites that help you learn Irish language

daltai.com – This website explains some fundamental rules of Irish grammar, like the correct way to conjugate verbs and use similes. It also lists some key phrases and proverbs.

maths.tcd.ie/gaeilge – This website offers two different approaches to learning Irish, the first being lessons out of a textbook, and the second being a comprehensive list of useful phrases. They both come with audio files to help listening.

digitaldialects.com – This website outlines basic Irish vocabulary, like animals, colors and food, and then provides games to help practice. It is a wonderful resource for visual learners.

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