May 10, 2013 | Irish
More on Talk Irish and Pimsleur
My study strategies are driven by my pronunciation-assistance needs.
Earlier today a reader asked me why, for Irish, I wasn’t beginning with Pimsleur and whether that had to do with there being only 10 Pimsleur lessons for this language.
I admit to a little despondency over the paucity of Irish Pimsleur lessons, but in fact, I am using Pimsleur, though I am only on lesson 4.
This Is for Beginners
So Is This
The reason I haven’t already finished more of the 10 lessons available has to do with what I am confronting in my grammar books. The two books I am using at the moment are Beginner’s Irish with Audio CD, by Gabriel Rosenstock, and Essential Irish Grammar by Éamonn Ó Dónaill.
What I am finding is heavy-duty grammar with lots of word lists—tons of new vocabulary. This is creating a language emergency that necessitates something oral, besides Pimsleur, so that I can keep reading them.
Those of you who are familiar with Pimsleur will know that it isn’t super heavy on vocabulary. You learn many useful words and phrases and sentences, but it is more about patterns, and giving the user familiarity and oral fluency with different constructions. This characteristic is what makes it special, in my opinion, because it is very hard to achieve that type of thing with a teach-yourself product. Most teach-yourself products, even if they help you understand a language better, don’t do a good job of helping you deploy what you learn in speech.
Pimsleur has, in four lessons, given me an assortment of useful things to work with in my reading efforts. Like “thank you,” which is written go raibh maith agat. So now, when I see that in print, I know how to pronounce it. Guh rah MA ha git, roughly. Can you believe it? You can hear different people pronouncing it on Forvo if you like.
Looking at that phrase as a native speaker of English with zero knowledge of Irish, I would have guessed something like go rabe mythe aggut. Pimsleur saved me from that embarrassment.
However, in my grammar books I am coming across hundreds of words, and there are so many odd letter combinations that I can’t keep up. So I have temporarily focused my attention more on Talk Irish, which is vocabulary-heavy and therefore more useful for my reading efforts.
Essential Irish Grammar: These Words Aren’t Going to Pronounce Themselves!
Neither Will These (from Beginner’s Irish)
I feel I have much left to learn before I will be functional in terms of guessing how a random Irish word on the page should sound, but I am starting to be less shocked by each new combination!