Basic Irish: A Grammar and Workbook
May 4, 2013
Author Nancy Stenson
Series Routledge Grammar Workbooks
Publication Date 2008
Skill Level Beginner
Basic Irish announces in its introduction, “This is not meant to be a self-contained course or reference grammar, both of which are readily available elsewhere. Rather, it is intended to accompany and supplement whatever course materials an individual or class is using.”
I have used a number of these Routledge grammar books for various languages, and even though they don’t always say that quite so explicitly, such is virtually always the case: best to use them to supplement, not in isolation.
In addition, it is best to have some knowledge before you begin them. Since I don’t have much of anything going for me Irish-wise, I am going to abort my foray into Unit One until I have learned more elsewhere.
The book brings up an interesting challenge in learning Irish, which is this: “Unlike standard English, the Official Standard [of Irish] does not represent a colloquial dialect actually spoken by native speakers. Rather, it combines elements of the three major regional varieties for official use.”
Basic Irish focuses on the standard forms, but the writer recommends that those who want to pursue the language focus on one regional variety—of Ulster, Connacht, or Munster—as they proceed.
I will update this review once I have gotten a more meaningful distance into the book. For those who are interested in Celtic languages generally, this series also offers a comparable title for Welsh.