p h o u k a   h o m e i r i s h   l e s s o n s   h o m e


series I
series II
series III
series IV
series V
series VI





I repeat the sentences slowly and distinctly, dwelling on each word and with suitable indications of the meaning. Then I turn from the exercise and have a little conversation, beginning with the sentences already known.

an tuigeann tú sin? etc., and adding others. éistidh liom, má sé bhur dtoil é. níl tú ag éisteacht. níl an cailín sin ag éisteacht.

Then I return to the series once more and teach it again, this time mostly in Irish, unless explanations are asked for, or I deem them necessary. Then another short break, and I rehearse the whole lesson over again, speaking with the same rapidity and with the same emphasis as if I were conversing with my class or reading for them. I now examine the pupils in their knowledge of the exercise, and as they are unlikely at this stage to know it off accurately, I have occasion for further repetition. After this examination I consider the lesson taught, and give each member a written or printed copy to take home with him. It will be remembered that this is the first he has seen of the written words, so I instruct him to make an exact copy of the lesson in his note book, and bring back my copy on the following night. I also instruct him to rehearse the lesson at intervals before our next meeting. If I have no written or printed copies of the lessons I write them down at the time on the blackboard, and invite the students to make a copy ; but, except as a temporary measure, this is objectionable. It occupies valuable class time, which should be given to oral teaching. Frequently, too, the beginner cannot read or write the Irish letters, and is helpless in the time at his disposal for copying in class ; but if I supply a copy he can con it at his leasure, and make an exact copy. While I thus give freely the written exercises to the pupils after they are taught orally, I must warn teachers against allowing the pupils to read the lessons before they are thoroughly taught. The learners at first have no correct appreciation of the sounds of the letters in Irish, and if they attempt to pronounce the written word, they are sure to pronounce it wrongly, and this wrong pronunciation will prove a hindrance to their acquiring the right sound. Further, words of any length look formidable in a strange dress, whereas they appear simple when pronounced, so that teaching orally introduces the language to the students in the least discouraging manner

The lesson as delivered to the pupils will apear like this:—

Druidim an doras
éirighim 1. Éirighim in mo sheasamh
siudhlaim 2. duighlaim coiscéim.
siudhlaim 3. siudhlaim coiscéim eile.
siudhlaim 4. siudhlaim do'n doras.
sínim amach 5. sínim amach mo lámh
beirim 6. beirim ar an doras.
druidim 7. druidim an doras.
fillim 8. fillim arais.
suidhim síos 9. suidhim síos aris.

I set ou the verbs separately on the left-hand side, that the pupils may more readily identify these important words.

Our lesson proper is now over, so I ask, cad a chlog é? — of course explaining the sentence an writing on teh blackboard. Tá sé a leat i ndiaidh an naoi. máiseadh, is mithid dúinn imtheacht. is mithod gp dearbhtha. Slán leat. Slán libh. go dtéidh tú slán, etc. These parting alsulation we will use thereafter, teaching others.

This lesson will take three quarters of an hour in teaching. If it is a first lesson, an hour may be profitably occupied with it. At a subsequent stage a Series of twice the length may be taught in an hour. When a Series is long, which it should not be at first, it will be well to divide it into two or three portions, and teach each portion separately, with subjective conversation in between, but in this case the whole lesson should be included in the final rehearsal.

We have now completed our first lesson, and the second is like to the first — with some differences. Having faced my class on the occasion of their second lesson, I salute them in Irish, Dia dhaoibh, and make them reply, , dia is muire dhuit. an bhfuil sibh ullamh? Tamaid ullamh. tabhairighidh aire dhath, máiseadh, etc. I explain new words and constructions very briefly, depending upon emphasis and mimicry to convey the meaning, rather than giving any lengthened analysis of these subjective phrases. I now invite several of the pupils to read the lesson oí the previous night, correcting any errors of pronunciation, and taking a final opportunity of repeating two or three times the whole exercise. I also examine the students as to their oral knowledge of the lesson. While doing so, I keep up a running comment in Irish phrases, such as— labhair suas! tóg do cheann agus feuch orm. maith thú. maith an buachaill thú! maith an cailín í! go maith! go maith! ní ceart! feuch leis arí, etc.

We can now dismiss the first lesson finally, and take up the second lesson, teaching it as before. Again we take some simple, familiar subject, say, " I light my pipe," and, having taught the heading, I describe the action, giving the English words : —

1. I put my hand in my pocket.
2. I take out my pipe.
3. I get tobacco.
4. I get a knife.
5. I cut the tobacco.
6. I mix the tobacco
7. I fill my pipe.
8. I get a box of matches.
9. I strike a match.
10. I light my pipe, and
11. I smoke.

This series being somewhat longer, I divide it into two parts, and teach each part separately, but give the whole in the final rehearsal. The Irish lesson, which I shall give the pupils, will stand as follows : —

deargaim mo phíopa
cuirim 1. cuiruim mo lámh in mo phóca
beirim 2. beirim amach mo phíopa
gheibhim 3. gheibhiim tobac
gheibhim 4. gheibhim sgian
gearraim 5. gearraim an tobac
suaithim 6. Suaithim an tobac
líonaim 7. líonaim mo phíopa
gheibhim 8. Gheibhim bocra lasóg
buailim 9. buailim lasóg
deargaim 10. dearghaim mo phíopa, agus
caithim 11. caithim toit.

Any grammatical difficulty must be briefly explained, and any idiom or new construction (such as that in tho last sentence) must be made clear to the pupils. I now proceed to give my first lesson in grammar, though without telling the pupils that I am doing so. Addressing one of 'the pupils, I say I have now told you how I light my pipe. I will now tell you how you light your pipe.

deargann tú do phíopa
1. cuireann tú do lámh in do phóca
2. beireann tú amach do phíopa
3. gheibheann tú tobac
4. gheibheann tú sgian
5. gearrann tú toab.
6. suaitheann tú an tobac
7. líonann tú do phíopa
8. gheibheann bú bocra lasóg
9. buaileann tú lasóg
10. deargann tú do phíopa, agus
11. caitheann tú toit.

Observer that I fall into the analytic form of the verb here, and I do so in accordance with the spoken usage with which I am familiar. A Munster man would probably teach—

1. cuirir do lámh in do phóca
2. beirir amach do phíopa

As I make so important a change as to give the pronoun as a separate entity, I must enter into some explanation, but I do so briefly, as the students will have ample practice in the various verb forms, and cannot fail to learn them. I next proceed to tell the class how an buachaill so lights his pipe.

dearghann seaghán a phíopa
1. cuireann sé a lámh in a phóca
2. beireann sé amach a phíopa

I then describe how sean-mháire lights her pipe.

dearghann máire a phíopa
1. cuireann sí a lámh in a phóca
2. beireann sí amach a phíopa

I will now proceed to describe how we all light our pipes.

deargann tú do phíopa
1. cuirimíd ar lámh in ar phóca
2. beirimíd amach do phíopa
3. gheibhimíd tobac
4. gheibhimíd sgian
5. gearramaoid an tobac.
6. suaithimíd an tobac
7. líonamaoid ar phíopa
8. gheibhimíd bocra lasóg
9. buailimíd lasóg
10. deargamaoid ar phíopa, agus
11. caithimíd toit.

Again, ye (addressing the pupils) light your pipes:

dearghann na buaichaillí a bpíopaí
1. cuireann siad a lámha in a bpócaidh
2. beireann siad amach a bpíopaidh

In practice, I would probably defer this grammatical instruction until I had given three or four lessons and I would also spread it over two or more lessons. The Series in its original form would be already in the hands of the students, and it would not be necessary to give them the variants in writing, but I would illustrate on the blackboard the new forms. It would also be necessary to explain the variations in the pronouns, with their powers of aspiration and eclipses, but I would not undertake any full or general explanation of these phenomena until my pupils had got numerous examples of them in practice. The lesson would be concluded by further subjective phrases.

In the following lesson, when the verbal changes in the various persons were understood by the class, I would teach, in connection with a new Series, the various tenses. In introducing the past tense, I would fix the time by introducing it with such a phrase as aréir indé, anurraigh, an samhradh 's chuardh thart, or the like, leaving no room for doubt that the actions were past actions. For instance:—

d'ol mé deoch
lá ann.
1. bhí mé ag riúbhal ar an mbóthar
2. bhí tart orm.
3. chonnaic mé teach
4. dhruid mé suas leis.
5. chuaidh mé isteach ann
6. d'iarr mé deoch
7. tug bean a' tighe deoch bhainne dham
8. d'ol mé an deoch
9. diarr mé beannacht Dé ar na ba (buaidh)
10. d'fhill mé amach arais
11. shiubhal mé liom aris.

In the beginning it would be advisable to teach each lesson in the first person singular, present tense, as a starting point. Afterwards, the Series may be taught in any tense, mood, or person, getting the pupils to change it to any other. Taking the above exercise as starting in the past tense, first person singular, as above, we should teach it in the various persons of the past tense. Suppose we wish to teach the lesson in the future tense, then we say : —

olfaidh mé deoch
1. béidh mé ag riúbhal ar an mbóthar
2. béidh tart orm.
3. chidhfidh mé teach
4. druidfidh mé suas leis.
5. rachaidh mé isteach ann
6. iarrfaidh mé deoch
7. bheirfidh bean a' tighe deoch bhainne dham
8. ólfaidh mé an deoch
9. iarrfaidh mé beannacht Dé ar na ba (buaidh)
10. fillfidh mé amach arais
11. siubhalfaidh mé liom aris.

Proceeding, I carry the Series through the various persons of the future. We may introduce the other moods and tenses by suitable statements or questions. How would I drink a drink ? The reply to this gives the conditional mood : —

1. bhéinn ag riúbhal ar an mbóthar
2. bhéadh tart orm.
3. chidhfinn teach
4. dhruidfinn suas leis.

How used I drink a drink? (last year)

1. bhínn ag riúbhal ar an mbóthar
2. bhiadh tart orm.
3. chithinn teach
4. dhruidinn suas leis.

How does Patrick say I drink?

adeir sé --
1. go mbíom ag riúbhal ar an mbóthar
2. go mbí tart orm.
3. go bhfeicim teach
4. go ndruidim suas leis.

Thus would I introduce every mode and manner of expression without burtheriing my pupils Avith a single technical rule or term. I would not hold them at one exercise whilst teaching all the various forms. On the contrary, I would teach a fresh exercise each meeting, adding a few changos of form each time, and I would eventually teach Series not in the first person singular only, but in the various persons or moods. I do not propose to follow closely the developement of the system through each lesson. This will necessarily vary both in form and in speed according to circumstances. The intelligent teacher, if he has grasped the principles here set out, will bo tho beat judge of many details of teaching, while intelligent students will suggest by their questions what is obscure to them, and what ought therefore to be taught. I will suppose twenty or thirty lessons to have been taught, and will briefly examine what the class lesson is like at that stage. Assume that the lesson is to last an hour and a-half. The first ten minutes should be' devoted to conversation in which the pupils should freely join. They will have acquired a considerable number of subjective phrases which they will be able to use quite freely as far as they go, and will also make an attempt to use some of the language learned in the Series. After the usual preliminary salutations, the teacher by a judicious remark, may turn the conversation to anything that presents itself. The weather is an unfailing source of talk in English, and may also be utilised in Irish. Of course this subject may be taught as a Series or number of Series, but it may be also referred to subjectively and in practically the same language. Suppose we take the series.

bhí an oidhche aréir fliuch
1. d'eirigh an oidhche fuar
2. tháinig sgammal ar an ngeallaigh
3. thoisigh sé ag cur fearthaine
4. thuirling an fhearthain go trom
5. bhí sruthanna ar an sráid
6. d'eirigh tuile san abhainn, agus
7. rinneadh bochar mór do'n bharr.

The subjective references to this subject would take some such turns as this:—

"Dia dhuit, a Sheaghain. Nach breágh an oidhche í seo? is breágh, buibheachas le Dia. Bhí sé an-fhliuch aréir. Bhí, go dearbhtha. Bhí fuacht mór leis, agus bhí sé an-dorcha. is fíor duit sin. Chá nfheicfeá do srón romghat nuair a thoisigh sé ag cur. Seadh. Bhíos amuich ann. Thuirling an fhearthain comh trom sin go raigh sruthanna ar an sráid. Tá an ceart agat. Bhí tuile san abhainn, agus rinneadh dochar mór do'n bharr."

I do not recommend this class of sentences as subjective language in class teaching, but for the conversations before and after class work proper.

ollowing the ten minutes' conversation, the pupils will read their exercises of the previous night, and may profitably be asked to give the same exercise in a different mood, tense, or person. Next, the new exercise is taught. It will now be found that several of the words, particularly the verbs, are already known, and need not be formally taught, and this will, of course, have the effect of saving time in teaching. On the other hand the Series may be lengthened to fifteen or twenty sentences. Subjective phrases by the teacher, and class-room conversation amorigst the pupils must be kept up at each interval, as already indicated. In examining students as to their knowledge of the lesson after it is taught, I recommend the following plan which will tend to increase the vocabulary of the students, and also to bring home to them • more fully the meaning and construction of the sentences. Suppose I am after teaching the exercise —

Chuir an cailín síos teine
1. d'eirigh an cailín ar maidin.
2. rug sí isteah bacóg móna
3. Chuir sí an ghríosach ar leáthcaoibh
4. Chuir sí síos cúl móna ar an teallach
5. ghléas sí na haibhleoga suas leis an mhóin
6. Chuir sí smut ghiúbhaise in a measg
7. Chuir sí tuilleadh móna thart thimchioll orra
8. shéid sí an teine leis na builg
9. Chuir sí amach an luaithreadh agus
10. sguaib sí an teach

I take the first part of the first sentence, d'eirigh an cailín. When? Pupil answers: ar maidin. Now give me some variants:

1. D'eirigh an cailín —ar maidin
  —Dia Domhnaigh
  —sa tsaoghal
  —in Airde, etc
Rug sí isteach —bacóg móna
  —cliadh móna
  —cliadh préataí
  —gas cabáirte
  —an leanbh, etc
Chuir sí —an ghriosach ar leathtaoibh
  —an ghríorach as
  —an ghríorach le chéile
  —an poll-beataigh tré teine
  —an teach amugha, etc

And so with other sentences. Next taking the latter part of the sentence, I invite the pupils to predicate various things of it:—

d'eirigh an cailín —ar maidin
d'eirigh an buachaill—
d'eirigh mé go moch—
rinne mé mo cheudphroinn
dubhairt mé mo churd urnaighthe— etc.
rug an cailín isteach—bacóg móna
rug mise isteach—
d'iarr mé ar an cailín thabhairt isteach—
a Sheagháin beir isteach—
teastuigheann uaim—etc
1. Chuir sí—an ghríosach ar leathtaoibh
Thóg sí—
d'iomchur Seaghan—
chonnaic bean a'tighe
mhothuigh Sighle, etc

In eaching at this stage almost the whole of the class instruction may be in Irish. Henceforth even the incidental remarks of the teacher will go to increase the pupils knowledge of the language, and this language being real, will help to fix persons, tenses and moods in their minds. Ten minutes ought to be devoted to conversation at the close of the lesson, and this conversation should be closed naturally by references to the the lateness of the hour, the need for breaking up, and the usual parting salutations



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teaching irish - macGinley - 1902
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