Irish Gaelic: Notes from a Beginner
I started learning Irish about six months ago, on a lark. I recently took up playing Irish fiddle, and when I found a copy of "Irish on Your Own" at the local bookstore, I bought it. I've never seriously studied a language before (other than a few semesters of German in college), but I've really enjoyed the lessons --done mostly in my car during my daily commute.
A lot of people think that "Irish" is simply mostly-standard English with a sexy accent, but true Irish -- Gaelic -- is still spoken in a number of cities in Ireland. It's a dying language, though, spoken by only a few tens of thousands of people, most of whom don't even live in Ireland.
Irish isn't an easy language to learn for an English speaker. Some of the letter combinations are downright startling, and the words are very different from what I'm used to. However, spelling and grammer, while they appear confusing, are actually quite regimented and predictable once you learn the rules; and I've found that after even a short time, I was able to produce my own sentences with reasonable accuracy. I'm sure I sound like a first-grade student, but I could understand the basics.
There are hundreds of websites on the Irish language, most of them put together by people with far more linguistic skill than I possess. A number feature RealAudio samples, and a few (notably from the BBC) include full audio lessons. I won't list many of the links here -- any good search engine can produce pages of relevant sites -- but I will link those that I've used or reference regularly.
The purpose of this site is simply to collect some of the basic notes that I took as I started to study Irish. It's culled from a number of books and other websites, and represents the little knowledge that I have about how Irish works -- from a beginner's persepctive.
Please let me know if you find any errors or misconceptions -- I'm not an expert, by any means and I appreciate any and all feedback.