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Phrase of the Day #174 September 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge, Say it like it is.
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” Beidh orm almóir nua a cheannach lem chomhraimh galf go léir a choinneáil “

I’ll have to buy a new cabinet in which to keep all my golf trophies !

Pronunciation: beg ur-um ahl-more noo-ah a khan-ahk lem khoh-riv galf guh layer ah khuin-oil

Continuing hat tip : here

Phrase of the Day #173 September 20, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge, Say it like it is.

Another one as Gaeilge a Connemara pickup line !

B’fhearr liom thú nó céad bó bainne !
I prefer you to a hundred milked cows !

Pronunciation: Barr lum hoo no kayed bowe bonn-yah

Phrase of the Day #171 September 12, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge, Say it like it is.

“Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb.”

Pronunciation : Nee hay law na gwee-ha, law na skull-ub

Translation : A windy day is not the day to be fixing your thatch (roof).

No books in Irish February 16, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge, Ireland & the Irish.

Bhíos ag obair i Loch Garman inniu agus chuaigh mé isteach i siopa leabhair chun leabhar nua Gaeilge a cheannach. Bhí úrscéal nó nuachtán á lorg agam ach ar an ndrochuair ní raibh a dhath ar bith ann ! Na bastairt !!

Bhí alán leabhair scoile ann ach bhí úrscéal nó leabhar suimiúil uaim. Chomh maith le sin, thug an cúntóir an ainm “Gaelic” ar leabhair as Gaeilge … Nach álainn é !

So muggins here, in a search for something other than “Peig” called into another shop and then another (in a different town !) ach bhí an fhadhb chéanna acu go léir. An bhfuil aon úrscéalta as Gaeilge sa Contae Loch Garman ar chor ar bith ?

An bhfuil fhois ag éinne cén áit a gheobhainn leabhar mar sin ? Ar an idirlín b’fhéidir ?

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Unsung Irish : Tomás Ó Criomhthain January 25, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge, The Unsung Irish.

Tomás Ó Criomhthain (pr. O’Croh’en), was a Blasket Islander, fisherman, native Irish speaker and writer who lived all his life on Great Blasket Island, Co. Kerry from 1856-1937.

He is most famous for his two works of literature which he wrote late in life and which give a great insight into the now extinct way of life of the islanders of the 18 and 1900s. I have just purchased his second and perhaps best known book An tOileánach, meaning “the Islander” and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Once persuaded to write, Ó Criomhthain began recording his day to day life in the form of a diary and sent them to Killarneyman Brian Ó Ceallaigh, who then edited and arranged for them to be published.

If the final few lines of the book are anything to go by, I am glad to have become aware of this book and this man so few have heard about. These people were the true native Irish and had traditions, lives and language etc. that would perhaps seem as foreign to us modern Irish today as French or Japanese.

ocriomhthain.jpg “I have written minutely of much that we did, for it was my wish that somewhere there should be a memorial of it all, and I have done my best to set down the character of the people about me so that some record of us might live after us, for the like of us will never be again.”An tOileánach.


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Blogging as Gaeilge December 1, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge.

I’ve just got the definitive definition (!) of the verb “to blog”, as Gaeilge ! Wait for it … ag blagaraíocht

A couple of useful phrases :

blagaraíocht ghinerálta – general bloggery
mo bhlag – my blog
an bhlag – the blog feed
blag-rith – (lit. a blog run)
blog post/entry – blagphost
blogroll – nascanna blaige
the rambling man – an fánaí

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Learning Irish August 31, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge.

It’s time to start learning a bit of Gaeilge again. Somewhere down in the far reaches of my brain there lies a bit of a grá for the language that was forced on us as children in the most boring and bland way you could ever imagine ! Can you remember ? Will I ever forget ? I’m ashamed I can’t speak, read or understand more than the absolute basics of our once thriving language.

Picture the scene – 20 something impressionable young kiddies sit in 1st class (1st grade, 1st form, year 1 – call it what you will) … we had minds like sponges , ready, willing and mostly able to soak up everything the education system could throw at us. If only we could make some room for … drum roll … the good old COMHRÁ. The jolly atmosphere in our co-ed classroom used to plummet each day after our morning break. Fresh from the yard we’d come, fuelled by fizzy orange and some now long redundant brand of biscuits and slump disheartened into our green and black moulded plastic chairs, knowing what was about to come. The comhrá – or conversation – which formed a basic cornerstone of the way our native language was instilled in us as children.

Looking back on it, I get depressed when considering the comhrá and how bad it actually was. We were taught by repetition, reinforced by gaudy cardboard cut out figures of Dadaí, Mamaí, na páistí agus an madra stuck to a black, pre-Velcro nylon board being moved around to supposedly stir in our minds all sorts of wonderful adventures and scenarios … all as Gaeilge, of course. The effect it had was the opposite and the only good to come from it was minor in terms of vocabulary. Ask any Irish child of the 80s who endured Irish as a “sit down and stare subject” – they can probably repeat at ease the immortal phrases “Tá Mamaí agus Dadaí ag dul go dtí an siopa. Tá Bran (the f*cking dog !) in aice leo.

So that’s the level of my Irish at the moment. It has only slightly improved since the days of my early youth. Over the past few weeks I have been trawling the web for a few sites dealing with learning Irish from the beginning (not necessarily beginner’s Irish) and have
come up with quite a few good resources. I’ve also started going to the bookshop at lunchtimes and reading the likes of “” or “Foinse“. There are also some very interesting articles around concerning the differences between Irish in different parts of Ireland and the sometimes high-and-mightiness of speakers as to whose dialect is better than others and so on …

I’m sure the road will be long and hard and sometimes a bit bearránach but deamaim mo dhícheall to speak a little bit more of the language in the months to come and expecially now since there’s a sprog on the way. And before anyone goes stone mad, as gaelgóireanna sometimes do with me, I know you can’t put English words in with Irishy words but sure didn’t we all understand the sentence ?

So I’m going to learn the language my way – and if that means that the native speakers I regularly encounter can’t understand me (i.e. I might as well be speaking Urdu) then that’ll be their problem – I’ll be learning for my own satisfaction.

Foclóir beag – A few translations

an Gaeilge n., pr. on Gale-geh ; Gaelic or Irish Gaelic or Irish ; the name of the Irish language, in Irish Gaelic.
Comhrá n., pr. ko-raw ; conversation ; a method of teaching Irish in 1980s, using cartoon cut-outs of family figures arranged into situations, which were then supposedly talked about.
Grá n., pr. graa ; love ; to have a grá for something means you have an affection for it. Phrase in common use in Hiberno-English.
Dadaí n., pr. dad-dee ; Dad.
Mamaí n., pr. mom-ee ; Mom.
na páistí coll. n., pr. neh pawsh-tee ; the children.
an madra n., pr. on mod-ra ; the dog ; he was always called ‘Bran’, which was Fionn macCumhaill’s dog.
an siopa n., pr. on shupp-a ; the shop or store.
n., pr. law ; literally meaning ‘day’ ; title of an Irish language daily newspaper.
Foinse n., pr. fween-sha ; literally meaning ‘source’ ; also the title of an Irish language newspaper.
bearránach adj., pr. barr-awn-och ; annoying.
deamaim mo dhícheall said expr., v., pr. day-nim muh yee-hull ; I will do my best.
gaelgóireanna coll. n., pr. gale-gore-enna ; native Irish speakers.

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Can you speak Irish ? July 27, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ag foghlaim na Gaeilge.

One of the topics which has caught my interest in recent media floggery has been the Irish language and all the various agendas attached to it.  The state of the language, the compulsory nature of learning Irish in schools, the everyday use of the language and so on, have all be discussed ad-nauseum (should that be go deo ?).

For what it’s worth, heres my take on it.  I can’t speak Irish properly but I would like to.  This after 12 years of compulsory formal schooling in the subject and several state exams under my belt proving that I have at least some level of competence.  But I can’t speak the language.  I can’t follow the Irish language news programmes on TV.  Not at all, really.  But I know the 3rd person singular conditional of the verb “to say” is “déarfadh sé“.  Do you see what I’m getting at ?

Having studied language in general and several languages aswell, a piece of advice I received from a tutor back in the day has always stuck in my mind.  “Learn the language, not about the language.”  So why then is my Irish not as good as my German (3 years in school and 2 in university) or even my Swedish (8 years listening to my wife phone her relatives) ?  I can only think that it was the way I was taught it and also the way I learned it – and they are two different things.  Far from boring readers with the ins and outs of everyday-velcro-blackboard-Mammy-goes-to-the-shop comhrá and the equally painful Buntús Cainte, there follow some points I think anyone wanting to learn Irish would do well to bear in mind.

(1) Accept that your native spoken language is English.
(2) Your number one goal is communication, and making yourself understood in Irish.
(3) Speaking grammatically imperfect Irish is better than speaking no Irish.

Readers will be kept up to date with the author’s efforts to gain some understanding of An Gaeilge amid, I’m sure, the howls of laughter and scurrilous embarrassment inflicted upon him by his cainteoir dúchais friends …