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The GaelMinn Gazette is a monthly e-newsletter from Gaeltacht Minnesota. The Gazette carries news of interest to local and regional students, as well as helpful items for anyone who is studying the Irish language, anywhere.To sign up, go to our subscription form here.
Note: This e-zine is winding down! Our last issue will be September, 2017
Issue #144 sent out June 25, 2017
Copyright © Gaeltacht Minnesota 2017
Well, not so much rewrite them, as rearrange them a little.
Whether it's your class notes, a self-study course, or a reference text you're working with, you'll find that the order of topics tends to be grammar driven, and sometimes you just need to rearrange things a little so you can figure out how to say things in Irish.
This topic arose in one of our classes when we started talking about the conjunction "that", in English. We say, "I hope that you will be there," or "She says that her mother is ill," or "Did you see the car that I bought?" or "Did you see the car that I was in?" It turns out that those "thats" are handled by different Irish constructions. As a result, the first construction might be discussed at one point in your materials, and the next one several chapters (or weeks) away. In other words, what seems logically to be one topic for the learner is handled as several separate topics by the text, course or teacher.
You might encounter similar confusions when talking about key words ("for": purpose, versus a gift "for" a person, etc.) or common concepts (time: in two weeks, in a while, a little while ago, etc.). That's why it can be very helpful to learn to adapt your resources so they work the way YOU work, when you want to say something in Irish.
Look for these kinds of unifying notions, based on WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY, rather than HOW to say it. Then, start constructing your own supplemental materials that will bring everything you need together in one place. Here are some ideas:
If you have been waiting for an opportunity to join our weekly classes, plan to enroll in our four-week "Introduction to Irish Gaelic" class that will be offered through St. Paul Community Education starting September 25.
Keep an eye on our web site for more details as we get closer to the end of fall.
The Irish Fair falls on the second weekend in August (11-13, go to www.irishfair.com for details), and we'll be doing our usual bit greeting visitors and answering questions.
We'll also be promoting our fall Intro class.
If you're going to the Fair, count on giving us a few hours of your time. Students at every level can handle the tasks involved, and your enthusiasm really helps reinforce Gaeltacht Minnesota's place in local Irish culture.
We'll have more details in class soon, just pencil in the dates for now.
Classes are meeting in separate locations and on independent schedules, check with your instructor.
Sharing ideas we learn from both instructors AND students.
You probably have a lot of words written down in your notebook, or perhaps on word lists or flash cards, from your studies.
Now, if you don't, you should try writing out your vocabulary, with a pen or keyboard. If you just rely on your books for vocabulary, you're missing an opportunity to speed up your learning. Writing things out forces you to process the words, to look at how they work, in ways that just reading them over and over won't do. In fact, some say that there is more benefit in WRITING flash cards than there is in USING them.
Anyway, every once in a while you might try arranging the vocabulary you've learned into groups of words that are similar in some way. You can do this either by writing out words from your notes and texts, or by rearranging any flash cards you might have.
For instance, one time you might focus on the beginnings of words. Put "deas" and "dearg" in one pile, and "doras" and "dorcha" in another. When you have some nice "families" of words, go through them and say them out loud, looking for similarities in their pronunciation.
Maybe next time you'll put all the words that end in -úil in one pile, or even collect verb forms -- all the ones ending in -ann in one pile, those ending in -íonn in another. Then, when you say the words in your groups, you'll sharpen the differences in your own pronunciation.
Again, the learning is in the processing. Don't look to others -- books or teachers -- to give you the word patterns. Look for your own groupings, and as you build your little piles of words, you'll understand more about what makes different words sound alike or different from one another.
And that will not only make it easier for you to learn new words, but will give you confidence in your own spelling and pronunciation.
Comments and questions are welcome via e-mail