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Erik
12-23-2016, 03:39 PM
I'm a frequent user of the language learning tool Duolingo (it's free, check it out). I usually use it to learn new Hebrew words and brush up on my French and Swedish skills.

Last night I wanted to try something different, so I started learning Irish. It was so difficult that I wanted to quit halfway through the first lesson, but I managed to make my way to the second level. B) I told myself that Celtic languages were nearly impossible and not worth learning.

Fast forward a little less than an hour later and I'm learning Welsh. :biggrin1: I found it much less difficult and since I saw some similarities with English, that really spoke to my historical linguistics obsession. I only made it to level 2 on Welsh as well but I feel compelled to continue learning it since I enjoyed it so much. I'm happy I didn't listen to my frustrations after the Irish lesson or else I never would have discovered Welsh. I doubt I'll continue much with Welsh since I don't really have much use for it (no ancestral connection with Wales either) and have other priorities (Hebrew). It's still a fun language from what I gather and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested.

Anyone else have experience learning Celtic languages?

jbarry6899
12-23-2016, 04:29 PM
I used Rosetta Stone to study Irish and have a distant cousin in Ireland with whom I occasionally correspond in irish and I have some dual language books of poetry and folklore. Unfortunately, there are no Irish speakers in the area where I live so it's a struggle to keep up. I find consonant modification rules particularly challenging.

Erik
12-23-2016, 04:36 PM
I used Rosetta Stone to study Irish and have a distant cousin in Ireland with whom I occasionally correspond in irish and I have some dual language books of poetry and folklore. Unfortunately, there are no Irish speakers in the area where I live so it's a struggle to keep up. I find consonant modification rules particularly challenging.

How long have you been learning? And you should check this out: https://www.duolingo.com/course/ga/en/Learn-Irish-Online

jbarry6899
12-23-2016, 04:46 PM
Several years now--and I will check that site.

Go raibh maith agat!

Nibelung
12-23-2016, 05:58 PM
Old Irish Online (https://lrc.la.utexas.edu/eieol/iriol) (University of Texas at Austin)

Saetro
12-23-2016, 08:23 PM
Learned some Welsh years ago watching a Welsh BBC soap opera.
I had been shamed by going to Snowdonia. On Easter Day the locals dressed in traditional garb and would only speak Welsh - in the morning at least.
I felt terrible that I had not bothered to learn a single word.
Three years later, I went back for a friend's wedding and had at least the essential basic phrases.
Ever since, when travelling, I always learn a few phrases at least.

Have since learned slabs of other languages from video, audio and texts, but always also watching some sort of TV program also.
Some have text translation which helps a bit, although it often lags.
Something with repeated situations and phrases is good.
Friends' mothers who came from overseas often learned English from the TV soaps.
When you think you are getting good, challenge yourself with the news. That is always spoken quickly, but pronunciation is often very clear, and there may be a news ticker below, which you can also use just on its own. News items tend to cover the same kind of subjects. You may not find certain words useful in conversation - crash, murder, uprising, celebrity, president, and so on - but your confidence will rise.
When you think you are excellent, try a film where they speak using slang and proverbs and without clarity. Very humbling.

rms2
12-24-2016, 09:11 PM
I'd like to learn Welsh, but these days I'm pretty lazy.

sktibo
12-25-2016, 06:03 AM
I've studied Scottish Gaelic for years, and have also studied French and Mandarin Chinese. From a purely academic, book learning perspective, I will say that Gaelic is by far the easiest, a few core rules and not too many exceptions. However, finding a true immersion setting is very difficult and often impossible, and it's because of this I think I could learn a much more complex language in less time.

Happy to hear you're enjoying the Celtic languages, I'm hoping to dive back in in the future

GoldenHind
12-26-2016, 08:31 PM
An excerpt from a travel guide to Britain first published in the USA in 1963:

Almost all Welshmen speak English as a matter of course. This is fortunate, as their native language presents a hopeless problem to most visitors. We invested ninepence in a pamphlet called Welsh in a Week, but failed to master even the first conversational phrase. "Is there any room?" becomes "A oes lla yna?" The answer, "I think so", translates as "Yr wyf yn meddwl ei fos ef", which discouraged us completely. Then we tried the pronunciation, particularly the double L. This one has "no equivalent in English, but is pronounced by placing the tip of the tongue at the top of the back teeth and forcing out the breath on both sides of the tongue." We tried this on Llanelly, Llewellyn and Llangollen, and quietly gave up as most strangers to the language do.

rms2
12-27-2016, 02:36 PM
When we visited Wales in the summer of 2015, we stayed in the idyllic little town of Llanwrtyd Wells (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Llanwrtyd+Wells,+UK/@52.107586,-3.6396157,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x486fb7363d29dc23:0xada01 b32f07f88df!8m2!3d52.107586!4d-3.637427). Naturally, we weren't sure how to pronounce that name, except for the Wells part. The lady in whose bed-and-breakfast we stayed told us it is pronounced Klan-oor-tid Wells. Of course, that is not strictly the best Welsh pronunciation. That double-L is supposed to be kind of breathy, as Goldenhind mentioned above, sort of similar to the Scots ch in loch followed by an l. Anyway, I just used a kl sound for it, and no one complained.

Everyone in Wales does speak English, apparently, although we walked into a little pub once in which it seemed everyone was speaking Welsh. When I asked a man for directions, he answered me in English with such a tremendous Welsh accent that I had difficulty understanding him. That was the only time I had any trouble understanding anyone in Wales.

Dubhthach
12-27-2016, 04:24 PM
I'm a frequent user of the language learning tool Duolingo (it's free, check it out). I usually use it to learn new Hebrew words and brush up on my French and Swedish skills.

Last night I wanted to try something different, so I started learning Irish. It was so difficult that I wanted to quit halfway through the first lesson, but I managed to make my way to the second level. B) I told myself that Celtic languages were nearly impossible and not worth learning.

Fast forward a little less than an hour later and I'm learning Welsh. :biggrin1: I found it much less difficult and since I saw some similarities with English, that really spoke to my historical linguistics obsession. I only made it to level 2 on Welsh as well but I feel compelled to continue learning it since I enjoyed it so much. I'm happy I didn't listen to my frustrations after the Irish lesson or else I never would have discovered Welsh. I doubt I'll continue much with Welsh since I don't really have much use for it (no ancestral connection with Wales either) and have other priorities (Hebrew). It's still a fun language from what I gather and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested.

Anyone else have experience learning Celtic languages?

The first 5 years of my education was in an Irish medium school. did all subjects through Irish including maths, geography, history, Religion, Physical Education etc. Only subject done through English was well English.

After that did rest of my education through English, though obviously studied Irish as a school subject for another 7 years.

Dubhthach
12-27-2016, 04:28 PM
I've studied Scottish Gaelic for years, and have also studied French and Mandarin Chinese. From a purely academic, book learning perspective, I will say that Gaelic is by far the easiest, a few core rules and not too many exceptions. However, finding a true immersion setting is very difficult and often impossible, and it's because of this I think I could learn a much more complex language in less time.

Happy to hear you're enjoying the Celtic languages, I'm hoping to dive back in in the future

Have to agree, once you understand the rules of orthography and grammar it's fairly straightforward. Irish has 11 irregular verbs (believe it's 10 in Gáidhlig) so at least that's something!

sktibo
12-28-2016, 09:54 AM
Have to agree, once you understand the rules of orthography and grammar it's fairly straightforward. Irish has 11 irregular verbs (believe it's 10 in Gáidhlig) so at least that's something!

The simplicity and accuracy of the Gaelic languages often makes me wish we spoke it instead of English sometimes, and I'm not even a Gael. When someone misunderstands me in English due to tone of voice or something else I can't help but think "if this was in Gaelic I wouldn't be having this problem"

Dubhthach
01-14-2017, 06:45 PM
Here's a good example of why you should not get a tattoo in a language you do not understand:

http://cdn-04.independent.ie/incoming/article35365639.ece/6d877/AUTOCROP/w620/optustattoo.jpg

The phrase that he got tattooed on his back doesn't mean what he think it does -- also it's probably the first phrase in Irish that school children learn. (For obvious reasons), I'm assuming he misinterpreted the following image, which is a joke:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bj0rUM7CMAAcVjU.png

Anyways this specific phrase could almost be termed as a shibboleth for Irish people, members of diaspora who didn't go through education system in Ireland generally wouldn't know this :D

For those curious, "Urban Dictionary" provides a translation ;)
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=an%20bhfuil%20cead%20agam%20dul%20 go%20dt%C3%AD%20an%20leithreas

rms2
01-14-2017, 07:30 PM
Oops! :biggrin1:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig4jbcU9db0

Saetro
01-15-2017, 12:22 AM
Here's a good example of why you should not get a tattoo in a language you do not understand:

The phrase that he got tattooed on his back doesn't mean what he think it does -- also it's probably the first phrase in Irish that school children learn. (For obvious reasons), I'm assuming he misinterpreted the following image, which is a joke:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bj0rUM7CMAAcVjU.png

Anyways this specific phrase could almost be termed as a shibboleth for Irish people, members of diaspora who didn't go through education system in Ireland generally wouldn't know this :D

For those curious, "Urban Dictionary" provides a translation ;)
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=an%20bhfuil%20cead%20agam%20dul%20 go%20dt%C3%AD%20an%20leithreas

Stupid Antipodean (from his phone provider).
Presumably this serves as a warning to potential Irish girl-friends - those he meets at the beach, anyway.
A mild form of Darwinean selection.

When learning a foreign language, idioms, proverbs and sayings are the most difficult.
Modern translation programs can still have difficulty with these.
An old precaution was to translate into the foreign language and then back into English.
One cautionary joke used "Where there's no sense there's no feeling" into Russian and back, returning with something like "stupid, lifeless".

galon07
04-11-2017, 08:28 PM
I've been trying Scottish Gaelic too. I do find it difficult too, but I love it anyway. I don't know why, but Celtic languages always called my attention. When I was in Canada 2 years ago I bought a book + CD for learning Welsh.

Ciamar a tha thu à charaid? (not sure if this is right) :)

kostoffj
08-17-2017, 07:43 PM
I think it's interesting to hear that there are places in Wales where people still speak the tongue. I hate the thought of any language dying out, even real tongue twisters like Welsh. When I was a boy I lived for two years in Shropshire, we were not far from Wales so we had a few family excursions there. I don't have clear memories of hearing the language (I was 8) but I recall that there were people speaking it in a few places we visited. We also visited some town that boasted of the longest town name in the world, it was like 50 characters of word salad.

It seems to me the transition to the written language in any of the Gaelic tongues from just learning it orally would be daunting, I find Gaelic words and names impossible because it seems the letters are assigned completely different sounds than they are in any other language that utilizes Roman letters, and it severely messes with my head.

Saetro
08-19-2017, 12:20 AM
I think it's interesting to hear that there are places in Wales where people still speak the tongue. I hate the thought of any language dying out, even real tongue twisters like Welsh. When I was a boy I lived for two years in Shropshire, we were not far from Wales so we had a few family excursions there. I don't have clear memories of hearing the language (I was 8) but I recall that there were people speaking it in a few places we visited. We also visited some town that boasted of the longest town name in the world, it was like 50 characters of word salad.

It seems to me the transition to the written language in any of the Gaelic tongues from just learning it orally would be daunting, I find Gaelic words and names impossible because it seems the letters are assigned completely different sounds than they are in any other language that utilizes Roman letters, and it severely messes with my head.

Welsh language is actually increasing its number of speakers, as is Irish language.
Back a few decades, towards the low point for Welsh, I went on a climbing holiday to Snowdonia over Easter.
The locals were friendly, but on Easter morning they dressed in traditional costume and would speak nothing but Welsh.
I realised that I had not taken the trouble to learn even the most basic of phrases, at a time when the English were buying up Welsh cottages for holiday houses and generally displaying what we would call cultural imperialism.
Once back home I started watching a 15 minute Welsh soapie to pick up a few phrases.
(Since then I have learned something of the language of every place I have travelled to before going there. Welsh was the hardest, and I'm told that Irish and Scots Gaelic are harder.)
A year or so later I met a couple from West Berlin who were travelling across the iron curtain to East Berlin weekly, because that is where there was an excellent teacher of Gaelic. They said it was hard, but that seemed to be the attraction.

For me, the trap was the written language.
I had to use tapes to learn, and then the written form made more sense.
Anyway, when I went back a couple of years later, to a very proudly Welsh-speaking part, my few phrases at least showed that unlike 99.9% of other visitors, I had made some effort. And as an Australian I could join with them in the Welsh drinking toast that roughly translates as "Cheers, and *death to the English".
*that is a historic expression from centuries ago. It is not meant literally now, but more as "I hope they stop mucking up Wales and get out and leave us in peace".
That long town name is effectively a stunt to get in the Guinness book of records (before it even existed). And attract tourists - very successful at this.
It is built up of a series of phrases about the town - "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave".
The locals just call it something shorter, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll - sometimes even abbreviated to Llanfair PG.
If you can pronounce that shorter form, you might pass the shibboleth test and show yourself not to be a gullible tourist!