May 12, 2013 | Irish

Irish Verbs and Twitter

Over the weekend I encounter some Irish verbs and some Irish tweets.

I am not super attached to social media, but I try to stay reasonably on top of things. A year or so ago I opened a Twitter account and then, like many people I know, let it languish while I moved about the physical world doing things.

Some Irish Stuff on Twitter

Some Irish Stuff on Twitter

Now I am back on Twitter, and I get it a little better than I did last time.

I learned some interesting things lounging around the Twitter site this weekend. I signed up for Irish tweets. And tweets about French, and German, and Chinese, and Italian, and Hindi, and Japanese, and so on.

Twelve days into my Irish studies, I will concede I am pretty mystified by this particular language, but I am happy to see that I can now understand some of the words that are twittering their way onto my computer screen. Not many, but some.

I am still making my way through the Talk Irish online course.

Today I came across the sentences shown on the screenshot below, from Lesson 31, and I had to laugh at the verbs. Ndeachaigh, dheachaigh, and chuaigh?

I hate to admit it, but I really had no clue at all about Irish before I began exploring it on May 1. Not a clue. It’s embarrassing, so I will not detail the details of my cluelessness, but I did not expect words that looked like this.

Aren't These Verbs Spectacular?

Aren’t These Verbs Spectacular?

It’s pretty fabulous. The verbs are visually stunning and aurally amazing.

So, my plan is to keep going through the Talk Irish lessons, because I like them, and my first principle of language learning is that what I do has to be fun or I simply won’t do it. But once I get a little further along in the 60 lessons available to me, I am heading back to my grammar books so that I understand better what is going on on this screen.

It looks like quite an adventure.

For now, if you are unfamiliar with but curious about Irish, I can at least tell you something, namely, that the siad in each sentence is “they,” the an is something you stick at the beginning of questions (is it only yes-no questions?), and the in the second sentence, not surprisingly, indicates the negative.

I am at present unable to explain the formation of the verbs. That will take more time.

Comments (5)

John Burton • Posted on Thu, June 13, 2013 - 9:27 am EST

I agree, the words are “visually stunning.”  There is something magical and mysterious about looking at them, especially when associated with an island country at the far western reaches of ancient civilization, it’s pre-Christian, Druidic mythologies, and medieval monasteries, connection to nature and the sea, even now.  BTW, Tir na Nog is “Land of Youth” but it is really the “Other World,” where the veils between this one and that one thin at certain times and the Fae, the “Si,“cross over and walk in this world.  “Banshee” literally means “woman of the fae,” “bean si.”

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Thu, June 13, 2013 - 2:30 pm EST

Thank you for the information, John!

I’m glad you agree about the aesthetics. I do love the way Irish words look.

Although it’s different with different languages, I’ve been intrigued by the aesthetic novelty of multiple languages during this project. It’s funny, but now that I think about it, I am realizing I haven’t seen that aspect of language learning written about that much. (Doesn’t mean it hasn’t been; I just haven’t come across it.)

For me, so much of what is exciting about unfamiliar languages has to do with the visual experience of new words. Like in Polish, coming across an “n” with an accent mark on it - bewildering yet fun. I have no plans right now to study Hungarian, but I am drawn to it for the fancy diacritics alone! In Japanese I loved kana. The square arrangement of symbols in Korean is amazing. And the different punctuation marks in other languages - wow! I could go on and on.

Claire • Posted on Tue, July 08, 2014 - 8:33 pm EST

As it happens, in Munster Irish we simplify this verb!

We use Ar chuaigh? Níor chuaigh mé (or níor chuas for short).
But in exams we have to write those irregular forms.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Tue, July 08, 2014 - 9:09 pm EST

Simplification does not seem like a terrible idea. ;)

Ayxan • Posted on Sat, September 05, 2015 - 5:32 am EST

Dia duit, Ellen !

I started learning Irish with Duolingo on my iphone a week ago.
The language is so awesome I cant stop learning it. My purpose is to be able to read The Stranger and the Alchemist in Irish :) in the end of this year.

Thank you for sharing about the languages on your blog. It is very motivating.

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