May 9, 2013 | Irish

Talk Irish!

I am loving the online course I bought on the Talk Irish website. What a deal/steal!

A few days ago, for nine dollars and forty-something cents a month, I purchased access to an online course on the Talk Irish website. It is based on an old TV program, Buntús Cainte, that first ran on Irish television in 1967, and that has had incarnations in audio, booklet, and book format.

Talk Irish, Lesson 18: Some Amazing Consonant Combinations

Talk Irish, Lesson 18: Some Amazing Consonant Combinations

The Talk Irish folks have taken the old content and made it modern and interactive.

I absolutely love it. I love it even more because it is so incredibly cheap. Without it, learning the relationship between Irish writing and sounds would be a lot more frustrating.

Seriously, for English speakers, at first glance Irish is full of pretty impenetrable pronunciation phenomena.

For those of you who don’t already speak Irish, how would you think this word would be pronounced: riamh (meaning “ever” or “never”)?

Whatever you said, it is almost certainly wrong. The pronunciation is apparently ree-ev. Yep, that mh is a v sound.

The Talk Irish application has well-paced explanations of grammar and vocabulary, as well as dialogues, quizzes, and more. There are 60 lessons, and I am on the eighteenth at the moment. 

Cute Dialogues Help You Learn

Cute Dialogues Help You Learn

One of the reasons I am so glad I found the Talk Irish website is that, on Day 9 of my Irish unit, my Irish grammar books remain difficult for me to read. As I go through them, there are too many things I don’t know how to pronounce, and that distracts me.

My impression is that some people can read things in foreign languages without worrying about pronunciation. I am not one of them, so this online course is a way for me to prepare myself to read actual Irish in actual books.

I would have loved something like this for Portuguese and Dutch. Even though Portuguese and Dutch pronunciation is far more intuitive for a native English speaker than Irish, having the sights and sounds of those languages united in such a friendly and manageable format would have significantly sped up the learning process.

If you are trying to learn Irish, buy it!

Comments (7)

Diane • Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 - 7:22 am EST

I’ll share this with other people, thanks.  I’m curious—why did you choose not to start with Pimsleur this time?  Is it because the Pimsleur Irish is only 10 units?

Aran • Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 - 9:52 am EST

If you didn’t find much spoken stuff for Dutch, you might enjoy the first draft of our tourist package at when you have a spare day some time…:-)

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 - 10:01 am EST

Thank you, Aran! I am only just discovering this SaySomethingIn website for different languages. I don’t quite understand yet what it is, but I see that there is material for Cornish, Welsh, Dutch, Spanish, and English. Can you clarify anything about the general platform for me? I can’t find an information page for it.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 - 11:23 am EST

Diane, see my next blog entry for an answer to your question!

Diane • Posted on Sat, May 11, 2013 - 10:11 am EST

Thanks!  And I just wrote a long explanation about the SaySomethingIn courses on your “Irish grammar’” post, here:
Let me know if it doesn’t answer your questions.  Jump on in to Welsh (eventually), the water’s fine!

John Burton • Posted on Wed, June 12, 2013 - 6:47 pm EST

I actually bought the old-fashioned CDs and accompanying booklets—about 8 of them.  Found them a bit boring and not interactive enough (unlike Pimmsleur) but great to know they have an online version that obviously would be more interactive and fun.

John Burton • Posted on Wed, June 12, 2013 - 6:48 pm EST

It would be hard to imagine any speaker of any language finding Irish pronunciation “intuitive.”  :)

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