Saturday, October 3, 2009

Free Irish Lessons from The Irish People Newspaper

I've always been interested in the Irish language but for one reason or another never formally studied it. I suppose it's mainly because my relatives spoke English both here in the US and in Ireland. And, of course, as it's not one of the standard foreign language selections in American schools, an Irish course was not easy to come by as a student.

My mother excelled in Irish at the National School in Ireland; she won a silver medal for achievement, which I wear proudly around my neck on occasion. Many of those occasions are times when I need encouragement or even comfort to get through a difficult situation. But I digress. My purpose in writing this entry is to share a free Irish language course I discovered recently on the Internet.

Here is the whole course of Irish Lessons from Irish People, the newspaper. There is also an easier to read version that is broken into separate lessons on -- There are 125 lessons in all. See also original files on Irish Northern Aid website (and addendum below)*

I found the lessons originally on in the text version that you can copy and paste into a Word document and save on your computer (or save the web pages). There are more Irish language references on the same website. You can likely find these lessons on other pages, as well, since the original publisher has granted permission to reprint the Irish lessons with credit to the "Irish People" newspaper - but you won't find that particular publication on the web as it ceased printing some years in the past, before the Internet was invented. The pronunciation guide is phonetic spellings of the spoken language.

Lesson One indicates the lessons were prepared "especially for persons who are studying alone or in small groups without a teacher, books or recordings" and when the paper reran the Irish study course it stated, "The purpose of the course is to give Americans, whether of Irish descent or not, a working knowledge of the Irish language."

Of course, I was curious, as you may be, about The Irish People newspaper and found some information on the founder of the paper, William O'Brien, who lived from 1852 to 1928. He was active politically and concerned for the plight of the Irish tenant farmer. In 1898 O'Brien co-founded the nationalist political party United Irish League with Michael Davitt and in 1899 he founded the League's paper Irish People See more on William O'Brien. As best I can determine, the the Irish People newspaper ceased publication in 1904. (See Addendum below.*)

It's wonderful, and important, to hear the language. You can hear as well as read Irish Gaelic on Irish "word of the day" (free) courtesy of Transparent Language. Language-Learning-Advisor suggests other resources for learning Irish, including the well-respected Rosetta Stone products.

So, now I am adding another dimension to my appreciation of Irish culture and  history by delving into the language of my ancestors. Fortunately, there is a resurgence of interest in speaking Irish Gaelic and I am finding many opportunities to hear it both spoken and in song.

*Addendum: I have since located what appears to be the original source of the Irish Lessons on the Internet at The Irish Northern Aid website. There are 128 lessons with a copyright notation as crediting The Irish People as follows: (c) 1997, 1998 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.