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> Selecting A Gaelic Text, For Learners of Scottish Gaelic
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 18-Apr-2005, 09:12 AM
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Hello everyone!

CelticRose has asked me to recommend some texts, and I've tried my best to do that for her here. I hope you find it useful!

Selecting A Gaelic Text

I highly recommend getting a text that has cassettes or CDs with it so that you can hear as well as read the Lessons. I also recommend using a mix of different texts, that way if you get stuck in one, you can look up the same thing in another text. The second text often explains the same point in a different way that you can understand better. Having several texts is the best way to go in the absence of a living, breathing teacher.

Please remember that these are ONLY my opinions, and I am not an expert by any means.

Here are the texts I have. I will rate them as I did the dictionaries, with * being bad and ***** being the best.

1) Teach Yourself Gaelic by Roderick Mackinnon

This is an excellent text however it is not in print any more and is INCREDIBLY difficult to find! It was never released in the US which makes it even harder for those of us in the US to find. I got VERY lucky and had one given to me by a fellow learner who lives in the UK.

The lessons in this book are clear and easy to follow. If you are serious about learning Gaelic, and if you can find a copy of it, GET IT! You won't regret it!

Rating: *****

2) Teach Yourself Gaelic by Boyd Robertson and Iain Taylor

A few years after pulling the original version off the market (see 1) above), the people who make the Teach Yourself books came out with a completely new and different TYG book. This book is also good, though not quite as good as 1) above. Its advantages include being a little more modern, it is relatively easy to find in the US, and it can be purchased with a set of cassettes or CDs. If you cannot find a copy of 1) above, then I recommend getting a copy of this one.

Rating ****

3) Bun-Chursa Gidhlig by Bill Blacklaw
(The title means A Basic Course in Gaelic)

This is also an excellent text. I highly recommend it as a back-up text for 1) or 2) above, however I probably would not recommend it as your main text for two major reasons. 1 - it does not come with CDs or cassettes. 2 - while it gives exercises for practice, there is no answer key for those exercises! I highly recommend this book despite those two flaws. It is very clear and easy to follow. It is not very expensive, but will have to be special ordered from Scotland.

Rating: ****

4) Cothrom Ionnsachaidh by Ronald Black
(The title means A Chance to Learn)

This is another excellent resource for Gaelic learners. It is actually a text book designed for use at Edinburgh University. Despite this, it is not difficult to use. It is a little grammar heavy, and can get a little technical though. It is a little expensive (can't remember exactly how much, probably around $30-$40) and must be special ordered from Scotland, but I highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about learning Gaelic. Also, it does not come with cassettes, but if I recall correctly there is a Scottish gentleman on the 'net who makes tapes of himself reading the various exercises and makes them available for sale. If anyone is interested, let me know and I will try to find ordering info for you on those.

Rating: ****

5) Scottish Gaelic in Three Months by Roibeard Maolalaigh

Don't let the title of this book fool you, you're NOT going to learn Gaelic in three months with this book! It IS a good resource though, and I do recommend it. It comes with a set of cassettes, but must be special ordered from the UK. It could make a good primary text, though I think TYG is better. If you have texts 1) - 4) above, you could probably do without it unless you just get caught up in it like I did and want to expand your reference library.

Rating: ***

6) Colloquial Scottish Gaelic by Katherine M. Spadaro and Katie Graham

This is a fairly good text also. It comes with a set of cassettes but must be special ordered. It could make a pretty good primary text, but in my opinion it is a little too light in the grammar department. It introduces new words and idioms with little explanation. If you learn better by just speaking, then give this one a try, but if you need more structure and explanation, maybe buy it as a secondary text. But if you have 10 - 4) above, you probably won't need it.

Rating: **

7) Gaelic Made Easy by John M. Paterson

I found the first two booklets in this set of four at our local Highlander festival, but ended up having to order the remainder online from the UK. The booklets are relatively inexpensive at around $4.50 each, but there are 4, so altogether around $18.00. Also there are cassettes for each booklet, but they must be purchased separately. I am thinking around $5.00 each. So at $20.00 for the cassettes, and $18.00 for the booklets, that's $38.00, and in my opinion they are just not worth it. While the lessons are pretty clear and easy to follow, no accents are used anywhere in the books, which means you've got to look elsewhere if you want to learn which words have accents and which do not. And the tapes are INCREDIBLY boring, with nothing but endless repetition of words. If you must get these books then do so, since they are pretty easy to find here in the US, but skip the tapes. Your money would be better spent elsewhere...

Rating: Booklets: ** Tapes: *

8) Beginner's Gaelic by James MacLaren
(Also released under the title Gaelic Self-Taught)

While this book is easily found in the US, I would recommend skipping this one unless you can find no other source. The lessons are confusing and, since it was written back in 1911 and the last revision was in 1935, the Gaelic here is WAY out dated. Save yourself some money and buy Teach Yourself Gaelic instead.

Rating: *

9) A Gaelic Grammar by George Calder

I had to special order this book from the UK, and after I got it I wanted to kick myself. I think it cost around $30.00 all totaled, and it just was not worth that much. Like 8) above, it is very complex and way out dated. Don't waste your money.

Rating: *

Another Book I Highly Recommend:

10) Everyday Gaelic by Morag MacNeill

I highly recommend getting this book! It is not a text, but a Gaelic phrase book. It is divided into sections like Numbers and Time, Meeting Friends and Getting Acquainted, The Outdoors, and The Weather. It gives lots of useful phrases, is very user friendly and gives pronunciation keys throughout. It must be special ordered but in my opinion is well worth it! I'm thinking that it cost me somewhere around $18-$25.

Rating: *****

To Order:

If you want to order some of these books, I commonly buy mine from Sol Cultural Enterprises out of Canada. Their address is 1. http://gaelicbooks.com/ Tell Trueman Matheson, the owner, that Allen Alderman/WizardofOwls sent ya! If anyone knows of other good sites for obtaining Gaelic books, please post those here also!

Feedback:

I hope that this information has been of some use to you! Please let me know what you think! I would love to hear your comments/feedback/opinions on this!

If anyone else has any of these books and would like to comment on them please feel free to do so! Please don't be afraid to disagree with me! As I said before, these are only my opinions, and I may not be in the majority of opinion on them! I am not by any means an expert on the topic!

I have only reviewed here those texts that I currently have in my own personal Gaelic reference library. I do not, by any means, have every Gaelic text available! If anyone has any information concerning additional texts than those listed here, please feel free to review them here! I would love to read about them as I am always in the market for other texts

This post has been edited by WizardofOwls on 18-Apr-2005, 07:36 PM


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'S i Alba tr mo chridhe. 'S i Gidhlig cnan m' anama.
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DesertRose 
Posted: 18-Apr-2005, 05:40 PM
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Thank you so much for doing that here, Allen! It really helps to know what else is out there to buy to try to help advance ourselves in the Gaelic!


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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 18-Apr-2005, 09:17 PM
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'Se do bhetha a ghridh! smile.gif
You're welcome dear!
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stoirmeil 
Posted: 07-Jun-2005, 06:32 PM
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Tapadh leat, a WizardofOwls! Tha sin gl mhath!

I have the newer Teach Yourself Gaelic, and it's really not bad. It's not as rigorous or orderly with grammar, but it's more modern. (The first lesson concerns people waiting for a flight at the brave little airstrip on Barraigh, where the planes come in when the tide is out.) The people in the tapes have a western isles accent, I'm told. (Here is a little bit of a talk on regional accents that may be interesting too: http://www.siliconglen.com/Scotland/7_11.html )

My teacher uses the older MacKinnon version and gives us a few chapters at a time in xerox. biggrin.gif But one of us in the class was able to order it used through Amazon.

Paterson is quite boring, yes. (I have all four booklets of it). But I found it useful for one thing especially -- if you just repeat after the speaker, you find the motor component of your fluency improves. And he does have a nice clear delivery. The grammar explanations are quaint, but not too clear, and overall I think the best use you can put it to is just making yourself spit out whole sentences til it feels more natural. And a bit more vocabulary used in a correct context can't hurt.

Here is a link to the old MacBain etymological dictionary -- it takes things back to the old irish and nordic sources. (I think it was reissued and you can get it.) You have to be careful when you go in here, because you will not come out for quite a while! Like when the people of peace take you under the hill for a wild night of partying and when you come out, it's seven years later. biggrin.gif
http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MB2/
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ghost 
Posted: 24-Aug-2005, 02:46 PM
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QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 18-Apr-2005, 06:12 AM)
Hello everyone!

CelticRose has asked me to recommend some texts, and I've tried my best to do that for her here. I hope you find it useful!


2) Teach Yourself Gaelic by Boyd Robertson and Iain Taylor

A few years after pulling the original version off the market (see 1) above), the people who make the Teach Yourself books came out with a completely new and different TYG book. This book is also good, though not quite as good as 1) above. Its advantages include being a little more modern, it is relatively easy to find in the US, and it can be purchased with a set of cassettes or CDs. If you cannot find a copy of 1) above, then I recommend getting a copy of this one.

Rating ****

I hope that this information has been of some use to you! Please let me know what you think! I would love to hear your comments/feedback/opinions on this!


I have just ordered my copy from the local library. I anticipate a good lesson. Not only is this thread informative but a real time-saver! Moran taing!
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ghost 
Posted: 08-Sep-2005, 02:51 AM
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QUOTE (Eventide @ 24-Aug-2005, 11:46 AM)
QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 18-Apr-2005, 06:12 AM)
Hello everyone!

CelticRose has asked me to recommend some texts, and I've tried my best to do that for her here. I hope you find it useful!


2) Teach Yourself Gaelic by Boyd Robertson and Iain Taylor
Rating ****

I hope that this information has been of some use to you! Please let me know what you think! I would love to hear your comments/feedback/opinions on this!


I have just ordered my copy from the local library. I anticipate a good lesson. Not only is this thread informative but a real time-saver! Moran taing!

So far so good! 305 pages of interesting facts, a bit of grammar and conversational gaelic, accompanied by two cassettes. Now all I need is a dependable online dictionary...Can anyone point me in the right direction?
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 14-Sep-2005, 09:12 PM
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Hey, glad that this little thread was useful for you! What do you think of TYG? Is it helping you? If you have questions, be sure and ask here. We will all be glad to help if we can!
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ghost 
Posted: 17-Sep-2005, 04:49 AM
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I thank you for the offer and support. I most certainly will need more input in the near future...I haven't the means to take a scots gaelic language course so I only have myself and you guys to rely on! I'm a bit busy right now-- things should settle down in October (fingers crossed).

TYG is very comprehensive. It places emphasis on "small talk". A great way to start! IMHO. The only weakness I see so far is the gender issue. I speak fluent french so I'm well versed...but in this book it's not always clearly expressed... ah well. I confess I haven't had the time to study as much as I'd like to either...the two casettes that come with are a real bonus thumbs_up.gif
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srak 
Posted: 17-Sep-2005, 05:11 PM
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Blacklaw is out of print. smile.gif
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 17-Sep-2005, 09:12 PM
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Thanks for the info, srak! And welcome to both Celtic Radio and to the Celtic Languages forum! I hope you enjoy yourself here! Be sure and tell us about yourself in the Welcome thread! I'd love to learn more about you! Do you speak Gaelic yourself or are you a learner? Do you live in Scotland?

Welcome to our growing family! Come by and visit with us often!
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srak 
  Posted: 19-Sep-2005, 05:49 PM
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Hi,
Yes I speak Gidhlig and yes I live in Scotland. biggrin.gif
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stoirmeil 
Posted: 19-Sep-2005, 08:09 PM
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Filte, srak! smile.gif I too hope we hear from you often.

Eventide -- you need a dictionary for gender. You can get to a big free Gaelic to English dictionary on line:

http://www.mackinnon.me.uk/Faclair/

This is the one that links to The Scotsman, which is a contemporary newspaper, so it is pretty modern. Gender = "nm" or "nf".

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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 19-Sep-2005, 09:46 PM
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Wow, srak! I'm so envious! I hope you'll come over and visit with us in the Conversational Gaelic and Advanced Gaelic threads!
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joshhackerspd 
Posted: 02-Jul-2007, 07:17 PM
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The Teach Yourself Gaelic course has but one drawback in my opinion it is very vocabulary heavy for example chapter 9 (the lession i am on) has over 70 items of vocabulary most of them expressions as opposed single words which are a great deal easier to memorize.
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GunChleoc 
Posted: 23-Jul-2007, 10:26 PM
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I guess the only solution to that is to keep using all those words. I find memorizing vocabulary useful when I start with a new language, so I get a bit of a start, but unless I actually put all that vocabulary to use I will forget it very easily. So, I guess you can't move too fast, just stay with it a while and keep talking and posting!


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