Learn the Irish language for free!
Here are three of the best ways to learn Irish for free and some of the measures you can use to integrate the language into your life.
Duolingo is the free language learning phone app selected by Apple as iPhone App of the Year 2013, by Google as Best of the Best for Android in 2013 and 2014. It is also the perfect way to learn Irish on the go and for free. Apparently, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full university semester of language education.
Even if you’ve only a few minutes to practice each day, this phone app allows you to spend them completing a lesson on the go before getting on with your busy schedule. Irish has quickly become one of the most popular languages offered by the site since it was introduced last August, with almost 600,000 learners to date.
Clilstore is a collection of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) teaching materials that links videos and their text with suitable online dictionaries.
CLIL is a teaching concept by which learners focus on a subject already familiar to them, such as a hobby, through the medium of the second language. They essentially acquire language skills while dealing with a topic they are comfortable with.
Clilstore currently offers 90 units in Irish over a range of abilities from teaching absolute beginners the words to the Irish national anthem to radio scripts for learners nearing fluency. Each unit contains a video where the pronunciation can be heard, a copy of the audio’s text and the ability to click on a word within this text to search among the compiled online dictionaries. Learners have easy access to a means of using their reading and listening skills and a well-developed dictionary tool in the absence of a teacher.
More information can be found at: http://multidict.net/clilstore/
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EasyIrish.com is a website dedicated to the learning of the Irish language by offering FREE podcasts and information. Whether you are a beginner or fluent speaker we hope you will find this site interesting and entertaining.
Irish language media
Even for the advanced learner, the main Irish language media outlets Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4 can be challenging (although subtitles on TG4 help).
If you’re a fan of pop music why not try Raidió Rí Rá – which mixes chart music with small easily understandable bits of entertainment news – or Deireadh Seachtaine on Dublin station FM104 every Sunday morning (Irish time).
Raidió na Life is also more accessible for the Irish language learner as many of its volunteers are learners themselves. It also plays the most diverse music selection in Dublin with its highly contrasting shows and is well worth a listen for this alone.
TG4 creates some fantastically entertaining TV which will introduce you to Ireland, not just Irish. Top of my list is the channel’s soap opera Ros na Rún – it’s the only soap I will admit to watching.
The most important thing to remember is that practice makes perfect. You may listen for hours and still barely understand anything, but by adding an hour or two of radio or TV listening to your week, in combination with a more practical learning device such as Duolingo, you should begin to see improvements and nothing is better for your pronunciation.
Irish language news website Tuairisc.ie also offers reading comprehensions, crosswords, video tasks and is a fantastic reading resource for advanced learners.