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Blas na Gàidhlig: The Practical Guide to Scottish Gaelic Pronunciation Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Akerbeltz (31 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907165002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907165009
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


A truly brilliant book on what - until now - has been a difficult topic for learners and teachers alike. Michael Bauer has taken what is a very complex subject - the pronunciation of Scottish Gaelic - and presented it in a lively, witty and informative way. With this authoritative book, even those with little or no knowledge of concepts such as the Phonetic Alphabet will discover exactly why the sounds work the way they do. It will help learners unlock that elusive door to understanding and speaking the language well. And it will be invaluable for Gaelic teachers who have become accustomed to a feeling of dread in response to that inevitable question regarding some matter of pronunciation - "But why?" Ishbel Murray, Gaelic Immersion Course Teacher, Stow College Glasgow

From the Back Cover

Most learners of Gaelic - and native speakers in particular - agree that having a good accent is very important. Ditto for people who teach Gaelic to adults and need to be able to explain a thing or two about pronunciation. But how to get there is not always so obvious.

This is where this book, its many sound files and more than 120 sets of exercises come in. It will take you - whether you're a complete beginner; a semi- or fully-fluent learner; or an interested native speaker - on a fascinating journey through the gubbins of this intriguing language. All you need is a thirst for knowledge because great care has gone into making a complicated topic as accessible as possible to everyone.

In a way, it will be your resident Gaelic granny. Always there for you, never makes you feel stupid, full of anecdotes, flawless Gaelic and even some home baking. Teann a-nall 's thoir dhomh do làmh!

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As far as I'm aware this is the first comprehensive guide to the "sound system" of Scottish Gaelic for a general readership. I have taught Gaelic (my first language) for about 10 years now and this will be an excellent resource when it comes to explaining and "showing" how the language's sounds are made. Gaelic grammar is no more complex than your average European language, but the wealth and subtlety of the sounds that are used to speak it are rarely encountered in any one tongue and are underestimated, by learners and teachers alike. Because of this the book may look like a daunting read - at 512 pages it's certainly not short - but it's not a chore to get through. It is very straightforward and readable and - as the front cover says - eminently practical. As well as introducing readers to the supremely sensible International Phonetic Alphabet(IPA - the characters you see in brackets next to a word in dictionaries or on wikipedia) Bauer shows how key sounds are made and gives practical tips on how to practise them. Engaging with native speakers of Scottish Gaelic is a huge challenge for learners; if you don't have a good accent they're likely to switch to English after the first sentence you utter. This book, along with the author's audio material online, is a huge step forward in helping to overcome that. The proof of the pudding...well, I've heard the author in a Gaelic radio interview and his accent is perfect or, as we'd say at home "Tha blas na Gàidhlig aige".
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Format: Hardcover
I was slightly worried when I ordered this book because when I flicked through Lookinside, it looked so much more serious than any other Gaelic book I ever bought. But I was very pleasantly surprised when I got it. It's very well written and laid out and not at all over-the-head of someone like myself who's last time in a classroom is more than a decade back. It doesn't assume you know anything about the language or the way it's sounds work and take you through step by step. It's a bit like an Idiots Guide but without making me feel like an idiot.

It has a logical progression but the nice thing is that you can also just jump somewhere, our night class teacher was trying to explain something about aspiration but left everyone a bit confused. So I looked it up and had a couple of epiphynies. I took it in to show her and she says she's got to get one herself, she says she can say everything right but doesn't know why or how to explain it,

There's also loads of sound files to go with the book on the publishers webiste which makes it even better. It sounds expensive but when you realise how much you're getting, it's money well spent. No regrets and I recommend ti to any learner!
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Format: Hardcover
Definitely worth the price, especially taking into account it is accompanied by some 450MB of sound files, featuring the words appearing in the text, which are (legally!) downloadable from the Net for free.

Part 1 is a short explanation of the importance of acquiring good pronunciation; Part 2 decribes, one by one, all Gaelic vowels and consonants (the sounds, rather than the letters; to make this part more digestible, there are a few pieces of related trivia scattered around). Part 3 explains how these sound interact with each other: this includes intonation, word stress or sounds disappearing in fast speech as well as single and jumping lenition, slenderization or preaspiration. Part 4 then looks at how these sound are put into the Gaelic spelling system.

The two most important appendices are a 'Wordlist' with pronunciations given not only for the basic forms, but also for genitives and plurals, comparatives, verbal nouns &c, including more detailed tables for irregular verbs. The other is a 'Guide to Reading Gaelic', about 250 rules following which one can, going letter by letter, 'reconstruct' the pronunciation of a particular Gaelic word from the way it's written.

The author managed to write a book that is quite enjoyable and highly informative at the same time, while the sound files leave no doubt about how should a particular phonetic transcription really sound. I should especially recommend it to everybody who studies Gaelic without the possibility of being in a regular contact with a native speaker always at the ready to point out the mistakes a learner will inevitably do.

(One warning, though: if your native language isn't English, brace yourself for finding out about a thing or two you're doing bad in that language as well.)
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Format: Hardcover
It is hard to over emphasis just how important this book is for the serious learning and teaching of Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic). Grammar is often seen to be the most difficult aspect by both learners and teachers, but they face it knowing its necessity. But the phonology of Gàidhlig is rarely if ever touched and if it is it is in the "X sound something like English X" mode, but it never really is. At best it gives a close approximation to the sound and in the end causes more confusion when learners try and use it with native speakers; phonology is really is the poor sister in the study of Gàidhlig, and generally most other languages.

Great strides have been made in the teaching and learning of the language over the last decade or so, fuelled by the commitment of individuals against a generalised official indifference or actual animosity to the language. This has formed a wealth of new teaching materials to the point where learners are actually faced with the choice of course they wish to follow; not so long ago they would have had very limited choice of finding a course at all! Books on grammar, dictionaries etc. now abound. But should a daring learner make an attempt at a book on the phonology of the language (which has been isolated to the advanced academic study of specific dialects) picking up a book and trying to understand the highly technological and "archane" language of phonology, they are more likely to baulk at the contents and rush back to a book on grammar for comfort!! There simply has not been any serious books on the sounds of the language for learners - until now! Blas na Gàidhlig fills that gap. I am certain it will forever go down as a mile stone in the teaching of Gàidhlig.
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