Living Language Irish, Complete Edition: Beginner Through Advanced Course, Including 3 Coursebooks, 9 Audio CDs, and Free Online Learning (Living Language Complete Courses) Paperback – 25 Feb 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
Its well structured, for example there is a vocab section and then a grammar section, a dialogue section etc. This, I would say is the strongest quality of the course and would work well for individuals who like to learn a language using tables, grammatical explanations and such.
It has plenty of exercises to test the vocabulary and grammar that you have learned, with tests at the end of each unit.
It also has online games and such to help learn the new vocabulary, but I myself didn't take advantage of these much.
It has VERY inaccurate pronunciation on the CD. Irish is just like any other language, and should be treated as such. You wouldn't hear native english speakers on a Spanish course CD, for example. The pronunciation is just plain wrong is parts, they don't correctly pronounce 'ch' or 'gh' for example. Granted this is a difficult sound for a native english speaker to produce but if the speakers are unable to produce the sounds in the irish language then quite simply different speakers should have been used on the CD, ideally native speakers, which none of these people on the recording are. The pronunciation is so inaccurate that if someone did use this course, and then went to the Gaeltacht, I guarantee you that they wouldn't understand a single word that any of the locals utter.
It doesn't teach one dialect of Irish.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What I liked about the course was that it really gave a lot of examples and opportunities for practice, unlike other courses, and also includes self-quizzes. The format really helps to drive home the grammar that they are trying to teach you effectively. In fact, the course is almost entirely oriented around teaching grammar patterns. Unfortunately, with this focus and most of the space taken up by workbook activities, there are not quite enough examples of natural language and conversations longer than one sentence. You may end up with good grammar in the end, but will have a hard time conversing because you will still be translating everything in your head from English.
I found the assertion that this is three courses in one to be completely misleading. Like I said, the course is based on presenting grammar along with a certain speaking topic, so for the "Advanced" course they simply wait to teach the "harder" aspects of Irish grammar, such as some irregular future tenses. I can hardly call a course that is still teaching verb forms, plurals, and sentence structures an "Advanced" course. I expected some actual in-depth analysis of passages, conversations, and figurative language, but what I got was the same information you find in the final chapters of shorter courses. In other words, you don't learn more Irish with this course than others, they just give it to you more slowly.
The absolute worst part of this course was the clear lack of input from native speakers. Only one of the people in the recordings seems to be an actual Gaeilgeoir. Pronunciation is taught with phonetic English spelling, and the inconsistency with which they spell out gh- or kh-sounds matches the inconsistency with which the speakers actually pronounce them. They will pronounce Gaeilge as "gwailga," that English w-sound being a common rookie mistake. It is embarrassing at best when your recordings purport to teach a student the proper pronunciation, and your speaker enunciates with clear English sounds "Deeya gwitch." Serious students of Irish also know that in most dialects there are three pronunciations of the verbal ending -adh, depending on grammar. The speakers in this course clearly have no idea that this is the case (the one native speaker excepted), and instead of pronouncing it according to the Caighdeán or any of the living dialects, they pronounce them all the same. The lack of native speaker input even seems to affect the text, with odd word choices ('Tá an film go breá,' "The film is fine") to odd grammar ('Tá Clár ard agus tanaí,' when native speakers would not use 'agus' in this sentence.)
So all in all, you WILL learn Irish, but heavily-accented second-language learner Irish. It is embarrassing that this publisher has consistently failed to find native speakers for its Irish courses when so many others have (Teach Yourself, Colloquial, Pimsleur, Buntús Cainte, Rosetta Stone, Learning Irish to name a few.) Living Language Spoken World Irish by the same publisher has the same problems. You are much better off choosing something from the Teach Yourself series, which will teach you the same information as in this course, albeit more condensed.