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Scottish Gaelic in Twelve Weeks Paperback – 15 Sep 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd; Rep Blg edition (15 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841586439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841586434
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.5 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This edition comes complete with an audio CD to help make learning even easier and more fun. Simplified language course. Essential grammar simply explained. Model sentences, key phrases and word lists build up your vocabulary. Short exercises based on real-life scenarios reinforce what you've learnt. Includes a mini Scottish Gaelic-English dictionary. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Roibeard O Maolalaigh organises Beginners' Gaelic Courses at the University of Edinburgh, where he lectures in the Department of Celtic and is Director of the Centre for Irish Studies. His consultant Iain MacAonghuis is a native speaker of Scottish Gaelic who was born and bought up in the Western Isles. He lectured for many years at the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh (where he is an Honorary Fellow), and has written and broadcast on a range of Gaelic subjects.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although by no means perfect, for me this is the best of the three main self-tuition Gaelic books. Although rather slim, and still without a CD at the time of writing this review, the book is beautifully presented and very clear. Also it has a huge advantage over the other books: the main vocabulary lists have pronunciation, rendered using the International Phonetic Alphabet. For this alone I give it five stars, although annoyingly pronunciation is not provided for words which are introduced outwith the vocabulary lists.

Explanations of grammar are also very clear and comprehensive. If, like me, you like grammar and are not scared of rules, this book is easily the best. On the downside, it is rather dry, and less well suited to people who learn languages more by `absorption'. It is probably the best grammar reference available for Gaelic though.
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Excellently laid out and very clear to follow, you won't get a more solid (and concise) introduction than this to Scottish Gaelic. Be aware, though, that it is straightforward and academic in style, covering grammar and core vocabulary efficiently without the 'frills' of other communicative courses. That said, the grammatical rules are presented extremely clearly and comprehensively. Pronunciation guides in IPA given for (almost) all new vocabulary, although an accompanying CD is available for extra support. A great primer for anyone interested in serious study of Gaelic.
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So far I've got as far as Chapter 5 of the 12 chapters. The book is, as the title of this review states, very good and comprehensive, but you do need to be dedicated to get through it, and it is heavy going. Despite having the IPA pronunciation for many of the words, the Audio CD is invaluable for learning `true' pronunciation. Even so, the two main speakers do have different pronunciation (not surprising if you consider all the regional variations of English pronunciation), and there aren't that many audio examples to follow.

I've found that I do need another source of written and spoken Gaelic in order to give more examples of pronunciation, and to have more text from which to learn. The BBC's "An Litir Bheag" is a very good tool for this, with well over 300 five-minute MP3 clips of (slowly) spoken Gaelic, together with transcriptions and partial translations. After a while you can start picking out words from the audio and recognising the grammatical constructs in the associated transcriptions.
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I've always had a strong interest in languages. I'm an English speaker (from Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and learnt French and German in school, which I've mostly forgotten, and have since taught myself to speak pretty good Spanish.

I've been fascinated with Scottish Gaelic for years, mainly as a result of my many trips to Scotland. I've always been slightly frustrated by my inability to pronounce place-names ("Cnoc an Leothaid", "Stac Pollaidh" etc), which was possibly my main motivation to learn Gaelic. I also have some Scottish heritage and would love to discover that I'm a Cattach, or that my ancestors were from Caithness!

I've been using this book now for several months. I find it very comprehensive. Learning Gaelic is difficult but, if you're prepared to persevere, you'll make progress with this book. The CDs are invaluable, essential really, because pronunciation is difficult for a native English speaker. The content of the CDs is basically every Gaelic word in the book, read out in order which I think is a really good, straightforward idea. If I have any criticism, the book could do with more exercises but I truly think this could easily fill a supplementary volume (authors take note: there's another book in it for you!)

Also, to make any realistic progress, you'll need other resources. The best thing would be a Gaelic-speaking next-door neighbour but, failing that, there's loads of stuff on the internet: for example, search for "An Litir Bheag" which is good for beginners.

It still amazes me that it's possible to buy a book for about £15 or whatever and learn something completely new. It's almost miraculous. This book achieves this and, despite my minor criticisms, I can't give it fewer than five stars.

If you're at all interested in learning Scottish Gaelic, buy this book. It'll do you for life.
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This is very detailed as an item - I bought the version with the audio CD - but it is very heavy on the grammar and using grammatical, confusing phrases - (lenition, slender consonants, initial mutations etc.).
I would have liked to perhaps started off with simple things like numbers, months etc. but it dives straight into phrases and it lacks a detailed and/or structured approach to any vocabulary, with small group seemingly added on to the end of each chapter.
Will be hard work to follow over 12 weeks (especially as most people will not have anyone to 'bounce' conversation off) but it certainly is a detailed and comprehensive book.
*Only* buy with the version with the audio CD - otherwise you are wasting time, effort and money
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Whaaat??? I can not understand why this book is rated so highly by other users. I find it next to impossible to use this book, even though I am an experienced language learner, and have achieved fluency in some languages. Layout and so forth look inviting, but when you get in to the actual learning, it's very difficult to make progress. There is not enough information or exercises for each new piece of language that is being learnt, and the book throws in quite minor points along with the major learning blocks. An example of this is the concept of 'I have only' which is introduced in chapter 1, along with one of the verbs 'to be'. I learnt to ignore these more minor points, and concentrated on the major learning blocks in each lesson. When I got to lesson 3 I was presented with a list of 45 verbal nouns. What am I supposed to do? Memorise them? There was one short translation exercise that tested a few of these. I've since switched to an old copy 2003 of the Teach Yourself series, along with the accompanying CDs, which I find to be more user-friendly. I also have a copy of the Aberdeen course, Progressive Gaelic 1, which again is a much better option for self-learning, even though it is intended as a classroom-based course. I have given this two stars because I still listen to the CDs, which I find can be helpful to reinforce things that I have picked up elsewhere.
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