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Learn Irish Now! Version 10

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Learn Irish Now! Version 10 Image (based on 2 reviews)
List price: 69.95
Amazon.com, publisher.
Format: PC Software. Comes with audio/pictures for the iPod.
Dialect: unknown
Publisher: Transparent Language
Year: 2006

Product Overview

Available for download from the publisher. Aims to introduce beginners to the language.

A good, solid program
Russell, USA. 13 Jul 2010.

I have Transparent Irish Premium Edition, which I'm almost positive is an updated version of this program. I will write this review going by the version that I own.

I have tried to learn languages before, and it is very difficult without adequate resources. Without a structured class setting, one can feel quite lost. I've tried Rosetta Stone for Japanese, and they have a version for Irish too, and while I definitely wouldn't recommend the confusing, unreliable method that Rosetta Stone uses, I can easily recommend Transparent Language.

There are four virtual books for one to study from. The first book deals with fundamentals, the second book with survival phrases, the third book is a video about Ireland in Irish, and the fourth book is excerpts from the memoir Angela's Ashes by Irish-American Frank McCourt.

This program is meant to serve as an immersion environment. That means that all of the study material is in Irish. It's not like your typical language study book that has explanations in English, then follows with examples in Irish. Everything is in Irish straight from the beginning. But don't worry, this is not the horror that it may sound like at first. There are translations for every word and phrase. The difference is that you have to highlight the word or phrase that you want a translation for and it shows up in the translation area of the program. I think this is a great and very effective way to learn Irish, because you have tons of context to learn from and English is not used as a crutch unless you need it.

All of the text in the virtual books has accompanying audio files spoken by native speakers. Just click the word and you can hear it pronounced, or you can choose to have the entire sentence spoken at once. I'm pretty sure that Connemara speakers are used, but I'm not entirely sure. Evidence of this is in the way that "Dia duit" is pronounced, which sounds like a Connacht pronunciation, in addition to some notes in the help section on grammar that refers to a focus on Connemara rules. The sound is very clear and easy to understand. One gets a clear idea of slender and broad sounds from listening to lots of native speaker dialogue. It's a great companion to TG4 and RnaG, filling a much needed gap for improving listening comprehension and conversational skills, as you are hearing Irish constantly and not just reading about how sounds are pronounced.

There are quite a few language learning activities to keep you busy, including crosswords and other vocabulary games, along with games that focus on grammar as well. There are also activities that help to improve your pronunciation and listening comprehension, as well as some conversational activities that try to engage you in interactive dialogues. Personally, I don't find the interactive conversations that helpful, and tend to use some of the other activities a lot more. Probably the most helpful exercises are the ones that deal with vocabulary and grammar. The pronunciation activities can be fun, and seem to use a pretty sophisticated system, though, sometimes I question the judgment of the program.

This program also comes with Byki Standard Version as a companion program, which is a virtual flashcard system. Byki is very helpful, and I use it every day, along with the "Learn Irish Now" program. You can take words from "Learn Irish Now" and import them into Byki to turn them into virtual flashcards. Anything you learn in Byki you will need to refresh after so much time has passed, this way the information stays in your memory. I find that Byki is pretty smart, and really seems to know when I need to refresh words, as I don't often make mistakes during the refreshing phase. You will refresh words every day, usually from 10 to 20, sometimes more, though, it depends. Don't worry, the program will keep track of when you need to refresh material and it's all done very easily and without hassle.

Byki Standard does not give you the ability to create your own flashcard lists and to edit lists. You will have to purchase the Deluxe version of Byki if you want to do that, which personally I think is worth it, as sometimes you really need to edit lists and adding pictures to lists that lack them is extremely helpful. That said, Byki Standard does come with a lot of lists to learn (1,000 words total) and it will be a long time before you're finished with them. On the other hand, Byki Deluxe will give you 1,000 additional words to learn on top of what Byki Standard offers, but as I said before, Byki Deluxe does not come with this program. Also, Byki Standard will allow you to do various types of tests, but there are other activities that only Byki Deluxe offers.

Overall, my only real complaint with the program and the reason that I didn't give it five stars is because you will on rare occasions run into a word in "Learn Irish Now" that does not provide an English translation. Most of the time, this is no big deal, as there may be a translation later on in the program for the same word as it reappears, but sometimes this can be very frustrating when a translation never appears for the word. In the second book during Lesson 2, I noticed that there was a surprising amount of words that lacked translations, though, this problem had always been very sparse before that particular lesson. I wouldn't let this get to you too much, though, as you can use a dictionary for the few words that don't have translations, and I definitely wouldn't pass up this program because of what is mostly just minor issues.

One last note is that in the help section of this program is a guide to basic grammar in Irish. It's not as useful as a thorough grammar book, but it will get you familiar with the basics at least.


Very Good Program
Yeranui, Mexico. 18 Mar 2008.

Very good program,
very lively exercises and cultural notes about Ireland. Has speed recognition, so you know your are pronouncing correctly, it can be bought and downloaded from its publisher



Learn Irish Online

Make a real connection with your Irish heritage.

You can learn to have conversations in Irish (Gaelic).

Start Learning Irish