The First Week of my June 2015 Italian Challenge

I'm on my fifth day of my June, 2015 Italian Language Challenge and I wanted to give an update now because some of my parameters have changed since my original post (surprise, surprise). First off, I have not been using Magari like I expected but I've found two other resources that are a little better for someone who is self-studying. The first is called Parola a Te! It covers each of Italy's ragioni and discusses aspects of history, literiture, and culture that are important to each ragione. I also has both audio and video companions that can be found on the book's web site. The other book is Il Rifugio Segreto: Letture Semplificate.  This also comes with a CD but what I like most about it is that it matches my reading and listening level really well and includes explanations of vocabulary from the texts in Italian.

The biggest change, though, has been working with my iTalki tutor Laura. She's been kind enough to take on some daily tasks and lesson prep work for the cost of a couple of extra hours of lessons. Every night I send her a report of what I have done that day and she corrects any exercises for which I don't have the answer key as well as correcting any writing that I have done. It's a huge commitment because I don't take days off. There might be days when I can't do as much as I want to, but I make an effort to get some Italian study in every single day. So far, just knowing that she has an expectation of me is helping to keep my on task and I feel like I have made more progress in the past 5 days than I did in all of May. That's not to say I didn't make any progress in May, I did. I was just kind of aimless and a lack of focus always leads to less progress than learning with a clear goal.

Two of my three big complaints about my learning process have been addressed with this arrangement: I'm writing more and I'm prepping for my lessons. The final one is really up to me, though. I really believe in doing learning retrospectives to take new vocabulary and structures from your online lessons and add them to Anki or Memrise or whatever spaced-repetition system you use. Without doing this so much learning slips through your fingers because you are so focused on the act of participating in the conversation there is no chance you will remember which grammatical structures you got wrong or which vocabulary words you are mispronouncing. If I can maintain this level and quality of work, I am really sure that I can make it to B2 by the end of August, 2015. 

Thoughts after 5 Months of Learning Italian

Today marks 5 months and 2 weeks (give or take a few days) since I started studying Italian. My original plan was to see how far I could get in 3 months and I think I progressed to the point where I was close to a solid A2 in the CEFR and using material in Italian only for the B1 and B2 levels. What I did not expect when I started is that I'd end up liking Italian so much or that I would make so many friends who were native speakers. This has made me decide to keep going in Italian until 2016 when I will attempt to take the CILS B2 or C1 depending on when the exam is and my confidence. The problem is I need to get more serious about my studies and increase my writing output. I'm already doing at least 2 hours of conversation per week as well as studying Italian for at least an hour per day. But there are a number of things I am not doing.

  1. I'm not doing retrospectives on my lessons. I have to start reviewing my lessons seriously and trying to make sure that I master the things I'm learning in the lessons and that I understand the corrections I am being given.
  2. I'm not preparing for the lessons. I need to pick a topic from my Conversations to Go game, translate it to Italian and then learn the vocabulary and structures that I expect that I will use in the lessons. I'm wasting too much time thinking instead of practicing.
  3. I'm not writing enough. I am a firm believer that if you practice speaking regularly then writing can have a direct positive impact on your speaking skills. I'm confident that if I had done these things from the start, I'd be close to the B2 level right now. 

For this reason I'm setting my next challenge. I'm going to take 13 weeks to really focus on getting to a solid B2 level. Here is my plan.


I've got two weeks to get my material ready.

  • I'm going to complete level one of Glossika's Italian fluency module and get as close to 1/2 way through level 2.
  • Translate 40 of the conversations to go slips for use in my lessons or in writing exercises.
  • Gather together examples of the following grammatical structures to supplement Glossika.
  • Present, future, passoto prossimo, and imperfetto of the top 10 irregular verbs by frequency. I expect this to be close to 8,000 sentences total (many will be conjugated variations).
  • 3,000 examples of the conjuntivo and condizionale with at least 1/2 being of the top 10 irregular verbs.


Here is my plan for the first week of June through the 30th of August.

  • Magari (B1 to C1) 400 pages – Use this book and some of the ideas for exercises to guide grammar and conversational learning. Many of the activities in this book are designed for groups or classrooms so finding an appropriate variation on the activity will be essential.
  • News in Slow Italian – one episode per week. This will include summaries of the 4 news segments.
  • 3 writing exercises using Conversations to Go – This will be the hard part of my learning to stay committed to. I need to force myself to create more output or I will not advance.
  • 2 or more conversation classes per week for a total of two hours minimum.
  • Practice tests and quizzes each week with CILS exam simulations performed every fourth week.

This is going to be a lot of work and that's why I'm sticking with a 13 week time span.  I can't keep up this kind of work indefinitely but 13 weeks is a good amount of time to be able to accomplish some real goals and still be able to make corrections for any problems I might have.

My 12 Week Italian Language Challenge

For 2015 I’ve decided that I am going to try a 3 month language challenge for learning Italian. Currently I have no knowledge of the language beyond what the average American would have from TV and other media. I’ve chosen Italian because I’ve always wanted to learn another Romance language. I’m fluent in Portuguese and can fake it pretty well in Spanish, though I’ve not studied it formally for very long – I’ve only read a couple of books and some poetry. I really wanted to learn a non-Ibero-Romance that was ideally not one of the main national languages such as Jèrriais, Occitan, or Sicilian but I’ve just spent the last year working on Irish where I have had a huge issue finding native speakers to assist me as well as a glaring gap in resources at the upper-intermediate level. With the less commonly studied Romance languages it seems my plight regarding a lack of learning material would be even worse. Combining that with my grand over-estimation of how good my Irish was when I started back on it in December, 2013, I want a quick win before going on to a non-Indo-European language in mid-2015. Thus, I chose Italian as it would potentially open up resources for learning Sicilian in the future and I can leverage my knowledge of Latin and 2 other Romance languages.

So, here is my plan:

1.      A 12 week challenge to go from A0 to a high B1

2.      Using Pimsleur Italian, Colloquial Italian 1 & 2, and Assimil

3.      Memrise to help build vocabulary

4.      Book weekly lessons on iTalki with a native speaker

5.      A twice monthly report out on YouTube to keep me honest

6.      Keep working on Irish!

My challenge begins on January 4, 2015 and will continue until the 28th of March. I think the biggest challenge for me will be to maintaining my study habits with Irish as I am committed to getting out of the B1 level and up to the B2 level in 2015 and that means a lot of work. I’m still struggling conversationally and in writing making stupid mistakes with irregular verbs and poor pronunciation. But I think that a short distraction into another language will help me regain my motivation.

Comhrá – Máire Feirtéar

This is a transcript with audio of the first three minutes of the episode of Comrá featuring Máire Feirtéar. The transcription was done by the Redditor 0regan0 so please throw him some up votes.

Go mbeannaí Dia dhaoibh agus tá fáilte romhaibh ag clár na seachtaine seo. Bean as An Rinn ar an gCeathrún Rua a bheas ag comhrá liom ar an gclár seo anocht, sin í Máire Feirtéar. Ní shin sloinne, anois, go deimhin, a bhí an-choitianta sa Rinn ar an gCeathrún Rua, ná tada mar é, ach phós sí Breandán Feirtéar as Dún Chaoin sa mbliain 1970, agus chaitheadar cúig bliana déag ag cónaí ó dheas i gCiarraí. Tá siad ar ais anois ina gcónaí, bail ó Dhia orthab, ar an gCeathrún Rua, agus ansuim ag Máire i ngaolta agus i gcanúintí agus seanfhocla agus rudaí dhen chineál sin. Céad fáilte, a Mháire.

Go raibh míle maith agat, a Mháirtín.

B’fhéidir go bhfuil sé chomh maith agam tosaí leis na gaolta nach bhfuil, mar sin? Ó labhair muid orthab! Bí ag inseacht dhúinn dhe do chine féin ar an gCeathrún Rua agus, b’fhéidir, cé chomh fada siar is atá tú in ann a ghabháil leob.

Bhuel tá rud amháin gur féidir leat – nó go bhféadfadh muid – roimhe seo, a Mháirtín, a ghabháil siar ar ár ngaolta, mar go mbíodh ainm na muintire orthab. Agus tá sé sin ag dul i léig anois agus is mór an truaidh é. Mar is cuimhneach liomsa, mar shampla, nuair a bhí mé ag breathnú ar Griffith’s Valuation 1850, bhí mé in ann mo sheanmhuintir a dhéanamh amach díreach mar gheall go raibh a fhios agam cén t-ainm a bhí ar mo shin-sheanathair.


An áit go raibh mise i mo chónaí, bhí muid inár gcónaí ar an áit a dtugaidís An tSráid Thíos air – agus bhí comharsannaí geanúla ansin againn – agus tá mo mhuintirse ansin, isteach is amach, is dóigh. Má chuireann tú ainm na muintire (mar is mise Máire Stephen Stiofáin Choilm Mhaitiú Sheáin Shadhbh) agus má thugann tú cúig bliana fichead do chuile ghlúin, bhuel déarfainn go bhfuil muid isteach is amach ann ins an áit chéanna – 


Le thart ar thrí chéad bliain.

Trí chéad bliain!

Anois, deireadh m’athair, abair, roimhe sin gur – ón nGleann in Uachtar Ard a tháinigeadar –  roimhe sin, agus gur beirt deartháireacha a tháinig, agus gur tháinigeadar roimhe sin aduaidh ar ndóigh, mar…

Anoir as an nGleann in Uachtar Ard?

Sin é anois a deirtear fúthu.

M’anam gur airigh mé go dtáinig cuid de na Seáiníní anoir freisin as, níl a fhios agam an bhfuil aon ghaol againn le chéile, ós ag caint ar ghaolta…

M’anam d’fhéadfadh go mbeadh! Go bhfuil gaol againn i bhfad amach le chéile.

B’fhéidir go bhfuil.

Bhí fear ansin, an dtuigeann tú, go dtugaidís Murchadh na hOrdóige air, ach le gabháil siar agus le gabháil ar ais is rud a bhí mé á rá leat faoi bheith in áit amháin, deireann an béaloideas linn nach maireann aon sloinne in aon áit níos mó ná seacht nó ocht de ghlúnta. 


Agus más sin é, tá – má tá sé sin fíor – tá an bua faighte againn ar an nginiúint!

Tá! Bhí mé ag gabháil a rá go raibh sibh ag teacht ar an tanaí píosa ó shin ach tá sé gabhte thairis anois, bail ó Dhia oraibh.

Tá sé gabhte thairis.

Tá. Muintir Stephen, ab ea?

Muintir Stephen Stiofáin. Sin iad muintir m’athara. 


Guia Rápida da Gramatica Irlandesa: A Preposição ‘ag’

Significado Geral

Ag, geralmente traduzida como em, está usada para marcar a locação do substantivo que modifica em certas classes de lugares como lojas, casas, e escolas e também para marca a que horas acontece ou aconteceu um evento. Seguem alguns exemplos destes usos:

Tá an fear ag an doras. (O homem está na porta)
Tá an gasúr bocht ag an dochtúr. (Ele está no médico, i.e. na oficina do médico)
Ní bhíonn sé anseo ag an am seo.  (Ele não está (normalmente) aqui a esta horário) 
Tá Cáit ag a ngeata. (A Cáit está na portão)
Éirím ag a sé a cholg ‘chuile lá. (Eu me levanto às seis horas todos os dias)

Nótaí an tSeachtaine Seo Caite – 29/04/2014

D'fhoghlaim mé cúpla focail nua an tseachtain seo caite sa rang comhrá. Bhí Seán agus Scot ag baint úsáid as “seanléim” agus as “mo sheacht ndícheall.” Is ionann “seacht ndícheall” agus “dícheall,” dháiríre.

Seanléim - Deirtear “velha forma” i bportaingéilis agus “old self”, “old ways”, nó “old tricks”, b’fhéidir, i mBéarla.  

Bhí sé ar ais ar a sheanléim.

Sin é mar sin, is cosúil anois go mbeidh Sean-Phádraic ar ais ar a sheanléim, nó ar a sheansuí ar laghad ar bith.

seacht ndícheall agus dícheall – Deirtear “seu máximo” nó “o maximo” i bportaingéilis agus “your best” nó “the utmost” i mBéarla.

Deir Enda Kenny go ndéanfaidh sé a sheacht ndícheall feabhas a chur ar a stíl cheannaireachta.

Chuaigh siad go Sasana, rinne siad a seacht ndícheall ach anois tá siad níos sine, caite agus spíonta.

Tá siad ar fad ag déanamh a ndícheall, gan dabht.

Bhí mé féin ag baint úsáid as cúpla frásaí i siollabas an meánleibhéil TEG.

“... i lár X [ginideach]” mar shamplaí:

Tá sibh ina gcónaí i lár na cathrach, nach bhfuil?

Tá sí ina cónaí i lár an bhaile.

“... ar imeall X [ginideach]” mar shamplaí

Tá arasán beag aige ar imeall na cathrach.

Tá páirc phoiblí áilinn ar imeall na cathrach. Níl sí i bhfad ó anseo ar chor ar bith.

Os Verbos Is e Bí no Irlandês Moderno e sua Comparação aos Verbos Ser e Estar

Este artigo é uma comparação do uso dos verbos is e  em Irlandês moderno. Seu objetivo é dar o estudante uma compreensão básica de como são usados estes verbos e também destacar casos importantes de quando seus usos diferenciam dos verbos ser e estar em português. Na maioria dos exemplos usei as formas e principais gramaticais do Padrão Oficial da língua Irlandesa (An Caighdeán Oifigiúil) mas também dou as formas comuns no dialeto que se fala na Gaeltacht (área onde a língua irlandesa é usado como língua cotidiana) no oeste da cidade de Galway, geralmente chamado de Cois Fharraige. Qualquer transcrição fonética é na pronuncia deste dialeto a não ser que é anotado ao contrário.

Changing the Interface Language of Microsoft Office to Irish

This is pretty simple and of course applies to any language other than Irish. Just go to the LIP page on Microsoft's web site and download the interface pack for the language or languages you wish to install. By default Office will use the interface language of your PC. You can change this by searching for Office Language Preferences from your Start Menu or Start Screen. 

Gabháil scáileáin (9).png

You can then select the default interface, edit, and help languages from the Language Preferences dialog.

Gan teideal.png

Do Ríomhaire i nGaeilge? Change your Windows 8 Pro Computer Interface to Irish.


This is a pretty simple process. I have only tested it with Windows 8 Pro/Enterprise. It is not clear to me if Windows 8 Core has the same functionality. The Irish Language Pack for Windows 8 RT is not yet available.

How To

From the start screen begin typing the word “language”. Then click on settings. In the second column of search results click on the Language result as show in the image.

The Add a Language dialog will appear as in this image:

You will then be sent to the Change your language preferences page. Click options next to Gaeilge.


Then click Make this the primary language.

You will have to log off and log back on to your computer for the changes to take effect.


There you have it. Your PC will now use Irish as its display language.