MacLaren’s Gaelic Self-Taught

May 23, 2015 by

MacLarenMacLaren’s Gaelic Self-Taught by Alex MacLaren¬† third edition was originally published in 1923.
A few wee words from Mr. MacLaren’s Preface:

“It was my original intention merely to correct and revise Mr. James White
MacLean’s”Introduction to Gaelic,” but as the revision progressed I found
that I was practically re-writing the whole work so that the portion of it I was
leaving intact had also to be re-written, regradedand arranged to suit the revised matter. The volume  present to the student is therefore an entirely new work.

I have endeavaoured to keep the phonetic sounds as simple as possible ; some of the finer ones may have been omitted, but these may be left to be acquired as the student progresses.I have considered it inadvisable to follow the pronunciation of any one district. Varying dialects will be found in Sutherland, Inverness, Lewis, Skye, Mull and Islay, and I have endeavoured to finda standard between them.

On the whole a very fair idea of the pronunciation is given and the work of the teacher is thus in the case of learners of the language very much simplified. The various lessons and exercises are judiciously and effectively graded and the difficulties which invariably meet learners of Gaelic rendered easy by simple, helpful explanations and illustrations of the peculiarities of Gaelic idiom as compared with English, which should go far to make the study of the language not a little attractive. ”

and later in the book:

“Until the student understands the application of Gaelic aspiration and inflexion, he cannot make use of any
Gaelic vocabulary or dictionary. By rules simple and beautiful, the aspirate h is so managed as to silence or
euphonise the consonants wherever their initial sound would injure the easy flow or graceful cadence of a word, a verse, or sentence. The knowledge of the power and proper use of the aspirate is therefore the most important requirement of the Gaelic student.”

Wonderful book for speakers, readers, lovers, students and teachers of Gaelic!

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