The project GASCHAINT started in 1995 in Scoil Naithí, Dundrum, Co. Dublin to help parents improve their Irish so they could speak Irish confidently to their children.
GASCHAINT is particularly concerned with improving pronunciation and rhythm of speech, as well as extending vocabulary and language structures. It is directed mainly at parents of Primary School children who have learned Irish as children but are out of practice at the moment.
The present book, Gaschaint, has developed from the project GASCHAINT. It attempts to show how parents may work towards fluency in Irish, and benefit both themselves and their children. Gaschaint consists of an Irish-English phrase-book, giving a choice of dialect versions in Irish, and a CD recording giving Connacht, Munster and Ulster versions of text in the phrase-book. Parents should choose the soundtrack closest to the dialect they are most familiar with. It is vital that parents listen to the CD: like music on a page before it is played, printed speech is dormant until spoken. Only when spoken can something of the nuance be communicated. The CD recording aims to give some possible interpretations of the spoken word.
It is important for parents trying to improve their spoken Irish that they listen to as much Irish as they can. Many of the sounds in Irish are also used in English. Nonetheless Irish has about 72 phonemes (sounds which carry meaning) while English has about 44. In order to produce the additional sounds found in Irish we must first learn to distinguish them when we hear them. Raidió na Gaeltachta and TG4 can help, and having Raidió na Gaeltachta on in the background attunes the ear to the various sounds heard in Irish.
The basis of the programme which parents follow in Gaschaint is the topic list on the Contents pages. This list is a result of linguistic contributions by parents during the first few years of the GASCHAINT project. Gaschaint is not intended as a basic Irish course, but as a resource for parents who wish to parent through the medium of Irish. Topics are independent of each other, so parents may dip into Gaschaint at whatever topic best suits their purpose. A choice of sentences is given within each topic from which parents may choose. Also, sentences separated by a slash are similar in meaning. Sentences in an Irish dialect version which are bracketed were omitted from the recording but are perfectly acceptable. We have included some ideas for Birthday Invitations at the back of the book.
I hope Gaschaint will make it easier for parents to speak Irish to their children. It is certainly easy to practice speaking Irish to them, since they provide us with endless opportunities for repeating ourselves!
Enjoy Gaschaint. We enjoyed creating it.
Recording: Stiúideo na Life
Production: Éamonn Ó Dónaill
Sound Engineer: Al Cowan
- Connacht: Mairéad Ní Chéide, Peadar Ó Ceannabháin
- Ulster: Carla Ní Chléirigh, Aodán Ó Cearbhaill
- Munster: Eibhlín Conway, Tadhg Ó Lionaird