- Series: Irish Studies
- Paperback: 391 pages
- Publisher: Syracuse University Press; Bilingual edition (June 12, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815630727
- ISBN-13: 978-0815630722
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sengoidelc: Old Irish For Beginners (Irish Studies) Bilingual Edition
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"A welcome and friendly guide to those who would like to know more about the language and literature of early medieval Ireland."
About the Author
David Stifter is a lecturer at the Institut fur Sprachwissenschaft at the University of Vienna and chair of the Austrian Society for Celtic Studies.
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Top Customer Reviews
Seriously, this is a modern approach to Old Irish. I found it generally accessible, and the charts showing reconstructions all the way back to proto-IndoEuropean were interesting too. Where Lehmann provides a numbered list of sentences to be parsed or translated, during which the grammar is apparently expected to be assimilated by osmosis, Stifter provides actual prose describing the grammar.
The main shortcoming in my view, is that there's little comparison with modern Irish. What amazed me was how much of the structure has been preserved over the centuries, from VSO word-order to mutations to personal prepositions; even much of vocabulary has changed relatively little. Although students who are completely new to any form of Irish will find it strange in its grammar and orthography, much of that strangeness hasn't changed all that much over time, and will be perfectly familiar to anyone acquainted with modern Irish.
Personally I would have found it helpful to highlight the aspects that have REALLY changed or disappeared over the intervening millennium (e.g., deponent forms, dual forms, etc.) After all, as fascinating a link as Old Irish is to our ancient European roots, it's also the relative of modern Irish, which is still a living spoken language. I realise that this would satisfy a minor fraction of the readership, but it's so comprehensive, Stifter might have included it. Maybe in a future edition?
A few things that I particularly appreciate: early introduction of a few bits of poetry to give a sense of the rewards of studying this beautiful language, the easy to read layout of the book, and the bits of humor contained in the small drawings of sheep, especially the one with a grimace subtitled "A sheep after having tried to master Old Irish orthography."
Old Irish is never going to be an easy subject and taking it one piece at a time, learning each one thoroughly before going on to the next, is the best method I've come up with. "Sengoidelc" is of great help on the journey.
This book is for such a mind. Well, by the nature of the beast, it has to be. It is better than most of those I have, and cheaper.
Thar cinn! Lean leis an obair.