Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Aug 4, 2009 in Language, Reviews | 60 comments

Learning to Speak Irish with Rosetta Stone

Gaelicv3-hrRosetta Stone, the makers of self-guided language learning software, sent the Irish Fireside a copy of their Irish language product to test out.

Since a lot of our readers are interested in the Irish language, we asked Tony Keegan from www.glenculloocottage.com to give it a try. Tony has used other Rosetta Stone products and Irish language resources, so we thought he could provide some excellent insight.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the Rosetta Stone Irish program, but there are a few things that keep it short of perfection. I’ll start with the cons, so I can finish up on a positive note:

Cons:
Out of the box, I had trouble with installation on my Apple computer. I think Apple users in particular expect the installation process to be more intuitive, as most Apple-based products nearly install themselves. Unfortunately, the screenshots on the Rosetta Stone instruction sheet did not resemble the screens I saw during installation, so they were little help.

I eventually got it installed, but after finishing a few lessons and taking a break, the software required a re-install in order to continue. This, I found frustrating, and ultimately, I installed it on my PC.

Even on the PC it took a bit to maneuver, but perhaps it was just me. Once I had it installed on my PC, things ran smoothly.

In general, Irish is not a phonetic language, so it is a difficult language to learn. I found the Rosetta Stone lessons more difficult from the start (I have completed several levels of the Rosetta Stone Spanish and Swahili programs).

The lessons seemed to move at a faster pace than my previous experiences with Rosetta Stone. It seemed as though it jumped from basic naming to simple sentences at lightning speed. If poor performance is any indication of difficulty, I got a lot more lessons wrong a lot more often than I did with the other language versions.

This may have simply been my perception. I’m not sure if the interface or presentation style has actually changed from Rosetta Stone’s previous software versions (this was my first time using Version 3 of their software). Ultimately, learning Irish proved to require more time and revisiting of lessons for me than Spanish and Swahili.

Pros:
Great interface, pictures and sound quality.

I appreciate that Rosetta Stone teaches as a child would learn, so they tend to present a word and then a short sentence that you hopefully understand by the context.  I think as I moved through the lessons (despite my wrong answers) I began to get a feel for things and was doing better. It was fun, and that was the most important thing.

I have bought a few different Irish language programs and texts in the past, and they were painful at best. So even though this was challenging, I at least felt I was getting somewhere.

Overall, I think it is the best Irish Language interactive product out there and the Audio CD’s are nice complement as well.

Buy Rosetta Stone Irish Now >>

Good news, Rosetta Stone is giving away one copy of their Irish language software to a lucky Irish Fireside reader. Post a comment about this review and your desire to learn Irish, and you’ll be added to the drawing. Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009, so get your comments in now.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Thomas Byrne, the winner of the Rosetta Stone Giveaway.

Enjoy this post?
If so, join our list of e-newsletter subscribers. You’ll receive our favorite news stories on Irish travel and culture delivered to your inbox.

60 Comments

  1. I myself am not Irish, but my husband is, and so is my stepsister. I love everything Irish and think the language is beautiful. I did well with Spanish, and hope I could pick up other languages well too. I would love to share the learning experience with my husband’s family and my sister Bonnie, who was adopted by my stepmom. The only thing they knew when they adopted her was that her parents were Irish, and she has soaked up everything about the culture. Between Bonnie and my husband, I’ve fallen in love with all that is Irish!

    Marie :o)

  2. ooooooooo … pick me pick me! I just registered to take Irish lessons at a local college! I wanted the Rosetta Stone software, but it was out of my price range. Please pick me pick me!! Slainte!!

  3. This is so cool, would love to win…!

  4. I am part Irish and have always wanted to learn the language. I’ve just recently graduated college so maybe now I’ll have some free time. This is a great article and further inspiries me to try and learn this language!

  5. I would love to learn to speak Irish Gaelic! Many of my ancestors were Irish and I now have several friends who are Irish. I would love to be able to chat with them some their Irish language!

  6. Wow, what a great idea for a giveaway..!
    I have been wanting to learn Gaelic for a long time now. Last year when I visited the Aran Islands and Dingle, I ran into quite a few native speakers. On Inishmore ( Inis Mór), I actually met a gentleman named Thomas (the driver of our Island tour van) whose son-in-law was named Patrick Coyle. I almost missed the significance of his son-in-law’s last name in translation. Thomas pronounced it more like Ky-lee. You can imagine my surprise when I finally picked up on the name after much enlightening discussion. I was always fascinated by the language, but much more so after meeting several of the native speakers. It is truly a beautiful language. For me, it is a window into the history of my family’s past. One that needs to be preserved..

  7. I’m an “Irish-wannabe” and I’ve always wanted to try learning the language. I’m not sure that I would ever use it but if I ever did make it to the parts of Ireland where it is still spoken, I would love very much to be able to converse with the locals in their native tongue. I love Ireland and hope to go back again soon. Our next trip will be my seventh since my first in early 2000. It would be great if I could win this package because I feel it would be the start of a wonderful experience.

  8. Fabulous! I’d love to learn Irish Gaelic with my wife and daughter (we just got back from our first trip to Ireland for our 20th anniversary). It won’t be our last trip!

  9. Oh, what a wonderful way to learn! It was very honest of the reviewer to list the cons first, but I would sincerely love to try it anyway.

  10. Oh my gosh, I would love to learn gaelic, it seems like no one speaks it any more. I would love to pass it on to my children.

  11. I think it would be absolutely wonderful to learn to speak Irish. Like many others here, I’ve never been able to financially reach the Rosetta Stone program. So, please oh please pick me!

  12. I recently returned from my first trip to Ireland where I tried to pick up some Irish. I am happy to see RS now offers a Gaelic language Cd. Although I only have Macs, I think the cons listed above are outnumbered by the pros. I look forward to trying it out!

  13. I’ve actually been working on Level 1 (so if I win, please send Level 2!) before a trip to Ireland in October. I also have some pros and cons.

    A con first: I’ve never studied a language like this (so different from Spanish and French as well as English), so it’s tough jumping right in this way. It’s confusing when words change spelling and pronunciation depending on usage or words that come before them. You don’t get an explanation of why sometimes “woman” is “bean” and sometimes it’s “bhean”. I guess eventually I’ll figure these things out from context.

    A pro: Having the speech recognition tell me when my pronunciation is wrong is great. It might even be a little forgiving ;-)

    And I have had no problems with the software (on a PC with Vista).

    Someone looked at me funny when I said I wanted to learn a little Irish before going over there (like why would it be necessary), but even if most people speak English, I like to absorb a bit of the culture.

  14. Would be nice to speak Irish so I can speak to my sister and no one else will know what I am saying. Plus I can speak in the native language when we both go over there next year. Would that not make her envy me, that I will know more Irish than she does.
    Thank you.

  15. I’ve been trying to learn Irish on and off for about six years and I think I have the comprehension of a one-year old. At my current rate I should be fluent in 25 to 30 years… This offering is of interest, but I’ll like to hear that they’ve ironed the Mac wrinkles out. No mention of dialect.

  16. Thanks for all the comments!

    Two callouts -
    Karen, thanks for you input on how things are going for you on Level one.

    Tom Lovell, you’re right, the program only teaches one of the three dialects… and as you know, there can be a big difference between them. I’ll try to find out which dialect they chose and post (my knowledge Irish is waaaay to elementary to be able to figure it out).

  17. If I could afford the pen and paper to make a bucket list, the one thing I really want to do before I die is visit my friends in the UK, and most especially, walk where my Irish ancestors did. I don’t know why I am so drawn to all things Irish but it is becoming and obsession. By hitting replay over and over I have learned a couple songs nearly word perfect – it would be nice to know what I am singing! I’d sure like to win those lessons – with the money I’d save, I could afford a passport!

  18. I too would like to thank the reviewer for his honest opinion! Some of us have been looking for a way to “pick up’ the language of this country that we love and it’s sounds like Rosetta Stone may be the answer since we can’t be there to learn from the locals! You never can tell what an elderly gentleman in the pub is going to teach you! Even if we can learn a small portion of such an amazing language, maybe we can help to preserve that language. So thanks for the review and thanks to Rosetta Stone for having ‘the irish’ in your arsenal of languages!

  19. I would truly love to win the Rosetta Stone Irish software, not only for myself, but for my daughter, Mariah. She is now 11 and going into 8th grade here in Alaska, and she loves all things Irish, as do I. She has been trying to teach herself Irish since she was in Kindergarten. My husband and I were amazed that she was picking up Irish vocabulary through her own efforts at age 6. Mariah also performs and competes in Irish dance, which is another way to immerse herself in Irish culture. We (Mom and Dad) both have Irish roots-Mariah is taking advantage of that to learn more about the Irish. Learning the language with a Rosetta Stone package would be great for her. Hopefully, my husband and I can also learn from it!

    We had the opportunity to visit Ireland very briefly last spring, so Mariah was adding new words to her notes and trying to read street signs aloud to us as we motored from place to place. She also spent a lot of time politely correcting our pronunciation, but she is really limited as the other Irish-learning modalities we used were nowhere near the caliber of the Rosetta Stone program. Hopefully, we will visit again, either as a family or if she qualifies for the Worlds Irish Championship as she grows older and gains experience. Thank you for your thorough review and a chance to win this software! Ta!

  20. I had the chance to do a short taster of Rosetta Stone’s Irish program earlier this year through a few of days access to the online version. One of the things I really liked about it was that I could move through different levels of the various skills — could move ahead and stay interested with conversation and vocab skills at level three while still working on writing at levels one and two. great program. I’d welcome the chance to keep on learning with it– but being a Mac person too, I think I’d prefer the online access!

  21. FYI – Rosetta Stone uses the Munster dialect.

  22. Being half-Irish, the greatly appeals to me, as I’m slowly starting to discover my heritage, plus the idea of beign abel to speak a foreign language that is “uncommon” has a cool factor that can’t be denied.

    Of course the biggest reason is that my wife and I are planning to come to Ireland for our 20th Wedding Anniversary in a year and a half. To be able to speak the native tongue as a visitor would go a long way, especially since we are hoping to not take a traditional vacation. We’d much rather travel the road less… well, traveled.

  23. Thanks for the review.
    I’ve been so tempted by the RS s/w, but have never been able to justify the expense for fear if I didn’t use it I’d lose it. Now that RS has published an Irish Language version, I think it may be time to rethink!

    The cassette tapes to which my Dad used to listen have caught my eye in the basement several times recently, so maybe that was the “good people” getting me ready for this. LOL!

  24. I have always loved Ireland, it’s history, and it’s language. I’ve tried to learn it a couple times (via Pimsleur and weekend immersion courses) and while I’ve kept a bit of the vocabulary, I always lose it quickly. I’d love to try the Rosetta Stone way!

    I have been to Ireland 3 times, and am planning my fourth trip, to the northwest, in 2010. I’d love to be able to converse in the Gaeltacht!

    Christy, hibernophile!

  25. First off, I have three great loves (besides wife and daughter!). I love travel, languages, and folk story. I was lucky enough to be brought up speaking two languages and I learned a third while in college. My next choice was going to be either Irish or American Sign Language. I have a facination with both because they are different from conventional languages. I am a big believer in Rosetta Stone and would love to try it out with the Irish language. If I could, I would be totally set for an Ireland trip!!

  26. Corey, Liam, and Liam’s Mom!

    Just wanted to point out that Saturday is my birthday.
    This would make a wonderful Irish gift to an Irish man on his birthday..
    hint.. hint..
    Go raibh mile maith agat!

  27. My wife and daughter have always wanted to learn Irish/Gaelic and this is the best program out there, but its so expensive. I would love to win it and give it to them as a gift!

  28. This would be so cool to win! Pick me, pick me! :)

  29. I have struggled with several Irish tape/book language courses over the years, including “Teach Yourself” and “Irish On Your Own”. I think with Rosetta Stone I might actually become proficient. It’s so nice that you are offering this as a giveaway. Please enter me in the drawing. Go raibh míle maith agat!

  30. Ok, I’ll tell you guys… but you have to swear you wont tell anyone else!…lol

    I’ve been mad about a man from Dublin for 6 years now. We go back and forth quite a bit,

    and truthfully, I’m hoping if I learn how to speak the language better, it will help move this thing along!…lol

    So… for me, and in the infamous words of our good friend Bono…

    It’s all in the name of love!

    Thanks for listening….

    Susan

  31. So cool. I could use it when I hit west Galway and Mayo in Nov.

  32. As a musician, it would be grand to be able to understand Gaelic well enough to produce beautiful Gaelic tunes such as those made by Rachel Walker http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rwalker06 . I really love the language.. But to hear it in spectacular song is completely amazing.. Angelic even

  33. Hope I’m not too late. I Took a two day workshop at NAU in Flagstaff, Az a few years ago but didn’t get too far. Tony’s right – the fact that we are used to using phonetics for pronunciation is of no help with Irish. It is so totally unrelated to any other language, that it is difficult to learn, but I love the sound of it especially in Irish music and for that reason I would be delighted to give it another go. Therefore, let’s begin with a toast “Isce Beatha!” That, along with “Slainte!” I can pronounce and understand.

  34. I have not tried Rosette Stone software,but shortly will with German. I would love to learn Irish for my degree, but it is not offered at my school and they will not accept any languages not taught at school. My major is History and while Irish History is not an area of focus I am focusing on European History so I can still get a bit or Irish history into my schooling. I went to Ireland a few summers ago and I loved it there so much. I decided to focus my love of Ireland in everything I do and being able to learn the language would be an added benefit.

  35. One of the difficulties in learning Irish is how the words never sound how they look. So many silent consonants and unexpected “hard” sounds from other consonant combinations. Come on Rosetta Stone, I need your help before my trip to Ireland in October arrives!

  36. I have heard Rosetta Stone is the best language learning software on the market. It is also VERY expensive. Learning Irish / Gaelic would be a fun endeavor.

  37. Wow, what a great idea for a giveaway..!
    I have been wanting to learn Gaelic for a long time now. Last year when I visited the Aran Islands and Dingle, I ran into quite a few native speakers. On Inishmore ( Inis Mór), I actually met a gentleman named Thomas (the driver of our Island tour van) whose son-in-law was named Patrick Coyle. I almost missed the significance of his son-in-law's last name in translation. Thomas pronounced it more like Ky-lee. You can imagine my surprise when I finally picked up on the name after much enlightening discussion. I was always fascinated by the language, but much more so after meeting several of the native speakers. It is truly a beautiful language. For me, it is a window into the history of my family's past. One that needs to be preserved..; Wow, what a great idea for a giveaway..!
    I have been wanting to learn Gaelic for a long time now. Last year when I visited the Aran Islands and Dingle, I ran into quite a few native speakers. On Inishmore ( Inis Mór), I actually met a gentleman named Thomas (the driver of our Island tour van) whose son-in-law was named Patrick Coyle. I almost missed the significance of his son-in-law's last name in translation. Thomas pronounced it more like Ky-lee. You can imagine my surprise when I finally picked up on the name after much enlightening discussion. I was always fascinated by the language, but much more so after meeting several of the native speakers. It is truly a beautiful language. For me, it is a window into the history of my family's past. One that needs to be preserved..;;

  38. This would be a great way to learn Gaelic. It would be very interesting, to say the least. Spanish and English were my first languages and I’ve always wanted to learn another language. Since I love the Irish culture so much, it would be fun to get this and see how well I do.

  39. Like many of the other posters, my heritage is Irish. Beyond that, however, I have been trying to get my hands on Rosetta Stone Irish to help grow myself as a writer and a reader of world literature. I would love to read Gaelic language poetry in its original form to really understand the poets’ intentions with the language (you lose so much in translation). As a writer of Creative Nonfiction, I am interested in tracing the rise and fall of the Irish language, and I find it without a doubt necessary to experience the language of which I am writing first hand. Additionally, I have plans to write a novel that includes a Gaelic-speaking character and this software would put me well on that path.

    Thanks for a great opportunity!

  40. I’ve seen the commercials, but had no idea Irish was one of the choices. I would definitely use this if I win it, and may consider purchasing it if I don’t.

  41. my ancestors are from County Cork , Ireland and my siblings and I are planning to take a family trip to Ireland (hopefully next year). It would be great to learn the language and I’ve heard great things about Rosetta Stone.

  42. I would love to have this opportunity to further my learning of this beautiful language. I have Irish ancestry on my father’s side. I love all things Irish, and I am also an amateur historian studying ancient Irish history. Even knowing that the Rosetta Stone software most likely teaches modern Irish Gaelic, learning it would be a wonderful compliment to my studies.

  43. Pick me Pick me! I would love to learn Gaelic. We just visited Ireland for the first time in March and were there for St. Patrick’s Day as well. Being that both our families are Irish we want to learn as much as we can and can’t wait to get back to Ireland. We fell in love with the land and took our daughter who was 15 months at the time.

  44. Seeing Irish on the list of revived languages brought home to me the need to carry on its study and transmission. I studied Irish Lit in college and fell in love with the language and stories of my ancestral island. I would love to exercise my brain learning Irish and simultaneously continuing its life. Wouldn’t hurt to show up at feisanna being able to pronounce words a bit better, too!

  45. I am the chef of an Irish tea room here in the States. I would love to be able to the Irish language to help me with the cultural aspect of my job. Just visited the old sod this past June and was totally enamored by the people and the land. A lot of my work is based on digging up and researching the “olde” recipes from the farmhouses and country houses and implementing them to share with a whole new American audience.

    Slainte!

  46. On my next trip to Ireland I would love to have a simple conversation in Irish..this seems like the ticket

  47. I always wondered about rosetta stone and irish is my top language choice- my father and in laws know some irish- I’d love to learn with & teach it to my 2 year old son.

  48. Howdy everyone,

    Thanks for the basic computer guy or gal review of the softwear. I have been looking at this Softwear and others like it and have been compairing. Your review was very helpful. I wished Rosetta Stone would just send me a copy in the mail! That means that your web site and podcasts are reaching your target groups. Good work!

    I really enjoy your podcasts and the information you provide on your site and it has been really helpfull in planning my first and most likely my only trip to Ireland in my life time. I have been using the free resources out there in cyber space to learn some Irish and now my family hates me, but I now know how to say hello and farewell. (Like all the time).

    I would love to have the opertunity to use the Rosetta Stone softwear so that prior to the fight in the pub for saying to a woman, “I love your outfit”, but really saying in Irish, “Do you always wear a sand bag”? I would realize me mistake.

    Thanks,
    Hatman

  49. Been wanting to learn more about the language. My great grandparents came from Ireland as well as my husband’s family. I think all of my husband, Pat’s, family has been there except us. One day we’ll see Knockahopple for real, instead of dreaming over the pictures.

  50. I married into an Irish family. You know what they say “if you are lucky enough to marry Irish, you are lucky enough!!” Seriously, how fun would it be to teach my son more about his roots.

  51. PLEASE! Help me understand my daughter’s schoolwork!!! Although our home is in WI, we have also been living in Ireland for 8 years for my husband’s work. We have 2 lovely children who are both born in Ireland! My daughter is 6 and has been speaking Irish for 3 years (the baby doesn’t say anything yet) and is now attending an all-Irish school, Scoil an Duinninigh, in County Dublin. Most Irish schools in Ireland are primarily in English and all students learn Irish as a “second language” as though it were Spanish or any other non-native language. A small but growing section of schools are taught entirely “as gaeilge” (in Irish). My daughter’s school is one of these! Unfortunately my language skills are entirely “as bearla” (in English) and so far I have relied on the neighbor’s daughter and a friend’s mom to help me understand her homework. Trust me I HAVE TRIED to learn Irish. I own various language learning cd’s which are free with the newspaper during “seachtain na gaeilga” (Irish language week) and I even took a course at a local college. As you can see, I have a few words – it will sink in eventually! But I would love the Rosetta Stone comprehensive program to help me get up to speed, pronto. PLEASE HELP – I’M DESPERATE! ps – a friend in Oregon who home-schools her 4 children and leads local a homeschool advisory committee uses Rosetta Stone Spanish successfully with her students and recommended it highly to me just last week ;-)

  52. I am Irish decent and have made a trip to Ireland in early 2000. Have attempted other Irish language products with little luck. Have thought about attempting the Rosetta Stone product based on reviews I have heard on the software in general.

  53. I would love to learn. Both my family and my husbands family is of mainly Irish heritage.

  54. I’m planning to visit Ireland in the not-too-distant future. I’d love to be able to speak the beautiful language of my ancestors. This would be a wonderful way to begin learning.

  55. My family (on both sides) has Irish roots. I have spent my life learning to speak the language of my profession (medicine), I would love the opportunity to use the Rosetta Stone program to learn to speak the language of my ancestors.
    Thank you!

  56. I have always wanted to visit Ireland! Id love to try to learn some Irish!

  57. Our (hopefully) first visit to Ireland last year was wonderful. I always try to know a bit of the local language when I travel, it is important for me to at least attempt to say hello, thank you, etc. in their language. Sadly, the Irish/English dictionary and phrase book I picked up before traveling were very difficult to utilize, even with pages of pronunciation guidelines. I plan on returning to Ireland & would love to have a better grasp of their beautiful language.

  58. I just found out that there is an Irish Cultural Center in my area (located in Canton, Massachusetts for anyone interested) that offers Irish language lessons!
    For me, a small classroom situation has always worked best, primarily because actual teachers can converse with you like a real person would! I’m considering taking lessons soon… ish… =D

  59. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this web site’s content all the time along with a mug of coffee.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Irish and Celtic Holiday Gift Guide 2009 | Irish Fireside - [...] There has been a revival in speaking the Irish language both in Ireland and among the Irish diaspora worldwide. …
  2. Who Won the Big Prizes??? | Irish Fireside - […] can still enter to win a free copy of Rosetta Stone Irish. We’re drawing for that next […]

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>