What Father Toal Says
This phrase book is intended for those who wish to become speakers of irish by private study. It takes the place, as far as a book can, of the living teacher. It gives the student the conversational phrases he would get from a native speaker ; and gives him also the approximate pronunciation.
The only way to become a speaker of a language is to memorize and master phrases.
A Guard on an Irish Railway became a splendid speaker of Irish ina short time by getting a phrase every day from some one of the passengers, and memorising it between the stations.
Another man -- a farmer -- got his son to read aloud for him a sentence from O'Growney every night. This he thymed over that night and all the next day. In a few years he could speak Irish and was able to teach an Irish class. At that time, the son, who had taught him, could not converse for ten seconds in Irish!
These men became speakers by memorizing phrases got in a haphazard, disconnected way. The student who uses this Phrase Book should become a speaker more easily and quickly. It is scientificially composed of dialogues containing all the forms of speech necessary for conversation. THe phrases are of the right kind. They are conversational and subjective, ie, personal; they are long and idiomatic. It is the best phrase book I know
How to use this Book
First get the pronunciation of the phrase. If you can get someone to read the phrases to you, all the better; if not then make out the pronunciation from the book.
Having got the pronunciation of the phrases, you must then thoroughly memorize and master them. This is essential.
Get off each phrase by rote. While reciting it, visualize the idea, or meaning. This is to enable you to think in Irish. Get off only one sentence at a time. Keep at it until it is thoroughly mastered. Take one sentence each day. Decide on it the night before. Spend five or ten minutes at it. On awakening in the morning, recall it. Keep it runing through your brain all day. Rhyme it over at every opportunity. Thus the language sinks into your brain.
Begin one of the dialogues as soon as possible. Memorize it sentence by sentence. Repeat every day the whole dialog, or dialogues, already learned. Constant repetition of a few phrases is the secret of success. Three hundred sentences, thoroughly m astered, will make one a speaker of any language.
I believe that one who has thoroughly mastered the dialogues in this book will have acquired a good conversational knowledge of Irish. Getting a taste for speaking Irish from this book, he will I hope, not rest satisfied until he has become a splendid speaker of the language.
Although the book is primarily intended for the private student, it would be a splendid book also for a teacher of a Phrase Method Class.
I pray that this little book may be the means of making many speakers of Irish.
Go rabh brat Bhrighde ar an leabhar seo agu ar gach duine dá mbainfidh úsáid as! Go gcuidighidh sí leo chum an Ghaedhilg do labhairc chomh binn blasta is do labhair sí féin í!
Domhnall Ó Tuathail, lá fhéil' Pádraigh, 1920.