With the cold and stormy weather across the country, now is a great time to be talking about Winter as a topic in Irish language lessons at all levels.
Since I launched GaelGram and started offering my Confident Irish Method (CIM) courses online, I've been impressed at how creatively teachers are using online tools not just to check their grammar but also to make the Irish language more enjoyable to learn in primary and secondary schools.
So here are my top 3 tips for finding the best phrases for talking about Winter in Irish by using free online resources in unconventional ways:
1. My first destination when I'm starting to write about any topic in Irish is the sample phrase collection on focloir.ie. They're the phrases that appear in blue text when you search for something in the dictionary. So head over to focloir.ie and do a search for the English word "Winter".
Skip the first few entries and scroll all the way to the bottom half of the page to find the list of sample phrases that mention that word.
You'll quickly see rich and sometimes poetic phrases like this one that you can copy and paste straight into your classroom resources:
as winter approached the birds left d'imigh na héin nuair a bhí an geimhreadh ag teannadh linn
2. The best hack that comes into play is when you flip this around and instead search for the Irish word "Geimhreadh" instead of the English word "Winter". You're not meant to do that of course - focloir.ie is an English to Irish dictionary after all, not the other way around. So the system will complain with a warning message but this hack still works and will quickly show all the sample phrases that mention "Geimhreadh" which is another treasure trove of copy & pastable phrases:
With a storm blowing outside as I write this, this phrase jumped out to me:
a cruel winter geimhreadh crua
3. Next, head over to the little known but amazingly useful Gaois.ie website. Search its corpus for "geimhreadh" and importantly click "Broad search" (to do a search for all the grammar variations of that word). This is really powerful because it'll search Gaois's database of validated texts for all the phrases containing grammatical variations of "geimhreadh" for you. It'll serve up over 2,100 easily adapted phrases from over a dozen publications for the word "geimhreadh" alone:
You can even filter the results to show only phrases used by, for example, Nuacht RTÉ if you're just looking for factual descriptions, for example. I liked this one in particular:
Chuir an ganntanas fodair an geimhreadh seo caite as go mór d'fheirmeoirí na tíre.
By using these 3 free online resources together in these unconventional ways you'll be able to quickly gather a wide range of rich new phrases to help get any classroom-based discussion and essay writing going.
Hope you find these tips useful. Let me know in the comments if you've any other tips for Irish language classroom resources about Winter.