Get creative: Go beyond your books and tapes; make up "games" that are appropriate for your skill level. For example, you may not be able to follow a news broadcast in Irish, but you can listen for words you know. Your next challenge might be to guess the topic of the story: the economy, a murder, a tribunal, student test scores? Is it good news or bad news?
Spelling bee: When you hear a new word, try to guess how the word is spelled, then check your answer. This is an excellent way to develop your ability to distinguish between broad and slender consonants.
Oh that's where I left the cuisneoir! Choose a dozen objects around your house, and label them with the corresponding Irish word. Post-its are handy for this. Every time you see the object, the post-it will remind you to say (or at least think) the word. This helps you bypass the mental English-to-Irish translation step by making a direct association between the object and its Irish word. When you've learned those words, remove those post-its and label some more objects.
Two (or more) for the price of one: When you learn a new word, check the dictionary for other forms of the word that are likely to be useful. For example:
Once you know that: abair means "say"
...it's easy to remember that: abairt means "sentence" or "phrase"
Once you know that: cruinniú is a "meeting"
...it's easy to remember that: cruinnigh means "gather" or "assemble"
Once you know that: scrúdú is a "test" or "exam"
...it's easy to remember that: scrúdaigh means "examine"
Maybe you already know that word: If you encounter an unfamiliar word containing 'j', 'k', 'q', 'v', 'w', 'x', 'y', or 'z', you may not need to look it up. It's a loan word, so you can probably figure out the meaning by sounding it out. For example, try to figure out the meaning of the following words (answers below).
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