Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cad é mar atá tú?


For our final blog posts of the class, we were instructed to find digital libraries of video or audio files. I found this collection of Irish language lessons within the BBC's website.

The collection principles of the site are very specific: two series of 15 five-minute lessons in the Irish language that were originally broadcast on a weekly basis by BBC Northern Ireland. While the collection is small and specifically tailored, the site is thoroughly curated. The collection is divided into two series, conforming to the series format of the original broadcasts. Each series may be accessed in two separate ways: through web pages featuring streaming lessons and text or by downloading the entire series as mp3s. In addition to this, the site also links to a secondary collection of streaming sound files of other BBC broadcasts related to the Irish language, an online animated vocabulary quiz, and a more involved mini-game on the Irish language entitled "Colin and Cumberland Learn Irish." (One gets the feeling that Colin and Cumberland might be recurring characters on the BBC Northern Ireland.) All in all, the extra features provided by the site, more than make up for the small and specific nature of the collection.

The objects themselves are four to five minute audio clips. They are available in two separate formats. First, they are presented as streaming audio in the format of ram files that my computer opened with real media player. Secondly, each lesson may be downloaded as an mp3 and put on a portable player, which I find really cool. (The entire lesson series may be downloaded as mp3s at once.) I do wish the objects contained a bit more metadata. The site identifies the talent (Fearghal Mag Uiginn), the production company (BBC NI "Radio Ulster"), the titles of the series and lessons, the format of the files, and the fact that the original broadcasts aired on Wednesdays. Sadly, it does not indicate which Wednesdays.

Despite the limited metadata and specific nature of the collection, I found the BBC Northern Ireland's Learning Irish collection to be quite interesting.



  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  2. The Giota Beag series which you refer to is excellent. Our Club (www.irishofmaine.org)is using it as the basis for an Irish Language Studies group. The friendly nature of Fearghal makes the class beginner-friendly. Good job introducing it to those who would not know of it.