Gàidhlig on the Go—LearnBots (from ANA Fall 2012)

In the first of a new series of posts of selected articles from our quarterly Bi-lingual e-zine, An Naidheachd Againne, Rudy Ramsey reviews the Learnbots “Gàidhlig on the Go” app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

LearnBots is a fun, and rather clever, way to learn and practice verb forms with the aid of a mobile device. Before I tell you about it, though, you need to do something for me. You know that “suspend disbelief” switch in your head that helps you enjoy science fiction? (You may be using it just now for political campaigns.) Well, you may want to turn it on for a paragraph or two.

LearnBots is an app that lets you drill yourself on verb forms. It teaches you the imperative, past, future, conditional, infinitive, and verbal noun forms of 101 different verbs, with conjugation, spelling, and pronunciation by a native speaker. What, no disbelief problems yet? Ah, I almost forgot. It uses images of a rather fanciful family of robots — including a man, a woman, a dog, and a hive of bees — to make things interesting and to visually tie the verb root to its meaning. And in my opinion, it works, at least as a motivational aid, and perhaps as a retention aid. I am absolutely certain, however, that some folks will see this as purely a gimmick. So your mileage may vary…

To read more of Rudy’s review, click here to download the article (PDF Format, Adobe Reader required). The article also contains a link to a thread about the article in the ACGA Forum, to allow discussion or questions.


Gaelic Resource: A’ Choille

[Webmaster’s note: One of ACGA’s membership services is that, from time to time, we acquaint our members with interesting resources that might help them improve their Gaelic. We do this by e-mail. We haven’t posted such information on our website in the past, because we didn’t have a suitable website design. Now we do, so we’ll put a portion of them here for your delectation.]

Our thanks to Jeanne Pendergast for the following.

BBC has a new look to their home page, and in poking around I tried one of their offerings for children, “A’ Choille.”


It’s childish, of course, but for learners at the right stage, hearing the stories read might be helpful.  You can try understanding as much as you can without looking at the words, and then the next time, if you click on the little “book” on the right, you can see the words as the story is read.

If you choose Sgeulachdan, there are 4 different little “morality” stories, Gaelic translation by Iseabail T. NicDhòmhnaill.

Among the “ubhlan,” you can choose “Leugh” (advancing the pages yourself when you are ready) or “Coimhead” with a continuous story.  Either way the narrator reads the story, and the characters’ voices, while sometimes artificial sounding, are much more understandable than the squeaky voices in some of the Gaelic cartoons I’ve seen that are aimed at unfortunate young children.

“A’ Choille” is aimed at ages 5-7, but there are three others for older children, including an interesting one for high school age containing diaries written at different times by a dozen youngsters who have had to emigrate for various reasons.  This one is based on real people and their stories.