Research for a novel can lead to unexpected places. For me, learning Irish was one of them.
When I started writing IrishFirebrands, I knew that the Irish spoke a version of Commonwealth English, which I was comfortable reading and writing (my mother’s personal library having included very many books written in that dialect). I began by reading Irish newspapers online, to pick up the flavor of Hiberno-English usage.
Then, my back-story and character background research in the newspapers began running into oddly spelled names, and other words that resembled no language I’d ever encountered that used Roman letters. These words were as unintelligible to me as Cyrillic characters or Asian pictographs. Welcome to Irish!
I started out studying this new language by consulting early 20th-century Irish reference books at Project Gutenberg and other public domain sites, to gain a linguistic-historical perspective. Acting on an item found in one of the Irish…
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