Nollick Ghennal!

Nollick Ghennal – That’s a very Happy and Merry Christmas to all!

I began my Christmas trek from snowbound Alexandria, Va., to Jensen Beach, Fla., where only the visitors wear shorts in December, on Wednesday, arriving Christmas Eve. It’s a two-day drive, about eight hours each day, and to entertain and educate myself on the trip I listened to the CDs from “Bun-Choorse Gaelgagh”, the basic Manx language course by Brian Stowell.

Brian Stowell, the former Manx Language Officer and one of the leaders of the contemporary revival of Manx Gaelic, is the author of several Manx textbooks and courses, and “Bun-Choorse,” published by Manx Radio and the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee, is one of his most recent efforts. It’s well-produced, with four CDs loaded with vocabulary and conversations.

We’ve come a long way from the days of fusty grammar books and verb tables … “Bun-choorse” is a well-organized introduction to conversational Manx that builds your vocabulary so you can indulge in progressively longer and more complicated conversations.

The lessons on the CDs follow the textbook closely, but of course I couldn’t follow the textbook behind the wheel (I don’t text or make cell-phone calls either!). However, you don’t need the textbook to follow the lessons on the CD – in fact, I’d recommend listening to the lessons and learning all you can aurally before even looking at the book. That way, you’ll know how a word is pronounced before tackling Manx spelling and orthography.

“Bun-Choorse” is the official coursebook for Manx language lessons Manx Mum and I will be offering in Alexandria, Va., this spring. We’ll also be using the audio files and lessons available on and programs from Manx Radio such as Claare ny Gael and Moghrey Jedoonee.

Write to us if you’d like information on the course and our learning group, Kiarkyl ny Gaelgey.

In the meantime, if you want to catch up on Manx news as the New Year (Blein Noa) approaches, browse this review of the top stories of 2009 from the Isle of Man Today online.

— Illiam