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SOUNDS ATOMIC

The way to master the pronunciation of the language you want to learn

Pronunciation and confidence in speaking


Sounds are to language what atoms are to matter

What is it?

Sounds Atomic is a simple approach to learning languages, suitable for everyone. Sounds Atomic is a learning method which gives you the building blocks of the language you want to speak and want to understand. Cracking the sound system gives you to key skills you need to understand and be understood.

Who is it for?

Sounds Atomic is for everyone: children, people leaving overseas, translators, executives and journalists. If you struggle to make progress with language learning, battle with pronunciation, wrestle with confidence, if you find it difficult reading new words, if you would like to improve your understanding of native speakers, Sounds Atomic is the method for you.

Pronunciation

Pronunciation Works in two ways: being understood when you speak and understanding when others speak. It is pivotal in any successful communication. It is the starting point of all successful language learning, not part of a later polishing process. You learn language from listening and to do that, you need to understand.

The pronunciation and spelling of Irish

How difficult it is and the best way to learn

If you’re reading this page, you probably have an interest in Irish. Do the pronunciation and spelling aspects of the language have you stumped? Or, in case you’ve never seen it, Irish looks like this:

Glacann sé foighne chun ollfhís a chur i gcrích, glacann sé misneach as an ghnáth, agus thar rud ar bith eile glacann sé am, agus is é am an rud is luachmhaire atá againn.

What you notice immediately is that the letter h appears many times as do clusters of 2 or 3 vowels. And it’s precisely this number of hs, and vowels that can make Irish challenging to read.

Take for example Caoimhín: a very popular name. Its anglicised version Kevin, actually gives you clues as to the Irish pronunciation of mh:

Caoi-mhín    /key-veen/

As you can see the sound transcription /key-veen/ gives you an approximate equivalent for Caoimhín. It’s important to note that mh can be read in 2 different ways; one sounds like a /w/ and the other sounds like a /v/. Unless you know when to read mh as a /w/ or as a /v/, words like Samhradh or Niamh can be a problem.

And this is where Atomic Irish, the main programme developped under Sounds Atomic, can help.

If you are a native English speaker, you are used to having identical spellings read in different ways. Look at the gh group in the following words:

Straightforward, enough, dough, through, hiccough (American English hiccup), lough (=lake in Ireland’s anglicised placenames) where gh is read in completely different ways.

As a child, while learning to speak and later to write English, the gh probably never troubled you. Your memory space was huge and hungry for anything new to learn. It is likely that now your memory is not as good as when you were a child and Irish looks confusing.

If you are not a native English speaker, then you have already learnt English and dealt with a lot of irregularities in the relationship between spelling and pronunciation, you don’t want to have to go through the same journey again for Irish.

Well, you don’t have to. Here is the good news: Irish has a sound system which is very “geometric” and rational.

Just to make an analogy with geometry, Irish sound system is not a cube though (that could be Spanish), it’s more like 3d hexagonal diamond, which means you have to take a longer look at it to grab its structure.

A ‘longer look’ does not mean abstract difficult science, it’s just a longer look.

Irish pronunciation and its spelling system are highly regular, foreseeable and let’s say it – easy to understand.
Understanding is the clue. Knowing the underlying laws of spelling and pronunciation means you will not have to remember the pronunciation of thousands of words by heart and you will be able to read words you have never seen before.

That’s the reason why Atomic Irish is the best way to learn the sound and spelling of Irish: it cracks the rules for you so that you can read Irish.

Baile Átha Cliath -Dublin- /balaa Kliah/ or in Irish phonetic transcription /bal’a: k’l’iə/
Slí amach -exit- /shlee amah/ or in Irish phonetic transcription /s’l’i: əmax/