Saturday, April 15, 2023

Get the text in TG4 Subtitles

I have been watching Ros na Rún. Mainly because I am a messy bitch that lives for drama but also to learn Irish. The subtitles are really high quality. Here is how to extract them.

Go to the episode you want. And make the developer tools viewable at the bottom of the browser

Also make sure the subtitles are turned on

We want the network tab in the developer tools

Search for VTT (in the second search box). and open that file in a new browser tab.

This can show slightly funny as Irish is encoded in utf-8 and your browser might think it is simple ascii that does not have fada's. But if you save the page and open it in another editor it should look fine. 


01:21.800 --> 01:24.560
Tá siad ag ceapadh anois
gur seipsis atá i gceist.

01:24.640 --> 01:26.680
Ach tiocfaidh sé tríd,
nach dtiocfaidh?

Why do this? One of the best ways to learn a language seems to be to listen to stories and when a new word comes along learn it then. Linq uses this but Irish is not popular enough for them to have it in their options. Soaps and plays are also good as they are much closer to how people actually speak than literature is. 

TG4 have gone to the trouble of making great subtitles. And they want people to learn the language. It would be good to turn this resource into something that helped people even more. For learners to watch an TV episode and have a list of new words and their meaning might really help their learning.  

Monday, March 13, 2023

Results Of Fluent Forever Words List Blitz

 I made a claim that I would learn the 625 words in the Fluent Forever list in Irish over the weekend.

And I did it. Learn means lots of things. 1. able to generate and understand quickly 2. able to understand in context 3. able to work out the word but it takes a while. I have 90+% at 1 now. Maybe 5% that a sentence would really help. And probably 2% that I had to make mnemonics for. For example leaf is a boring child stuck in a hedge (Dull Og).

Without refreshing these words I will forget over time. But in a test learning this wordlist seems to help. I read a few ages of the kids book Diary of a Wimpy kid. About one word per page was in this list but I did not know previously. smell, ring and neighbour (boladh, glaoigh and comharsa) which left about 4 words I had to look up per page. Still a 20% improvement in, kids level, literacy in a weekend is good. Even if its only actually 10% less looking up time for common words for the next while it still feels like reading Irish is easier now.

 I would guess I spent somewhere between 2 and 3 hours concentrating on this. And some more slack time on my phone. Which makes me think about all the time I waste on my phone. As well as Anki I also made some notes for the words I was getting really stuck on.

The Anki deck is here now there are better pictures and some errors fixed. But if you see anymore please let me know. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

No Chemical Element has ever been discovered in the Southern Hemisphere


The furthest south a chemical element has been discovered is Bikini Atoll at 11.6° N where after a 1952 nuclear test Einsteinium and Fermium were discovered. 

The next furthest north is Technetium in Sicily in 1937 at 
38.1° N

More info on where and when discoveries were made on this wikipedia page

Map from here

Friday, March 10, 2023

Learning 625 Irish Words in a Weekend


I watched this video I learned 1000 foreign words in one day 

Could I do the same with the 625 words deck I made and described in my last post

Can I learn 625 words in a weekend? 

1. Probably not. But no guts, no black pudding.

2. I probably know about half already. Even though I got a pass c3 25 years ago some must still be rattling around in the ceann. 

3. I made the deck which means I have vaguely seen the words before recently. I was trying to get the deck made fast, not trying to learn them at the time.

4. I am saying this publicly mainly so the embarrassment of not learning these makes me work harder.

I am going to put aside an hour Friday, Saturday, Sunday evening. No twitter, reddit or chess on the phone only Anki.

I am going to fix up the deck as I go, some words now are wrong, some pictures confusing etc.

When I get stuck on a word I will create a context sentence for it and add that to the Anki card.

The deck is here. I have added more and synced since then but the page has not updated. If you download the deck could you let me know if gift looks like this?

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Anki Deck for Irish


I really enjoyed the book fluent forever and decided to use the method to learn a language. One of the ideas in the is to learn 625 common words quickly. They are listed here

And then I realized I do know a language. Well kind of Irish to a C3 in ordinary level several decades ago. But learning these 625 words will at least get me past the 'I do not remember a word' level. 

Anki is an app that uses spaced repetition to help you memorise words. The deck is there here.  The deck is based on a smaller one in Spanish here. Some of the pictures might be changed to make them less Spanish. And some of the 625 are missing, the themes of  Numbers, Months and  Days of the week.

It would be a great help if you could point out any mistakes you find in the deck. Or are willing to help with coming up with sentences to add to the deck. The idea is that reading 'the big black dog is an actor' will get 4 words in the deck into your head. Which means over the course of session far more repetitions of words in context would happen.  

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Wordle Words for Irish

 There is a version of Wordle for Irish called Foclach 

Matt Parker has a youtube video working out how many five letter word combinations cover 25 of the 26 English letters. 

This is an exact cover problem and has been studied for ages. And theres some great follow up videos to that one on how to make quick version of the checker.

There are 23 letters in Irish used by Foclach (this dataset). There are rare words with v (víosa (visa),veist (vest), veain (van)) and other English letters but they are not accepted in the game. 

I took this code from azirale's matt parker answering version and changed the alphabet to Irish and looked for words that had all 23 alphabet out of 25 letters in 5 words. I got an Irish word list from here. There are only 6500 words in it. With 910 being 5 letters long.


There are loads of  word combinations where all 23 letters are found in 5 5-letter words. Some examples are











I thnk this implies the Wordle in Irish is easier than in English at least for a computer.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

How Dangerous was Whaling?

In Moby Dick he writes 'upon one particular voyage which I made to the Pacific, among many others we spoke thirty different ships, every one of which had had a death by a whale, some of them more than one, and three that had each lost a boat’s crew' A boat had about 30 sailors so this would be at least 1 out of 30 on 27 boats and 6 out of 30 on 3. So 27+18=45 out of 900 or 5%. 

 Comparing that to Astronauts. 574 people have gone into space. 31 Astronauts have died. Including training/testing accidents. Which is 5.4% Though those astronauts died on some journey not just one. On this one data comparison whaling was as dangerous as being an astronaut.
The journeys were of 3 to 4 years. With very little if any visiting of ports involved. Which is longer than Mars journeys are projected to be.