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General Guidelines for scríobh na teangaAisteScéalDiospóireachtAltGramadachLinks

Scríobh na Teanga - Higher level

The first question attempted by students at higher lever is written composition. Students have a choice to write  (a) a formal essay (b) a story  (scéal nó eachtra) (c) a debate or (d) an article for a magazine

These pages will help you to prepare by offering advice on preparation techniques, helpful hints, popular topics, suggestions to help you develop language skills in preparation for the examination and vocabularly for the different options.

In the Junior Certificate the composition should be one and a half pages long or between 350 – 400 words. You should allocate 40 minutes to this question. It is worth 50 marks or 15 ½% of the total marks.

Gramatical accuracy is extremely important  as most marks are awarded for  proficiency in the language. For example,  the aiste is usually written in the aimsir láithreach  (present tense) it is therefore advisable to ensure that practice regurlarly writing paragraphs using verbs in the present tense.
As the scéal is usually written in the aimsir chaite  (past tense) it is therefore advisable to ensure that practice regurlarly writing paragraphs using verbs in the past tense.

Preparation

  • Long term preparation for the composition is essential.
  • Watch and listen carefully to TG4 – use subtitles at the beginning to help your understanding
  • Listen to Raidió na Gaeltachta or Raidió na Life as often as possible
  • Use a vocabulary notebook – record all new words  under clear headings and attempt to incorporate these into your written exercises for school
  • Practice writing single paragraphs on topics to gain confidence and experience

Helpful hints

  • Always avoid long complicated sentences
  • Your scéal should have a logical beginning, middle and end. Ensure that you focus on the set topic and develop your ideas as the scéal progresses.
  • If you do not understand the title choose another option
  • Sketch your ideas on a rough page  before you begin and test your spellings on a rough page before writing your scéal nó eachtra.
  • Always read over your scéal nó eachtra before you progress to the next question

Aiste (Composition) 

General Guidelines
In the Junior Certificate the aiste should be one and a half pages long or between 350 – 400 words. You should allocate 40 minutes to this question. It is worth 50 marks or 15 ½% of the total marks.
Gramatical accuracy is extremely important as most marks are awarded for  proficiency in the language. As the aiste is usually written in the aimsir láithreach (present tense) it is therefore advisable to ensure you practice regularly writing paragraphs using verbs in the present tense.

Preparation:

  • Watch and listen carefully to TG4 – use subtitles at the beginning to help your understanding
  • Listen to Raidió na Gaeltachta or Raidió na Life as often as possible
  • Use a vocabulary notebook – record all new words  under clear headings and attempt to incorporate these into your written exercises for school
  • Practice writing singles paragraphs on topics to gain confidence and experience

Helpful hints

  • Always avoid long complicated sentences
  • Introduce the topic in a general manner, develop one idea only in each paragraph and conclude with a paragraph that includes a brief summary and viewpoint.
  • If you do not understand the title choose another option
  • Sketch your ideas on a rough page before you begin and test your spellings on a rough page before writing your aiste.
  • Only use a seanfhocal if it is relevant and if you understand it.
  • Always read over the aiste before progressing to the next section.

Popular topics 1992 – 2002
The aiste can often be quite unpredictable but it is possible to recognise some topics that tend to appear on the examination paper on a regular basis.

  • Spórt – Students could be asked to write about a sports event that was taking place or describe their favourite sports personality or team.
  • Caitheamh aimsire – Past times for example reading, the cinema, the computer are all topics that have been examined in the question.
  • Réalta scannán – description of a film star, neighbour, musician or famous person is a popular choice.
  • Daoine óga – the life of the young person in the city or in the country has appeared on the paper in the past.
  • Na Meáin Chumarsáide – the media , t.v. computer, magazines, radio etc.

Vocabulary
Prepare vocabulary on the above topics.

Practice writing simple sentences and slowly progress to writing linked paragraphs on each topic.

In preparation for the essay it would be wise to learn and use a number of phrases expressing your opinion. These could be  used throughout the aiste. Try to incorporate the following phrases into your work.

sé mo thuairim – it is my opinion
tá tuairimí láidre agam ar an ábhar seo – I have strong views on this subject
ba mhaith liom a rá – I would like to say
an tuairim atá agamsa ná – the view that I have is
ceapaim – I think
caithfidh mé a admháil – I have to admit
Is dóigh liomsa – I think
San aiste seo – in this essay

As an essay relating to a person, sports team, pop group or film star is examined regularly it would be wise to learn a number of suitable adjectives in preparation for the aiste.

Practice writing sentences using the following adjectives:

Foighneach – patient
Goilliúnach – sensitive
Dílis – loyal
Cróga – brave
Aisteach – odd
Flaithiúil – generous
Cabhrach – helpful
Taitneamhach – pleasant
Cainteach – chatty
Béasach – mannerly
Lách – gentle
Grámhar – loving
Óg – young
Tuisceanach – understanding
Ciallmhar - sensible

In structuring an essay on a person it is best to begin by describing the person’s youth. In each paragraph discuss one clear point in relation to the person. Always clearly mention the reason why you respect or like the person that you are writing about. The following vocabulary may be helpful:

Tá an- mheas agam air / uirthi – I have great respect for him / her
Is fear cabhrach é – He is a helpful man.
Is aoibhinn leis – he loves
Rugadh ......... i mBaile Átha Cliath agus is ann a chaith sé a óige -  ..........was born in Dublin and it is there that he spent his youth.
Tá clú agus cáil air / uirthi ar fud an domhain anois – He / she is famous throughout the world now
Féachaim air / uirthi ar an teilifís go minic – I watch him / her on the television often
Tá mé an-bhrodúil as / aisti – I am very proud of him / her

An essay relating to some aspect of sport appears regularly on the paper. Prepare vocabulary on the following topics:

Football  - peil  a match that you have seen recently
Your favourite sport  / past time
The European Cup / The World Cup
Na Cluichí Oilimpeacha  -The Olympic Games 

The following verbs may be helpful:

Imrím -  I play
Téim – I go
Mothaím – I feel
Rithim – I run
Tosaím – I start
Críochnaím – I finish
Buailim – I hit

It is important for you to describe a game / match or competition in detail. Look at the phrases below:

Corraitheach – exciting
An- mhaith – very good
Garbh – rough
Uafásach – terrible
Go hiontach – wonderful
Suimiúil – interesting
Leadránach – boring


Scéal (Story)

General Guidelines
In the Junior Certificate the scéal nó eachtra should be one and a half pages long or between 350 – 400 words. You should allocate 40 minutes to this question. It is worth 50 marks or 15 ½% of the total marks.

Gramatical accuracy is extremely important  as most marks are awarded for  proficiency in the language. As the scéal is usually written in the aimsir chaite  (past tense) it is therefore advisable to ensure that you practice regularly writing paragraphs using verbs in the past tense.

When writing a scéal you are expected to tell a story and when you write an eachtra you recall an event that happened. One scéal and one eachtra is presented on the examination paper each year and you are expected to write a fictitious description of an event or story.

Sometimes you are given the two opening sentences of a story and you are asked to continue writing it

Preparation
Use a vocabulary notebook – prepare vocabulary based on the list below and incorporate these phrases into your schoolwork.

Practice writing singles paragraphs on topics to gain confidence and experience

Vocabulary to learn:
Weather  
Days of the week / months of the year / seasons 
Time  
Adjectives to describe people / places
Phrases suggesting happiness / sadness / surprise  / shock / relief / exhaustion / disappointment etc.
Suitable introductions and conclusions
Descriptions of the countryside / city
A wide rang of verbs particularly action verbs in the aimsir chaite

Helpful hints

  • Always avoid long complicated sentences
  • Your scéal should have a logical beginning, middle and end. Ensure that you focus on the set topic and develop your ideas as the scéal progresses.
  • If you do not understand the title choose another option
  • Sketch your ideas on a rough page  before you begin and test your spellings on a rough page before writing your scéal nó eachtra.
  • Always read over your scéal nó eachtra before you progress to the next question.

Popular topics 1992 – 2002
Timpiste – accident
Stoirm – stoirm
Robáil – robbery
Saoire – holiday
Cluiche – a match
Cóisir – party
Brionglóid – a dream
Ceolchoirm – concert
Dóiteán – fire

It would be wise to prepare stories on the above topics as often in the examination a general topic is set and this allows you to choose the story that you will write.


Díospóireacht’ / ‘óráid’ (Debates)

A debate (‘díospóireacht’ / ‘óráid’) is a contention or an argument in words.  It usually has a formal structure and is delivered in public. In a debate you are expected to take a definite stance.  State clearly, therefore, where you stand on the issue and provide arguments or examples which enhance your argument.  Finally, let all the ‘threads’ of your arguments come together in the concluding paragraph.

General Guidelines
In composing the debate use language that is formal in tone and address the audience directly. Use rhetorical questions in the debate.You are expected to develop three clear points for or against the motion. Learn off by heart a number of suitable phrases for introducing sentences and paragraphs.

Pay particular attention to the notes on grammar, timing and long term planning in the general guidelines for scríobh na teanga.

Popular topics 1992 - 2002
Saol na cathrach / saol na tuaithe – life in the city / life in the country
Cúrsaí timpeallachta – enviromental matters
Ní thuigeann daoine fásta daoine óga – adults don’t understand young people
Níl dóthain saoirse ag daoine óga – young people don’t have enough freedom
An teilifís, cur amú ama – the television, a waste of time?
Tá cúrsaí spóirt scriosta ag airgead agus drugaí – sport is ruined by drugs and money

Phrases to learn:
A Chathaoirligh, a Mholtóirí agus a lucht éisteachta – chairperson, adjudicators and members of the audience
A dhaoine uaisle – Ladies and gentlemen
Táim i bhfábhar / in aghaidh an rúin – I am in favour of / against the motion
Lucht an fhreasúra – the opposition
I dtosach báire ba mhaith liom a rá – first of all I would like to say
Beidh lucht an fhresúra ag argóint – the opposition will be arguing that…..
Tá mo chuid argóintí cloiste agaibh anois – you have heard my arguments now
Go raibh maith agaibh as éisteacht liom


Alt (Paragraph)

The newspaper article is the final option under the scríobh na teanga heading. Many students ignore this option as they think that it might be too difficult. It is unwise to omit any section as this obviously reduces your choice on the day of the examination. The topics here often relate to school life and the lives of young people. The newspaper option is a formal essay and a formal approach should be taken.

Helpful hints
  • Use the briathar saor or free verb often throughout your essay.
  • Your personal opinion should be stated at some point in every paragraph
  • Avoid repetition of  at the beginning of every sentence.
  • Note carefully who your audience is and write the article with that audience in mind.
  • Practice, the more often you write newspaper articles the easier they become.
  • Note the general essay guidelines in relation to planning, timing and the importance of grammar.

Popular topics 1992 - 2002

In the newspaper article you could be asked to write an article for the school magazine, a national paper, for example,   or Foinse or an internet site , for example, Beo at www.beo.ie

Topics that have been examined in the past are:
Cúrsaí ólacháin i measc daoine óga  -  drinking amongst the young
Éide scoile – school uniforms
An ríomhaire i saol an duine óig – the computer in the life of the young person
Léirmheas ar albam ceoil / scannán / ceolchoirm – a review of a music album a film or a concert
Alt faoi ócáid mhór i do scoil – an article about a big occasion in your school.
Alt faoi chlár teilifíse – an article about a television programme
Alt faoi cheoltóir nó grúpa ceoil – an article about a musician or a music group.
Alt faoi thaispeantás faisin – an article about a fashion show

An ríomhaire
Ríomhaire pearsanta – personal computer
Diosca – disk
Móideim – modem
Luch – mouse
Ríomhphost – e – mail
Bogearraí – software
Printéir  - printer
Suíomh – site
Clár idirghníomhach – interactive programme
Cluichí ríomhaire
Méarchlár – keyboard
An tIdirlíon – the internet
Proiseálaí focal – word processor
Comhad – file
Smacht - control

Aidiachtaí
Oiriúnach – suitable
Corraitheach – exciting
Dáinsearach – dangerous
Taitneamhach – enjoyable
Leadránach – boring
Suimiúil – interesting
Greannmhar – funny

Is áis oideachasúil í – it is an eductional aid
Caitear an iomarca ama ag imirt cluichí mí- oiriúnacha ar an ríomhaire – too much time is spent playing unsuitable games on the computer.
Is aoibhinn liom an ríomhaire – I love the computer
Measaim go bhfuil an tIdirlíon go hiontach – I think the internet is wonderful.


Gramadach  (Grammar )    

General guidelines

  • At Junior Cert. higher or ordinary level no written grammar question exists, however, marks are awarded in every section for grammatical accuracy. In the composition section of the examination a very high percentage of the total marks are awarded for accuracy of grammar. In contrast, a small percentage of the total marks are awarded for grammar in the aural examination.
  • As many students repeat the same mistakes again and again in their written work, it is therefore advisable to correct your mistakes and avoid making that same error again.
  • In your study of verbs you will find that you tend to use the same list of verbs in many situations. Always ensure that you are using the correct tense and reread every question when you have finished writing it.
  • Long term preparation for the examination is essential if you are to succeed. It would be sensible to use a notebook to record your common grammatical errors. This would allow you to learn from your mistakes and it would help to avoid repetition of the same mistakes again. 
  • The checklist below will help you to prepare for the examination and focus on key areas.
     

Checklist

  • Na Briathra – An aimsir chaite, an aimsir láithreach, an aimsir fháistineach ( na briathra rialta agus neamhrialta)
  • Séimhiú agus |úrú
  • An Chopail
  • An Aidiacht Shealbhach
  • Réamhfhocail
  • An tAinm Briathartha
  • An Aidiacht Bhriathartha
  • Céimeanna Comparáide na h-Aidiachta
  • Uimhreacha
  • An tAinmfhocal

Links

Newspapers 
http://www.foinse.ie/
http://www.beo.ie
Improve your vocabulary by studying the articles posted on these online magazines. 

An Scéal
http://www.daltai.com/articles/grinn.htm
A set of amusing stories posted to an American online magazine designed to promote the Irish language. The stories are short and simple in both content and expression.

Seanfhocail archive    
http://www.daltai.com/sf_eile.htm
A list of proverbs categorised under general headings: life, death, work, food, etc.  Click on the proverb for a history and a linguistic analysis.  You may well find some useful proverbs here to polish up your written work.

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