Make a real connection to your Irish heritage
Feeling like you could never crack Irish Gaelic?
Break it down into easy Bitesize portions, with the free "Irish for Beginners" email course by Bitesize Irish.
Enter your name and email address below to get started (and we'll never spam you):
Lesson by "The Irish People"
pronunciation of "-inn" at a word end was at first given
as (ing) and then interspersed with (in). The pronunciation guide's
symbol for the sound is logically (ny), but because the beginner might
be confused by this, the actual pronunciation has been deferred. Practice
pronouncing (nnn-yuh) and then shorten the (yuh) until it nearly disappears.
Practice with words: sinn, binn, linn, rinn, tinn. All are one-syllable
words, each with a trace of the (yuh) at the end. Then try: seinn,
thagainn, d'fheicinn. The sound is there even in "Sinn Féin,"
pronounced slightly differently from "sin féin."
The lessons will still give (n) as pronunciation for "-inn"
at word end, so you must remember to add the trace of (yuh).
RECOGNITION DRILL WITH THE MODH COINNÍOLLACH
Read these sentences
aloud to get their sense and to visualize the subject (whether it
is I, you, he, etc.):
é sin, dá bhfeicféa a athair (daw* VEK-faw* uh
(YAY*N-hi-mish) an obair, mura nglanfaí an garáiste
ar dtús (MU-rung LUHN-fwee un guh-RAW*SH-te er doos).
Diarmuid a bhád, ní fhanfadh a dheartháir (nee
AHN-huhk* uh yri-HAW*-ir) anseo.
san uisce, dá ngearrfá an téad (daw*ng YAHR-faw*
(VWAW*K-huhk*) Máire a rothar (ROH-huhr) amuigh, nach ngoidfí
é (nahk* uhng IT-fee ay*)?
(LIK-hi-deesh) dom dul abhaile, mura mbeadh mo cheacht críochnaithe
(muh hyahk*t KREE-uhk*-nuh-he)?
anseo, ní chreidfinn tú (nee HYRET-hin too).
would think that, if you were to see his father.
We wouldn't do
the work, if the garage weren't cleaned first.
If Diarmuid were
to sell his boat, his brother wouldn't stay here.
I would fall into
the water if you were to cut the rope.
If Maire were
to leave her bicycle outside, wouldn't it be stolen?
Would they let
me go home if my lesson weren't finished?
If they weren't
here, I wouldn't believe you.
Notice that there
are two of the irregular verbs above: feic and déan. Both are
regular in the modh coinníollach, however.
VERBS BEGINNING WITH A VOWEL OR "F"
tú é, beidh tú tinn. Mura n-éisteann tú
liom, ní thuigeann tú na focail. Má fhilleann
sé abhaile, nach bhfanann sé ann?
é, an ólfá é? Mura n-éistfidís
liom, díólfaidís an t-uisce.
you drink it, you will be sick. If you don't listen to me, you don't
understand the words. If he returns home, doesn't he stay there?
If I were to drink
it, would you drink it? If they wouldn't listen to me, they would
drink the water.
THE SECOND CONJUGATION WITH "DÁ" AND "MURA"
Verbs such as
"imigh" and "ceannaigh", which are in the second
conjugation, also have different forms in the modh coinníollach.
The forms resemble the future tense, but word endings differ from
those of the future tense.
Learn these forms
by repeating them aloud until you can say them without hesitation.
For each one, visualize the action and the subject:
(hyan-OH-in), I would buy
(hyan-OH-faw*), you would buy
sé (hyan-OHK* shay*), he would buy
sí, she would buy
(hyan-OH-i-mish), we would buy
sibh (hyan-OHK* shiv), you-all would buy
(hyan-OH-i-deesh), they would buy
(hyan-OH-fwee), people would buy
For the negative,
"ní" (nee) precedes these forms. For example, "ní
cheannódh sé é" means "he wouldn't
Other forms, with
"an, nach, dá, mura" before them, have the initial
consonant aspirated if it can be.
Learn these forms
for "dá" with "ceannaigh":
(daw* gyan-OH-in), if I were to buy
(daw* gyan-OH-faw*), if you were to buy
sé (daw* gyan-OHK* shay*), if he were to buy
sí, if she were to buy
(daw* gyan-OH-i-mish), if we were to buy
sibh (daw* gyan-OHK* shiv), if you-all were to buy
(daw* gyan-OH-i-deesh), if they were to buy
(daw* gyan-OH-fwee), if people were to buy
Samples of other
forms: An gceannófá é? Would you buy it? Nach
gceannóidís teach? (Wouldn't they buy a house?) Mura
gceannódh sí cóta, If she weren't to buy a coat.
If the second-conjugation
verb ends in "-igh" instead of "-aigh", there
is a slight difference in pronunciation and spelling. The example
here is "bailigh". "I would collect, etc." becomes:
I would collect
(vwahl-YOH-faw*), you would collect
(vwahl-YOHK* shay*), he would collect
she would collect
we would collect
you-all would collect
(vwahl-YOH-i-deesh), they would collect
The other forms
are similar in their relation to those for "ceannaigh".
For example: "ní bhaileoinn", I wouldn't collect;
"an mbaileofá?", would you collect?; "nach mbaileoimis?",
wouldn't we collect?; mura mbaileofaí", if people weren't
to collect; "dá mbaileoinn", if I were to collect.
RECOGNITION DRILL FOR THE SECOND CONJUGATION WITH THE MODH COINNÍOLLACH
é (hyreek*-NOH-in ay*). An labhrófá Gearmáinis
(un lou-ROH-faw* GYAR-maw*-nish)? Ní mhíneoidís
é (nee veen-YOH-i-deesh ay*). Dá n-imeoimis (daw* nim-YOH-i-mish).
Ní ullmhódh sí é (nee UL-vwohk* shee ay*).
Mura n-imreodh Seán (MU-ruh NIM-rohk* shaw*n).
Key: I would finish
it. Would you speak German? They wouldn't explain it. If we were to
depart. She wouldn't prepare it. If Seán wouldn't play.
Note that verbs
ending in "-ir" or "-air," such as "imir"
or "labhair," drop out a syllable. Instead of "labhaireodh
sé," we say "labhródh sé" for
"he would speak." This occurs in other tenses, as well,
and is called "syncopation." It is not the usual meaning
of the word "syncopation" that you know in music.
you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?
can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish.
It's a full online learning program.
Then take the free
for Beginners email course by Bitesize Irish. Every couple
of days, you'll get a mini-series of free Irish language lessons. Each
lesson is full of interactive audio recordings.
- Would you like
to make a connection with Ireland?
- And speak the
native language of the Irish?
- Do you find
it difficult to learn from reading only text?
Irish with Irish for Beginners, by Bitesize Irish.
to top of page>>