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"
The pair of letters
"ea" within a word or at a word end often gets an (a) sound like that
in the English word "hat". Examples: fear (far), man; bean (ban),
woman; leat (lat), with you; is ea (sha), it is; ní hea (nee
HA), it is not.
At the beginning
of a word, the "ea" often gets the (ah) sound in the English word
"psalm". Examples: eagla (AH-gluh), fear; eaglais (AH-glish), church;
each (ahk*), horse.
is pronounced (ou), as in English "out", when it is inside a word.
(kyoun) head; leabhar (LOU-wuhr), book; gleann (gloun), glen; seabhac
If in an unaccented
syllable, "ea" is usually pronounced (uh). Examples: seisean (SHESH-uhn),
he (emphatic); aingeal (ANG-uhl), angel.
We will continue
to give you the pronunciation guide for all new words and most of
the exercises, but you will gradually develop ability to pronounce
words by drawing on your experience with similarly spelled words,
so that after a time you will not depend on the pronunciation guide.
Here are several
more expressions that you should learn for quick use in conversation
Gan amhras (guhn
OU-ruhs), Without doubt.
Fan go bhfeicfidh
mé (fahn goh VEK-hee may*), Wait till I see.
Is maith é
sin (is MAH ay* shin), That's good.
Notice that the
second "f" in "bhfeicfidh" is pronounced like an "h". This letter
"f" indicates the future tense.
Last week we
learned how to say that a person or thing is in a general class. An
Is seomra é
(is SHOHM-ruh ay*), It is a room.
Here are the
basic forms for this:
mé (is skuh-LAW*-re may*), I am a student.
tú (is skuh-LAW*-re too), You are a student.
é (is skuh-LAW*-re ay*), He is a student.
í (is skuh-LAW*-re ee), She is a student.
sinn(is skuh-LAW*-ree shin), We are students.
sibh (is skuh-LAW*-ree shiv), You (plural) are students
iad (is skuh-LAW*-ree EE-uhd), They are students.
Im, an t-im (im,
un tim), butter, the butter
ith, ag ithe
(i, eg I-he), eat, eating
ag éisteacht (ay*sht, eg AY*shtyahk*t), listen, listening
scoil, an scoil
(skuhl, un skuhl), school, the school
subh, an tsubh
(soov, un toov), jam, the jam
cathaoir (KAH-heer, un K*AH-heer), chair, the chair
ól (ohl, eg ohl) drink, drinking
Go through the
basic forms for "is" (is), with:
dochtúirí (dohk*-TOO-ir, dohk*-TOO-IR-ee), doctor, doctors
múinteoirí (moo-in-TYOHR, moo-in-TYOHR-ee), teacher,
péintéirí (PAY*N-tay*r, PAY*N-tay*r-ee), painter,
(maw*-REEN), Maureen: Tar isteach sa chistin agus suigh síos
(tahr is-TYAHK* suh HYISH-tin AH-guhs si SHEE-uhs). Tá do dhinnéar
ullamh (taw* duh YIN-yay*r UL-uhv). Come into the kitchen and sit
down. Your dinner is ready.
(DOHN-uhl), Donald: Ach cá bhfuil Pádraigín?
(ahk* caw* vwil PAW*-dri-geen) Nach bhfuil sí abhaile ón
scoil fós? (nahk* vwil shee uh-VWAHL-e ohn skuhl fohs) But
where is Patricia? Isn't she home from school yet?
Níl sí (neel shee). Níl a fhios agam cá
bhfuil sí (neel is uh GUHM kaw* vwil shee). She's not. I don't
know where she is.
Tá gach rud ar an mbord, go cinnte, ach tá an fochupán
seo salach (taw* gahk* rud er un mohrd, goh KIN-te, ahk* taw* un FOH-k*
u-paw*n shuh suh-LAHK*). Everything's on the table, certainly, but
this saucer is dirty.
Nigh é, mar sin (ni ay*, mahr shin). Tá mé an
ghnóthach (taw* may* AHN-gnoh-huhk*). Wash it then. I'm very
Ó, tá Pádraigín ag teacht anois (oh, taw*
PAW*-dri-geen uh tyahk*t uh-NISH). Tá sí ag siúl
trí gach áit fhliuch ar an tsráid. (taw* shee
uh shool tree gahk* aw*t lyuk* er un traw*d). Oh, Patricia's coming
now. She's walking through every wet place on the street.
Agus í gan a buataisí! (AH-guhs ee guhn uh BOO-ti-shee)
And she without her boots!
Notes: In Irish,
"an-" before an adjective means "very". It usually aspirates the next
consonant, as in "an-fhliuch" (AHN-lyuk*), very wet. Accent is usually
on the "an-" prefixed to the word.
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.
<<back to top of page>>
(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.