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Lesson by "The Irish People"
whose pronunciation we can study together are "b, p, m".
If a vowel nearest any of these in a word is "a, o, u",
the consonant gets its broad sound. You make it by protruding the
lips, then pronouncing the sound to resemble the corresponding English
(BOO-uhn), bac (bahk), bocht (bohk*t), bun (bun); blas (blahs), blúire
(BLOO-ir-e), bradán (bruh-DAW*N), brón, brú (broo).
púdar (POO-duhr), paca (PAH-kuh), póca (POH-kuh), punt
(poont); plab (plahb), pláta (PLAW*-tuh), prás (praw*s),
muc (muk), maith (mah), mar (muhr), mol (muhl), mullóg (mu-LOHG),
Sometimes a slender
vowel follows the broad consonant sound, and an "a, o, u"
is placed between to indicate this. The result in pronunciation is
a sound like that for the English "w" between consonant
and vowel. Examples:
bain (bwin), buidéal
(bwi-DAY*L), buí (bwee), buile (BWIL-e), puinn (pwin), moil
You can see why
this is so when you form the broad "b, p, m" and then change
to the (i) or (ee) sound in the examples above.
For the slender
"b, p, m" sounds, bring the lips in close to the teeth and
spread the lips slightly as if you were beginning to smile. Then pronounce
the letters. Examples:
bia (BEE-uh), blian (BLEE-in), bleachtaire (BLAK*-tuhr-e), breac (bir-RAK),
pian (PEE-uhn), pic (pik), plé, preab (pir-RAB), príosún
milis (MIL-ish), mian (MEE-uhn), meil (mel).
With this lesson,
we begin the past tense of verbs, so that you will be able to say,
"I wrote a letter" or "He ate". At present, you
know how to say "I was writing a letter" and "He was
the command to a single person is the simplest form of the verb. For
example: Léigh (lay*), read. Scríobh é (shkreev
ay*), write it. Ol é (ohl ay*), drink it.
To form the past
tense, merely use this command or imperative, but aspirate the initial
consonant, if that is possible. If the imperative form begins with
a vowel or an "f", you must put a (d) sound befor the verb.
Here are examples:
an cóta de (vwin shay* un KOH-tuh de), He took off his coat.
ar an mbord é (k*ir may* er un mohrd ay*), I put it on the
é (yeel too ay*), You sold it.
(dahn shay*), He remained.
an fhuinneog (gluhn may* un in-YOHG), I cleaned the window.
a leabhar (lay* shee uh LOU-wuhr), She read her book).
an cailín (vwuhl may* uh kah-LEEN), I praised the girl.
Nigh (ni) sé
an carr, He washed the car.
sí a máthair (MAW*-hir), She kissed her mother.
Rith siad amach
(ri SHEE-uhd uh-MAHK*), They ran out.
ann (has shay* oun), He stood there.
é (hohg shiv ay*), You took it.
Next come examples
for verbs beginning with vowels:
é (dahlp shay* ay), He gulped it down.
sé liom (day*sht shay* luhm) He listened to me.
D'ith (di) siad
é, They ate it.
an bainne (dohl too un BAHN-ye), You drank the milk.
(DUL-vwee may*), I prepared.
Go over these
examples until you are able to read them quickly.
Notice that initial
"l, n, r" cannot be aspirated and so do not change from
the imperative. In some cases, the consonants that can be aspirated
are followed by other consonants that would make it difficult for
a speaker to aspirate the first consonant. An example:
(shkreev) sé é, He wrote it.
the "s" in "scríobh". You would have to
say (huh-KREEV), which would be too difficult.
The examples above
give you a good idea of how to form the past tense of most of the
verbs you know. You will not be able to form the past tense of the
few irregular verbs yet. These you must learn separately, and we will
have separate drills for these. "Tá" is one irregular
verb whose past tense, "bhí", you already know.
caith, ag caitheamh
(kah, uh KAH-huhv), throw, wear, spend
buail, ag bualadh
(BOO-il, uh BOO-luh), strike
tuig, ag tuiscint
(tig, uh TISH-kint), understand
fan, ag fanacht
(fahn, uh FAHN-uhk*t), wait
creid, ag creidiúint
(kred, uh kred-YOO-int), believe
scuab, ag scuabadh
(SKOO-uhb, uh SKOO-buh), sweep
ceannach (KAN-ee, uh KAN-uhk*), buy
díol (DEE-uhl, uh DEE-uhl), sell
ól (ohl, eg OHL), drink
ith, ag ithe (i,
eg I-he), eat
The verbs above
are put into the past tense like this:
Chaith siad an
leabhar (k*ah SHEE-uhd un LOU-uhr), They threw the book. Substitute
"mé, tú, sé, sí, sibh (shiv)"
for "siad" in this and the following sentences (do not substitute
"sinn", we, yet):
Bhuail siad an
buachaill (BOO-uhk*-il), They struck the boy.
mórán rud (HAN-ee SHEE-uhd moh-RAW*N rud), they bought
Thuig siad an
fear eile (hig SHEE-uhd un far EL-e), they understood the other man.
gloine uisce (dohl SHEE-uhd GLIN-e ISH-ke), They drank a glass of
Chreid siad an
scéal (hyred SHEE-uhd un shkay*l), They believed the story.
(Run the "h" and the "y" sounds together for the
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.