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Lesson by "The Irish People"
the letter combination "ng" in Irish with the same two sounds
that you use in English. The word "longing" has these two
sounds. The first "ng" sound is the broad, near "a,
o, u". The second is the slender, near "e, i". Examples:
long (lohng), ship; ceangail (KYANG-il), bind; teanga (TANG-uh) tongue,
language; pingin (PEENG-in), penny.
Do not add a "g"
after the "ng" sound in Irish, even though you often do
that in English, as in the words "English" (ING-glish) and
sound can start a word in Irish, if eclipsis of a "g" occurs.
For this sound, add the "ng" sound to the previous word
and then pronounce the rest of the second word without the "g"
or the "ng". Examples: i ngairdín (ing ahr-DEEN),
in a garden; ár ngeata (aw*rng AT-uh), our gate; a ngúnaí
(uhng OON-ee), their dresses; an nglanann sé é? (uhng
LUHN-uhn shay* ay*) Does he clean it? Finally, try a more difficult
one: nach nglanann sé é? (nahk*ng LUHN-uhn shay* ay*)
Doesn't he clean it?
We continue with
ways to use "le", meaning "with". This preposition
may serve exactly as it does in English. Examples: tháinig
sé liom (HAW*nig shay* luhm), he came with me; chuaigh sí
libh (K*OO-ig shee liv), she went with you. We will next look at four
ways that differ from English.
"I own it" - is one use. (Do not confuse "having"
something with owning it. "Tá carr agam", I have
a car, may not mean that you own it or possess title to it.)
Is liom é
(is luhm ay*) means "I own it". Learn these examples: Cé
leis (kay* lesh) an carr seo? Whose car is this? Is liomsa é
(is LUHM-suh ay*) It is mine. An leatsa (LAT-suh) é? Is it
yours? Ní liomsa é, ach le Seán; It's not mine,
but Seán's. Is le Seán é; It's Seán's.
Cé leis é seo? Whose is this? An leis an bhfear seo
é; Is it this man's? Ní leis é, ach leis an gcailín
(gah-LEEN) atá sa teach (TAHK*) sin; It's not, but it belongs
to the girl who is in that house. Nach leatsa é? Isn't it yours?
Ní liomsa; it isn't mine.
objects near you. "Liomsa" and "leatsa" are merely
emphatic forms of "liom" and "leat", said without
raising the voice.
Liking -- "I
like it" -- is another use. Is maith (mah) liom é; I like
it. Ní maith leis é; he doesn't like it. An maith le
Nóra an bhróg (vrohg) sin? Does Nora like that shoe?
Ní maith leí (lay*); she doesn't. Nach maith leat an
bord seo? Don't you like this table?
The verbal noun
is handy here. An maith leat léamh (LAY*-uhv)? Do you like
to read? Ní maith liom siúl (shool); I don't like walking.
Is maith liom feoil a ithe (FYOH-il uh I-he); I like to eat meat.
Nach maith le Seán litreacha a scríobh? (LI-trahk*-uh
uh shkreev) Doesn't Seán like to write letters? Notice that
the object, "feoil" or "litreacha", come ahead
of the verbal noun.
"I prefer this" -- is a third use. It is very similar to
the "liking" use, but with "fearr" instead of
"maith". "Is fearr liom é" (is fahr luhm
ay*); I prefer it. The word "fearr" has a slightly more
rolled "r" than does "fear", man, and sometimes
there is a trace of (y) sound in it as if it were (fyahr). Examples:
An fearr leat an leabhar seo? Do you prefer this book? Ní fearr
leis siúl; he doesn't prefer walking. Is fearr leo léamh
ná caint (keyent); they prefer reading to talking. Nach fearr
le Seán bainne le té? Doesn't Seán prefer milk
to tea? Cé acu is fearr leat, bheith anseo no bheith abhaile?
(kay* ah-KUH is fahr lat, ve un-SHUH noh ve uh-VWAHL-e) Which do you
prefer, being here or being home? Cé acu is fearr le Séamas,
bainne nó tea? Which does Séamus prefer, milk or tea?
Being able --
"I can" -- is a fourth use. The verbal noun can serve here,
too. "Is féidir (FAY*-dir) liom an leabhar a léamh"
means "I can read the book". The object is ahead of the
Study these examples:
An féidir leat rince? Can you dance? Ní féidir
le Nóra mé a thuiscint (HISH-kint); Nora can't understand
me. Nach féidir leo snámh? (snaw*v) Can't they swim?
Is féidir leis an mbuachail (MOO-uhk*-il) é sin a dhéanamh
(YAY*N-uhv); the boy can do that.
In this conversation,
read what Seán says, then follow the general instructions for
what you, "Tú", are to say. If you can not think
of suitable phrases, be sure to say something that would be considered
appropriate, in Irish, before you look down at the key. Cover the
key below the line that you need.
duit, a chara (K*ahr-uh).
tá tú inniu?
him you are well, and ask him how he is.)
mé go maith leis. Nach breá an lá é?
with him and ask him where he was yesterday.)
mé istigh sa teach, ag obair an lá go leir.
with him. Then tell him that you went to the city and bought a coat.)
a tháinig tú abhaile?
came home on the bus, of course. There weren't many people on the
bus last night either.)
fearr leat dul ar an traein?
prefer the train to the bus, but there was no train in the station
Dia's Muire duit,
go maith, agus conas tá tú féin?
go deimhin (DEYE-in). Cá raibh tú inné, a Sheáin?
an trua é sin, anois? Chuaigh mé chuig an gcathair agus
cheannaigh (HYAN-ee) mé cóta nua.
mé abhaile ar an mbus, ar ndóigh (er NOH-ee). Ní
raibh mórán duine ar an mbus aréir (uh-RAY*R)
ach oiread (IR-uhd).
Is fearr liom
an traein ná an bus, ach ní raibh traein ar bith ag
an stáisiún ansin.
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.