Irish Lesson 4

Céad Míle Fáilte!


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"

We began on the verb "tá" in Lesson 2, and we will continue with it now. Here is the entire present tense:

Tá mé (TAW* may*), I am
Tá tú (TAW* too), you (singular) are
Tá sé (TAW* shay*), he, (it) is
Tá sí (TAW* shee), she is
Táimid (TAW* mid), we are
Tá sibh (TAW* shiv), you (plural) are
Tá siad (taw* SHEE-uhd), they are

Níl mé (NEEL may*), I am not
Níl tú (NEEL too), you (singular) are not
Níl sé (NEEL shay*), he is not
Níl sí (NEEL shee), she is not
Nílimid (NEEL-i-mid), we are not
Níl sibh (NEEL shiv), you (plural) are not
Níl siad (neel SHEE-uhd), they are not

An bhfuil mé? (un VWIL may*), am I?
An bhfuil tú? (un VWIL too), are you? (singular)
An bhfuil sé? (un VWIL shay*), is he?
An bhfuil sí? (un VWIL shee), is she?
An bhfuilimid? (un VWIL-i-mid), are we?
An bhfuil sibh? (un VWIL shiv), are you? (plural)
An bhfuil siad? (un vwil shee-uhd), are they?

To give you fluency and practice in pronunciation, we now introduce a progressive drill. Repeat the drill several times when the lessons call for it. Each time you repeat it, it becomes easier. The drill takes you through a verb or grammar form progressively, changing from question to negative to declarative and back to the question form. Remember to form a mental picture for each sentence. Here is the basic form:

An bhfuil mé sa ghairdín? (un VWIL may* suh gahr-DEEN), Am I in the garden?

Níl mé sa ghairdín (NEEL may* suh gahr-DEEN), I am not in the garden.

Tá tú sa ghairdín (TAW* too suh gahr-DEEN), You are in the garden. An bhfuil tú sa ghairdín? (un VWIL too suh gahr-DEEN), Are you in the garden?

Níl tú sa ghairdín (NEEL too suh gahr-DEEN), You are not in the garden.

Tá sé sa ghairdín (TAW* shay* suh gahr-DEEN), He is in the garden. An bhfuil sé sa ghairdín? (un VWIL shay* suh ghar-DEEN), Is he in the garden?

Go on from here. Your last sentence will be: Tá mé sa ghairdín (TAW* may* suh gahr-DEEN), I am in the garden.

The Irish word for "the" is "an". Irish nouns can be either masculine or feminine, and "an" before a feminine noun aspirates most of the initial consonants that can be aspirated. Exceptions are "d", "t", and sometimes "s". "An" does not aspirate the initial consonant of a masculine noun. Learn this vocabulary:

Masculine nouns
lá (law*), day
clog (kluhg), clock
bus (bus), bus

Feminine nouns
bean, an bhean (ban, un VAN), woman
cos, an chos (kuhs, un K*UHS), foot
duais, an duais (DOO-ish, un DOO-ish), prize
grian, an ghrian (GREE-uhn, un YREE-uhn), sun
fuinneog, an fhuinneog (fwin-YOHG, un in-YOHG), window
teanga, an teanga (TANG-uh, un TANG-uh), language
tír, an tír (teer, un TEER), country

Other words and phrases
ag dul abhaile (uh duhl uh-VWAHL-e), going home
breá (bir-RAW*), fine
fliuch (flyuk*), wet
tirim (TIR-im), dry
álainn (AW*-lin), beautiful
fuar (FOO-uhr), cold

Bríd (breed): Dia duit, a Sheáin (DEE-uh git, uh HYAW*in). Hello John.

Seán (shaw*n): Dia's Muire duit, a Bhríd (DEE-uhs MWIR-uh git, uh VREED) Conas tá sibh go léir? (KUN-uhs TAW* shiv goh lay*r) Hello, Bridget. How are you all?

Bríd: Táimid go maith (TAW*-mid goh MAH), agus conas tá tú féin? (AH-guhs KUN-uhs TAW* too fay*n). We are well, and how are you yourself?

Seán: Ó, ar fheabhas (oh er OUS). Nach breá an lá é? (nahk* bir-RAW un LAW* ay*). Oh, excellent. Isn't it a fine day?

Bríd: Is breá, go deimhin (is bir-RAW*, goh DEYE-in) Tá an ghrian ag soilsiú. (taw* un YREE-uhn uh SEYEL-shoo), agus tá an aimsir go hálainn. (taw* un EYEM-sheer goh HAW*-lin). It is fine, certainly. The sun is shining and the weather is beautiful.

Seán: Níl an aimsir chomh fuar agus a bhí sé inné. (neel un EYEM-sheer hoh FOO-uhr AH-guhs uh vee shay* in-YAY). The weather is not as cold as it was yesterday.

Bríd: Agus níl an lá chomh fliuch agus a bhí sé inné. (AH-guhs neel an LAW* hoh flyuk* AH-guhs uh vee shay* in-YAY). And the day is not as wet as it was yesterday.

Seán: Tá orm dul abhaile anois, a Bhríd. (TAW* OH-ruhm duhl uh-VWAHL-e uh-NISH, uh VREED). Féach, tá sé a cúig a chlog beagnach. (FAY*-uhk*, TAW* shay* un KOO-ig uh K*LUHG BYUHG-nahk*). I must go home now, Bridget. Look, it is almost five o'clock. Bríd: Slán leat (slaw*n lat) Good-bye.

Seán: Slán agat, a Bhríd. ( slaw*n uh-GUHT, uh VREED). Good-bye, Bridget.

Note: "Slán agat" (health be at you) is said to someone staying behind. "Slán leat "(health be with you) is said to someone going away.

Would you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?

You can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish.
It's a full online learning program.

  • 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?
Then take the free Irish 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.

Learn Irish with Irish for Beginners, by Bitesize Irish.

<<back to top of page>>

(c) 1997 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.

Home | Word Review Board | Irish Facts & Fun | Audio Central | Sitemap

erins web . erins web ireland . erins web gaelic . erins web weaves
site map
. privacy statement

© Bitesize Irish Ltd. 2014, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.
Contact Bitesize Irish