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Lesson by "The Irish People"
We will review
the sounds for the letter "b" this week. "b" gets
its slender sound when the nearest vowel in the word is "a"
or "i". Pronounce the slender sound like English "b"
but keep your lips close to your front teeth. Try:
(beg-AW*N), a little; béal (bay*l), mouth; bí (bee),
be; bille (BIL-e), bill; biorán (bi-RAW*N), pin; bliain (BLEE-in),
year; bleán (blaw*n), milking.
When a slender "r" follows "b", you may hear a
faint (i) sound between the "b" and the "r". Try:
is between (bresh) and (bi-RESH), increase.
pronunciation is between (bray*g) and (bi-RAY*G), lie.
is between (braw*) and (bi-RAW*), fine.
"b" gets its broad sound when the nearest vowel in the word
is "a, o, u". Pronounce this broad sound like English "b"
but protrude your lips. Try:
white; bó (boh), cow; baile (BAHL-e), town, home; bláth
(blaw*), flower; brách (braw*k*); go brách means "forever";
brón (brohn), sadness; brú (broo), pressure
In a few cases, where a broad "b" sound is followed by a
slender vowel sound, the protrusion of the lips for the broad "b"
will cause a (w) sound. Examples:
bain (bwin), cut
or remove; buile (BWIL-e), madness; buí (bwee), yellow.
In these words,
the "a" and the "u" are not sounded. They are
written only to show you that the "b" must get its broad
ainm, (an t-ainm
(AN-im, un TAN-im), name
abairt, an abairt
(AH-birt, un AH-birt), sentence
chóip (KOH-ip, un K*OH-ip), copy
oifig, an oifig
(IF-ig, un IF-ig), office
ceist, an cheist
(kesht, un hyesht), question
Use each of the
above words in simple sentences with the irregular verbs, such as
chonaic mé (k*uh-NIK may*), I saw; téim (TAY*-im), I
go, etc. If you can not think of a suitable sentence with an irregular
verb, try a regular verb. Avoid "tá" if possible.
Here are some
pointers on how to conduct a conversation in Irish. First of all,
conversation differs in several respects from merely reading. There
is nothing to see; you must listen to get enough information to be
able to reply. You must also judge from the situation and surroundings
to get clues to what the other person has said.
In written or
printed Irish, the clarity is good, and above all, it is uniform.
The speed of intake into your mind is whatever you want. You read
at your own pace. With conversation, the speed at which the other
person speaks may be fast or slow. Clarity can differ, too. Sometimes
whole sentences are a little hard to recognize at first. This is true
in English, of course. You have learned to recognize "Whaddaya
doon?" as meaning "What are you doing?"
Some types of
audible language material are more difficult than others. Words of
songs are an example.
In general, it
will be harder for you to understand others than for them to understand
you. At first, when listening during a conversation, you may not understand
more than a quarter of the words and may miss the meaning of nearly
every sentence. This is usually because you are nervous and overanxious.
Keep trying, however,
and above all keep speaking Irish to your conversational partner.
There are good reasons for this:
You get practice in thinking and in pronunciation.
You direct the
conversation so that the other person's reply will be more easily
understood by you. because it will generally be in response to what
you have said.
You show the other
person that you want to learn Irish.
To start a conversation,
begin with a salutation:
Dia dhuit (DEE-uh
git), or Dia dhaoibh (DEE-uh yeev). The answer will be: Dia's Muire
dhuit (DEE-uhs MWIR-e git).
tú? (KUN-uhs taw* too) How are you? is next. Answers can be:
"Táim go maith" (TAW*-im goh MAH), or "Ar fheabhas"
(er OUS), excellent, or perhaps "Tá tinneas cinn orm"
(taw* TIN-yuhs kin OH-ruhm).
Next is the weather,
or perhaps a brief description of where you were recently or what
you did. In answer to this, some of the short expressions that you
have learnt will be useful. Examples:
Is maith liom
é sin (is mah luhm ay* shin), I like that
sé? (kaw* rev shay*), Where was he?
We will continue
this next week and give you more advice on how to conduct a conversation,
an extremely important part of learning a language.
you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?
can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish.
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.