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Lesson by "The Irish People"
in Irish like "ee" in English "she", but with
the tongue tip down against the back of the lower front teeth. Do
not bring the center of the tongue so close to the roof of the mouth
as to cause hissing. Hold the sound for a longer time than the sound
in English "she". Practice on:
sí (shee); lí; níl; blí; díol (DEE-uhl);
slí (shlee); buíoch (BWEE-uhk*).
Without the síneadh (SHEEN-uh), Irish "i" has a shorter
sound which may be a short (ee) or a sound closer to that in English
"pin", although it never is exactly that. Clear examples
of the short (ee) sound are:
Words in which
the (ee) nature of the sound is not as evident are:
smig (smig); smid
(smid); sin (shin); cic (kik)
do not pronounce any of these exactly as if they were English words.
Keep the tongue down against the back of the lower front teeth as
you pronounce the "i". Try "sín" (sheen),
then "sin" (shin) several times.
Often an "i"
next to a broad vowel, "a, o, u", gets no sound but merely
indicates that the consonant after or before the "i" has
its slender sound. Examples:
fuair (FOO-ir); lán (law*n), lián (lyaw*n); balla (BAHL-uh),
baile (BAHL-e); bás (baw*s), báis (BAW*-ish). The last
word may sound somewhat like (boysh) to you.
Here are the saorbhriathra
(say*r-VREE-uh-ruh), or free forms, for the last two irregular verbs
in the past tense:
rugadh air (RUG-uh er), he was seized
rugadh air, he wasn't seized
ar (er) rugadh
air?, was he seized?
rugadh air?, wasn't he seized?
itheadh (I-huh), it was eaten
it wasn't eaten
ar itheadh?, was
wasn't it eaten?
Notice that "ith" is regular in the past, resembling verbs
like "ól", with its "óladh" (OHL-uh),
"níor óladh, ar óladh, nár óladh"
call, phone call
stoirm (STUHR-im), storm
an bháisteach (BAW*SH-tuhk*, un VWAW*SH-tuhk*), rain
measaim, ag measadh (MAS-im, uh MAS-uh), think
druidim, ag druidim
(DRID-im, uh DRID-im), draw close
Learn these for
quick use in conversation.
an radharc é! (nahk* AW*-lin un REYE-uhrk ay*), Isn't it a
an radharc tú! Aren't you a bautiful sight (or terrible sight).
Gan bhun gan bharr
(gahn VWUN gahn VWAW*R), No head or tail to it (literally "without
top or bottom").
leat. Come closer.
isteach libh (liv). Come in closer (you plural).
From basic words:
ól; bainne; caife (KAHF-e); make sentences of the form here:
bainne? Ní óltar bainne. Ólfar caife. Wasn't
milk drunk? Milk is not drunk. Coffee will be drunk.
Do this for these
groups of words:
Glaoch; air go
minic; air amarach.
Meas; go raibh
sé; go mbeidh sé.
Doirt; an t-uisce;
an bainne sa phota.
Iodáilis ann; an Fhraincis an bhliain seo chugainn (un VLEE-in
shuh K*OO-ing), next year.
an chéad chlár (un hyay*d k*law*r), the first program;
Dé Luain seo chugainn (dyay* LOO-in shuh K*OO-ing), next Monday,
an leabhar seo anseo; an leabhar mór sin in Éirinn.
Key and notes:
(GLAY*-uhk*) air go minic?; wasn't he called often? Ní ghlaoitear
(GLEE-tyuhr) air go minic. Glaofar air amárach (GLAY*-fuhr
er uh-MAW*-rahk*), he will be called tomorrow.
(MAS-uh) go raibh sé?, wasn't it thought that he was? Ní
mheastar go raibh sé. Measfar go mbeidh (me) sé.
an t-uisce?, wasn't the water poured? Ní dhoirtear (GIRT-tyuhr)
an t-uisce. Doirtfear an bainne sa phota.
an Iodáilis (i-DAW*-lish) ann?, wasn't Italian taught there?
Ní mhúintear an Iodáilis ann. Múinfear
an Fhraincis (un RANK-ish) an bhlian seo chugainn.
an chéad chlár?, wasn't the first program broadcast?
Ní chraoltear an chéad chlár. Craolfar Dé
Luain seo chugainn é, it will be broadcast next Monday.
(klohk*) an leabhar (LOU-uhr) seo anseo? Wasn't this book printed
here? Ní chlóitear (K*LOH-tyuhr) an leabhar seo anseo.
Clófar an leabhar mór sin in Éirinn (AY*R-ing).
Notes: "Glaoigh" (glee), call, like "clóigh"
(KLOH-ee), print, is slightly different from the general run of verbs.
Thus, "glaonn (glay*n) sí air" is the form for "She
seo chugainn" means "this year toward us", which is
"next year". "An tseachtain (TAHK*T-in) seo chugainn"
is "next week". "Tomorrow" is "amárach".
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(c) 1998 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.