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"
The letter group
"ei" gets various pronunciations, depending on whether it
is in an accented syllable, what letters follow it, and what part
of Ireland the speaker is from. Often it has an (e) sound, as in "creidim",
With a síneadh
fada (SHEEN-uh) over the "e", the sound is usually (ay*),
as in "féin", self, or "Éire" (AY*-re),
but sometimes the pronunciation is (eye), as in "éirigh"
(EYE-ree), rise. This word is pronounced (AY*-ree) in parts of Ireland.
before "bh", "dh", "gh" or "mh"
in an accented syllable may be (eye), as in:
cure; resembling (leyes) in parts of Ireland
In parts of Ireland,
"eibh" and "eimh" in these words may be (ev):
The word "geimhreadh", meaning "winter", may be
pronounced (GEE-ruh), (GEYE-ruh), or (GEV-roo), depending on the speaker's
origin. This may sound confusing, but we have parallels in the United
States, where "right" may be (reyet), (raht), (rat), or
even (royt). And of course "either" can be (EE-thur) or
We will continue
to give you one pronunciation, but we will add occasional explanation
The genitive plural
of a noun is the form you need if you wish to say, for example, "house
of the men, the men's house" in Irish. In the first declension,
consisting of nouns that are masculine and end in a broad consonant,
the genitive plural is usually the basic word that you have learned.
"Men's" is "fear" (far).
the men" is "teach na bhfear" (TAHK* nuh VAR). The
word "na" here means "of the," and it causes eclipsis
Review the cases
for the first declension:
man fear (far)
the man an fear
of the man, the
man's an fhir (un IR)
a man's fir or
the men na fir
of the men, the
men's na bhfear
of men, men's
fear or fhear (ar)
The genitive plural is the same as the basic noun for all the first-declension
nouns whose nominative plural is formed by:
broad consonant, or adding "a" to the basic word. Examples
fear; na fir
leabhar; na leabhair
bord; na boird
ceart; na cearta
the books" is "in aice na leabhar" (in A-ke nuh LOU-uhr).
"Color of the apples" is "dath na n-úll"
(dah nuh NOOL). Note that an "n" precedes a vowel in the
For plurals that end in "ta", "tha", "í",
or "anna", the genitive plural is the same as the nominative
plural that you have been learning in the last three lessons. For
poem; na dánta, the poems; ag léamh na ndánta,
reading the poems; ag léamh dánta, reading poems.
road, way; na bealaí (nuh BAL-ee), the roads; ag dúnadh
na mbealaí (uh DOON-uh nuh MAL-ee); ag dúnadh bealaí
This subject of plurals and the genitive case seems puzzling at first,
but we will be drilling on it in the next few weeks to give you a
good understanding of it. You will be surprised at the progress you
make, provided that you do the drills and exercises faithfully.
Form these word
groups into the genitive (singular or plural as indicated), as shown
by the following example:
an ticéad" becomes "praghas an ticéid"
(preyes uh ti-KAY*D).
na crainn (nuh krin)
i measc; na froganna
os cionn; na hárasáin
na Meiriceánaigh (nuh mer-i-KAW*-nee)
ag oscailt; an
béal (un BAY*L)
barr; an ceann
an rialtas (un REE-uhl-tuhs)
ag ceannach; na
lasáin (nuh luh-SAW*-in)
chun; na droichid
(k*un; nuh DRUH-hid)
barr; an buidéal
ag lasadh; an
timpeall; an carr
le linn; na lónta
KEY TO THE DRILL
na gcrann (er K*OOL nuh groun), in back of the trees.
i measc na bhfroganna
(i mask nuh VROHG-uh-nuh), in the midst of the frogs.
os cionn na n-árasán
(ohs KYOON nuh NAW*-ruh-saw*n), above the apartments.
Meiriceánach (HAH-tee nuh mer-i-KAW*-nuhk*), the Americans'
aráin (uh DAY*N-uhv uh-RAW*-in), making bread.
ag oscailt an
bhéil (eg OH-skilt uh VAY*L), opening the mouth.
barr an chinn
(bahr uh HYIN), top the head.
an rialtais (POH-luh-see uh REE-uhl-tish), the government's policy.
ag ceannach na
lasán (uh KAN-uhk* nuh luh-SAW*N), buying the matches.
chun na ndroichead
(k*un nuh NRUH-huhd), to the bridges.
barr an bhuidéil
(bahr uh vwi-DAY*L), top of the bottle.
ag lasadh an tsolais
(uh LAHS-uh uh TUH-lish), lighting the light.
timpeall an chairr
(TIM-puhl uh K*AHR), around the car.
le linn na lónta
(le LIN nuh LOHN-tuh), during the lunches.
you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?
can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish.
It's a full online learning program.
Then take the free
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.
- 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?
Irish with Irish for Beginners, by Bitesize Irish.
to top of page>>
(c) 1998 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.