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 will return
now to work on pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
Here are several
sentences that are written in the form of the pronunciation guide.
Read them aloud, or have someone read them to you. As you hear them,
form a mental picture of the meaning. Do not translate them word for
word. After you have finished, look at the Key at lesson end to verify
neel uh EYEM-sheer
hoh mah AH-guhs uh vee shee in-YAY*, ahk* TAW*-im uh duhl uh-MAHK*
hig un SHOHP-uh, pay* shkay*l ay*. k*uh-NIK may* un YREE-uhn eg EYE-ree
er MAH-din, AH-guhs vee NAY*L-tuh DOOV-uh oun FRESH-in. BAY*dir goh
GIR-hee shay* SHNAHK*-tuh rev EE-hye.
With nouns like
"mac" and "bord", the form of the noun changes
when you put the noun into an expression like "the son's hat"
or "the head of the table". "Hata an mhic" (HAHT-uh
VIK) and "ceann an bhoird" (KYOUN uh VWIRD) are the Irish
expressions. The words "an mhic" and "an bhoird"
are in the genitive or possessive case and show ownership or the larger
combination to which some element belongs.
and "bord" are first declension nouns, all masculine and
all ending in a broad consonant one preceded by "a",
"o", or "u".
In the second
declension, nearly all nouns are feminine, and all end in a consonant.
Some of the ending consonants are slender (preceded by "e"
or "i"), and some are broad (preceded by "a",
"o", or "u"). Their plurals form in several ways,
and you must learn them as you learn the noun.
Before we begin
intensive work on this declension, learn the following groups of words
that will be examples of how second-declension nouns change.
grian, an ghrian,
solas na gréine (GREE-uhn, un YREE-uhn, SUHL-uhs nuh GRAY*N-e);
sun, the sun, light of the sun or sunlight.
bhróg, sáil na bróige (brohg, un VROHG, SAW*-il
nuh BROH-i-ge); shoe, the shoe, heel of the shoe or the shoe heel.
suil, an tsúil,
dath na suile (SOO-il, un TOO-il, dah nuh SOO-i-le); eye, the eye,
color of the eye.
áit, ainm na háite (aw*t, an AW*T, AN-im nuh HAW*-tye);
place, the place, name of the place or the place's name.
You can see from
this that feminine nouns are preceded by "na" in the genitive.
This "na" does not change the noun except that it causes
an "h" to be put before the initial vowel, as in:
na heaglaise (nuh
HAHG-lish-e); of the church.
(nuh hi-NEEN-e); of the daughter.
nouns end in "___ e" in the genitive singular, as you can
see from the examples.
nouns whose basic forms ends in "___ ach" change their ending
to " __ í" in the genitive singular. An example is:
an bháisteach, na baistí (BAW*SH-tuhk*, un VWAW*SH-tuhk*,
nuh BAW*SH-tee); rain, the rain, of the rain.
Usage of "my,
your, his", etc., with these second-declension nouns is similar
to that with first-declension nouns. For example:
mo chos, barr
mo choise (muh K*UHS, bahr muh K*ISH-e); my foot, top of my foot.
Usage of the compound
prepositions with these nouns is also similar to that with first-declension
nouns. For example:
os comhair na
háite (ohs KOH-ir nuh HAW*-tye); in front of the place.
(All these nouns
grian, an ghrian,
na gréine, na grianta (GREE-uhn, un YREE-uhn, nuh GRAY*N-e,
nuh GREE-uhn-tuh); sun, the sun, of the sun, the suns.
ceist, an cheist,
na ceiste, na ceisteanna (kesht, un yesht, nuh KESH-te, nuh KESH-tuh-nuh);
question, the question, of the question, the questions.
lámh, na láimhe, na lámha (law*v, un LAW*V, nuh
LAW*-i-ve, nuh LAW*V-uh); hand, the hand, of the hand, the hands.
bhróg, na bróige, na bróga (brohg, un VROHG,
nuh BROH-i-ge, nuh BROHG-uh); shoe, the shoe, of the shoe, the shoes.
an leadóg, na leadóige, --- (la-DOHG, un la-DOHG, nuh
la-DOH-i-ge); tennis, the tennis, of the tennis.
an aicíd, na hacíde, na haicídí (A-keed,
un A-keed, nuh HA-keed-e, nuh HA-keed-ee); disease, the disease, of
the disease, the diseases.
tseachtain, na seachtaine, na seachtainí (SHAHK*T-in, un TYAHK*T-in,
nuh SHAHK*T-in-e, nuh SHAHK*T-in-ee); week, the week, of the week,
fadhb, an fhadhb,
na faidhbe, na fadhbanna (feyeb, un EYEB, nuh FEYE-be, nuh FEYEB-uh-nuh);
problem, the problem, of the problem, the problems.
cos, an chos,
na coise, na cosa (kuhs, an K*UHS, nuh KISH-e, nuh KUHS-uh).
gealach, an ghealach,
na gealaí, na gealacha (GAL-uhk*, un YAL-uhk*, nuh GAL-ee,
nuh GAL-uh-huh); moon, the moon, of the moon, the moons.
Key to the
aimsir chomh maith agus a bhí sí inné, ach táim
ag dul amach chuig an siopa, pé scéal é. Chonaic
mé an ghrian ag éirí ar maidin, agus bhí
néalta dubha ann freisin. B'fhéidir go gcuirfidh sé
sneachta roimh oíche.
The weather is
not as good as it was yesterday, but I am going out to the store,
anyway. I saw the sun rising this morning and there were dark clouds
there, too. Perhaps it will snow before night.
If your first
effort at listening to speech was not very successful, don't be discouraged.
All beginners in languages experience this. We will have these pronunciation
exercises at intervals in future lessons, and you will become more
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.