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Lesson by "The Irish People"
below are written in the form of the pronunciation guide. Read them
aloud, or have someone read them to you. Ass you hear them, form a
mental picture of the meaning and the situation. Do not translate
the sentences word for word. After you have finished, look at the
Key at lesson end to verify your understanding.
Dee-uh git, uh
HAY*-mish. DEE-uhs MWIR-e git, uh VWAW*-re. nee AHK-uh may* too le
FAH-duh oh HIN. KUN-uhs taw* too in-YOO? oh, er OUS. law* SEER-e uh-GUHM.
shin ay* un FAW* goh vwil AW*-huhs OH-ruhm. ahk* KUN-uhs taw* too
fay*n? taw* may* goh MAH, FRESH-in. is DOHK*-uh goh vwil too uh duhl
uh-VWAHL-e uh-NISH. NEEL-im. vee may* uh SHOOL TIM-puhl un K*OON-ye
k*un NOO-uhk*-taw*n uh AW*-il. neel ay*n shkay*l NOO-uh uh-GUHM-suh,
ahk** BAY*-dir goh vwil shkay*l NOO-uh suh NOO-uhk*-taw*n. taw* SOO-il
uh-GUHM goh me. ahk* taw* OH-ruhm DE-fir uh YAY*N-uhv. taw* shay*
eg EYE-ree DAY*N-uhk*. slaw*n uh-GUHT, uh HAY*-mish. slaw*n lat, uh
VWAW*-re. HEE-hee may* too uh-REESH goh LOO-uh.
We will look at
the genitive plural in Irish in this lesson. An expression like "the
men's hats" in English takes the form of "hats of the men"
in Irish. The words for "of the men" will be in the genitive
Very often the
genitive plural in Irish is the same as the nominative plural, which
is the plural form that you have been learning in the Vocabularies
in recent lessons.
In other cases,
the genitive plural is like the simplest and first form of the noun,
the nominative singular. It is not difficult to select the right form.
In nearly all words, if the plural adds two or more letters to the
singular, or if the plural ends in "___ í", then
the genitive plural is the same as the nominative plural.
scoil, na scoileanna
(skuhl, nuh SKUHL-uh-nuh), school, the schools; the plural is long,
so the genitive plural is "scoileanna", and "closing
the schools" is "ag dúnadh na scoileanna", closing
of the schools.
margadh, na margaí
(MAHR-uh-guh, nuh MAHR-uh-gee), market, the markets; the plural ends
in "__ í", so the genitive plural is "margaí",
and "opening the markets" is "ag oscailt na margaí",
opening of the markets.
In nouns that
merely slenderize the last consonant or only add "__a",
to form the plural, the genitive plural will be the same as the simplest
form of the noun, the nominative singular. Examples:
báid (baw*d, nuh BAW*-id), boat, the boats; here the "d"
at the word end is slenderized, and consequently the genitive plural
is "bád" the same as the nominative singular, the
basic form that you have learned. "Buying boats" is "ceannach
bád" buying of boats.
bróga (brohg, nuh BROHG-uh), shoe, the shoes; here the plural
merely adds " __ a", so the genitive plural is "bróg",
the same as the nominative singular. "Selling shoes", is,
"ag díol bróg", selling of shoes.
The genitive plural
changes in its first consonant when it follows the words for "my",
"your", and "his", just like other noun forms
in Irish. Examples:
shoes" is literally "buying of my shoes", "ag
ceannach mo bhróg" (uh KAN-uhk* muh VROHG).
his words" is "ag léamh a fhocal" (uh LAY*V
of your copies" is "os comhair do chóipeanna"
(ohs KOH-ir duh K*OH-ip-uh-nuh).
Eclipsis is also
found here, when the words "na", meaning "of the",
and "ár" (aw*r), cur; bhur (vwoor), your (plural);
a (uh), their, come before the genitive plural. Examples:
our copies" is "ag léamh ár gcóipeanna".
shoes" is "ag ceannach a mbróg".
the roads" is "ag dúnadh na mbóithre".
At first, you
will have to pay close attention to the word forms in reading to detect
the genitive plural, but a little practice will help.
Learn these expressions
for quick use in conversation.
Cad is ainm duit?
(kahd is A-nim dit), What is your name?
____ is ainm dom
( ___ is A-nim duhm), ___ is my name.
rud i gceart (taw* gahk* ruhd i GYAHRT), Everything is all right.
Here is some practice
with the genitive plurals.
(far) is "man"; "fir" (fir) is "men".
The plural merely slenderizes the final consonant, so the genitive
plural must be the same as the nominative singular. What is "hats
of the men"?
na bhfear (HAH-tee nuh VAR). The "na", meaning "of
the" in the plural, causes eclipsis, and "bh" eclipses
(DYAL-uhv) is "statue"; "dealbha" is "statues".
This plural is formed by merely adding "a", so what is "cleaning
Answer: ag glanadh
na ndealabh (uh GLUHN-uh NYAL-uhv).
We will continue
with drilling on the genitive forms next week.
Key to the pronunciation exercise:
Dia dhuit, a Shéamais.
Dia's Muire dhuit, a Mháire. Ní fhaca mé
tú le fada ó shoin. Conas tá tú inniu?
Ó, ar fheasbhas. Lá saoire agam. Sin é
an fáth go bhfuil áthas orm. Ach conas tá tú
féin? Tá mé go maith, freisin. Is
dócha go bhfuil tú ag dul abhaile anois.
Nílim. Bhí mé ag siúl timpeall an chúinne
chun nuachtán a fháil. Níl aon scéal
nua agamsa, ach b'fhéidir go bhfuil scéal nua sa nuachtán.
Tá súil agam go mbeidh. Ach tá orm
deifir a dhéanamh. tá sé ag éirí
déanach. Slán agat, a Shéamais. Slán
leat, a Mháire. Chífidh mé tú arís
Hello, Mary. I haven't seen you for a long time. How are
you today? Oh, excellent. I have a holiday. That's the
reason that I am glad. But how are you yourself? I am well,
too. I suppose that you are going home now. I'm not. I
was walking around the corner to get a newspaper. I hope
there will be one. But I must hurry. It's getting late. Good-by, James.
Good-by, Mary. I will see you again soon.
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(c) 1998 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.