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Bunús na Gaeilge - Basic Irish Language

There is no other way to revive Irish than for a crowd of people to spread it.
- Douglas Hyde

Note: The spellings and pronunciations used are based on Aideen's own natural use of Connemara Irish but they have been kept simple, so as to be understood where there are differences in the language.
For example, the word 'feicfidh' is used only in Connemara Irish; in Leinster, Ulster and Munster the word is 'cífidh'. There are two pronunciations; Leinster/Munster - kee-fee; Ulster - chee-fee.


The biggest problem for people whose native language is English is that the soft 't' and 'd' are in Irish, but not in English; it's difficult to 'reproduce' them in writing. Where I use 'th' and 'dh' here, they are best achieved by putting your tongue gently behind your front upper teeth."


Click here for our words & phrases Index.

Lesson #8 - Counting one through ten

Of the very few words Bridget learned from her father, she still remembers these:

Word: One
Irish: Aon
Pronuncation:
Ay-on

Word: Two
Irish: Dó
Pronunciation:
dhoh

Word: Three
Irish: Trí
Pronunciation:
three

Word: Four
Irish: Ceathair
Pronunciation:
ka-hir

Word: Five
Irish: Cúig
Pronunciation:
coo-ig

Word: Six
Irish:Sé
Pronunciation:
shay

Word: Seven
Irish: Seacht
Pronunciation:
shoch-edh

Word: Eight
Irish: Ocht
Pronunciation:
uchth

Word: Nine
Irish: Naoi
Pronunciation:
knee (or in Munster Irish - nay)

Word: Ten
Irish: Deich
Pronunciation:
djeh

Note: The use of these words for numbers in actual speech may or may not change grammatically and do when speaking of numbers of people. Some selected examples:

Phrase: I'd like five pints of Guinness
Irish: Ba mhaith liom cúig pionta Guinness
Pronunciation:
Bah wy li-um coo-ig pyun-thah Guinness

Phrase: He's No.1
Irish: Is uimhir a haon é
Pronunciation:
Is iv-ir a hayn ay

Phrase: There are three (children) in my family
Irish: Tá triúir sa chlann agam
Pronunciation:
Thaw throor sa chlann ah-gum

Phrase: I'll be there at eight o'clock
Irish: Beidh mé ann ag a hocht a chlog
Pronunciation:
Bay (or 'bye') may on egg ah huchth ah chlug


Lesson #9 - Colours
Our translator and enunciator has requested that we use the Anglo-Irish spelling for the word colours. We think this is a perfectly reasonable request. When in Ireland, right?

Word: COLOURS
Irish: DATHANNA
Pronunciation:
dhah-annah

Word: Red
Irish: Dearg
Pronunciation:
jiarg

Word: White
Irish: Bán
Pronunciation:
bawn

Word: Pink
Irish: Bán-dearg
Pronunciation:
bawn-jiarg

Word: Green
Irish: Glass
Pronunciation:
gloss

Word: Black
Irish: Dubh
Pronunction:
dhuv

Word: Blue
Irish: Gorm
Pronunciation:
gurm

Word: Brown
Irish: Donn
Pronunciation:
dhown

Word: Yellow
Irish: Buí
Pronunction:
wee

Phrase: The snow is very white
Irish: Tá an sneachta an-bhán
Pronunciation:
thaw on shnock-tha on wawn

Phrase: I have a red sweater
Irish: Tá geansaí bán agam
Pronunciation:
Thaw gan-see bawn ah-gum

Phrase: Ireland (the country) is so green
Irish: Tá tír na hÉireann chomh ghlass
Pronunciation:
Thaw cheer na hay-run khoh ghloss

Phrase: She wore a red dress
Irish: Bhí gúna dearg uirthí
Pronunciation:
Vee goo-nah jiarg ir-hee

Phrase: Guinness, the black drink
Irish: Guinness, an deoch dubh
Pronunciation:
Guinness, on jee-och dhuv

Phrase: He has brown eyes
Irish: Tá súile donn aige
Pronunciation:
thaw soo-leh dhown egg-eh

Phrase: She has nice brown hair
Irish: Tá gruaig deas donn aicí
Pronunciation:
thaw groo-ig jias dhown eck-ee

Phrase: He sent me pink flowers
Irish: Chuir sé bláthanna bán-dearg agam
Pronunciation:
qhuir shay blaw-annah bawn-jiarg ah-gum


Irish Lesson #10 -Food
We seriously doubt that if you're in an Irish restaurant or pub, you'll need to know the following words and phrases; but, you never know. Again, our thanks to our resident translator who sent us these while entertaining house-guests over the Easter weekend.

Word: food
Irish: bia
Pronunciation:
bee-yah

Word: breakfast
Irish: bricfeasta
Pronunciation:
brick-fas-thah

Word: lunch
Irish: lón
Pronunciation:
loan

Word: dinner
Irish: dinnéir
Pronunciation:
din -air

Word: tea
Irish: té
Pronunciation:
thay

Word: bread
Irish: arán
Pronunciation:
ah-rawn

Word: milk
Irish: bainne
Pronunciation:
bahn-yeh

Word: sugar
Irish: siúcre
Pronunciation:
shoo-creh

Word: meat
Irish: feoil
Pronunciation:
fee-ohl

Word: fish
Irish: iasc
Pronunciation:
ee-usk

Word: vegetables
Irish: glasraí
Pronunciation:
gloss-ree

Word: soup
Irish: anraith
Pronunciation:
ahn-ri

Word: cake
Irish: ciste
Pronunciation:
kish-che

Word: sweets/candy
Irish: milseáin
Pronunciation:
mill-shaw-een

Phrase: I don't want breakfast
Irish: Níl bricfeasta (ag taisteáil) uaim
Pronunciation:
Kneel brick-fas-thah (egg thahs-thoil) wem

Phrase: What time will lunch be?
Irish: Cén t-am a mbeidh an lón?
Pronunciation:
Kayn tham ah my an loan?

Phrase: We are going out for dinner
Irish: Táimíd ag dul amach le h-aghaidh an dinnéir
Pronunciation:
Thaw-meed egg dhull ah-mock leh high an din -air

Phrase: The team are training hard
Irish: Tá an fhoireann ag tréineáil go dílis
Pronunciation:
thaw on ir-unn egg thray-nawl guh jee-lish

For More Irish words & phrases please click here: Irish Index

Image: Gaeilge Beo from All Posters and Prints.


 

Thu, Jul 9, 2015
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Bitesize Irish Gaelic

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Irish Grammar
by Noel Mogonagle

This book is excellent for beginners who are wanting a book that gives basic grammar without all the extra information that confuses beginners. The book is well laid out, with information very easy to find. Amazon Reviewer

Here is a good follow-on to our words and phrases.
Click for Irish Grammar.

Irish - English
English - Irish
Dictionaries

Note: We have yet to see a dictionary with phonetic pronunciations for each word. We suspect this is partly due to the variations. Providing for all four 'green fields' (Connacht, Leinster, Ulster and Munster), would be cumbersome at best. Still, someone may do it some day. Until then, these are all very good and recommended. Serious students will have more than one; they are inexpensive.

These two (either or both) are the handy-references needed to go with a good grammar or 'teach yourself' course.
We would need both (and some other help) if found wandering in a Gaeltacht late at night.
Amazon has an offer of either one combined with a grammar for a reduced price.
Click for Collins Gem
Click for Oxford Pocket.

Wicked Irish
by Howard Tomb

While I wouldn't recommend you use many of these phrases, this is a terribly funny book. I picked it up after leafing through it at the store and finding phrases about sheep and inns and the hazards of driving in Ireland without insurance. Each little section starts out innocuously enough, then quickly degenerates into truly funny comments. If you like Monty Python or BlackAdder, this will really make you laugh. If you liked the Father Ted tv show, this little book will make you keel over giggling. Ah, go on, ya eejit, buy it already! Amazon Reviewer
(We want this, you may see a few on these pages - watch out).
Click for Wicked Irish

Teach Yourself Irish Complete Course
by Diarmuid O'She & Joseph Sheils

An easy-to-use program for learning on your own, or can be used as supplemental material for your classes. These new editions have been thoroughly revised and updated to include the engaging dialogues and helpful exercises you have come to expect from the Teach Yourself series.
Click for Teach Yourself

Learning Irish
by Micheal O'Siadhail

The Best Irish Course Available! Three years ago I decided to learn Irish, and in the next two years I bought three different courses. The first two were simply useless, (that's the obvious reason for my buying new courses) you could learn some phrases, but not construct sentences yourself. Learning Irish, on the other hand, is an excellent book, which gives you a thorough vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. It consists of 36 lessons, all containing vocabularies, grammar instructions, texts and excercises. Amazon Reviewer.

Click for Learning irish


 

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