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Lesson by "The Irish People"
You know the
basics of pronunciation by now. Although you should be able to sound
out most new words, we will continue to give you the pronunciation
guide for all new words--and most of the old ones, too--for a few
more lessons. We will also begin reviews to help you maintain your
pronunciation if you have no speakers, records, or tapes available.
We will now begin
to take up some of the details of pronunciation and some of the regional
variations. First, the word "maith" (mah), good. The "th" at the end
of the word means that the vowel sound of (ah) gets cut short, rather
than running long as it if were (maaah).
We do the same
in English sometimes. For example, when you say "ah" to indicate pleasant
surprise, the sound is held for a much longer time than when you say
"ah" to indicate disgust or impatience. In the second "ah", you cut
the sound off short, as you do for the Irish word "maith". This cutting
short of the sound for "th" also occurs inside words, usually at the
end of a syllable before a vowel, as in: leathan (LA-huhn), wide;
athair (A-hir), father. We will indicate where this happens from now
At the start
of a word, "th" gets an (h) sound, like English "h". For example:
tharla sé (HAHR-luh shay*), it happened.
"Maith" is pronounced
(meye) in some parts of Ireland, and you must learn to listen for
this. If a speaker says (goh MEYE), you will know that it is the equivalent
of the (go MAH) that you have learned. Regional differences exist
in Ireland, as in the United States where, for example, the word "rifle"
may be pronounced (REYE-fuhl), (RAH-fuhl) or (ROY-fuhl) along the
Eastern seaboard alone.
Irish has no
word for the verb "to have". Instead, Irish speakers say the equivalent
of "it is at me" or "the book is at him". The preposition "ag" (eg),
at, serves here. "A man has the book" becomes "Tá an leabhar
ag fear" (taw* un LOU-wuhr eg far), the book is at a man.
This is very
annoying at first to the average English speaker, because it requires
him to rearrange his thought patterns slightly. WIth a little practice
and drill, however, it will become second nature to you.
"ag" combines with "me", tú", and other pronouns to form the
following, which you should learn now:
at you (plural)
The term "ag
an" (eg un) means "at the" and it often causes eclipsis. For example,
"at the man" becomes "ag an bhfear" (eg un VAR). We will drill on
this to make you fluent in the form.
(kroosh-KEEN), jug, pitcher
(ki-SHAW*N), basket; ciseán páipéir (paw*-PAY*-ir),
fhuinneog (fwin-YOHG, un in-YOHG) window
scuab, an scuab
(SKOO-uhb), broom, brush
faigh, ag fáil
(feye, uh FAW*-il), get
cuir, ag cur
(kir, uh-KUHR), put
glan, ag glanadh
(gluhn, uh GLUHN-uh), clean
tógáil (tohg, uh TOHG-aw*-il), take, lift
stad, ag stad
First, for "have":
agam (taw* ku-PAW*N uh-GUHM), I have a cup. Tá cupán
agat (taw* ku-PAW*N uh-GUHT), You have a cup. Tá cupán
aige (taw* ku-PAW*N eg-GE), He has a cup. Tá cupán aici
(taw* ku-PAW*N a-KI), She has a cup. Tá cupán againn
(taw* ku-PAW*N uh-GIN), We have a cup. Tá cupán agaibh
(taw* ku-PAW*N uh- GIV), You (pl) have a cup. Tá cupán
acu (taw* ku-PAW*N ah- KUH), They have a cup.
Next, go through
agam (neel ku-PAW*N uh-GUHM), I don't have a cup. Níl cupán
agat (neel ku-PAW*N uh-GUHT), You don't have a cup. And so on.
Then the questions:
An bhfuil cupán
agam? (un vwil ku-PAW*N uh-GUHM), have I a cup? And so on.
Nach bhfuil cupán
agam? (nahk* vwil ku-PAW*N uh-GUHM, Don't I have a cup? And so on.
You are now ready,
after a short rest, for a progressive drill. Go through this form:
Nach bhfuil leabhar ag Seán? (nahk* vwill LOU-wuhr eg shaw*n),
Hasn't John a book? Níl leabhar ag Seán. An bhfuil leabhar
ag Máire? (MAW*-re). Has Mary a book? Tá leabhar ag
"Máire", but then substitute: Séamas, Liam, Bríd,
Úna and Diarmaid in succession. Your last sentence will be:
Tá leabhar ag Seán. Each time you say a sentence, form
a picture of a person holding a book or without a book.
For the second
drill, go to the kitchen again and run through:
é seo? or Céard é sin? for each object in the
kitchen as given in the vocabularies of Lesson 16 and this lesson.
Also, ask the question "cá bhfuil an _____" (kaw* vwil un _____).
Where is the _____? for each object and answer by "Tá sé
_____", using the phrases in the drill of Lesson 16. Visualization
of the object should be easy, since it will be before you.
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.