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Lesson by "The Irish People"
We now review
the consonants "t" and "d". These are related in both English and
Irish, because a "d" is pronounced like a "t" except for use of the
In Irish, each
of these two letters has a broad sound when the nearest vowel in the
word is "a, o, u", and a slender sound when the nearest vowel is "e,
For the broad
sound, place the tongue front up against or close to the roof of the
mouth, behind the upper front teeth and touching the back of them.
Then say the "t" or "d" sound. Examples:
tú, tusa (TU-suh), tamall (TAH-muhl), tosaigh (TUH-see), tús
dún (doon), dara (DUH-ruh), doras (DUH-ruhs), duine (DIN-e),
Notice that in
"duine" and "duibheagán", the "u" following the "d" tells you
to give the "d" its broad sound, even though the next actual vowel
sound is for the "i".
A few more examples:
trá, trom (truhm), trua (TROO-uh), drad (drahd), dlú
(dloo), droch (druhk*).
For the slender
"t" and "d", touch the tip of the tongue against the hard ridge behind
the upper front teeth. The tongue can be inclined forward and even
touch the back of the upper front teeth. The pronounce the "t" or
"d". The sound will have a trace of a "y" sound at the end of it.
(TIN-e), tír (teer), teach (tyahk*), trí (tree).
dian (DEE-uhn), deas (das), dearg (DYAR-uhg), díol (DEE-uhl),
In some Irish
speech, the traces of the "y" sound may be changed so that a slender
"t" sounds like an English "ch", and a slender "d" like an English
"j". "Tine" may sound like (CHIN-e), and "deas" may sound like (jas).
In our pronunciation guide, we sometimes put a (y) in to familiarize
you with this feature of Irish.
From now on,
you must watch to see whether an "a, o, u" or "e, i" is nearest the
"t" or "d", so that you can give the "t" or "d" its proper sound.
airgead, an t-airgead
(AR-i-guhd, un TAR-i-guhd), money
an tsíleáil (SHEE-aw*-il, un TEE-aw*-il), ceiling, the
un chnámh (kuh-NAW*V, un k*uh-NAW*V), bone, the bone
Smig, an smig
geal (gal), bright
deas (das), nice,
with "is", do the following drill until you can repeat the groups
é seo? (kay*rd ay* shuh), What is this?
Is leabhar é
(is LOU-whur ay*).
An leabhar Gaeilge
é? (GAY*-lig-e), Is it an Irish book?
ach leabhar Béarla (nee ha, ahk* LOU-wuhr BAY*R-luh). It is
not; it is an English book.
é sin? Nach baile é? (nahk* BAHL-e ay*)
Sea, ach ní
baile deas é (sha, ahk* nee BAHL-e das ay*).
An fear mór
é? Ní hea, ach fear beag (byuhg).
deas í sin? Sea, agus cailín galánta freisin
(guh-LAW*N-tuh FRESH-in), Yes, and a fashionable girl, too.
(kay* TU-suh), Who are you?
Is mise Séan
Ó Rian (is MISH-e shaw*n oh REEN), I am John Reen.
(kay* MISH-e), Who am I?
Is tusa an fear
(kay* SHIN-ye), Who are we?
Is sibhse na
múinteoirí (is SHIV-she nuh moo-in-TYOHR-ee), You are
sin? Who is that?
Is é sin
Liam (shay* shin LEE-uhm), That's William.
hiad seo? (AH-guhs kay* HEE-uhd shuh) And who are these?
Is iad seo Máire
agus Séamas (SHEE-uhd shuh MAW*-re AH-guhs SHAY*-muhs), These
are Mary and James.
an fear ag an doras? (kay* hay* un far eg un DUHR-uhs) Who is the
man at the door?
Is é Brian
é (shay* BREE-uhn ay*), It's Brian.
an cailín leis? (kay* hee un kah-LEEN lesh) Who is the girl
with him? Is í Brid í (shee breed ee), It's Bridget.
Táimid ag baile arís (TAW*-mid eg BAHL-e uh-REESH).
We're home again.
(MAW*-re): Táimid, tar éis bheith in Éirinn trí
mhí (tuhr ay*sh ve in AY*R-in tree vee). We are, after being
in Ireland three months.
Céard é sin ar an tsíleáil? (kay*rd ay*
sin er un TEEL-aw*-il) What's that on the ceiling?
Spota uisce, go cinnte (SPOH-tuh ISH-ke, goh KIN-te). A water spot,
Tá piopa briste thuas an staighre, is dócha (taw* PEEP-uh
BRISH-te HOO-uhs un STEYE-ruh, is DOHK*-uh). There's a pipe broken
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.