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 Gaelic.
Enter your name and email address below to get started (and we'll never spam you):
Lesson by "The Irish People"
The letter "s"
recieves its broad sound if an "a, o, u" is the nearest
vowel in the word. The sound is very close to the American (s), with
lips relaxed and a little trace of hissing. Try: sámh (saw*v),
sampla (SAHM-pluh), só (soh), sú (soo), súil
(SOO-il), san (suhn), saor (say*r), saoirse (SEER-she), slat (slaht),
smál (smaw*l), spúnóg (spun-OHG), srón
(srohn), stad (stahd), snas (snahs), stró (stroh), bás
(baw*s), bosca (BOHSK-uh).
The slender sound
of "s" is (sh), as in the English word "shun".
It is heard when the nearest vowel is "e,i", unless the
combinations "sm", "sp" or "str" occur.
With those combinations, "s" always has its broad sound
of (s). First try: sean (shan), séid (shay*d), seift (sheft),
síl (sheel), simné (SHIM-nay*), seo (shuh), siopa (SHOHP-uh),
leis (lesh), cliste (KLISH-te), slí (shlee), sneachta (SHNAHK*-tuh),
stiúir (SHTYOO-ir), scríobh (shkreev).
Then, for examples
of the exceptions to the slender sound, memorize these words: smig
(smig), chin; spéir (spay*r), sky; srian (SREE-uhn), bridle;
stríoc (streek) stripe.
is an exception and is pronounced (is).
You know the word
"ag" (eg), meaning "at", and you have learned
how it combines with "me, you", etc., to form "agam,
agat" and so on.
Other Irish prepositions
change similarly. One of these is "le" (le), meaning "with".
Here are some examples of "le" with names and nouns that
don't have "the" before them: le Seán; le Nóra;
le fear, with a man; le bróg, with a shoe.
does not cause aspiration or eclipsis. The name or noun (without "the")
is merely added. To say "with me, with you," etc. these
are the forms:
liom (luhm) with
leat (lat) with
leis (lesh) with
linn (lin) with
libh (liv) with
leo (loh) with
with a slender "l" (see Lesson 27). Do not make an audible
(y) sound; say (luhm), not (lyuhm).
If you want to
say "with the man", or "with the book", the form
is: leis an bhfear (lesh un var), with the man; leis an leabhar (lesh
un LOU-wuhr) with the book. Eclipsis often occurs, and here are examples
leis an mbád
(lesh un maw*d) with the boat
leis an gcarr
(lesh un gahr) with the car
leis an ndoras
(lesh un NUH-ruhs) with the door
leis an bhfeirm
(lesh un VER-im) with the farm
leis an ngairdín
(lesh uhng ahr-DEEN) with the garden
leis an bpáipéar
(lesh un baw*-PAY*R) with the paper
leis an dteanga
(lesh un DYANG-uh) with the tongue (or language)
and "t" are not eclipsed by "leis an" as often
as are the other letters above. "Leis an doras" and "leis
an teanga" are common.
serves in many expressions in Irish. It commonly follows some important
verbs, sometimes being used where English would use "to".
Learn these expressions and verbs:
liom é (DOO-irt shay* luhm ay*), he said it to me.
Abair leis dul
abhaile (AH-bir lesh duhl uh-VWAHL-e), tell him to go home.
Imigh leat (IM-ee
lat), be off with you.
leis (DIM-ee shay* lesh), he departed (went off with himself).
Tig liom rince
(tig luhm RINK-e), I can dance.
leat léamh (nee hig lat LAY*-uhv), you can't read.
An dtig leat é
a dhéanamh? (un dig lat ay* uh YAY*N-uhv), can you do it?
(ay*sht luhm), listen to me.
sí liom (day*sht shee luhm), she listened to me.
Fan liom (fahn
luhm), wait for me.
liom (dahn shay* luhm), he waited for me.
sé leo (NEE-uhr ahn shay* loh), he didn't wait for them.
With each of the
forms in the Vocabulary (except "imigh" and "d'imigh"),
substitute: le Seán; leis an bhfear; leis an gcailín.
Now that our pronunciation
review is largly complete, we will emphasize conversation again. This
week, we stress the past tense and "le". Next week, we will
begin conversation drills in which you will take part by forming you
own replies and answers.
(DOHN-uhl): Cé bhuail an teach sin? Tá balla leagtha
(BAHL-uh LAG-huh). Who hit that house? There's a wall knocked down.
Ó, bhí timpist ann aréir (uh-RAY*R). Oh, there
was an accident there last night. Chuaigh (K*OO-ig) tiománaí
(ti-MAW*-nee) trí solas dearg (DYAR-ruhg) agus carr eile ag
teacht go tapaidh (TAHP-ee). Chas an chéad (HYAY*-uhd) charr,
ach ní raibh an t-ádh (taw*) air. A driver went through
a red light while another car was coming fast. The first car turned,
but luck wasn't with him. Tháinig sé suas ar an gcosán
(guh-SAW*N) agus direach isteach sa bhalla. D'éistíomar
leis na tiománaithe ag caint le chéile. Drochchaint
(druhk*-K*EYENT) ar fad. He came up on the sidewalk and right into
the wall. We listened to the drivers talking to each other. Terrible
Cad a tharla (HAHR-luh) ansin? What happened then?
cara leis an tiománaí agus tharraing sé an carr
briste chuig garáiste (k*ig guh-RAW*SH-te). A friend of the
driver came and towed the damaged car to the garage.
Nach mór an trua é. What a shame.
you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?
can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish Gaelic.
It's a full online learning program.
Then take the free
for Beginners email course by Bitesize Irish Gaelic. 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 Gaelic.
<<back to top of page>>
(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.