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Lesson by "The Irish People"
In Irish, as in
English, some of the sounds or syllables in words are dropped out
in rapid everyday speech. You must learn to do this yourself and to
listen for it in the speech of others. Up to now, these lessons have
given you largely the full pronunciation of individual words, even
We will now begin
to indicate how sentences are pronounced in everyday speech. Individual
words in vocabularies and examples will still receive their full pronunciations,
however. You should learn them thoroughly before using the words in
Here are examples
of word-group pronunciations:
Tá a fhios
agat (TAW* uh is uh-GUHT) you know, becomes (taw*s uh-GUHT), with
the sound for ³a² elided.
Fear an tí
(far un TEE) man of the house, becomes (far uh TEE). Ban an tí
(ban un TEE) woman of the house, becomes (ban uh TEE). Cá bhfuil
tú ag dul? (KAW* vwil too uh DUHL) Where are you going? can
become (KAW*-il too uh DUHL). Tá an fear anseo (taw* un FAR
un-SHUH), The man is here, becomes (taw*n FAR-un-SHUH).
We will put this
into lessons gradually enough so that you will not become confused.
And remember that everyone learning a language with the help of a
book tries to sound all the letters in all the words, but native speakers
Another use for
³le², with, is in expressions like:
liom ansin (taw* KAH-ruh luhm un-SHIN), a friend of mine is there.
Leabhar liom (LOU-wuhr luhm), means ³a book of mine². Hata
le Seán: one of John¹s hats. Clog le Nóra: one
of Nora¹s clocks, or a clock of Nora¹s.
This usage implies
that the subject spoken of is only one of several in its class. ³Leabhar
liom² implies that I have several books. ³Mo leabhar²
is ³my book² and does not say whether I have others.
é (is DOHK*-uh ay*) It¹s likely, I suppose so.
Maith go leor
(mah goh lohr) good enough.
bith (KI-bay* er BI) anyway.
Anois agus arís
(uh-NISH AH-guhs uh-REESH) now and again, now and then.
obair, an obair
(OH-bir, un OH-bir), work, the work
freagairt (FRAG-ir, uh FRAG-irt) answer
mé, d¹fhreagraíomar (DRAG-ir may*, drag-REE-uh-muhr),
I answered, we answered
caill, ag cailleadh
(keyel, uh KEYEL-uh), lose
ag tiomáint (ti-MAW*-in, uh ti-MAW*NT), drive
séanadh (shay*n, uh SHAY*N-uh), deny
tuill, ag tuilleamh
(till, uh TILL-uhv), earn
na hoibre (uh DAY*N-uhv nuh HIB-re), doing the work
pógadh (pohg, uh POHG-uh), kiss
croch, ag crochadh
(krohk*, uh KROHK*-uh), hang
ag gearán (gyar-AW*N, uh gyar-AW*N), complain
tochail, ag tochailt
(TOHK*-il, uh TOHK-ilt), dig
(hohk*-LEE-uh-muhr), we dug
an cóta ar crochadh (the coat is hanging); not ³ag crochadh²,
because the latter would mean that the coat is actively hanging something
Go through a progressive
drill beginning with the forms:
An leabhar liom
é seo? Is this a book of mine? Ní leabhar liom é
seo. Is leabhar leat é seo. Continue with ³An leabhar
leat é seo? Ní leabhar leat é seo.² Etc.
The last sentence will be: ³Is leabhar liom é seo.²
Repeat this with
³le Seán, le Máire, le dochtúir, leis an
bhfear, leis an mbean, leis an gcailín².
Read what Bríd
says each time, and follow the instructions for what you are to say.
Say something appropriate in Irish before you glance down at the key,
which you should cover until you need a line.
duit, a Dhónaill.
her and ask her how she is.)
mé go han-mhaith (HAHN-un-VWAH), agus conas tá tú
her that you are well, too. Ask her where Pascal is.)
bhí sé ag obair sa ghairdín an lá go léir,
earned his pay, I suppose. Is he still doing the work?
sé ag obair fós, agus a chóta ar crochadh ar
an mballa in aice leis (in AK-e lesh) (meaning ³near him²).
didn¹t complain yesterday, and the weather as hot as it was.
He came home directly.
chaill sé rud ar bith, bheith ag obair amuigh.
dug in the garden yesterday. Long work it is.
fíor duit. Níor shéan mé riamh é
sin. (I never denied that.)
her you like to be working outside.
duit, a Bhríd. Conas tá tú?
go maith, leis. Cá bhfuil Pascal, cibé ar bith?
a phá (faw*), is dócha. An bfuill sé ag déanamh
na hoibre fós?
sé inné, agus an aimsir chomh (hoh) te agus a bhí
sé. Tháinig sé abhaile go díreach.
sa ghairdín inné. Obair fhada is ea í.
Is maith liom
bheith ag obair amuigh.
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.