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Lesson by "The Irish People"
We will review
the vowel "u" this week.
When the "síneadh
fada" (SHEEN-uh FAH-duh) mark is over it, making it ú,
its sound is usually that of (oo), as in English "food"
or "rude", but the Irish sound is held longer. Examples:
gúna (GOON-uh); dúnaim (DOON-im).
Without a síneadh
fada, "u" between consonants often has the sound (u), as
in English "put", "foot", or "should. Examples:
thug (hug); guthán (gu-HAW*N).
The (uh) sound,
as in English "run", "love" "but", is
less common for "u" in Irish. Irish speakers often substitute
other sounds for (uh) in English, as you have learned in previous
lessons. You may have heard the last three words above pronounced
(run, lohv, boht) instead of (ruhn, luhv, buht). Nevertheless, some
Irish words have the (uh) sound or a sound close to it. Examples:
dul (duhl); agat
(uh-GUHT); doras (DUH-ruhs).
The (uh) sound
is common in unaccented syllables, of course, such as in garda (GAHR-duh)
or córas (KOH-ruhs).
the "u" can be pronounced (oo), as in:
nuachtan (NOO-uhk*-taw*n); buail (BOO-il).
In the west and
north, "ua" may be pronounced (oh) in some words, such as
"rua", red-haired. An example: Eoghan Rua (OH-uhn roh) Ó
Néill, anglicized as Owen Roe O'Neill.
At the beginning
of a word, "ua" may sound like (oo) or (woo-uh).
Try: uachtar (OO-uhk*-tuhr)
and uaim (oo-WIM). In the latter word, the sounds may run together
so that they sometimes resemble (wim), but in any case, the word should
be pronounced without a pause between the parts of the pronunciation.
Forms such as:
He said that they
They think that
it is not here
We heard that
you bought a house
are called indirect
speech. Here are examples which are translations of the sentences
go raibh siad ansin (DOO-irt shay* goh rev SHEE-uhd un-SHIN).
siad nach bhfuil sé anseo (SHEEL-uhn SHEE-uhd nahk* VWIL shay*
cheannaigh tú teach (K*OOL-uh-muhr gur HYAN-ee too TAHK*).
For the present
tense, use "go" or "nach" after the first verb.
"Go" introduces an affirmative statement, and "nach"
a negative. The first verb can be affirmative I say, you think,
etc., or negative, such as: I don't think. It can also ask a
question: An ndeir (ner) tú go bhfuil sé anseo?, Do
you say that he is here?
is the second verb, it is in the "bhfuil" form either
"go bhfuil" or "nach bhfuil". Both "go"
and "nach" eclipse. Study these examples:
Cloisim go mbaineann
sé a chóta de (KLISH-im goh MWIN-uhn shay* uh K*OH-tuh
de), I hear that he takes his coat off.
nach gceannaíonn sé mórán bia (der shay*
nahk* gyan-EE-uhn shay* moh-RAW*N BEE-uh), he says that he doesn't
buy much food.
sí go ndíolann Seán leabhair (nee HEEL-uhn shee
goh NEEL-uhn shaw*n LOU-wir), she doesn't think that John sells books.
liom go n-ólann siad mórán bainne (nee DOH-ee
luhm goh NOHL-uhn SHEE-uhd moh-RAW*N BAHN-ye), I don't think that
they drink much milk.
Note that when a vowel starts the second verb, you must put an "n"
before the vowel, as in "go n-itheann sé" or "nach
Make up a sentence for each of the following combinations:
(der shay*) with: go bhfaigheann sí (goh VWEYE-uhn shee), and
nach bhfaigheann sí; go nglanann siad (gohng LUHN-uhn SHEE-uhd),
and nach nglanann (nahk*-ung LUHN-uhn) siad; go léann sé,
and nach léann sé; go míníonn (meen-EE-uhn)
sé and nach míníonn sé.
go níonn sé (goh NEE-uhn shay*), and nach níonn
sé; go n-itheann sí, and nach n-itheann sí; go
bpósann siad (goh BOHS-uhn SHEE-uhd), and nach bpósann
siad; go rithimid, and nach rithimid.
liom with: go scríobhann sé, and nach scríobhann
sé; go dtéann sé, and nach dtéann sé;
go dtagann sé, and nach dtagann sé.
dhuit, a Stiofáin (DEE-uh git, uh shtee-FAW*-in). Hello, Stephen.
(shtee-FAW*N): Dia's Muire dhuit, a Mhairsile (DEE-uhs MWIR-uh git,
uh VWAHR-shil-e). Conas tá tú inniú? Hello, Marcella.
How are you today?
mé go han-mhaith (goh HAHN-uh VWAH). Agus conas tá tú
féin? I am very well. And how are you yourself?
Táim go maith leis. Cloisim go bhfuil tú ag foghlaim
Gaeilge arís (uh FOU-lim GAY*-li-ge uh-REESH). I am well, too.
I hear that you're studying Irish again.
táim tar éis bheith á foghlaim le fada. Sílim
go bhfuil mé ag dul chun cinn anois, (oh, TAW*-im tuhr ay*sh
ve aw* FOU-lim luh FAH-duh. SHEEL-im go vwil may* uh duhl hun kin
uh*NISH). Oh, I'm after studying it for a long time. I think that
I am making progress now.
Notes: "Duit" can become "dhuit" (git) in much
speech. "dh" before "u" sounds much like English
"g" in "go".
tar éis bheith (ve)" comes into English as "I am
after _____ ", meaning "I have been ____ ". An example
is: "Táim tar éis bheith teacht abhaile",
meaning "I have come home".
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.