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Lesson by "The Irish People"
The letter "l",
like other Irish consonants, has two sounds. The broad sound occurs
when the nearest vowel in the word is "a", "o",
or "u". The broad sound is clearest when the letter "l"
begins the word.
"l", widen the tongue and force it against the back of the
upper front teeth. The sound will differ from the English pronunciation,
in which you probably touch the tongue tip to the roof of the mouth
while keeping the tongue narrowed.
words containing the broad "l" sound:
day; ló (loh), in "de ló is d'oíche",
day and night; lú (loo), smaller, smallest.
The next sound
after a broad "l" can be a slender (ay*) or (ee) sound,
lae (lay*), of
a day ("meán lae" (myaw*n lay*) is "midday"
or "noon"); luí (lee), lying down.
The slender "l" sound occurs when the nearest vowel in the
word is "e" or "i". For slender "l"
at the beginning of a word, curl your tongue downward so that the
tongue is raised to touch the upper teeth and the hard ridge behind
them, while the tip touches the back of the lower front teeth.
words with initial slender "l" sound:
le (le), with;
leat (lat), with you; líon (LEE-uhn), linen; léan (lay*n),
sorrow; liom (luhm), with me; leo (loh), with them. Do not add a (y)
sound to the "l".
Inside a word,
or at a word end, "l" is often pronounced like English "l",
with the tongue narrower and touching the roof of the mouth close
behind the upper front teeth.
We continue with
the free form or saorbhriathar (say*r-VREE-huhr). The sentence "Dúnaim
an doras" (DOON-im un DUH-ruhs) means "I close the door",
but "Dúntar an doras" is translated as "Someone
closes the door", or "The door is closed by someone",
or even "The door gets closed by someone".
This Irish sentence
differs in meaning from "Tá an doras dúnta"
(DOON-tuh), which means that at the present time the door is closed
and not open. English is not as clear in meaning in this respect as
Other forms for
the saorbhriathar in the present tense:
dhúntar an doras ar a seacht a chlog" (nee GOON-tuhr un
DUH*ruhs er uh shahk*t uh k*luhg), The door is not closed at seven,
no one closes the door at seven.
go moch é?" (un NOON-tuhr goh mohk* ay*), Is it closed
early?, Does someone close it early?
an fhuinneog gach lá?" (nahk* NOON-tuhr un in-YOHG gahk*
law*), Isn't the window closed every day?, Doesn't someone close the
window every day?
If the verb root ends in a slender consonant, which is one with an
"e" or an "i" closest to it, the ending of the
saorbhriathar is " _ _ _ tear". This ending is pronounced
(tuhr), but with a slender "t". "Múin"
becomes "múintear" (MOO-in-tuhr), it is taught.
With verbs like "oscail" or "imigh" or "ceannaigh",
the forms are: osclaítear (OHSK-lee-tuhr), it is opened; imítear
(IM-ee-tuhr), it is departed, people depart; ceannaítear (KAN-ee-tuhr),
it is bought.
can combine with other phrases that you have learned. Examples:
go gceannaítear bróga ann (der shay* goh GAN-ee-tuhr
BROHG-uh oun), he says that shoes are bought there.
liom nach léitear (LAY*-tuhr) sa tír seo é; I
think that it is not read in this country.
iad? (kaw* NEEL-tuhr EE-uhd), Where are they sold?
building; árasán, an t-árasán (un TAW*-ruh-saw*n),
monarcha, an mhonarcha
(un VWOHN-uhr-huh), factory; saortharlann, an tsaortharlann (un TAY*-uhr-luhn),
feictear dom (FEK-tuhr
duhm), it seems to me
gurb ea (GUR-ruhb
a), that it is; nach ea (nahk* a), that it is not
Feictear dom go
bhfuil sé sa scoil (goh vwil shay* suh skuhl), It seems to
me that he is in school.
Feictear dom gur
nuachtán é (gur NOO-uhk*-taw*n ay*), It seems to me
that it is a newspaper.
Feictear dom gurb
ea, It seems to be that it is.
Feictear dom nach
foirgneamh é sin, It seems to me that that is not a building.
Feictear dom nach
ea, It seems to me that it isn't.
dom gurb ea (nee EK-tuhr duhm GUR-ruhb a), It doesn't seem to me that
Feictear dom go
n-aontaítear leis (goh NAY*N-tee-tuhr lesh), It seems to me
that people agree with him.
Feictear dom nach
dtuigtear an t-ábhar sin (nahk* DIG-tuhr un TAW*-vwuhr shin),
it seems to me that that subject is not understood.
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(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.