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Lesson by "The Irish People"
If the letter
"e" in Irish has a síneadh (SHEEN-uh) over it --
é -- pronounce it like the first part of the vowel sound in
English "may". Do not add the (ee) sound; say "may"
very slowly, and you will hear it. Our pronunciation guide symbol
for é is (ay*), in which the asterisk tells you that the sound
resembles the English "ay" but has an audible difference.
é, hold the sound for a longer time than you would the English
sound (ay). Compare Irish "mé féin" (may*
fay*n) with English "may feign".
Practice on these
words: sé (shay*); béal (bay*l); déan; fé;
clé; réim (ray*m); spéir (spay*r).
If the letter é has no síneadh over it, and if it is
at a word end or followed by an "i," pronounce it like the
"e" in English "let". Examples: eile (EL-e); eire
(E-re); eitilt (E-tilt); beir (ber); leid (led); creid (kred).
Do not lengthen
this sound as you do the "é" sound.
precedes other vowels, it may get no sound, or the vowels together
may have a particular sound of their own. For example, in the word
"meá," the "e" is unsounded and merely
tells you to give the "m" its slender sound, with lips near
the teeth: (myaw*), differing from "má" (maw*) with
In words like
"fear" (far), the "ea" combination has its own
sound, resembling the "a" in English "at."
We continue with
the saorbhriathar (say*r-VREE-huhr), or free form, of the irregular
verbs in the past tense. Here are four more:
(DOO-ruh), it was said
it was not said
(un NOO-ruh), was it said?
wasn't it said?
rinneadh (RIN-yuh), it was done, it was made
(YAHR-nuh), it wasn't done, it wasn't made
(NYAHR-nuh), was it done?, was it made?
wasn't it done?, wasn't it made?
tugadh (TUG-uh), it was given
(NEE-uhr TUG-uh), it wasn't given
ar tugadh?, was
tugadh?, wasn't it given?
fuarthas (FOO-uhr-huhs), it was found, it was gotten
(nee VOOR-uhr-huhs), it wasn't found, it wasn't gotten
was it found?, was it gotten?
wasn't it found?, wasn't it gotten?
bun (bun), bottom
cuileog, an chuileog
(kwil-YOHG, un k*wil-YOHG), a fly
fadhb, an fhadhb
(feyeb, eyeb), problem
doirtim, ag doirteadh (DIRT-im, uh DIRT-uh), pour
goidim, ag goid
(GID-im, uh GID), steal
geallaim, ag gealladh
(GAL-im, uh GAL-uh), promise
é, I promise it to you
drill on the saorbhriathra of the eight irregular verbs of this lesson
and Lesson 74 will help fix these forms in your mind.
The example: With
the words "thángthas" (HAW*NG-uh-huhs); "go
dtí an teach" (goh DEE un TAHK*); "chuig an gcathair"
(hig un GAH-hir). to the city; go through this drill:
go dtí an teach?; níor thángthas go dtí
an teach; nár thángthas chuig an gcathair?; thángthas
chuig an gcathair. The meaning is: "Did people come to the house?",
amach; isteach. Did people go?, etc.
an madra; an cat. Was the dog heard?, etc.
Seán; Seoirse. Was John seen?, etc.
Dúradh (DOO-ruh); leis é; an scéal leo. Was it
told to him?, etc.
anseo é; in Éirinn é. Was it made here?, etc.
an cóta do Sheán; an léine do Shéamas.
Was the coat given to John?, etc.
an leabhar ann; an leabhar eile istigh. Was the book found there?,
dom é, ach ní bhfuair mé é. An bhfacthas
duit go ndearnadh an obair in am? Níor goideadh rud ar bith
ach ár gclog. Nach ndoirtear amach é tar éis
an dinnéir? Lasfar an solas ar a seacht a chlog. Aontaíodh
was promised to me, but I didn't get it. Did it seem to you that the
work was done in time? Nothing at all was stolen but our clock. Isn't
it poured out after dinner? The light will be lit at seven o'clock.
People agreed with you.
"Aontaím leat" (AY*N-teem lat) means "I agree
with you". "Aontaíonn sé liom" means
"He agrees with me." This is a second-conjugation verb,
with its imperative or command, "Aontaigh! (AY*N-tee), meaning
"Agree!" The past saorbhriathar becomes "aontaíodh".
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(c) 1998 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.