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.
Enter your name and email address below to get started (and we'll never spam you):
Lesson by "The Irish People"
You may have wondered
about the meaning of the letters "bhf" in "bhfuil". The basic word
is "fuil" (fwil), but Irish speakers change the (f) sound by using
the vocal cords, or humming, while they pronounce the "f", causing
a (v) sound.
and phrases, such as "an" or "nach", or "ar an" (er un), which means
"on the", bring about this change. They also cause the speaker to
close off the flow of air somewhat for other consonants, altering
the sound to a nasal hum: "d" becomes "n", and "b" becomes "m". The
changes are called "eclipsis", but you will learn them easily from
the reference list below. You already know the sounds themselves.
"Ár" (aw*r) means "our" and is one of the words that cause
eclipsis in following initial consonants.
mbia (BEE-uh, aw*r MEE-uh) food, our food
gcistin (KISH-tin, a*wr GISH-tin) kitchen, our kitchen
ndeis (desh, aw*r nesh) opportunity, our opportunity
bhfear (far, aw*r var) man, our man
bpeata (PAT-uh, aw*r BAT-uh) pet, our pet
dtír (teer, aw*r deer) country, our country
ár bpócaí (POH-kee, aw*r BOH-kee) pockets, our
dtalamh (TAH-luhv, aw*r DAH-luhv) land, our land
mbád (baw*d, ar*r maw*d) boat, our boat
ár gcótaí (KOH-tee, aw*r GOH-tee) coats, our
ár ndóthain (DOH-hin, aw*r NOH-hin) enough, enough for
ár bhfáinne (FAW*-nye, aw*r VAW*-nye) ring, our ring
One more, which
will be a little harder for you to pronounce at first, although you
know the individual sounds from English:
the initial letter "g" takes the sound of "ng" that is at the end
of the English word "sung". This is a little difficult at first to
put before a word. Try this: ár ngeata (aw*rng A-tuh), our
gate. Join the (aw*r) sound to the (ng) sound, saying it separately
at first and then adding on the (A-tuh). Try "ár ngairdín"
(aw*rng ahr-DEEN). Practice on: ár ngluaisteán (aw*rng
LOOSH-taw*n), our auto; ár ngrá (aw*rng raw*), our love;
ár nguí (aw*rng ee), our prayer; ár ngúnaí
(aw*rng OON-ee), our dresses.
cúpla (KOOP-luh), a couple
sneachta (SHNAHK*-tuh), snow
staighre (STEYE-ruh), stairs
urlár, an t-urlár (oor-LAW*R, un toor-LAW*R) floor
uisce, an t-uisce, (ISH-ke, un TISH-ke), water
bainne (BAHN-ye), milk
aimsir (EYEM-sheer), weather
maidin, an mhaidin (MAH-din, un VWAH-din), morning
lámh (law*v), hand
súil, an tsúil (SOO-il, un TOO-il), eye
ach (ahk*), but
ó shin (oh HIN), ago
ach oiread (ahk* IR-uhd), either
istigh (ish-TEE), inside
amuigh (uh-MWEE), outside
ag foghlaim Gaeilge (uh FOU-lim GAY*-lig-e), learning Irish
ag dul suas an staighre (uh duhl SOO-uhs un STEYE-ruh), going upstairs
ag dul síos (SHEE-uhs) an staighre , going downstairs
Tá sé thuas (HOO-uhs) an staighre, He's upstairs
Tá sé thíos (HEE-uhs) an staighre, He's downstairs
Use the words
"isteach" (ish-TYAHK*) and "amach" (uh-MAHK*) when movement is meant.
To indicate that someone is remaining inside or outside, use "istigh"
translate: a good
hand, a good eye, the good eye, a long morning, the long morning,
a crooked street, the crooked street. The proper forms are given below,
after the conversation.
Next, go through
a progressive drill on:
An bhfuil mé
ag dul suas an staighre? Níl mé __. Tá tú
__. Etc. Repeat with "síos an staighre".
(AY*-muhn): Cá bhfuil Séamas anois? (kaw* vwil SHAY*-muhs
uh-NISH) Where is James now?
(kaw*t-LEEN): Níl a fhios agam (neel is uh-GUHM).Bhí
sé ag dul suas an staighre cúpla noiméad ó
shin (vee shay* uh duhl SOO-uhs STEYE-ruh KOOP-luh NOH-may*d oh hin.)
I don't know He was going up the stairs a couple of minutes ago.
B'fhéidir go bhfuil sé thuas an staighre anois (BAY*-dir
goh vwil shay* HOO-uhs un STEYE-ruh uh-NISH). Perhaps he's upstairs
Tá mé ag teacht anois (taw* may* uh tyahk*t uh-NISH).
Bhí mé istigh an lá go léir (vee may*
ish-TEE un law* goh lay*r). I'm coming now. I was inside the whole
Lámh mhaith (law*v vwah); súil mhaith (SOO-il vwah);
an tsúil mhaith (un TOO-il vwah); maidin fhada (MAH-din AH-duh);
an mhaidin fhada (un VWAH-din AH-duh); sráid cham (sraw*d k*oum);
an tsráid cham (un traw*d k*oum).
you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?
can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish.
It's a full online learning program.
Then take the free
for Beginners email course by Bitesize Irish. 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.
to top of page>>
(c) 1997 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.