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Lesson by "The Irish People"
DECLENSION OF NOUNS
This group of
nouns is the simplest in one respect: the genitive or possessive form
is the same as the basic or nominative form. An example: bosca
(BOHSK-uh), an bosca, an bhosca, na boscaí (BOHSK-ee); box,
the box, of the box, the boxes.
The word bosca
is masculine. A feminine noun of this declension is banaltra (BAHN-uhl-truh),
an bhanaltra, na banaltra, na banaltraí (nuh BAHN-uhl-tree);
nurse, the nurse, of the nurse, the nurses.
There are several
plural endings in this declension. One common one is an "-í"
(ee) added to nouns ending in "-a"
an babhta, an bhabhta (VWOU-tuh), na babhtaí; bout, etc.
an cárta, an chárta, na cártaí; card,
an fógra, an fhógra (OHG-ruh), na fógraí;
notice, advertisement, etc.
an bhearna (VAR-nuh), na bearna, na bearnaí; gap, blank space
in a questionnaire, etc.
an eala, na heala, na healaí; swan, etc.
an mhala (VWAHL-uh), na mala, na malaí; eyebrow, etc.
Not all fourth-declension
nouns ending in "-a" form their plural in this way. Another
way: Most masculine fourth-declension nouns ending in "-ín"
(een) add "-í" for the plural. Examples:
an cailín, an chailín, na cailíní; girl,
(ti-TYEEN), an toitín, an toitín, na toitíní;
(gahr-DEEN), an gairdín, an ghairdín, na gairdíní;
Here are some
phrases that contain some fourth-declension nouns in various forms:
ar eagla na heagla
(ah-gluh); in fear of fear, meaning "just in case, to be on the
lá an dreoilín
(droh-LEEN); wren day.
duine na dúiche
(DOO-i-he); a person of the district.
na firinne (er hlee nuh FEER-in-ye); (literally: on the way of the
truth), gone to eternal reward, dead.
of fourth-declension nouns
an hata, an hata, na hataí; hat, etc.
(PAW*SH-te), an páiste, an pháiste (FAW*SH-te), na páistí;
an práta, an phráta, na prátaí; potato,
an nia, an nia, na nianna; nephew, etc.
seomra, an seomra,
an tseomra, na seomraí; room, etc.
cóta, an chóta, na cótaí; coat, etc.
(KAY*-lee), an céilí, an chéilí, na céilithe
(KAY*-li-he); dance, etc.
an balla, an bhalla (VWAHL-uh), na ballaí; wall, etc.
an gloine, na ghloine, na gloiní; glass, etc.
an gúna, an ghúna, na gúnaí; dress, etc.
an bhá (VWAW*), na bá, na bánna; bay, etc.
an eorna, na heorna, (no plural); barley, etc.
an oíche, na hoíche, na hoícheanta (HEE-huhn-tuh);
an léine, na léine, na léinte; shirt, etc.
an tsaoirse (un TEER-she), na saoirse, (no plural); freedom, etc.
(AW*-lin) is "beautiful", but dathúil (dah-HOO-il)
is "handsome:, na madraí dathúla (MAH-dree dah-HOO-luh),
the handsome dogs.
Seán ná Brían; Seán is handsomer than
(ir-OON-ahk*), suitable. Seomra oiriúnach, seomraí oiriúnacha;
a suitable room, suitable rooms.
níos oiriúnaí don phost ná Treasa (GRAW*N-ye;
ir-OON-ee; fohst; TRAS-uh); Gráinne is more suitable for the
job than is Treasa.
(KLOO-tyahk*), famous; filí clúiteacha, famous poets.
Gráinne ná Eilís; Gráinne is more famous
foggy; ceomhaire, foggier
voluntary, volunteer; oibritheoir deonach (ib-ri-HOH-ir), a volunteer
A Volunteer in
the Irish Republican Army is óglach (OHG-lahk*), an t-Óglach,
an Óglaigh (OHG-lee), na hÓglaigh; Volunteer, the Volunteer,
of the Volunteer, the Volunteers.
is a former or veteran Volunteer.
By now, you have
enough Irish grammar to need many more words than these lessons can
give you. You are also meeting new Irish words and forms of speech
that you have not seen in these lessons. Dictionaries, grammars, and
manuals will be helpful to you now. Here are some of the materials
Gaeilge-Béarla (Irish-English dictionary), ed. Niall Ó
This is the largest
and most modern one. It superseded that of an t-Athair Ó Duinnín
Dictionary, ed. Tomás de Bhaldraithe.
This is the leading
one, offering many examples of good style and alternative expressions.
The book requires patience and care by the beginner, because of its
There are smaller
dictionaries, too. The Learner's Irish-English and English-Irish Dictionaries
are examples. The two have been bound together into a single small
volume printed by Talbot Press.
include the familiar Progress in Irish. For those who have finished
this, the Réchúrsa Gramadaí, by Brian Mac Giolla
Phádraig, is a next step. It is almost entirely in Irish, and
it has countless examples of usage, extensive word lists, and paradigms
or form changes for verbs and nouns.
Anois is Arís
is a language manual and practice book for the RTÉ language
programs on television in Ireland. The authors, Donall Ó Baoill
and Éamon Ó Tuathail, have oriented the program and
book toward situations, and you will be able to understand and benefit
from the book,
These books are
readily available at Irish stores and can be ordered through many
other stores having contacts with Irish publishers.
you like to learn Irish Gaelic with audio pronunciation?
can really start to learn to speak Irish with Bitesize Irish Gaelic.
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(c) 1998 The
Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.