Irish Lesson 11


The pair of letters "ea" within a word or at a word end often gets an (a) sound like that in the English word "hat". Examples: fear (far), man; bean (ban), woman; leat (lat), with you; is ea (sha), it is; ní hea (nee HA), it is not.

At the beginning of a word, the "ea" often gets the (ah) sound in the English word "psalm". Examples: eagla (AH-gluh), fear; eaglais (AH-glish), church; each (ahk*), horse.

Sometimes "ea" is pronounced (ou), as in English "out", when it is inside a word.

Examples: ceann (kyoun) head; leabhar (LOU-wuhr), book; gleann (gloun), glen; seabhac (shouk), hawk.

If in an unaccented syllable, "ea" is usually pronounced (uh). Examples: seisean (SHESH-uhn), he (emphatic); aingeal (ANG-uhl), angel.

We will continue to give you the pronunciation guide for all new words and most of the exercises, but you will gradually develop ability to pronounce words by drawing on your experience with similarly spelled words, so that after a time you will not depend on the pronunciation guide.


Here are several more expressions that you should learn for quick use in conversation and thought.

B'fhéidir (BAY*-dir), Perhaps.

Gan amhras (guhn OU-ruhs), Without doubt.

Fan go bhfeicfidh mé (fahn goh VEK-hee may*), Wait till I see.

Is maith é sin (is MAH ay* shin), That's good.

Notice that the second "f" in "bhfeicfidh" is pronounced like an "h". This letter "f" indicates the future tense.


Last week we learned how to say that a person or thing is in a general class. An example:

Is seomra é (is SHOHM-ruh ay*), It is a room.

Here are the basic forms for this:

Is scoláire mé (is skuh-LAW*-re may*), I am a student.

Is scoláire tú (is skuh-LAW*-re too), You are a student.

Is scoláire é (is skuh-LAW*-re ay*), He is a student.

Is scoláire í (is skuh-LAW*-re ee), She is a student.

Is scoláirí sinn(is skuh-LAW*-ree shin), We are students.

Is scoláirí sibh (is skuh-LAW*-ree shiv), You (plural) are students

Is scoláirí iad (is skuh-LAW*-ree EE-uhd), They are students.

Masculine nouns

dinnéar (DIN-yay*r), dinner

Im, an t-im (im, un tim), butter, the butter

siúcra (SHOOK-ruh), sugar

fo-chupán (FOH-k*upaw*n), saucer

ith, ag ithe (i, eg I-he), eat, eating

éist, ag éisteacht (ay*sht, eg AY*shtyahk*t), listen, listening

Feminine nouns

scoil, an scoil (skuhl, un skuhl), school, the school

subh, an tsubh (soov, un toov), jam, the jam

cathaoir, an cathaoir (KAH-heer, un K*AH-heer), chair, the chair

ól, ag ól (ohl, eg ohl) drink, drinking

milis (MIL-ish), sweet

dána (DAW*-nuh), bold


Go through the basic forms for "is" (is), with:

dochtúir, dochtúirí (dohk*-TOO-ir, dohk*-TOO-IR-ee), doctor, doctors

múinteoir, múinteoirí (moo-in-TYOHR, moo-in-TYOHR-ee), teacher, teachers

péintéir, péintéirí (PAY*N-tay*r, PAY*N-tay*r-ee), painter, painters


Máirín (maw*-REEN), Maureen: Tar isteach sa chistin agus suigh síos (tahr is-TYAHK* suh HYISH-tin AH-guhs si SHEE-uhs). Tá do dhinnéar ullamh (taw* duh YIN-yay*r UL-uhv). Come into the kitchen and sit down. Your dinner is ready.

Dónall (DOHN-uhl), Donald: Ach cá bhfuil Pádraigín? (ahk* caw* vwil PAW*-dri-geen) Nach bhfuil sí abhaile ón scoil fós? (nahk* vwil shee uh-VWAHL-e ohn skuhl fohs) But where is Patricia? Isn't she home from school yet?

Máirín: Níl sí (neel shee). Níl a fhios agam cá bhfuil sí (neel is uh GUHM kaw* vwil shee). She's not. I don't know where she is.

Dónall: Tá gach rud ar an mbord, go cinnte, ach tá an fochupán seo salach (taw* gahk* rud er un mohrd, goh KIN-te, ahk* taw* un FOH-k* u-paw*n shuh suh-LAHK*). Everything's on the table, certainly, but this saucer is dirty.

Máirín: Nigh é, mar sin (ni ay*, mahr shin). Tá mé an ghnóthach (taw* may* AHN-gnoh-huhk*). Wash it then. I'm very busy.

Dónall: Ó, tá Pádraigín ag teacht anois (oh, taw* PAW*-dri-geen uh tyahk*t uh-NISH). Tá sí ag siúl trí gach áit fhliuch ar an tsráid. (taw* shee uh shool tree gahk* aw*t lyuk* er un traw*d). Oh, Patricia's coming now. She's walking through every wet place on the street.

Máirín: Agus í gan a buataisí! (AH-guhs ee guhn uh BOO-ti-shee) And she without her boots!

Notes: In Irish, "an-" before an adjective means "very". It usually aspirates the next consonant, as in "an-fhliuch" (AHN-lyuk*), very wet. Accent is usually on the "an-" prefixed to the word.

(c) 1997 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.

Irish Lesson 10

Irish Lesson 12

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