Irish Lesson 27


To pronounce the letter "l" when it starts a word and is followed by "a, o, u", spread the tongue somewhat and press it against the upper front teeth while making the sound. This will give the initial broad "l" sound. As examples, try: lá, lán, lón, lúb (loob), lacha (LAHK*-uh), loch (lohk*). Sometimes a slender vowel sound (ay*) or (ee), follows the broad "l" sound. Examples: laoch (LAY*-uhk*), luí (lee). These words begin with the broad "l" sound.

When "ll" is adjacent to "a, o, u", the sound is similar, as in: allas (AHL-uhs), mall (mahl), balla (BAHL-uh). The initial slender "l" sound, before "e, i", requires you to press your tongue tip against the back of the lower front teeth and raise the front of the tongue to touch both the upper front teeth and the hard ridge behind them. Examples: léamh (LAY*-uhv), lig (lig), lín (leen), leis (lesh), leaba (LA-buh), leath (la), leabhar (LOU-wuhr). When "ll" is next to "e, i", the sound is similar. Try: caill (keyel), fill (fil), cailleadh (KEYEL-uh), milliún (mil-YOON). Pronunciation of a single "l" inside a word or at the end of it may vary slightly, depending on the word. Often it is pronounced like the English "l", as in: geal (gal), milis (MIL-ish), álainn (AW*-lin), folamh (FUHL-uhv). In "baile" (BAHL-e), the sound is closer to initial slender "l", giving a sound resembling (BAHL-ye).


In the past tense of verbs, "we" is indicated by "--amar" or "--eamar" added to the imperative. For example, "d'fhanamar" (DAHN-uh-muhr) means "we stayed," and "thuigeamar" (HIG-uh-muhr) means "we understood". One minor point, chiefly involving spelling, concerns this "we" form (i.e., first-person plural): For the two-syllable verbs ending in "--igh", such as "ceannaigh" and "mínigh", the "we" form is "cheannaíomar" (hyan-EE-uh-muhr), "mhíníomar" (veen- EE-uh-muhr), etc. "Suigh", sit, is treated similarly. Years ago, these verb forms were spelled as you would tend to spell them from your present knowledge of the other verbs: "cheannaigheamar", "mhínigheamar". A few years ago, however, the spelling was simplified. Verbs of this type have other minor differences that we will study soon.


Here is a complete list of a verb in the past tense, "mol" (muhl), meaning "praise". Repeat the list several times, and then say the same forms for the verbs in the drill at the end of lesson 26. It will be tedious work, but you will find it of benefit when we begin the reading exercises in a few weeks.

mhol mé (vwuhl may*); mhol tú; mhol sé; mholamar (VWUHL-uh-mar); mhol sibh; mhol siad

níor mhol mé (NEE-uhr vwuhl); níor mhol tú; níor mhol sé; níor mhol sí; níor mholamar; níor mhol sibh; níor mhol siad

ar mhol mé? (er); ar mhol tú?; ar mhol sé?; ar mhol sí?; ar mholamar?; ar mhol sibh?; ar mhol siad?

nár mhol mé? (naw*r); nár mhol tú?; nár mhol sé?; nár mhol sí?; nár mholamar?; nár mhol sibh?; nár mhol siad?


Read the sentences below out loud and simultaneously form a mental picture of what they mean. At the lesson end there is a translation, but do not look at it unless absolutely necessary.

Ceannaigh é (KAN-ee ay*)! Níor cheannaigh mé é (HYAN-ee). Nár cheannaíomar na rudaí eile? Cheannaigh Seán na prátaí. Rith abhaile (uh-VWAHL-e) agus cnag ar an doras. Chnagamar (K*NAHG-uh-muhr) ar an doras inné (in-YAY*), ach ní raibh duine ar bith ann. Ná léigh an nuachtán, a Sheáin (uh HYAW*-in)! Chuir do mháthair do bhricfeasta ar an mbord cheana. Léamar an leabhar sin aréir (uh-RAY*R). Nár léigh tú fós é? Níor léigh mé é. Nár mhínigh sí an ceacht duit? Níor thuig (hig) Máire an scéal, agus níor mhíníomar an scéal di (di). Ól an tae anois! Nár ól sibh é? Ar ól na páistí an bainne go léir? D'ól siad cuid de (kid de). Fan anseo. D'fhan d'athair an lá go léir. Nár fhanamar sa teach? Ar fhan an bus leat? Níor fhan sé, ar chor ar bith. D'fhanamar leis go meán-lae (myaw*n lay*).

Buy it! I didn't buy it. Didn't we buy the other things? John bought the potatoes. Run home and knock on the door. We knocked on the door yesterday, but no one was there. Don't read the paper, John. Your mother put your breakfast on the table already. We read that book last night. Didn't you read it yet? I didn't read it. Didn't she explain the lesson to you? Mary didn't understand the story, and we didn't explain it to her. Drink the tea now! Didn't you (pl.) drink it? Did the children drink all of the milk? They drank part of it. Stay here! Your father remained all day. Didn't we stay in the house? Did the bus wait for you? It didn't wait at all. We waited for it until noon (midday).

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

Irish Lesson 26

Irish Lesson 28

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