Irish Lesson 56


The letter group "ai" in an accented syllable can have the sound (a) as in English "at" or (ah) as in English "Ah-hah". "Ai" at the beginning of a word often has the (a) sound, as in:

ait (at), strange; aingeal (ANG-uhl), angel; aibí (A-bee), ripe.

A few words, such as "aige" (eg-E), at him, and "air" (er), on him, are exceptions. "Aimsir" (EYEM-sheer), weather, is another exception in parts of Ireland. In other parts it is pronounced (AM-sheer).

When an accented "ai" follows the consonant b, c, f, g, m, p, it often takes an (ah) sound. You have learned this in these words:

baile (BAHL-e), home; cailín (kah-LEEN), girl; faire (FAH-re), watching; gairid (GAH-rid), short; maith (mah), good; paidir (PAHD-ir), prayer.

When accented "ai" follows d, l, n, r, s, t, it often takes the (a) sound. Examples are:

daingean (DANG-uhn), fortress

laisteas (LASH-tuhs); laisteas de, south of

naipcín (nap-KEEN), napkin

raidis (RA-dish), radish

saileach (SAL-uhk*), willow

taispeáin (tash-PAW*-in); taispeáin dom é, show me it

The groups "aibh, aidh, aigh" are often pronounced (eye) when in an accented or initial syllable, as in:

saibhir (SEYE-vir), rich

aidhm (eyem), aim

saighdiúir (seye-DYOO-ir), soldier


The preposition "de" means "off" or sometimes "of". It also serves in some common idioms, such as, "Táim buíoch (BWEE-uhk*) de Sheán", I am thankful to John. "De" aspirates the first consonant of the next word. If "an, the", comes between, the "an" combines with the "da", and aspiration occurs after the combination. An example: Thit sé den chapall (hit shay* den K*AHP-uhl), he fell off the horse.

With pronouns, I, you, he, etc., "de" combines to form single words. Learn these:

díom (DEE-uhm), off me

díot (DEE-uht), off you

de (de), off him

di (dee), off her

dínn (deen), off us

díbh (deev), off you (plural)

díobh (DEE-uhv), off them

"De" means "of" in expressions such as:

ceann díobh (kyoun DEE-uhv), one of them

píosa den arán (PEES-uh den uh-RAW*N), a piece of bread

an chuid is mó (k*wid is moh) den pháipéar, most of the paper

Examples of idioms that contain "de" are:

Fiafraigh de cá bhfuil Seán (FEE-uh-ree de kaw* vwil shaw*n), Ask him where John is.

Tá sé buíoch díot, He is thankful to you.

Táim tuirseach de (TAW*-im toor-SHAHK* de), I am tired of it.

De ló is d'oíche (de loh is DEE-huh), day and night.

De ghnábh (de GNAW*), usually.


This is a recognition review of the irregular verbs in present, past, and future tenses. Read the sentences aloud. Do not translate word for word; instead, try to picture the meaning. If you do not remember what some words mean, wait until you have finished all the sentences before you look at the translation below.

Nár chualamar Séamas ag teacht isteach? Ní fhaca sé a athair ag dul suas an staighre. Béarfaidh siad ar an gcéad léine a fheicfidh siad. Téim go dtí an siopa timpeall a sé a chlog. An dtiocfaidh sé abhaile leat? Nach dtagaimid tríd an tollán agus sinn ag teacht chuig an chathair? Rinneamar rud éigin le tabhairt dó. Ní dúirt sí linn go bhfuair sí bord nua. Íosfaidh sibh bhur lón ag baile. Gheobhaidh tú gloine bainne ar ball. Chonaic mé na madraí ag rith síos an tsráid.

Translation: Didn't we hear James coming in? He didn't see his father going up the stairs. They will grab the first shirt that they see. I go to the store around six o'clock. Will he come home with you? Don't we come through the tunnel when we come to the city? We made something to give to him. She didn't tell us that she got a new table. You will eat your lunch at home. You will get a glass of milk soon. I saw the dogs running along the street.


Learn these expressions for use in conversation"

Déan deifir (day*n DE-fir), Hurry up!

Abair é (AH-bir ay*), You said it! Certainly! I agree. (Means "Say it", literally.)

Ar mhaith leat ____ ? (er VWAH lat), would you like ____ ? For example, Ar mhaith leat cupán tae?, Would you like a cup of tea?

Ar ndóigh (er NOH-ee), of course.


Form answers or replies to each of these sentences assumed spoken to you. Make your answers as long as possible without prolonged pauses.

Dia, dhuit, a Shéamais. Conas tá tú? Cá bhfuil tú ag dul? Bhí mé ann inné. An rachaidh tú go hÉirinn go luath? Nach bhfuil tú tuirseach anois? Cathain a imeoidh tú anocht? Cén t-ainm atá air?

In each case, try to introduce some of the reflex expressions that you have learned. Keep each sentence of a long answer short.

(c) 1998 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.

Irish Lesson 55

Irish Lesson 57

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