Irish Lesson 63


In Irish, "f" gets its broad sound when the nearest vowel in the word is "a", "o" or "u". Begin the broad sound of "f" with the lower lip against the edge of the upper front teeth. Then move both lips outward as you make the (f) sound. Try:

fá (faw*), under; fada (FAH-duh), long; fadhb (feyeb), problem; fód (fohd), sod; foghlaim (FOU-lim), learn; folamh (FUHL-uhv), empty; foirm (FWIR-rim), form; fuar (FOO-uhr), cold.

fud (fud), ar fud, all through; fuiseog (fwi-SHOHG), lark (bird); fabhra (FOU-ruh), eyelash; faobhar (FAY*-vwuhr), sharpness; faoileán (fwee-LAW*N), seagull; flaithiúil (fla-HOO-il), generous; fraoch (FRAY*-uhk*), heather; frog (frohg), frog.

Note that sometimes the broad "f" sound may be immediately followed by a sound resembling English (w). Compare "fí" (fee), weaving, which has a slender (f) as described in the previous lesson, with "faoi" (fwee), under, and its broad (f). The final (ee) in both words is the same, but the "f"s differ. "Fill" (fil), return, and "fuil" (fwil), blood, supply another example.

Examples of broad "f" inside a word:

marfóir (mahr-FOH-ir), killer; neafais (NYA-fwish), a trifle; profa (PROH-fuh), printer's proof; ráfla (RAW*-fluh), rumor; scafaire (SKAH-fuh-re), a hearty man; scríofa (SHKREE-fuh), written; tafann (TAH-fuhn), barking; triuf (truf), club (cards).

In the future tense and a few other instances, broad "f" in a word has an (h) sound:

dúnfaidh sé (DOON-hee shay*), he will close; fiafraigh de (FEE-huhr-ee de), ask him.

Aspirated broad "f" has no sound: mo fhadhb (muh eyeb), my problem.


The Irish verb "tá" can also serve in comparisons, to form the equivalent of "John is stronger than James". The form is:

Tá Seán níos láidre ná Séamas" (taw* shaw*n nees LAW*-dre naw* SHAY*-muhs).

In the future tense, "John will be stronger than James", The form is: "Beidh Seán níos láidre ná Séamas".

In the past tense, you can say "níos láidre", too:

"Bhí Seán níos láidre ná Séamas", but a slightly different way is also common: "Bhí Seán ní ba láidre ná Séamas" (vee shaw*n nee buh LAW*-dre naw* SHAY*-muhs). The "ba" here is the past tense of "is". You have met the present tense of "is" but not the past yet.

You can also join the form "níos láidre" with other verbs. Example:

Éiríonn sí níos áille gach lá (eye-REE-uhn shee nees AW*-il-ye gahk* law*), she grows more beautiful each day.

"Tá" can also help you to form superlatives, such as "He is the strongest man here". The form is:

Tá sé ar an bhfear is láidre anseo (taw* shay* er un var is LAW*-dre un-SHUH). You are saying literally: "He is on the man is best here". Another example: Tá Seán ar an scoláire is éirimiúla sa rang (taw* shaw*n er un skuh-LAW*-re is ER-i-myoo-luh suh rahng), John is the most intelligent student in the class.


ciúin, ciúine (KYOO-in, KYOO-in-e), quiet, quieter; gorm, goirme (GUH-ruhm, GIR-i-me), blue, bluer; rua, rua (ROO-uh) or (roh), red-haired, with redder hair; sean, sine (shan, SHIN-e), old, older; daor, daoire (day*r, DEER-e), dear, expensive; dearer, more expansive; trom, troime (truhm, TRIM-e), heavy, heavier; aibí, aibí (A-bee), ripe, riper; cairdiúil, cairdiúla (kahr-DYOO-il, kahr-DYOO-luh), friendly, friendlier; dearg, deirge (DYAR-ruhg, DYER-i-ge), red, redder; saibhir, saibhre (SEYE-vir, SEYE-vir-e), rich, richer; anuraidh (uh-NOOR-ee), last year


Form comparatives by using "is" and "tá" with the following word groups. The first is an example.

Brian, cairdiúil, a athair. Is cairdiúil Brian ná a athair (is kahr-DYOO-luh BREE-uhn naw* uh A-hir); tá Brian níos cairdiúla ná a athair.

An cailín seo, sean, an páiste sin.

Na húlla seo (nuh HOOL-uh shuh), aibí, na cinn sin (nuh kin shin). ("úll" means "apple"; "cinn" is the plural of "ceann", meaning "one").

An rothar, ciúin, mo charr.

An t-úll seo, dearg, an ceann sin.

An leabhar, trom, nuachtán.

Is sine an cailín seo ná an páiste sin (is SHIN-e un kah-LEEN shuh naw* un PAW*SH-te shin). Tá an cailín seo níos sine ná an páiste sin.

Is aibí na húlla seo ná na cinn sin. Tá na húlla seo níos aibí ná na cinn sin.

Is ciúine an rothar ná mo charr. Tá an rothar níos ciúine ná mo charr.

Is deirge an t-úll seo ná an ceann sin. Tá an t-úll seo níos deirge ná an ceann sin.

Is troime an leabhar ná an nuachtán. Tá an leabhar níos troime ná an nuachtán.

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

Irish Lesson 62

Irish Lesson 64

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