Pronounce "í" in Irish like "ee" in English
"she", but with the tongue tip down against the
back of the lower front teeth. Do not bring the
center of the tongue so close to the roof of the
mouth as to cause hissing. Hold the sound for a
longer time than the sound in English "she". Practice
(ee); sí (shee); lí; níl; blí;
díol (DEE-uhl); slí (shlee); buíoch
Without the síneadh (SHEEN-uh), Irish "i"
has a shorter sound which may be a short (ee) or
a sound closer to that in English "pin", although
it never is exactly that. Clear examples of the
short (ee) sound are:
bia (BEE-uh); lia (LEE-uh)
Words in which the (ee) nature of the sound is not
as evident are:
smig (smig); smid (smid); sin (shin); cic (kik)
Nevertheless, do not pronounce any of these exactly
as if they were English words. Keep the tongue down
against the back of the lower front teeth as you
pronounce the "i". Try "sín" (sheen), then
"sin" (shin) several times.
Often an "i" next to a broad vowel, "a, o, u", gets
no sound but merely indicates that the consonant
after or before the "i" has its slender sound. Examples:
fuar (FOO-uhr), fuair (FOO-ir); lán (law*n),
lián (lyaw*n); balla (BAHL-uh), baile (BAHL-e);
bás (baw*s), báis (BAW*-ish). The
last word may sound somewhat like (boysh) to you.
Here are the saorbhriathra (say*r-VREE-uh-ruh),
or free forms, for the last two irregular verbs
in the past tense:
rugadh air (RUG-uh er), he was seized
níor (NEE-uhr) rugadh air, he wasn't seized
ar (er) rugadh air?, was he seized?
nár (naw*r) rugadh air?, wasn't he seized?
itheadh (I-huh), it was eaten
níor itheadh, it wasn't eaten
ar itheadh?, was it eaten?
nár itheadh?, wasn't it eaten?
Notice that "ith" is regular in the past, resembling
verbs like "ól", with its "óladh"
(OHL-uh), "níor óladh, ar óladh,
nár óladh" forms.
radharc (RYE-uhrk), view, sight
glaoch (GLAY*-uhk*), call, phone call
stoirm (STUHR-im), storm
báisteach, an bháisteach (BAW*SH-tuhk*,
un VWAW*SH-tuhk*), rain
measaim, ag measadh (MAS-im, uh MAS-uh), think
druidim, ag druidim (DRID-im, uh DRID-im), draw
Learn these for quick use in conversation.
Nach álainn an radharc é! (nahk* AW*-lin
un REYE-uhrk ay*), Isn't it a beautiful sight!
Nach álainn an radharc tú! Aren't
you a bautiful sight (or terrible sight).
Gan bhun gan bharr (gahn VWUN gahn VWAW*R), No head
or tail to it (literally "without top or bottom").
Druidim isteach leat. Come closer.
Druidigí isteach libh (liv). Come in closer
From basic words: ól; bainne; caife (KAHF-e);
make sentences of the form here:
Nár óladh bainne? Ní óltar
bainne. Ólfar caife. Wasn't milk drunk? Milk
is not drunk. Coffee will be drunk.
Do this for these groups of words:
Glaoch; air go minic; air amarach.
Meas; go raibh sé; go mbeidh sé.
Doirt; an t-uisce; an bainne sa phota.
Múin; an Iodáilis ann; an Fhraincis
an bhliain seo chugainn (un VLEE-in shuh K*OO-ing),
Craol (kray*l); an chéad chlár (un
hyay*d k*law*r), the first program; Dé Luain
seo chugainn (dyay* LOO-in shuh K*OO-ing), next
Clóigh; an leabhar seo anseo; an leabhar
mór sin in Éirinn.
Nár glaodh (GLAY*-uhk*) air go minic?; wasn't
he called often? Ní ghlaoitear (GLEE-tyuhr)
air go minic. Glaofar air amárach (GLAY*-fuhr
er uh-MAW*-rahk*), he will be called tomorrow.
Nár measadh (MAS-uh) go raibh sé?,
wasn't it thought that he was? Ní mheastar
go raibh sé. Measfar go mbeidh (me) sé.
Nár doirteadh an t-uisce?, wasn't the water
poured? Ní dhoirtear (GIRT-tyuhr) an t-uisce.
Doirtfear an bainne sa phota.
Nár múineadh an Iodáilis (i-DAW*-lish)
ann?, wasn't Italian taught there? Ní mhúintear
an Iodáilis ann. Múinfear an Fhraincis
(un RANK-ish) an bhlian seo chugainn.
Nár craoladh an chéad chlár?,
wasn't the first program broadcast? Ní chraoltear
an chéad chlár. Craolfar Dé
Luain seo chugainn é, it will be broadcast
Nár clódh (klohk*) an leabhar (LOU-uhr)
seo anseo? Wasn't this book printed here? Ní
chlóitear (K*LOH-tyuhr) an leabhar seo anseo.
Clófar an leabhar mór sin in Éirinn
"Glaoigh" (glee), call, like "clóigh" (KLOH-ee),
print, is slightly different from the general run
of verbs. Thus, "glaonn (glay*n) sí air"
is the form for "She calls him".
bhliain seo chugainn" means "this year toward us",
which is "next year". "An tseachtain (TAHK*T-in)
seo chugainn" is "next week". "Tomorrow" is "amárach".
1998 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.