Speak Irish: Bualadh le Daoine
by Bob Carney
Meeting people can be an exciting way to use Irish when travelling in the Gaeltacht. In the April issue, we talked about the topic of weather as being an ice breaker (no pun intended). This month let’s go a bit further by getting to know those we encounter a little more.
We will cover different greetings we can use, how to introduce ourselves, learn to ask others their names and what they like to do. As always, try to use these new words and phrases in your everyday conversations as well.
So let’s begin, bualadh le daoine (boo-lah le deen-ya) meeting people.
Dia duit (dee-uh gwit)* Hello lit. God to you
Dia daoibh (dee-uh yeev) God to you’all
Dia’s Muire duit (dee-us mor-ah gwit) response to Dia duit, God and Mary to you
Dia’s Muire daoibh (dee-us mor-ah yeev) response to Dia diut God and Mary to you’all
*Phonetics are in a Munster or Kerry dialect, in Mayo it would be pronounced jee-uh ghitch. Using the audio section of teanglann .ie, the free on-line dictionary, you can listen to the pronuciation in all three regional dialects.
The above greetings are more of a formal way of saying hello. They are still popular in Ireland and would be used when meeting someone for the first time or when you wish to show respect.
Less Formal Greetings
Haigh (hi) Hi!
Conas atá tú? (kohn-us ah-taw too) How are you?
Kerry dialect (often pronounced kohn-us tawn too)
Cád é mar atá tú? (kah-jay mar ah-taw too) How are you? Ulster dialect
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tu? (kay hee will too) How are you? Connacht dialect (Mayo)
Cén scéal agat? (ken shkale ah-gaht) What’s your story? What’s up?
Tá mé go maith. (taw may guh mah) I’m good or well.
Tá mé go breá. (taw may guh braw) I’m fine.
Níl mé go dona. (neel may guh dun-ah) I’m not bad.
Is mise Brian. (iss mee-sha bree-un) I am Brian.
Roibeárd is ainm dom. ( ruh-bard iss ann-im dom) Robert is the name on me.
Cén t-ainm atá ort? (ken tan-im ah-taw ort) What is the name on you? (Connacht)
Cad is ainm duit? (kahd iss ann-im gwit) What is your name? (Kerry)
C’ainm atá ort? (kan-im ah-taw ort) What is your name? (Ulster)
Is mise Daithí. (iss mee-sha da-hee) I am David.
You can see if there is an Irish version of your name at “Behind the Name:Irish Names”.
Tá sé go deas bualadh leat. (taw shay guh jess boo-la laht) It’s nice to meet you.
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú na laethanta seo? (kay hee will too na lenn-ta shuh) How are you these days?
Tá sé go deas tú a fheiceáil arís. (taw shay guh jess eh-kuhl ah-reesh) It’s nice to see you again.
Cé seo? (kay shuh) Who’s this?
Seo é Brian. (shuh ay bree-un) This is Brian.
Seo í Bríd. (shuh ee breedj) This is Bríd. (bridget)
Cé h-iad seo? (kay hee-ud shuh) Who’s this? Plural
Seo iad Bríd agus Brian. ( shuh ee-ud breedj ah-gus bree-un) This is Bríd and Brian.
Questions and Answers
Cé as thú? (kay as who) Where are you from? (Connacht)
Cad as tú? (kahd as too) Where are you from? (Kerry)
Cé as tú? (kay as too) Where are you from? (Ulster)
Is as Meiriceá. (iss as mer-ih-kay) I’m from America.
Cá bhfuil tú i do chónai? (kah will too ih duh coney) Where do you live?
Tá mé i mo chónai i mBaile Átha Cliath. (taw may ih muh coney ih mawl-ya ah-ha klee-uh) I live in Dublin.
An maith leat an baile? (ahn mah layt ahn bawl-ya) Do you like the town?
Is breá liom mé. (iss braw lum may) I love it.
An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? (ahn will gway-la-guh ah-gut) Do you speak Irish?
Tá beagáinín Gaeilge agam. (taw bee-ah-gahn-ing gway-la-guh ah-gum) I speak a little Irish.
Go hiontach ar fad! (guh hee-un-tahk ar fahd) That’s wonderful!
Do You Like…?
An éisteann tú le ceol? (ahn ash-tahn too leh cyol) Do you listen to music?
Éistim/Ní éistim (ash-tum/nee ash-tum) I listen (yes) I don’t listen (no)
An maith leat ceol traidisiúnta? (ahn mah layt cyol trad-ah-shun-ta) Do you like traditional music?
Tá sé ceart go leor. (taw shay kyart guh lore) It’s ok.
An bhfuil ceol agat féin? (ahn will cyol ah-gut fayne) Are you musical yourself?
Goodbye can be a complicated affair for someone beginning Irish, but there is no need to fear! There is one word that works in all situations, so if there is any doubt, just say, Slán!
Slán (slawn) Goodbye
Slán leat. (slawn laht) Goodbye to someone going away
Slán libh. (slawn liv) Goodbye to more than one person leaving
Slán agat (slawn ah-gut) Goodbye to someone staying behind
Slán agaibh (slawn ah-giv) Goodbye to more than one person staying behind
Slán abhaile (slawn uh-wall-yuh) Safe home.
Slán go fóill (slawn guh fall) Kerry (slawn guh foil) Mayo Goodbye for now
Feicfidh mé thú. (fek-ay may who) I’ll see you.
Feicfidh mé amárach tú. (fek-ay may ah-mah-rahk too) I’ll see you tomorrow.
Tóg go bog é (toeg guh bog ay) Take it easy.
Slán go Fóill!
*Bob Carney is a student of Irish history and language and teaches the Speak Irish Cleveland class held every Tuesday at PJ McIntyre’s. He is also active in the Irish Wolfhound and Irish dogs orginiations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary, hounds Morrighán and Rían and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org