Speak Irish: Celebrations
By Bob Carney
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, celebrations are a big part of our lives whether they are holidays or just spending time with family and friends. Food and drink are often at the center of these special times. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the gaeltacht I hope you use some of this months vocabulary and phrases at your next celebration. New languages come slowly to most adults, we all have so many other things that require our time, but if we keep our approach simple, a word or two at a time, soon we will have amassed enough to carry on a conversation with others.
DEOCHANNA (jahk-ahnn-ah) drinks
beoir/ an bheoir (byohr / ahn vyore) beer / the beer There are two types of vowel groupings, broad and slender. A, O, and U, are broad, E and I are slender. A broad vowel would cause the lenited bh to be pronounced as a w, while a slender vowel cause a v sound.
leann (lawhn) ale or beer
leann dubh (lawhn duv) stout or porter
pionta (pyunta) a pint
pionta beorach (pyunta byor-ach) a pint of beer
beoir mhór (byohr wore) a large beer
fíon / an fíon (fee-un /ahn fee-un) wine /the wine
buidéal fíona (boo-dale fee-un-ah) a bottle of wine
gloine fíona (glawn-ya fee-un-ah) a glass of wine
fíon dearg/ fíon bán (fee-un jer-ug/ fee-un bahn) red wine/ white wine
uisce (ish-ka) water
uisce sóide (ish-ka sowdja) soda water
uisce beatha (ish-ka bah-ha) water of life, whiskey
cupán tae (kup-un tay) a cup of tea
caife (kah- fay) coffee
bainne (bahn-ya) milk
siúcra (shoo-kra) sugar
caife Éireannach (kah-fay ayrin-nach) Irish coffee
caife dubh mór (kah-fay duv more) a large black coffee
caife dubh beag (kah-fay duv byug) a small black coffee
In Irish we usually say something is with us or on us, when the word for with, le (leh)is used with a pronoun, or the word for on, ar (air) is used we call that a prepositional pronoun.
liom (lyum) with me leat (lyat) with you
leis (lesh) with him léi (lay-ih) with her
linn (lynn(g)) with us libh (liv) with y’all
leo (lyo) with them
orm (or-um) on me ort (ort) on you
air (air) on him uirthi (ur-hee) on her
orainn (or-een) on us oraibh (or-iv) on y’all
orthu (or-huh) on them
BIA (bee-uh) food
práta (prah-ta) potato briosca (brish-ka) biscuit or cookie
arán (a-rawn) bread im (imm) butter
stobhach (sto-ukh) stew sicín (shickeen) chicken
sicín rósta (shickeen rows-ta) roast chicken feoil (fee-oil) meat
súlach (soo-lahk) gravy brúitín (brootch-een) mashed potatoes*
glasraí (gloss-ree) vegetables cabáiste (ca-bash-ta) cabbage
trátaí (traw-tee) tomatoes meacan (makan) root vegtable
bricfeasta (brik-fesh-tuh) breakfast lón (lahn) lunch
suipéar (sup-air) supper
*Brúitin is most commonly associated with a dish known as champ,a potato dish made with scallions , tradionally served at Samhain. In some families it was customary to leave a bowl under a bush for the fairies. Dinneen’s Dictionary has page upon page of words relating to the potato, in all of it’s forms.
PHRASES IN IRISH
ceart go leor (kyart guh lore) OK
Tá tart orm. (taw tart or-um) I’m thirsty
Tá ocras orm. (taw ohk-rus or-um) I’m hungry
Cad ba mhaith leat? (kahd ba wah lyat) What would you like?
Ba mhaith liom (ba wah lee-um) I would like
Pionta Guinness le do thoil. (pyunta guinness lay duh hull) A pint of Guinness please
Ba mhaith liom pionta Guinness le do thoil. (ba wah lee-um pyunta guinness lay duh hull) I would like a pint of Guinness please.
Go raibh maith agat (guh rah mah ah-gut) Thank you
Gabh mo leithsceal (guh muh lesh-skale) excuse me
Ar mhaith leat ithe? (ar wah lyat ih-ha) Would you like to eat?
Cinnte (kinn-ta) certainly
Cén áit ar mhaith leat a ithe? (kayn aht ar wah lyat a ih-ha) Where would you like to eat?
Cathain ar mhaith leat a ithe? (ka-hinn ar wah lyat a ih-ha) When would you like to eat?
Anois (ah-nesh) now
Ní anois (nee ah-nesh) not now
An ólfá deoch? (ahn ol-fa jawhk) Will you have a drink?
Ar mhaith leat rud égin a ithe? (ar wah lyat rud a-ginn ah ih-ha) Would you like something to eat?
Ar mhaith leat rud égin a ól? (ar wah lyat rud a-gjnn ah ol) Would you like something to drink?
Ba mhaith (ba wah) I would
Níor mhaith (neer wah) I would not
Is maith liom (iss mah lee-um) I like
Is maith liom Guinness. (iss mah lee-um guinness) I like Guinnesss
An mhaith leat Guinness? (ahn mah lyat guinness) Do you like Guinness?
Comhghairdeas (ka-vor-dess) congratulations
Breithlá shona (bray-la ho-na) happy birthday
Teaghlach (tchai lahk) family
Cara (kara) friend
Cairde (kardj-uh) friends
Sláinte (slawn-cha) health
Slán Go Foill!
*Bob Carney is a student of Irish history and language and teaches the Speak irsh Cleveland class held every Tuesday at PJ McIntyre’s. He is also active in the Irish Wolfhounds and Irish dogs orginizations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary, hounds Rían and Aisling and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be reached at ca**************@gm***.com.