Speak Irish: Introductions


Speak Irish: Introductions
By Bob Carney

Bliain nua faoi mhaise dhaoibh! A Happy New Year all. In past lessons, we have learned how to introduce ourselves and inquire how the person we are speaking with is. We have experience with one on one conversation and can ask about a variety of topics. Let’s take things a step further and try to introduce others to a third party or  group and include them in what we discuss.

Before we start, a word or two on pronunciation. In our lessons here, I offer a phonetic spelling of how Irish words should sound based on English sounds that we are familiar with. However, Irish is quite guttural, something that rarely occurs in English, so phonetics can only approximate the proper pronunciation.

To hear a more accurate representation, go to Just below the top of the page, you’ll locate the tool bar, if you press the block with the speaker, it will take you to the audio section. There you can pick one of the three regional dialects and hear the word you typed in. You must include the fada if the word requires it. If you’re using a smart phone, simply hold your finger down on the vowel and then slide your finger to select the vowel with the fada as you type in your word. The more you hear Irish, the easier the pronunciation becomes.

Dia duit/ daoibh (jee-uh gwitch/yeev) Hello  lit. God to you/you all

Dia is Muire duit/daoibh (jee-uh iss morra gwitch/yeev) reply to hello lit. God and Mary to you/you all

Cén chaoi a bhfuill tú? (kay hee will too) How are you?

Tá mé go maith. (taw may guh mah) I’m good

Níl mé go maith. (neel may guh mah) I’m not good.

Tá mé go hiontach. (taw may guh hee-in-tawk) I’m wonderful

Tá mé go breá. (taw may guh braw) I’m fine.

Tá mé tuirseach. (taw may tur-shawk) I’m tired.

Tá mé uafásach (taw may oo-fahs-ach) I’m awful or terrible

An bhfuil tú tuirseach? (ahn will too tur-shawk) Are you tired?

Tá. Tá mé tuirseach (taw. taw may turshawk) Yes. I’m tired.

Níl. Tá mé go breá. (neel. taw may guh braw) No. I’m fine.

Agus tú féin? (ah-gus too fayne) And yourself?

Freisin (fresh-in) too/also

Go raibh maith agat. (gor ah mah ah-gut) thank you

Cén t-ainm atá ort? (ken tan-um ah-taw ort) What is your name?

…. is ainm dom (iss ann-um dum) …. is my name.

Is mise.. (iss mee-shah) I’m …

Tá sé go deas bualadh leat. (taw shay guh jess bool-ah laht) It’s nice to meet you.

Tá sé go deas bualadh leatsa freisin. (taw shay guh bool-ah laht-sa fresh-in) It’s nice to meet you as well.

Seo é Tomás (show ay to-mas) This is Thomas.

Tá sé go deas bualadh leat a Thomáis (taw shay guh bool-ah laht a ho-mish)

In Irish when addressing a person you say the word “a” (uh) before their name. In male names the first consonant becomes “softened”, and a broad final conconant becomes slender. Seán, a Sheáin, Pádraig, a Phádraig, Tomás, a Thomáis. In female names, you “soften” the first consonant. Sinéad, a Shinéad, Bríd, a Bhríd. Not all consonants can be “softened”, if a name starts with the letter l, n or r you say , a Liam, a Rúairí, a Noirín.

Sample Irish Conversation
Liam:  Dia duit.

Noirín: Dia is Muire duit.

Liam: Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?

Noirín: Tá mé go maith. Go raibh maith agat, agus tú féin?

Liam: Tá mé go bréa freisin.

Noirín: Seo é Tomás.

Liam: Tá se go deas bualadh leat a Thomáis.

Tomás: Go raibh maith agat, tá sé go deas bualadh leatsa freisin. Seo iad Máirtín agus Aoife.

Liam and Noirín: Tá sé go deas bualadh libh.

*Bob Carney is a student of Irish language and history and teaches the Speak Irish Cleveland class held every Tuesday at PJ McUntyre,s. He is also active in the Irish Wolfhound and Irish dogs organizations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary, hounds Rían and Ashling and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be reached at [email protected].


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