Irish Lesson 6

Pronunciation
The pronunciation of "l" in Irish differs somewhat from English pronunciation of "l". If the "l" starts a word and is followed by "a", "o", or "u", the tongue is spread wider than for English "l" and is pressed against the upper front teeth. Try: (law*), lán (law*n), lón (lohn), lúb (loob). This is the broad sound. In English, you probably point the tongue and touch it to the hard ridge behind the upper front teeth.

For an "l" that starts a word but is followed by "e" or "i", hold the tongue with the tip against the back of the lower front teeth and raise the front of the tongue so that it touches the upper front teeth and the hard ridge behind them. This is a slender "l". Try: léan (lay*n), léir (lay*r) leis (lesh), leat (lat), lín (leen), lia (LEE-uh), lios (lis), litir (LI-tir).

If inside a word, "l' is more likely to be pronounced with the tongue tip on the hard ridge, much as in English.

You should now be able to understand why some Irish persons pronounce English words with "l" as they do. Take "lovely" as an example. Remember what Lesson 5 told you--that in Irish the (uh) sound is not as common as in English. Then try the word "lovely" with the broad "l" you have just learned and with a vowel sound closer to (oh) than to (uh). For another example, try pronouncing English "line" with either the broad "l" or the slender "l" that you have just learned.

Most persons learning a foreign language tend to apply the sounds of their native language to the new language.

This is what gives us German, French, Russian and Spanish accents. The Irish, similarly, have applied the sounds of Irish to English to create an Irish accent. Do not call it a "brogue."

Vocabulary
Masculine Nouns

aon duine (ay*n DIN-e), anyone
aon rud (ay*n rud), anything
seomra *SHOM-ruh), room
bosca (BOHSK-uh), box
bord (bohrd), table
Éireannach, an t-Éireannach (AY*R-uh-nach*, un TAY*R-un-nach*), Irishman or Irish person
Meiriceánach (mer-i-KAW*-nach*), an American

Feminine Nouns
oíche, an oíche (EE-hye, un EE-hye), night, the night
traein (tray*n) train
cathair, an chathair (KAH-hir, un K*AH-hir), city, the city
sa seomra (suh SHOHM-ruh), in the room
sa bhaile (suh WAHL-e) at home
eile (EL-e), other
seo (shuh), this
sin (shin), there
anseo (un-SHUH), here
ansin (un-SHIN), there
ag teacht isteach (egg tyahk*t ish-TYAHK*) coming in
ag dul amach (uh duhl uh-MAHK*), going out

Grammar
" bhfuil X?" (kaw* vwil eks) means "Wher is X?" "Nach bhfuil anseo?" (nahk* WIL shay* un-SHUH) means "Isn't he here?"

The complete tense for the "nach bhfuil" form is:
Nach bhfuil ? (nahk WIL may*) am I not?
Nach bhfuil ? (nahk WIL too) are you (singular) not?
Nach bhfuil ? (nahk WIL shay*) isn't he?
Nach bhfuilimid? (nahk WIL-i-mid) aren't we?
Nach bhfuil sibh? (nahk WIL shiv) aren't you (plural)?
Nach bhfuil siad? (nahk WIL SHEE-uhd) aren't they?

To make you more proficient in the vocabulary and verb forms of this lesson, go through this progressive drill:

Nach bhfuil Seán anseo? (nahk* wil SHAW*n un-SHUH) Isn't John here?

Níl anseo (NEEL shay* un-SHUH). He's not here.

ansin (TAW* shay* un-SHIN) He's there.

Continue with: Nach bhfuil Seán ansin? Níl ansin. sa seomra. Then continue with: sa bhaile, ag teacht isteach, ag dul amach, ag teacht amach, ag dul isteach.

If you have time, replace "Seán" by: an t-Éireannach, an Meiriceánach, an bhean mhór, an fear mór.

For the form " bhfuil___?", go through this progressive drill:

bhfuil ? (kaw* vwil may*) Nach bhfuil sa chistin? (nahk* VWIL may* suh CHYISH-tin) Níl sa chistin (NEEL may* suh CHYISH-tin). sa chistin (TAW* too suh CHYISH-tin).

Continue with: bhfuil ?, and go through "", "", "__ imid", "sibh", and "siad", coming back to " sa chistin."

Conversation
Brian: (BREE-uhn): A Phádraig, bhfuil an fear a bhí sa seomra eile? (A FAW*-drig, kaw* wil un far a vee suh SHOHM-ruh EL-e)

Patrick, where is the man who was in the other room?

Pádraig: Níl a fhios agam (neel is uh-GUHM). B'fhéidir go bhfuil sa bhaile (BAY*dir goh wil shay* suh WAHL-ya).

I don't know. Perhaps he is home.

Brian: Nach bhfuil féin ag dul abhaile anois? (nahk* WIL too fay*n uh duhl uh-WAHL-ya uh-NISH)

Aren't you yourself going home now?

Pádraig: Is dócha (is DOHK*-uh). Féach! (FAY*ahk*) bus ag teacht síos an tsráid (taw* BUS uh tyahk*t shees un traw*d).

I suppose so. Look! There's a bus coming down the street.

Brian: Isteach leat, a mhic, (ish-TYAHK* lat, uh vik).

In with you, son.

Notes on conversation
"Níl a fhios agam" means literally "There is not its knowledge at me." "Fios" is "knowledge", and "agam" is "at me". Learn it as a phrase and use it as a quick reply to questions.

"B'fhéidir" is often followed by "go bhfuil." Learn it as a phrase, to which you can add other phrases, such as " __ Seán ag teacht."

(c) 1997 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.


Irish Lesson 5 ----- Irish Lesson 7

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