Speak Irish: Dia Daoibh!
by Bob Carney
To begin our introduction to Irish, we’ll cover some basic conversation, greetings and introducing ourselves, as well as asking how someone is. Last month we covered some things to aid us in pronunciation.
Along with the phonetic examples here, we can use that, and the audio portion of the on-line dictionary Teanglann.ie. When starting out learning Irish, phonetic transcriptions can be helpful, but learning how to pronounce a word using the keys Irish spelling provides us is the best approach.
Dia duit (jee-uh ghitch) Hello lit. God to you
Dia daoibh (jee-uh yeev) hello lit. God to you plural
Dia’s Muire duit (jee-uhs mor-ah ghitch) reply to hello lit. God and Mary to you
Dia’s Muire daoibh (jee-uhs mor-ah yeev) reply to hello lit. God and Mary to you plural
LESS FORMAL GREETINGS:
Conas atá tú? (kuhn-us ah-taw too) How are you? (Kerry dialect)
Cad é mar atá tú? (kah-jay mar ah-taw too) How are you? (Ulster dialect)
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú? (kay hee will too) How are you? (Connacht dialect)
Notice in Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?, the n in cén is not pronounced and the a before bhfuil is also silent. Refering back to our pronunciation guide we can see why bhfuil is pronounced will.
Tá mé go maith. (taw may guh mah) I am good or well.
Tá mé go breá. (taw may guh braw) I am fine.
Níl mé go dona. (neel may guh dun-ah) I’m not bad.
Is mise Roibeárd. (iss mee-sha rih-bard) I am Robert
Roibeárd is ainm dom. (rih-bard iss an-im dom) Robert is the name on me.
Cén t-ainm atá ort? (ken tan-im ah-taw ort) What’s your name? (Connacht)
Cad is ainm duit? (kahd iss an-im ghitch) What’s your name? (Kerry)
C’ainm atá ort? (can-im ah-taw ort) What’s your name? (Ulster)
You can see if your name has it’s equivalent in Irish at, Behind the Name:Irish Names.
Tá sé go deas bualadh leat. (taw shay guh jess boola laht) It’s nice to meet you.
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú na laethanta seo? (kay hee will too na lenn-tuh shuh) How are you these days?
Tá se go deas tú a fheiceáil arís. (taw shay guh jees too ah eh-kuhl ah-reesh) It’s nice to see you again.
Cé seo? (kay shuh) Who’s this?
Cé h-iad seo? (kay he-ud shuh) Who’s this? Plural
Seo é Brian. (shuh ay Bree-un) This is Brian.
Seo í Bríd. (shuh ee Breedj) This is Bríd.
Seo iad Bríd agus Brian. (shuh ee-ad breedj ah-gus Bree-un) This is Bríd and Brian.
Goodbye can be complicated to someone beginning Irish, but only if we let it! If you remember that of all the examples below, there is one that works for all circumstances, so when in doubt, just say Slán (slawn).
Slán leat (slawn laht) Goodbye to someone going away
Slán libh (slawn liv) to many people going away
Slán agat (slawn ah-gut) to someone staying behind
Slán agaibh (slawn ah-giv) to many people staying behind
Slán abhaile (slawn uh-wall-yuh) Safe home
Slán go fóill (slawn guh foyl) Goodbye for now
Feicfidh mé thú. (fek-ay may who) I’ll see you.
Feicfidh mé amárach tú. (fek-ay may ah-mah rach too) I’ll see you tomorrow.
Tóg go bog é! (toeg guh bug ay) Take it easy!
mé (may) I, me tú (too) you
sé (shay) he, it sí (shee) she, it
muid (mwidj) us, we sibh (shiv) you plural
siad (shee-ud) they
Conas atá Brian? (kun-us ah-taw bree-un) How is Brian?
Tá sé go maith. (taw shay guh mah) He is good.
Cén chaoi a bhfuil Brian agus Liam? (kay hee will bree-un ah-gus lee-um) how are Brian and William?
Tá siad go breá. (taw shee-ud guh braw) They are fine.
Go raibh maith agat. (guh rah mah ah-gut) May there be good at you. (thank you)
Go raibh maith agat arís. (guh rah mah ah-gut ah-reesh) Thanks again.
Go raibh míle maith agat (guh rah meela mah ah-gut) Many thanks.
Nóra: Dia duit.
Aoife: Dia’s Muire a duit. Conas atá tú?
Nóra: Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agat, agus tú fein?
Aoife: Níl mé go dona. Is mise Aoife. Cén t-ainm atá ortsa?
Nóra: Mise Nóra, tá sé go deas bualadh leat.
Aoife: Tá sé go deas bualadh leatsa freisin!
Aoife: Slán go fóill!
In the conversation, you probably noticed a few new words and variations on words that we have already encountered. Nóra uses the phrase “agus tú fein?” (ah-gus too fayn) which means, “ and yourself.” When Aoife asked Nora her name, she added sa to the end of the word ort and when she replied back to Nora after Nora said it was nice to meet her, she added sa to the word leat. This is a way to show emphasis. She also used the word freisin (fresh-in). Here it means, it’s nice to meet you too!
How many conversations can you construct, using these few phrases? Language comes to us a word or a phrase at a time, but only if you use it.
“Bíonn gach tosú lag” (bee-un gach tuh-soo lahg)
“Every beginning is weak”
Hope to see you at the next 10 week session of Speak Irish Cleveland that begins February 26th, to learn our mother tongue, and the influences that resonate with us still today.
Tóg go bog é!
*Bob Carney is a student of Irish history and language and teaches the Speak Irish Cleveland class held every Tuesday @Pj McIntyre’s. He is also active in the Irish Wolfhounds and Irish dogs organizations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary and houndsCian and Morrighanand terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be contacted at email@example.com