Speak Irish: Tá Mé Buíoch!
by Bob Carney
As I was thinking of a topic for this month’s column, perhaps something to do with Thanksgiving or fall, I got a call from my friend Al O’Leary one Saturday. It went something like this, “What are you doing?” “Nothing, I just finished yard work” I responded. “Come on over, I’ll be in the driveway.”
So I jumped in the Ohio Irish American News / dog van and arrived thirty seconds later. I know, I should have walked. Al and Mary had just returned from five weeks in Ireland and over tea and apple pie at the kitchen table we chatted and they told me of their time on Achill with Mary’s family and the O’Leary Family reunion that took place in Galway.
Al told me he was happy to find that Irish seems to be spoken more now and he engaged people in Irish at every opportunity. They were able to attend Mass conducted in Irish, something that they can rarely do here.
While there, Al purchased a couple of phrase books and presented me with a copy, so we could practice together. The book is published by Mercier Press and is titled “Irish Phrasebook”. Al said it’s the best phrase book he’s come across.
As far as a topic for this column, I now have two. To share some of the content contained in the book and to express how thankful I am for the people I’ve met on the journey of life and the times shared over a cup of tea and a piece of warm pie. Buíochas le Dia.
Now I know I’ve said this before, but learning a language is much easier if you actually use it. We can’t wait until we’re in Ireland. We can use it here!
One word or one phrase at a time with anyone, just follow up with the english, especially if you’re talking to someone you don’t know, like a traffic officer or you may find yourself taking a special test on the sidewalk! Most of the following phrases we’ve covered before but there are some new ones.
When I include phonetics, I usually write them the way I speak them, in a Kerry dialect, today we’ll use the dialect common to Achill. Start using the phrases today. Tá sé furasta! (taw shay fer-ahsta) It’s easy!
Dia dhuit (Dee-ah gwitch) God to you (hello)
Dia’s Muire dhuit (Dee-ah smorra gwitch) God and Mary to you (response to Dia dhuit)
Dia dhuit ar maidin (Dee-ah gwitch er modjin) God to you this morning (good morning)
Oíche mhaith agat (ee-ha wah ah-gut) Good night to you
Slán (slawn) Goodbye There are other grammatically correct ways to say goodbye depending on the circumstance, but this works in all situations.
Tá sé deas bualadh leat. (taw shay jass boola lyat) It’s nice to meet you
Ceart go leor (kyart guh lore) OK
Le do thoil (leh duh hull) Please
Go raibh maith agat (guh row mah ah-gut) May there be good at you (thank you)
Go mo leithscéal (guh muh lesh-kayle) Excuse me
Go maith (guh mah) Good
Tá mé buartha. (taw may boor-ha) I’m very sorry
Tá brón orm. (taw brawn or-um) There is sorrow at me. (I’m sorry)
Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú? (kay hee will too) How are you?
Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agat. (taw may guh mah, guh row mah ah-gut) I’m good, thank you.
Tá sé deas tú a fheiceáil. (taw shay jass too ah ekawl) It is good to see you.
Tá fáilte romhat. (taw fawl-cha row-at) You’re welcome.
Feicfidh mé ar ball thú. (feck-ee may er ball hoo) See you soon.
Níl Gaeilge agam. (neel Gayle-ga ag-gum) I don’t speak Irish
An bhféadfá cuidiú liom? (un vayd-faw cudge-oo lyum? Can you help me?
Ní thuigim. (nee hig-um) I don’t understand.
Tuigim (tigg-um) I understand.
Tá mé ag foghlaim Gaeilge. (taw may egg fow-lim ayl-ge) I am learning Irish.
Cad is ainm duit? (kad iss an-im gitch) What is your name?
Is mise… (iss mee-sha…) I am…
…. is ainm dom. (…. iss an-im dom)… is my name.
Cá bhfuil… ? (kaw will) Where is…?
Cá bhfuil an leithreas? (kaw will an lahr-ess) Where is the bathroom?
Breithlá sona! (bray-la so-na) happy birthday!
Go n-éirí leat! (guh nye-ree lyat) Good luck
Comhghairdeas! (ka-wor-jass) Congratulations
Slán go fóill! (slawn guh fahl) Goodbye for now
*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, hound Morrighan and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org