Speak Irish: Tús Maith Part II
By Bob Carney
Tá suil agam, go bhfuil sibh go maith. I hope you had the opportunity to use some of the greetings and introductions we covered last month as we begin our introduction to Gaeilge. It’s easier to learn a language if you use it on a daily basis.
There is no need to wait, you can use everything we learn in our daily interactions with others. Think of how many times a day you say thank you, hello or goodbye. Why not use Irish instead? It also gives you the chance to share your heritage with others.
This month we’ll continue with our basic conversational skills with some new vocabulary, a tiny bit of grammar and some example conversations. This builds on what was covered in last month’s column, available online www.OhioIANews.com.
The Verb Tá Present Tense
Tá (taw) is – am – are
An bhfuil? (un will) question form is? – am? -are?
Níl (neel) negative form is not – am not – are not
Nach bhfuil? (noch will) negative question form isn’t – am not? – aren’t?
To answer questions posed with the verb tá in the present tense, you respond with Tá (yes) or nil (no)
Past Tense of Tá
Bhí (vee) was
An raibh? (un rev) was?
Ní raibh (nee rev) wasn’t
Nach raibh? (noch rev) wasn’t
To answer past questions, Bhí (yes) ní raibh (no)
Future Tense of Tá
Beidh (bay ) will be
An mbeidh? (un may) will be?
Ní bheidh (nee vay) won’t be
Nach mbeidh? (noch may) won’t be?
To answer future questions beidh (yes) ní bheidh (no)
There is no direct word for yes or no to cover all questions, they are responded to using the appropriate version of the verb used in posing the question. If you would like to respond in Irish to a question posed in English, I use sea (shah) for yes and ní hea (nee hah) for no. This is so common in our home our grandchildren use it as well.
You may have noticed spelling ad pronunciation differences in some of the vocabulary with the same meaning. Words are changed due to grammatical rules that we don’t need to get into at this time, just be aware that they exist.
Go maith (guh mah) good
Go breá (guh braw) fine
Go h-iontach (guh hee-un tahk) wonderful
Go dona (guh dun-uh) bad or not well
Ceart go leor (kyart guh lore) right enough or ok
Mé (may) I
Tú (too) you
Sé (shay) he or it
Sí (shee) she or it
Muid (mwidj) we
Sibh (shiv) y’all
Siad (she-ud) they
Basic Irish sentence structure has the verb first followed by the noun or pronoun then the adjective. Tá mé go maith. (I am good) Nach bhfuil go h-iontach? ( Aren’t we wonderful?) look at all the possibilities with our vocabulary already! Try to build a few sentences yourself, pick a verb, a form of Tá, a pronoun, then the adjective.
Le do thoil (ley duh hoyle) please
Go raibh maith agat (gorra mah ah-gut) thank you lit. may there be good at you
Tá fáilte romhat (taw fahl-cha roe-it) you’re welcome
Gabh mo leithscéal (guh muh lesh-skale) excuse me
An mhaith (ahn wah) very good
Maith thú (mah who) good job or fair play to you
Maidin mhaith (mo-jin wah) good morning
Oíche mhaith (ee-ha wah) good night
Tráthnóna maith (tra-no-na mah) good afternoon or evening
Maith go leor (mah guh lore) good enough
Tá bron orm (taw brawn or-um) I’m sorry
An bhfuil sé ceart go leor? (ahn will shay kyart guh lore) Is it ok?
Tá sé sin go maith. (taw shay shin guh mah) It’s good
Is maith liom é (iss mah lum ay) I like it
Tuigim (tigg-um) I understand
Ní thuigim (nee higg-um) I don’t understand
An dtuigeann tú mé? (ahn digg-uhn too may) Do you understand me?
Tá an ceart agat (taw ahn kyart ah-gut) that’s right
Níl a fhios agam (neel iss ah-gum) I don’t know
Tá an lá go brea (taw ahn law guh braw) It’s a fine day
An bhfuil Gaeilge agat? (un will gway-lag-ga ah-gut) Do you speak Irish?
Tá beagáinín Gaeilge agum (taw bee-uh-gon-ing gway-la-ga ah-gum) I speak a little Irish
Cén fáth? (ken fah) why?
Cén scéal agat? (ken shkayle ah-gut) What’s up?
Feicfidh mé thú (fek-ee may who) I’ll see you
Tá sé deas bualadh leat (taw shay jass boola lyat) It’s nice to meet you
Tá sé deas tú a fheiceáil (taw shay jass too eck-awl) it’s nice to see you
Tóg go bog é (toeg guh bog ay) take it easy
Liam: Dia duit. (dee-uh gwit) God to you (hello)
Nora: Dia’s Muire duit (dee-us morra gwit) God and Mary to you
Liam: Is mise Liam. (iss mee-shuh lee-um) I’m Liam Cén t-ainm atá ort? (kayn tan-um ah taw ort) What is your name?
Nora: Is mise Nora. Tá sé deas bualadh leat. (iss meesha nora taw shay jass boola lyat) I’m Nora. It’s nice to meet you. Conas atá tú? (kun-us ah taw too) How are you?
Liam: Tá mé go maith, go raibh maith agat. Agus tú féin? (taw may guh mah, gorra mah ah-gut ah-gus too fayne) I’m good , thank you and yourself?
Nora: Mise freisin! (meesha fresh-in) Me too! Go raibh maith agat. Bhí sé deas tú a fheiceáil. (vee shay jass too eck-awl) It was nice to see you. Slán (slawn) Goodbye
Liam: Slán, tóg go bog é! (slawn toeg guh bog ay) Goodbye , take it easy!
There is a wealth of information here, but take it a step at a time learn a phrase or even a single word and incorporate into your daily use, next day add another and so on.
“I ndiaidh a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin!
“Stone by Stone Builds the Castle”
Slán go Fóill!
*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 orginizations in and around Cleveland. Wife Mary, hounds Morrighán and Rían and terrier Doolin keep the house jumping. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org