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Bunús na Gaeilge - Basic Irish Language

There is no other way to revive Irish than for a crowd of people to spread it.
- Douglas Hyde

Note: The spellings and pronunciations used are based on Aideen's own natural use of Connemara Irish but they have been kept simple, so as to be understood where there are differences in the language.
For example, the word 'feicfidh' is used only in Connemara Irish; in Leinster, Ulster and Munster the word is 'cífidh'. There are two pronunciations; Leinster/Munster - kee-fee; Ulster - chee-fee.

The biggest problem for people whose native language is English is that the soft 't' and 'd' are in Irish, but not in English; it's difficult to 'reproduce' them in writing. Where I use 'th' and 'dh' here, they are best achieved by putting your tongue gently behind your front upper teeth."

Click here for our words & phrases Index.

Lesson #23 - Car and Driving.

For directions see Lesson 3.

Note from Aideen: I've deliberately used the words 'car' and 'petrol' instead of 'auto' and 'gasoline', as these are the words used in Ireland. If I give a translation for 'gasoline', it would be the wrong fuel and not be the word used for what you need to put in the engine to drive the car.

Word: Driving
Irish: tomáint
Pronunciation: thumb-aw-inch

Word: Driver
Irish: tiománaí
Pronunciation: thumb-awn-ee

Word: Car
Irish: gluaisteán
Pronunciation: gloosh-thawn

Word: Petrol
Irish: peitreal
Pronunciation: peth-ral

Word: Oil
Irish: ola
Pronunciation: ulla

Phrase: Driving-licence
Irish: ceadúnas tiomána
Pronunciation: kyadh-oon-as thumb-awna

Word: Parking
Irish: páirceáil
Pronunciation: pawr-kawyl

Phrase: Car-hire
Irish ligint-ghluaisteán
Pronunciation: lig-inch gloosh-thawn

Word: Accident
Irish: timpist
Pronunciation: thim-pisht

Phrase: Traffic lights
Irish: solais bhóthair
Pronunciation: sull-ish voh-hir

Word: Police**
Irish: gárdaí (Síochána)
Pronunciation: gawr-dhee shee-uch-awna
**In Ireland, Guardians (of the peace)

Word: Insurance
Irish: árachas
Pronunciation: awr-a-khas

Phrase: We would like to a hire a car for two weeks
Irish: ba mhaith linn gluaisteán a ligint he h-aghaidh dhá sheachtaine
Pronuniation: bah wye linn gloosh-thawn a lig-inch le hye ghaw shock-then-eh

Phrase: How much will that cost?
Irish cén chostas a bhéas ar sinn?
Pronunciation: kayn khus-thas a vays err shin?

Phrase: Where is the nearest petrol station?
Irish: cá bhfuil an stáisiún pheitreal is giorra?
Pronunciation: kaw will on sthaw-shoon feth-ril is girra?

Phrase: I had an accident
Irish: bhí timpist agam
Pronunciation: vee thim-pist agum

Phrase: I have a flat tire
('tire' is always spelt 'tyre' in Ireland and the translation is literally for a 'soft' tyre)
Irish: Tá bonn bog agam
Pronunciation: thaw bun bug ah-gum

Phrase: Where is the nearest repair shop?
(We don't use the phrase repair shop in Ireland; it's always referred to as a garage)
Irish: Cá bhfuil an garáiste is giorra?
Pronunciation: kaw will an gar-aw-ish-teh iss girra

Phrase: I would prefer an automatic
Irish: Bfhearr liom uath-ghluais
Pronunciation: bar li-um oo-ah ghloosh

Phrase: I would prefer a stick
(We don't use the word 'stick' but 'gear' or 'driving-gear')
Irish: Bfhearr liom giar thiomána
PronuncationL bar li-um gear hum-awna

Phrase: Is parking allowed here?
Irish: Bhfuil páirceál ceadaithe anseo?
Pronunciation: will pawr-kawyl kyadh-ih-heh on-shuh?

Phrase: How long can I park here?
(Is there a time limitation on parking here?)
Irish: Bhfuil teorann ama ar pháirceál anseo?
Pronunciation: will cho-run amah ar fawr-kawyl on-shuh?

Phrase: I've locked my keys in the car
Irish: Tá mo eochair faoi ghlas sa ghluaisteán
Pronunciation: thaw muh-ukh-ir fwee gloss sa ghloosh-thawn

Lesson #24 - Animals

The Irish love animals - so, this lesson is all about our four-footed or feathered friends. (Alright, some are two-footed).
Photo Credit: Adriano Bacchella
Word: Animal/Animals
Irish: ainmhí/aimhhthe
Pronunciation: an-vee/an-vee-heh

Word: Farm
Irish: feirm
Pronunciation: ferm

Word: Dog
Irish: madra
Pronunciation: mah-dhra

Word: Cat
Irish: cat
Pronunciation: cahth

Word: Horse
Irish: capall
Pronunciation: kop-ull

Word: Pony
Irish: ponaí
Pronunciation: pony

Word: Cow
Irish: bó
Pronunciation: boh (as in 'so')

Word: Donkey
Irish: asal
Pronunciation: oss-ahll

Word: Sheep
Irish: caora
Pronunciation: kwee-rah

Word: Lamb
Irish: uan
Pronunciation: oon

Word: Calf
Irish: lao
Pronunciation: lee

Word: Rabbit
Irish: coinín
Pronunciation: kun-een

Word: Chicken
Irish: sicín
Pronunciation: shih-keen

Word: Hen
Irish: cearc
Pronunciation: kee-arc

Word: Bird
Irish: éan
Pronunciation: ayn

Word: Parakeet
Irish: pearaicít
Pronunciation: para-keeth

Word: Zoo
Irish: gáirdín na n-ainmhith
Pronunciation: gawr-djeen nah nan-vee-heh (literal translation = garden of animals)

Word: Lion
Irish: leon
Pronunciation: li-ohn

Word: Tiger
Irish: tíogar
Pronunciation: chee-gar

Phrase: We should take the dogs out for a walk
Irish: Ba chóir dúinn na madraí a thabhairt amach ag siúl
Pronunciation: bah khoh-ir dhoo-inn nah mah-dhree ah hoh-irth ah-mahkh egg shoo-il

Phrase: The farmer milks the cows twice a day
Irish: Crúann an fheirmeoir na ba dhá uair sa lá
Pronunciation: croo-unn on erm-eeoh-ir nah bah gaw oo-ir sah lawl (note:the 'fh' in this word is silent)

Phrase: When the cat's away the mice will play
Irish: Fad a bhíos an cat amuigh bíonn na luchain ag rince
Pronunciation: fodh ah veen on cahth ah-mu-ih bee-on nah lukh-inn egg rinn-keh

Phrase: I go horse-riding on the beach every morning
Irish: Déanaim marcaíocht chapall ar an dtrá gach maidin
Pronunciation: djay-nim mahr-kee-ukhth kop-ull err on dhraw gahkh mah-ij-inn

Phrase: Children enjoy feeding the chickens
Irish: Is breá leis na páistí na sicíní a chothú
Pronunciation: iss brah lesh nah pawsh-thee nah shih-keenee ah khuh-oo

Phrase: My uncle is a stock farmer
Irish: Is feirmeoir stoic é m'uncail
Pronunciation: iss ferm-eeoh-ir sthuk ay m'uncle

Phrase: I must clean out the bird-cage
Irish: Ní mór dom cás na n-éan a ghlanadh
Pronunciation: knee mohr dhum cawss nah nayn a glon-ah

Phrase: How much is the entrance to the zoo?
Irish: Cé mhéid é le dul isteach i ngáirdín na n-ainmhithe
Pronunciation: kay vay-idh ay dhull iss-tih-ee-akh ih ngawr-djeen nah nan-vee-heh

Phrase: It is forbidden to touch the animals
Irish: Tá cosc ar lámh a chur ar na n-ainmhithe
Pronunciation: thaw kusk err lawv ah khur err na nan-vee-heh

For More Irish words & phrases please click here: Irish Index

Image: Gaeilge Beo from All Posters and Prints.


Thu, Jul 9, 2015
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Here is a good follow-on to our words and phrases.
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Irish - English
English - Irish

Note: We have yet to see a dictionary with phonetic pronunciations for each word. We suspect this is partly due to the variations. Providing for all four 'green fields' (Connacht, Leinster, Ulster and Munster), would be cumbersome at best. Still, someone may do it some day. Until then, these are all very good and recommended. Serious students will have more than one; they are inexpensive.

These two (either or both) are the handy-references needed to go with a good grammar or 'teach yourself' course.
We would need both (and some other help) if found wandering in a Gaeltacht late at night.
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