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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 44: Higher Education

It's that time of year when students head back to the books. For many of them, they will be starting their first year of college. In Ireland, this is called Higher Education and also Third-Level Education. So, our lesson this time is focused on vocabulary associated with post high-school studies.

Phrase: Higher Education
Irish: Árd-Oideachais

Word: Education
Irish: oideachas

Word: School
Irish: scoil

Word: College
Irish: coláiste

Word: University
Irish: ollscoil

Word: Teacher
Irish: múinteoir
moo-in-tchi-oh -irr

Word: Professor
Irish: ollamh

Word: Examination
Irish: scrúdú

Word: Degree
Irish: céim

Word: Grade
Irish: grád

Word: Graduate (noun)
Irish: céimí

Word: Result
Irish: toradh

Word: Examiner
Irish: scrúdaitheoir

Word: Excellence
Irish: feabhas

Word: Failure
Irish: faillí

Word: Pass
Irish: pás

Word: Scholarship
Irish: scoláireacht

Word: Standard
Irish: caighdeán

Word: Class
Irish: rang

Phrase: I will be beginning to sit my entrance examination tomorrow Irish: beidh an scrúdú iontrála á thosnú agam amárach
bye on scroo-dhoo un-thrawl-ah aw huss-noo ah-gum ah-mawr-ukh

Phrase: She has been given a place at the university of her choice
Irish: Tá áit faighte aici ag an ollscoil dá rogha
thaw aw-itch fye-cheh ek-ee egg on ull-skull dhaw row-ah (row, as in cow)

Phrase: Isn't it wonderful for the whole family that he has won a good scholarship?
Irish: nach íontach don chlann uilig gur ghnóthaigh sé scoláireacht maith?
nokh een-thukh dhun khlahn ill-ig gur ghnoh-hee shay skull-aw-ir-ukhth mye

Phrase: They will both be sharing a (the same) room
Irish: beidh cónaí orthú sa seomra chéanna
bye koh-nee ur-hoo sah seomra khay-nah

Phrase: I have to buy a lot of new textbooks
Irish: ní mór dom an-chuid téacsleabhair a cheannach
nee more dhum on-khuidj takes-lih-ow-ir ah khih-ann-ukh

Phrase: The exam results will be announced in the morning
irish: beidh toradh na scrúdaithe á fhógrú ar maidin
bye thur-ah nah scroo-dhih-heh aw oh-groo err mahdj-in

Phrase: He has a university degree in engineering/medicine/law/science/the arts
Irish: tá céim ollscoile aige le innealtóireacht/ leigheas/ dlítheoireacht/ eolaíocht/ na h-ealaíonna
thaw kay-im ull-skull-eh egg-eh leh inn-ell-thoh-ir-ukhth/ lyess /djlee-hoh-ir-ukhth/ oh-lee-ukhth/ nah hahl-ee-unna

Phrase: She graduated with honours
Irish: bhain sí céim amach le h-onóracha
wahn she kay-in ah-makh leh hun-ohr-ukh-ah

Phrase: There was a very high standard this year and a few people failed Irish: bhí caighdeán an-árd i mbliana agus theip ar bheagán dhaoine
vee kye-jawn on-awrdh ih mbleen-ah ah-gus hep err vih-ug-awn gween-eh

Note: Click here for Basic Irish on our earlier Back to School.

Note: This caught our eye. Yes, we know it isn't gaeilge, but it is fascinating. If nothing else, it is certainly language (and Irish language as well.)
by Bernard Share
...for all 'decent skins', 'crawthumpers', horse-protestants', 'hard chaws' and 'strong farmers'...a dictionary of Irish slang that's as amusing as it is informative.
Click here for Slanguage

For More Basic Irish please click here: Irish Index

Image: Gaeilge Beo from
All Posters and Prints.


Thu, Jul 9, 2015
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This book is excellent for beginners who are wanting a book that gives basic grammar without all the extra information that confuses beginners. The book is well laid out, with information very easy to find. Amazon Reviewer

Here is a good follow-on to our words and phrases.
Click for Irish Grammar.

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.
Amazon has an offer of either one combined with a grammar for a reduced price.
Click for Collins Gem
Click for Oxford Pocket.

Wicked Irish
by Howard Tomb

While I wouldn't recommend you use many of these phrases, this is a terribly funny book. I picked it up after leafing through it at the store and finding phrases about sheep and inns and the hazards of driving in Ireland without insurance. Each little section starts out innocuously enough, then quickly degenerates into truly funny comments. If you like Monty Python or BlackAdder, this will really make you laugh. If you liked the Father Ted tv show, this little book will make you keel over giggling. Ah, go on, ya eejit, buy it already! Amazon Reviewer
(We want this, you may see a few on these pages - watch out).
Click for Wicked Irish

Teach Yourself Irish Complete Course
by Diarmuid O'She & Joseph Sheils

An easy-to-use program for learning on your own, or can be used as supplemental material for your classes. These new editions have been thoroughly revised and updated to include the engaging dialogues and helpful exercises you have come to expect from the Teach Yourself series.
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Learning Irish
by Micheal O'Siadhail

The Best Irish Course Available! Three years ago I decided to learn Irish, and in the next two years I bought three different courses. The first two were simply useless, (that's the obvious reason for my buying new courses) you could learn some phrases, but not construct sentences yourself. Learning Irish, on the other hand, is an excellent book, which gives you a thorough vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. It consists of 36 lessons, all containing vocabularies, grammar instructions, texts and excercises. Amazon Reviewer.

Click for Learning irish


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