Irish Lesson 26



The Letter "f" gets two slightly different sounds in Irish, depending on whether the nearest vowel is "a, o, u" or "e, i". Each sound differs a little from the usual English sound.

For the broad sound, near an "a, o, u", start with the inside of the lower lip against the edge of the upper front teeth. Then move the lips out to an extended, rounded form as you make the sound. Try: , fán, fód, fúm (foom), fuar (FOO-uhr), fáilte (FAW*L- tye), faisean (FASH-uhn), folamh (FUHL-uhv), fud (fud).

Also: flaith (flah), flós, flúr, fras (frahs), frog (frohg), scríofa (SHKREE-fuh), tógfar (TOHK-fuhr).

For the slender sound, near an "e, i", start with the lower lip in the same position, but then draw it back slightly as you make the "f" sound. Try: féin (fay*n), féach (FAY*-ahk*), fill (fil), fear (far), feirm (FER-im) caithfear (KAH-fuhr).

If an (i) sound is to follow a broad (f) sound, a "u" is placed between the "f" and "i". In pronouncing the combination, you will find that a sound resembling an English "w" comes between. For example: fuil (fwil), fuinneog (fwin-YOHG), fuinneamh (FWIN-yuhv).

Make sure you go over the pronunciation sections regularly, so that you will improve your pronunciation and develop the ability to pronounce new words before you look at the pronunciation guide. By now you should be ready to read most of the Irish in these lessons before you look at the pronunciation guide. We will gradually drop more of the pronunciation guide from the Irish words and sentences.



To express the negative in the past tense for most verbs, you must put "níor" (NEE-uhr) before the imperative, and you must also aspirate the imperative's initial consonant, if possible. For example:

Níor dhíol séan bád (NEE-uhr yeel shay* un baw*d), He didn't sell the boat.

Níor fhan séliom (NEE-uhr ahn shay* luhm), He didn't wait for me.

Níoról séé, He didn't drink it.

To ask a question in the past tense, put "ar" (er) before the imperative and aspirate the imperative's initial consonant if possible. Some examples:

Ar thuig túí? (er hig too ee), Did you understand her?

Ar fhan sibh? (er ahn shiv), Did you wait?

Aról siadé? (er ohl SHEE-uhd ay*), Did they drink it?

To say "Didn't she put it on the table?", which is the negative imperative, put "nár" (naw*r) before the imperative and again aspirate the initial consonant if possible, as in:

Nár chuir síar an mbordé? (naw*r k*ir shee).

The answer to this question is either "Chuir " or "Níor chuir ".



This is a suitable time for a simultaneous drill on aspiration pronunciation and the past tense of irregular verbs.

Here is a list of verbs that includes all the aspirated sounds, both broad and slender. Go over them until you can say the past-tense forms, having covered the last three forms (in the third column) and looking only at the imperative (in the second column).

Break Bris!  (brish) Bhris méníor bhris méar bhris (vrish may*)

Strike Buail!  (BOO-il) Bhuail méníor bhuail méar bhuail ? (VOO-il may*)

Buy Ceannaigh!  (KAN-ee) Cheannaigh méníor cheannaaigh méar cheannaigh ? (HYAN-ee may*)

Put Cuir!  (kir) Chuir méníor chuir méar chuir ? (k*ir may*)

Sell DíolDEE-uhl) Dhíol méníor dhíol méar dhíol ? (YEE-uhl may*)

Close Dún!  (doon) Dhún méníor dhún méar dhún ? (GOON may*)

Look Féach!  (FAY*-ahk*) D'fhéach méníor fhéach méar fhéach ? (DAY*-ahk* may*)

Wait Fan!  (fahn) D'fhan méníor fhan méar fhan ? (DAHN may*; NEE-uhr AHN may*)

Cut Gearr!  (gyahr) Ghearr méníor ghearr méar ghearr ? (YAHR may*; NEE-uhr YAHR may*)

Clean Glan!  (gluhn) Ghlan méníor ghlan méar ghlan ? (GLUHN may*)

Explain Mínigh!  (MEEN-ee) Mhínigh méníor mhínigh méar mhínigh ? (VEEN-ee may*)

Teach Múin!  (MOO-in) Mhúin méníor mhúin méar mhúin ? (VOO-in may*)

Torture Pian!  (PEE-uhn) Phian méníor phian méar phian ? (FEE-uhn may*)

Marry Pós! (pohs) Phós méníor phós méar phós ? (FOHS may*)

Stand Seas!  (shas) Sheas ménior sheas méar sheas ? (HAS may*)

Sit Suigh!  (si) Shuigh méníor shuigh méar shuigh ? (HI may*)

Drive Tiomáin!  (ti-MAW*-in) Thiomáin méníor thiomáin méar thiomáin ? (hi-MAW*-in may*)

Take Tóg!  (tohg) Thóg méníor thóg méar thóg ? (HOHG may*)