Chleachtaimis an pianó. Chrochtaí ar an doras é. Ní ólaimis mórán bainne. Nach stadadh an traein ag an stáisiún seo? D’fheiceadh sí na páistí ag teacht abhaile. D’fhreagróinn Seán dá mbeadh am go leor agam. Nach scríobhtá chuici? An nglantá do shílear sa samradh? Nach n-éisteá leis an gclár seo?
All of the sentences above are in the aimsir ghnáthchaite (gnaw*-HAH-tye), past habitual tense, except for one.
Key: We used to practice (on) the piano. It used to be hung on the door. We didn't use to drink a lot of milk. Didn’t the train used to stop at this station? She used to see the children coming home. I would answer Seán if I had enough time. Didn’t you used to write to her? Did you used to clean your cellar in the summer? Didn’t you used to listen to this program?
For the second conjugation of verbs, such as bailigh or ceannaigh, the past habitual is slightly different. Read this series over several times:
bhailínn (VWAHL-een), I used to gather
bhailíteá (vwahl-EE-taw*), you used to gather
bhailíodh (VWAHL-ee-ohk*) sé, he used to gather
bhailíodh sí, she used to gather
bhailímis (VWAHL-ee-mish), we used to gather
bhailíodh sibh (shiv), you-all used to gather
bhailídís (VWAHL-ee-deesh), they used to gather
bhailítí (VWAHL-ee-tee), people used to gather
The forms resemble those for the first conjugation (verbs such as dún and bris) but have a more emphasized (ee) sound in the verb. The forms also somewhat resemble the modh coinníolach, except for the absence of the (h) sound directly after the basic part of the verb. For example, “I would gather” is bhaileoinn, but “I used to gather” is bhailínn.
The negative forms begin with: ní bhailínn, I didn’t used to gather.
For questions, start with: an mbailínn? (un MAHL-een), did I used to gather? The negative questions begin with: nach mbailínn?, didn’t I used to gather?
Now go through the 32 forms with the verb deisigh, repair or mend.
The first forms will be: dheisínn, ní dheisínn, an ndeisínn?, nach ndeisínn?
If the second conjugation verb has a broad consonant before the final syllable, such as ceannaigh or ordaigh, there is no change in pronunciation or spelling of the word endings, but the “a” remains before the ending:
cheannaínn (HYAN-een), I used to buy; cheannaíteá (hyan-EE-taw*), you used to buy; and so on.
If the verb begins with a vowel, a “d” precedes the declarative form:
d’ordaínn (DOHRD-een), I used to order
d’éirínn (DEYE-reen), I used to get up
Also, in the negative question, the particle “nach” causes an (n) sound to precede the verb form. An example: nach n-ordaítí é? didn’t it used to be ordered?
With the verbs that are syncopated or slightly compressed in sound, the forms resemble the others except for the effects of the syncopation.
One such verb is imir, play.
D’imrínn (DIM-reen), I used to play; d’imríteá (dim-REE-taw*), you used to play.
Another of these is freagair (FRAG-ir), answer. D’fhreagaínn (DRAG-reen), I used to answer; d’fhreagraíteá (drag-REE-taw*), you used to answer.
Read these sentences over aloud or, better still, have someone who is familiar with the pronunciation read them to you. Picture the activity and the person or persons doing it. Several future-tense sentences and modh coinníollach sentences are included.
An míníteá na fadhbanna? (FEYEB-uh-nuh). Cheannódh sibh é. Ghoidídís rothair. Nach n-aontaídís leat? D’ordaímis é sin. An mbailítí an bruscar? Nach n-imríodh sé peil? Dheisínn gluaisteáin. Nach n-úllmhaítí an bia gach lá? Líonfaidh Seán an citeal.
Key: Did you used to explain the problems? You-all would buy it. They used to steal bicycles. Didn’t they used to agree with you? We used to order that. Did the trash used to be collected? Didn’t he used to play football? I used to repair autos. Didn’t the food used to be prepared everyday? Seán will fill the kettle.
Several double prepositions in Irish are followed by the genitive or possessive. An example that you have already seen in these lessons is os cionn, meaning above. Os cionn an bhoird (ohs kyuhn uh VWIRD) means “above the table”.
Three others are:
go ceann (goh KYOUN), to the end of or for the duration of. Examples:
go ceann na cuairte (nuh KOO-ahrt-ye), for the duration of the visit; go ceann na míosa (MEES-uh) seo, to the end of this month; go ceann an chogaidh (K*UHG-ee), for the duration of the war.
It can also mean “to the top of”, as in go ceann an chnoic, to the top of the hill.
i gceann (i GYOUN), at the end of (one meaning). For example: i gceann coicíse (KEYE-kee-shuh), at the end of a fortnight, in two weeks’ time. i gcionn (i GYUN) means this also.
ar feadh (er fa), during or along. An example: ar feadh an bhóthair is “along the road”.
Sentences: Beidh mé ann go ceann míosa, I will be there for a month.
Beidh mé sa bhaile i gceann míosa, I will be home at the end of a month.
Chonaic mé Nóra ar feadh an lae sin, I saw Nora during that day.
Fuair mé mo lón ar feadh na sráide sin, I got my lunch along that street.
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