Irish Lesson 68


Pronounce the sound for an “m” which is near “a”, “o”, or “u” with your lips out and rounded. Practice on: má (maw*), if; mór (mohr), big; múnla (MOON-luh), a mold; muc (muk), pig; mac (mahk), son; maith (mah), good; molaim (MUHL-im), I praise; mná (muh-NAW*), women.

Inside a word or at a word end:

cumann (KU-muhn), a society; plámás (PLAW*-maw*s), flattery; cam (koum), crooked; ómósach (OH-moh-sahk*), respectful; bromach (BRUH-muhk*), colt; taom (tay*m), a fit.

When the nearest vowel in the word is “e” or “i”, pronounce the “m” with lips in close to the teeth and spread slightly sideways, as in a faint smile.

Practice on:

mé (may*), I; mín (meen), smooth; meirg (MER-rig), rust; minic (MIN-ik), often.

Inside a word or at a word end:

bím (beem), I be; céim (kay*m), a step, degree: réimir (RAY-mir), a prefix; cime (KI-me), a captive; aimsir (EYEM-sheer), season; sméar (smay*r), berry


The free form of saorbhriathar (say*r-VREE-huhr) for “tá” is “táthar” (TAW*-huhr). Here is an example to show you its use:

“Tá sí ag rith” (uh ri) means “she is running”.

“Táthar ag rith” means “Someone is running” or “People are running”.

Another example is:

“Tá siad ag léamh an leabhair” (uh lay*v un LOU-wir), meaning “They are reading the book”. “Táthar ag léamh an leabhair” means “The book is being read” or “People are reading the book”.

The negative for “táthar” is “níltear” (NEEL-tuhr), and an example of its use is “Níltear ag siúl” (uh shool), meaning “No one is walking”.

Questions can be asked by means of “an bhfuiltear” (un VWIL-tuhr) or “nach bhfuiltear”. For example, “An bhfuiltear ag léamh an leabhair sin?” is “Are people reading that book?”

These forms can serve in indirect speech, too.

“Deir Seán go bhfuiltear ag siúl” is “John says that people are walking”. Sometimes the free form is in the first part of a sentence like this. An example is “Feictear dom go bhfuiltear ag caitheamh tobac” (uh KAH-huhv toh-BAHK), which is “It seems to me that people are smoking”.


Masculine Nouns

eolas, an t-eolas (un TOH-luhs), knowledge of a subject or place, rather than of a fact

glas (glahs), a lock

poll eochrach (poul OHK*-ruhk*), keyhole

poll na heochrach (poul nuh HOHK*-ruhk*), the keyhole

Feminine Nouns

eochair, an eochair (un OHK*-hir), key

aeróg, an aeróg (un ay*r-ROHG), aerial of a radio or TV set

leaba (LA-buh), bed

sreang, an tsreang (srang, un trang), wire

caibidil, an chaibidil (un K*AH-bi-dil), chapter


Make four sentences out of each of the word groups below. The example of what to do follows the first group.

  1. Bris (brish), break; na cupáin (nuh ku-PAW*-in), the cups; na plátaí (nuh PLAW*-tee), the plates.

    An mbristear (MRISH-tuhr) na cupáin? Ní bhristear (VRISH-tuhr) iad. Nach mbristear na plátái? Bristear iad.

    Are the cups broken? (Do people break the cups?) They are not. Aren’t the plates broken? (Don’t people break the plates?) They are.

  2. Díol (DEE-uhl), sell; bainne anseo (BAHN-ye un-SHUH), milk here; caife anseo (KAHF-e un-SHUH), coffee here.

  3. Múin (MOO-in), teach; an Fhraincis ann (un RANK-ish oun), French there; an Iodáilis ann (un i-DAW*-lish oun), Italian there.

  4. Ól (ohl), drink; beoir anseo (BYOH-ir un-SHUH), beer here; tae amháin anseo (tay* uh-WOYN un-SHUH).

  5. Mínigh (MEEN-ee), explain; an ceacht go soiléir (un kyahk*t goh suh-LAY*R), the lesson clearly; an chaibidil sin go maith (goh MAH), that chapter well.

  6. Oscail (OH-skil), open; an chéad dhoras ar maidin (un hyay*d GUH-ruhs er MAH-din), the first door in the morning; an dara doras tar éis sin (un DUH-ruh DUH-ruhs tuhr-AY*SH shin), the second door after that.

Key to 2. to 6. above:

  1. An ndíoltar bainne anseo? Ní dhíoltar anseo é. Nach ndíoltar caife anseo? Díoltar anseo é.

  2. An múintear an Fhraincis ann? Ní mhúintear ann í. Nach múintear an Iodáilis ann? Múintear ann í.

  3. An óltar beoir anseo? Ní óltar anseo í. Nach n-óltar tae amháin anseo? Óltar anseo é.

  4. An mínitear go soiléir é. Nach mínitear an chaibidil sin go maith? Mínitear go maith í.

  5. An osclaítear (un OH-sklee-tuhr) an chéad dhoras ar maidin? Ní osclaítear é. Nach n-osclaítear an dara doras tar éis sin? Osclaítear tar éis sin é.

Notes: Usually when you change to the free form, a word follows the free form. The word may be the original noun, such as “bainne” or “an Fhraincis”, or it may be a pronoun, such as “é”, “í”, or “iad”.

Adverbs and other words may be repeated, too, or left out, depending on the meaning that you want to convey and on how briefly you wish to express yourself.

Remember that “an” and “nach” eclipse the first consonant of the next verbal form where possible, and that “nach” causes an “n” to precede a vowel starting the next word, as in “nach n-óltar”.

©1998 The Irish People

Irish Lesson 67 | Irish Lesson 69

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