Irish Lesson 94


The sentences below are written in the form of the pronunciation guide. Read them aloud, or have someone read them to you. As you hear them, form a mental picture of the meaning and the situation. Do not translate the sentences word for word. After you have finished, look at the Key at lesson end to verify your understanding.

Dee-uh git, uh HAY*-mish. DEE-uhs MWIR-e git, uh VWAW*-re. nee AHK-uh may* too le FAH-duh oh HIN. KUN-uhs taw* too in-YOO? oh, er OUS. law* SEER-e uh-GUHM. shin ay* un FAW* goh vwil AW*-huhs OH-ruhm. ahk* KUN-uhs taw* too fay*n? taw* may* goh MAH, FRESH-in. is DOHK*-uh goh vwil too uh duhl uh-VWAHL-e uh-NISH. NEEL-im. vee may* uh SHOOL TIM-puhl un K*OON-ye k*un NOO-uhk*-taw*n uh AW*-il. neel ay*n shkay*l NOO-uh uh-GUHM-suh, ahk** BAY*-dir goh vwil shkay*l NOO-uh suh NOO-uhk*-taw*n. taw* SOO-il uh-GUHM goh me. ahk* taw* OH-ruhm DE-fir uh YAY*N-uhv. taw* shay* eg EYE-ree DAY*N-uhk*. slaw*n uh-GUHT, uh HAY*-mish. slaw*n lat, uh VWAW*-re. HEE-hee may* too uh-REESH goh LOO-uh.


We will look at the genitive plural in Irish in this lesson. An expression like “the men’s hats” in English takes the form of “hats of the men” in Irish. The words for “of the men” will be in the genitive plural.

Very often the genitive plural in Irish is the same as the nominative plural, which is the plural form that you have been learning in the Vocabularies in recent lessons. In other cases, the genitive plural is like the simplest and first form of the noun, the nominative singular.

It is not difficult to select the right form. In nearly all words, if the plural adds two or more letters to the singular, or if the plural ends in “-í”, then the genitive plural is the same as the nominative plural. Examples:

scoil, na scoileanna (skuhl, nuh SKUHL-uh-nuh), school, the schools; the plural is long, so the genitive plural is “scoileanna”, and “closing the schools” is “ag dúnadh na scoileanna”, closing of the schools.

margadh, na margaí (MAHR-uh-guh, nuh MAHR-uh-gee), market, the markets; the plural ends in “-í”, so the genitive plural is “margaí”, and “opening the markets” is “ag oscailt na margaí”, opening of the markets.

In nouns that merely slenderize the last consonant or only add “-a”, to form the plural, the genitive plural will be the same as the simplest form of the noun, the nominative singular. Examples:

bád, na báid (baw*d, nuh BAW*-id), boat, the boats; here the “d” at the word end is slenderized, and consequently the genitive plural is “bád” the same as the nominative singular, the basic form that you have learned. “Buying boats” is “ceannach bád” buying of boats.

bróg, na bróga (brohg, nuh BROHG-uh), shoe, the shoes; here the plural merely adds “-a”, so the genitive plural is “bróg”, the same as the nominative singular. “Selling shoes” is “ag díol bróg”, selling of shoes.

The genitive plural changes in its first consonant when it follows the words for “my”, “your”, and “his”, just like other noun forms in Irish. Examples:

“Buying my shoes” is literally “buying of my shoes”, “ag ceannach mo bhróg” (uh KAN-uhk* muh VROHG).

“Reading his words” is “ag léamh a fhocal” (uh LAY*V uh OH-kuhl).

“In front of your copies” is “os comhair do chóipeanna” (ohs KOH-ir duh K*OH-ip-uh-nuh).

Eclipsis is also found here, when the words “na”, meaning “of the”; “ár” (aw*r), our; bhur (vwoor), your (plural); and a (uh), their, come before the genitive plural. Examples:

“Reading our copies” is “ag léamh ár gcóipeanna”.

“Buying their shoes” is “ag ceannach a mbróg”.

“Closing the roads” is “ag dúnadh na mbóithre”.

At first, you will have to pay close attention to the word forms in reading to detect the genitive plural, but a little practice will help.


Learn these expressions for quick use in conversation.

Cad is ainm duit? (kahd is A-nim dit), What is your name?

___ is ainm dom (is A-nim duhm), ___ is my name.

Tá gach rud i gceart (taw* gahk* ruhd i GYAHRT), Everything is all right.


Here is some practice with the genitive plurals.

“Fear” (far) is “man”; “fir” (fir) is “men”. The plural merely slenderizes the final consonant, so the genitive plural must be the same as the nominative singular. What is “hats of the men”?

Answer: hataí na bhfear (HAH-tee nuh VAR). The “na”, meaning “of the” in the plural, causes eclipsis, and “bh” eclipses “f”.

“Dealbh” (DYAL-uhv) is “statue”; “dealbha” is “statues”. This plural is formed by merely adding “a”, so what is “cleaning the statues”?

Answer: ag glanadh na ndealabh (uh GLUHN-uh NYAL-uhv).

We will continue with drilling on the genitive forms next week.


Dia dhuit, a Shéamais. – Dia’s Muire dhuit, a Mháire. Ní fhaca mé tú le fada ó shoin. Conas tá tú inniu? – Ó, ar fheasbhas. Lá saoire agam. Sin é an fáth go bhfuil áthas orm. Ach conas tá tú féin? – Tá mé go maith, freisin. Is dócha go bhfuil tú ag dul abhaile anois. – Nílim. Bhí mé ag siúl timpeall an chúinne chun nuachtán a fháil. – Níl aon scéal nua agamsa, ach b’fhéidir go bhfuil scéal nua sa nuachtán. – Tá súil agam go mbeidh. Ach tá orm deifir a dhéanamh. Tá sé ag éirí déanach. Slán agat, a Shéamais. – Slán leat, a Mháire. Chífidh mé tú arís go luath.

Hello, James. – Hello, Mary. I haven’t seen you for a long time. How are you today? – Oh, excellent. I have a holiday. That’s the reason that I am glad. But how are you yourself? – I am well, too. I suppose that you are going home now. – I’m not. I was walking around the corner to get a newspaper. – I hope there will be one. But I must hurry. It’s getting late. Good-by, James. – Good-by, Mary. I will see you again soon.

©1999 The Irish People

Irish Lesson 93 | Irish Lesson 95

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