Irish Lesson 95


The individual questions below are written in the form of the pronunciation guide. Read them aloud, or have someone read them to you. As you hear them, try to make up simple answers to them.

KUN-uhs taw* too in-YOO?

KAW* vwil duh K*OH-tuh?

NAHK* rev shaw*n suh TAHK*?

kay* hay* SHIN er un MOH-uhr?


You have learned the basic elements of the first two declensions, or groups of nouns. We will continue with practice and drilling on these to make you more familiar with the various forms and to allow you to recognize them in reading and listening.

It will probably take a little time before you begin to use the genitive form in your own speech and writing, but you will do so more quickly if you make a conscious effort to do this.

Start first by using the compound prepositions, such as “os comhair” (ohs KOH-ir), in front of, whenever you can. These prepositions take the genitive, and they have the advantage of word order similar to that in English: “in front of the school” is “os comhair na scoile” (nuh SKUHL-e). “During the day” is “le linn an lae” (le lin un LAY*).

The next step for you will be use of the genitive with the verbal noun. For example, “playing tennis” is ” ag imirt leadóige” (eg IM-irt la-DOH-i-ge).

Finally, after more practice, you will begin to introduce expressions like “múinteoirí na scoile seo” (moo-in-TYOHR-ee nuh SKUHL-e shuh), teachers of this school, easily into your conversation.


We will look at the third declension of nouns in this lesson. This declension is a group of nouns, masculine and feminine, all of which end in “-a” in the genitive singular. The nominative singular ends in a consonant.

For example, “rás” (raws) means “race”. “The day of the race” is “lá an rása” (law* un RAW*S-uh). “Móin” (MOH-in) means “peat” or “turf”. “The Turf Board” is “Bord na Móna” (bohrd nuh MOHN-uh).

Notice that the “i” disappears in the genitive of “móin”. This is because the final “a” makes the “n” broad, and an “i” cannot be next to a broad consonant.

The third declension contains many nouns that mean occupations or trades. Example:

dochtúir (dohk*-TOO-ir), doctor; hata an dochtúra (HAHT un dohk*-TOO-ruh), the doctor’s hat.

múinteoir (moo-in-TYOHR), teacher; in aice an mhúinteora (in AK-uh vwoo-in-TYOHR-uh), next to the teacher.

Many third-declension nouns are feminine. Móin (MOH-in), an mhóin (un VWOH-in) is an example. “The turf’s color” is “dath na móna (dah nuh MOH-nuh).

Plurals of third-declension nouns

All of the occupational or job nouns are masculine, and all add “-í” to form the plural. Bádóir (baw*-DOH-ir), boatman, becomes bádóirí (baw*-doh-ir-ee).

Other nouns in this declension form plurals variously, often by the addition of “-aí”, “-anna”, or “-acha”.


Masculine Nouns

ceacht (kyahk*t), an ceacht, an cheachta, na ceachtanna; lesson, the lesson, of the lesson, the lessons.

rud (rud), an rud, an ruda, na rudaí (RUD-ee); thing, the thing, of the thing, the things.

loch (lohk*), an loch, an locha, na lochanna; lake, the lake, of the lake, the lakes.

am (oum), an t-am (un TOUM), an ama (un AH-muh), na hamanna (nuh HAH-muh-nuh); time, etc.

múinteoir, an múinteoir, an mhúinteora (un vwoo-in-TYOH-ruh), na múinteoirí; teacher, the teacher, of the teacher, the teachers.

péintéir (PAY*N-tay*r), an péintéir, an phéintéara (un FAY*N-tay*r-uh), na péintéirí; painter, etc.

dochtúir, an dochtúir, an dochtúra, na dochtúirí; doctor, etc.

Feminine Nouns

móin (MOH-in), an mhóin (un VWOH-in), na móna (nuh MOH-nuh), na móinte (nuh MOH-in-te); turf (or peat), the turf, of the turf, the turfs.

bliain (BLEE-in), an bhliain (un VLEE-in), na bliana (nuh BLEE-uh-nuh), na blianta (nuh BLEE-uhn-tuh); year, the year, of the year, the years.

feoil (FYOH-il), an fheoil (un OH-il), na feola (nuh FYOH-luh), na feolta; meat, the meat, of the meat, the meats.

Cáisc (kaw*shk), an Cháisc (un K*AW*SHK), na Cásca (nuh KAW*S-kuh); Easter, the Easter, of Easter.

dáil (DAW*il), an dáil, na dála (nuh DAW*-luh), na dálaí (nuh DAW*-lee); assembly, the assembly, etc.

poblacht (POH-blahk*t), an phoblacht, na poblachta, na poblachtaí; republic, etc.


Nearly all third-declension nouns have strong plural forms, and their genitive or possessive plural form is the same as the nominative plural. Examples:

“The teachers’ contract” is “conradh na múinteoirí” (KOHN-ruh).

“The lakes’ water” is “uisce na lochanna (ISH-ke).

Some common expressions or terms with third-declension nouns:

am codlata (oum KUHL-uh-tuh), bedtime, from: an codladh (KUHL-uh), an chodlata (un K*UHL-uh-tuh), sleep.

Béal an átha (bay*l un AW*), Ballina, town in Maigh Eo; from béal, mouth, and áth, an t-áth, na háthanna, ford; mouth of the ford.

tinneas droma, backache, from droim (drim), an droim, an droma (DROHM-uh), back.

Éirí Amach na Cásca (EYE-ree uh-MAHK* nuh KAW*S-kuh), The Easter Rising.

©1999 The Irish People

Irish Lesson 94 | Irish Lesson 96

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