Irish Lesson 26

PRONUNCIATION REVIEW

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:

fá, 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.

GRAMMAR

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

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

Níor ól sé é, 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 tú í? (er hig too ee), Did you understand her?

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

Ar ól siad é? (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 sí ar an mbord é? (naw*r k*ir shee).

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

DRILL

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 mé níor bhris mé ar bhris mé
(vrish may*)
Strike
Buail!
(BOO-il)
Bhuail mé níor bhuail mé ar bhuail mé?
(VOO-il may*)
Buy
Ceannaigh!
(KAN-ee)
Cheannaigh mé níor cheannaaigh mé ar cheannaigh mé?
(HYAN-ee may*)
Put
Cuir!
(kir)
Chuir mé níor chuir mé ar chuir mé?
(k*ir may*)
Sell
Díol!
(DEE-uhl)
Dhíol mé níor dhíol mé ar dhíol mé?
(YEE-uhl may*)
Close
Dún!
(doon)
Dhún mé níor dhún mé ar dhún mé?
(GOON may*)
Look
Féach!
(FAY*-ahk*)
D'fhéach mé níor fhéach mé ar fhéach mé?
(DAY*-ahk* may*)
Wait
Fan!
(fahn)
D'fhan mé níor fhan mé ar fhan mé?
(DAHN may*; NEE-uhr AHN may*)
Cut
Gearr!
(gyahr)
Ghearr mé níor ghearr mé ar ghearr mé?
(YAHR may*; NEE-uhr YAHR may*)
Clean
Glan!
(gluhn)
Ghlan mé níor ghlan mé ar ghlan mé?
(GLUHN may*)
Explain
Mínigh!
(MEEN-ee)
Mhínigh mé níor mhínigh mé ar mhínigh mé?
(VEEN-ee may*)
Teach
Múin!
(MOO-in)
Mhúin mé níor mhúin mé ar mhúin mé?
(VOO-in may*)
Torture
Pian!
(PEE-uhn)
Phian mé níor phian mé ar phian mé?
(FEE-uhn may*)
Marry
Pós!
(pohs)
Phós mé níor phós mé ar phós mé?
(FOHS may*)
Stand
Seas!
(shas)
Sheas mé nior sheas mé ar sheas mé?
(HAS may*)
Sit
Suigh!
(si)
Shuigh mé níor shuigh mé ar shuigh mé?
(HI may*)
Drive
Tiomáin!
(ti-MAW*-in)
Thiomáin mé níor thiomáin mé ar thiomáin mé?
(hi-MAW*-in may*)
Take
Tóg!
(tohg)
Thóg mé níor thóg mé ar thóg mé?
(HOHG may*)

(c) 1997 The Irish People. May be reprinted with credit.


Irish Lesson25 ------ Irish Lesson 27

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