Dé Domhnaigh 6 Eanáir 2013

Ceacht 1 - Fáilte

Gaeilge Anois = Irish Now

I recommend spending at least a hour a day for two weeks to get used to the sounds of the letters before trying anything else. That’s goal #1. It will really pay off.
Practice, practice, practice and have fun with it too.  If you can, get a teacher.

Search for a teacher here: http://www.daltai.com/classes/ 

LESSON 1       Ceacht 1             Fáilte / Welcome  


Words you may already know:  
Clann=family (children),  Cailín (Colleen)=girl,  Erin=Éireann =Ireland
Now get ready to dive into the language. This lesson is about the sounds of the letters, very basic grammar for making sentences and simple conversation. Learn to read and makes basic sounds, figure out the basic structure and then put sentences together so you can talk. That’s the plan. Here we go…

Sounds Fuaimeanna

1.1 The Sounds of Irish.

Some sounds in Irish don’t exist in English and the best way to learn any language is to imitate the sounds of a native speaker but this will help you get started. This quick simplified guide of how to pronounce letters should help you begin to read basic Irish so you can be understood. It’s lesson 1 and so we’ll keep it simple. Ready?

A. The long and the short of it

There are 5 short vowels and 5 long vowels. The long vowels differ somewhat from English long vowels.  There is only one accent mark called a fada. It is used to change short vowels to long vowels.

Short Vowels                    Long vowels
a: as in answer *               á: aw as in saw
e: as in egg                      é: ay as in  hay
i: as in it                            í:  ee as in feet    
o: u as in under **            ó: o as in over
u:  as in unless                 ú:  oo as in moon

There are two letters to watch out for: the really tricky short a and the short o. 

i) ** The short o is easy. Just change it in your head to a short u as in under.Yes that means that both o and u are pronounced u. Examples:  loch luch, obair ubur, ort urt

ii) *The pronunciation of the short vowel a is the tricky one as it varies so much. More often than not it is pronounced as a short o: agus ogus
The many sounds of the letter a:
o as in on  (most often)                                            o: am om, as os, ach och, ann on
e as in egg (with prepositions and r)                        e: ag eg, ar er, arsa ersu
u  as in unless (weak syllable)                                 u: arís ureesh, anall unol, amú umoo
*a as in at (when followed by i or th)                        a:  aice ake, aire are, athrú ahroo
*Note: it’s a British a sound, not an  American one

Don’t try to remember all these words in Lesson 1; just know that the letter a can be pronounced in many different ways and you won’t be surprised when you see that happening later on.

SHORT ►LONG a second route
Other ways to change short to long vowels include adding extra silent vowels.
In English pal (short a) changes to pail (long a) by adding a silent vowel.
In Irish cine kineh (short i) changes to caoine keene (long i = í) with the addition of silent vowels.

A. Practice saying these aloud. There is no difference is sound for double consonants:
a:  na                á:  ná naw  (aw is the sound many people make when they see puppies)
e:  te                 é: té tay      (tay rhymes with say)
i:  sin (shin    í:  sín sheen
o:  an (on)        ó: ón doh (rhymes with oh)
u:  donn (dun)  ú:  dún (doon rhymes with soon)
Note the last two short vowels on this list a►o and o►u

B. Here they are again and try reading them aloud:
na, ná, te, té, sin, sín, an, ón, donn, dún
Good? Let’s try some more:
ait, áit, de, dé, min, mín, as, ós, olla, úlla
Are you getting used to the a►o and o►u

I won’t put the letters in red then this time. The first one ab is a short a, not an o sound.
Try reading: ab, bá, le, mé, binn, ní, an, ón, lom, úll

C. One more exercise  reading aloud before we leave the vowel section:

 Short Vowels                              Long vowels with accent                 
a:  na                                     á:  ná, bád, cá, lá, tá
e:  te                                              é: té, cén, cé hé, mé
i:  linn                                            í:  bí, ní, níl
o:  ort,  mo, do                              ó: ór, óg, bróg, tóg, ól
u:  turas                                       ú:  dún, úll, úr
Good. Go maith.

B. 1.1.2 Consonants

The letters in italics here are to help you say the sound. Bold letters show which syllable is strongest.
1. C is always a hard c, like k and not like s - kaw, kay, conas kunos. G is always a hard g, not like j: go gu, gorm gurum, glas glos.
2. S is pronounced sh before i or e or í or é - sin shin, sín sheen, sea sha, shay.
3. D,N,T,L,S, are dentals: the tongue touches the back of the upper teeth for these sounds: duit dit, nuair noor, taw, liom lum, suas soous.
4. A narrow T: when t is next to i or e it’s like a short s sound that starts with a t sound: ait.
5. The letters V or W don’t exist in Irish but the sounds of these letters are written as bh or mh: bhí vee,  amháin uwawn.

Now try reading sentences:

Irish                                     English                                     Sound
1. Tá bád ar an loch.  There is a boat on the lake.            Taw bawd er on luch.
2. Cé hé sin?                Who is that?                                   Kay hay shin.
3. Ná tóg ór.                 Don’t take gold.                             Naw tohg ohr. 
4. Níl sí ag ól.               She is not drinking.                       Neel shee eg ohl
5. Cén lá é?                  What day is it?                               Kayn law ay (as in hay)
6. Tá sé te.                    It is hot.                                         Taw shay teh

So, there’s a lot to keep in your head there.

Let’s review:
i) the vowels are like English sounds except a short o is really a short u  and a short a is really a short o. Tricky a: however the short a can also sound like e (prepositions), u  (weak syllable) or a (with i or th) .
ii) Beside an i or an e, g and c do not change to j and s sounds as they do in English but s changes to sh
iii) There is a new sound called a narrow t and it’s like a combination between an s and a t
OK, let’s do one more thing before we try to read some words.

Let’s practice the c (k) and the g sound (never j)

A. C is always a hard c, like k and not like s.
1. Cé?                          Who?                                    Kay
2. Cad?                        What?                                   Kod 
3. Céard?                     What?                                   Kayrd 
4. Conas?                     How?                                    Kunus
5.  Cén?                       Which?                                  Kayn

B. G is always a hard g, not like j.
1. gan                           without                                  gon 
2. Gaeilge                    Irish            (silent ei makes a long)   gaylghe
3. gile                           light                                        ghileh
4. go                             to                                            guh
5.                             need                                       gaw

C. S is pronounced sh before i or e or í or é.
1. seisear                      six people                            shehshur
2. siad                          they                                     sheeod
3.                              he                                       shay
4.                               she                                     shee

Don’t worry about learning all the meanings right now. The challenge is to see if you can read the sounds right. When you see an accent mark, switch to a long vowel sound. When you see a letter o, think u. When you see the letter a, think o etc. It takes practice. You can do it!

C. 1.1.3 Combinations of Letters

1. Th at the beginning or middle of a word is pronounced as the sound of h: thuas hoos, athrú ahroo
The combinations ith or igh are not pronounced at the ends of words: maith mo, thosaigh husee.
2. The combination ch is throaty: (a very light gargle) chun.
3. An initial dh sounds like gh (with a gentle vibrating sound in the throat) and occasionally as a y sound: dhún ghoon, y – dheachaigh yachee.
Let’s review again then:
i) the vowels are like English sounds except a short o is really a short u  and a short a is really a short o but the short a can also sound like e (prepositions), u  (weak syllable) or a (with i or th) .
ii) Beside an i or an e, g and c do not change to j and s sounds as they do in English but s changes to sh. There’s also a new t sound.
iii) Some letter combinations are not pronounced and others represent other sounds: th►h, mh►w, bh►v
and some sounds are throaty (dh, ch).

Ok let’s try one more reading exercise with y help and then you’ll try one on your own.

Combinations of Letters

I. Remember, the letters V or W don’t exist in Irish. These sounds are written as bh or mh.
1. bhí                         was/ were               vee
2. lámh                      hand / arm              lawv
3. amháin                  one                        awawn

II. Th at the beginning of a word is pronounced as the sound of h.
1. Thug                     gave                      hug   
2. Thóg                     took                       hohg

III. The combinations th or gh are not pronounced at the ends of words.
1. maith               good    (ignore the ith and a is pronounced as a short o as in on)     mo
2. chuaigh           went   (ignore the gh at the end, the extra vowels ai make u long)    choo

IV. An initial dh sounds like gh (with a gentle vibrating sound in the throat) and occasionally as a y sound.                                                                                                                                                                              1. dhún                       closed      (vibrating throaty gh for dh)    ghoon
2. ní dheachaigh        didn’t go (dhe►y, ignore the igh at the end, a►o)   nee yacho  
3. chun                        so as to    ( throaty ch)  chun

Well, we covered a lot there. How is your throat after that gargling?
Even though words may look complicated, once you get used to the rules it gets easier. It takes time to get used to which letters you mentally replace with others (a►o and o►u) and which letters you eliminate.
Here’s a useful link to the Daltaí na Gaeilge site to listen to sounds:  http://www.daltai.com/grammar/pronunciation-key/ 

1.1.4 Reading exercise 1 

Let’s see what you remember. Do you remember the long and the short of it? Try to read the Irish form of these words with the Irish long vowels. Good luck with your first challenge.
1. Cá?    Where?   2.  bán   white    3. slán   goodbye
4. rí      king           5. ní      not           6. Cé?    Who?
7. bó      cow          8. ól      drink  
9. dún   fortress     10. tú   you

Did they sound like 1. kaw 2. bawn 3. slawn 4. ree 5. nee 6. kay 7. boh 8. ohl 9.doon 10. too ?
If so, you did a great job. If not, go back and review the basic sounds. It’s easy to forget.


1.2 Grammar points

A.      Put the verb first.
Word Order                          verb                    subject      +   object/ time /description
                                                Tá  am                mé   I                    tuirseach tired.
                                                Scríobh wrote   Seán  Sean             an litir the letter.
                                                Bhí was             sé it                        go hálainn beautiful.

B.      There are two forms of the verb To be
i)       Use Is when defining things.                   ii) Use when describing things:
Is peann é.  It’s a pen.                                           Tá sé briste.  It’s broken.

1.2.1 Vocabulary: the verb to be, numbers and more

Read and practice the following:
Tá     taw                      Be                          Go maith   gu mo                           well/good
Mé   may                      I                             Tá mé go maith                             I am well/good
Tú   too                        you                         Cé hé tusa?  kay hay tusa              Who are you?
Sé   shay                      he/it                        Aon, Dó, Trí, Ceathair, Cúig,        1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
Sí    shee                      she/it                      Sé, Seacht, Ocht, Naoi, Deich       6, 7, 8, 9, 10

When people count aloud they put the word a in front of the numbers.
Here are more numbers than you need at the moment but you might try counting to ten for fun:



1.3  Basic Conversation 1 Greetings

A: Dia dhuit.                                    Hello (God be with you).
Is mise ..    is mishu                         I’m..
B: Dia ‘s Muire dhuit.                      Hello  (the response) (God and Mary with you)
Is mise ..                                           I’m…

Listen to the elements of a basic conversation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BmoCUCBCzs

All you need for now is #1
#1. Basic greeting (Hello) 0:00-0:12
A. Dia dhuit
B. Dia ‘s Muire dhuit
Just repeat that part until you feel comfortable with it. Note the throaty dh sound.


1.3.1 Conversation 2 Asking for Something:                         Approximate pronunciation *

A: Peann led’ thoil.                       A pen please.                                       Pyon led hul
B: Seo dhuit                                 Here you are (This to you)                   Shu  ghit
A: Go raibh maith agat                Thank you ( May you have good)         Gura moha gut
B: Tá fáilte romhat                       You’re welcome                                    Taw fawlte roht
*Listen to your múinteoir (teacher) and find your own way to write accurate sounds if you need to do so.

1.3.2 Extra Audio Lesson 1 Asking For Help:
  1. Excuse me.                             Gabh mo leithscéal.                             Gomulehshkayl.
  2. Hi, Can you help me?            Haigh. An féidir leat cabhrú liom?      High. On faydr lat cowroo lum.
  3. Where is?                               Cá bhfuil?                                            Caw wil.
  4. Please.                                    Le do thoil.                                          Le du hul.
  5.  Thank you.                            Go raibh maith agat.                           Gura moha gut.

1.3.3  Useful Expressions for the Classroom.

Gabh mo leithscéal                              Excuse me                         Gu mu lesh kayl
Ní thuigim                                           I don’t understand              Nee hi ghim
Slán                                                      Good bye                           Slawn

1.4 Geography

Try to find the following words in town names on the map of ireland:
Anglicized version              Original Irish                        Meaning
Bally/Ball                              Baile                                       Town
Dun/ Don                              Dún                                         Fortress
Kil                                         Cill/Coill                                 Church/ Woods

How many towns will you find? Write them down when you find them.

Ireland / Éire
Did you find Ballymena, Ballybofey, Ballinasloe, Donegal, Dungannon, Dundalk, Kilkee, Kilkenny, Killarney, Killybegs? Do you remember what Baile, Dún, and Cill mean?

1.5 The Written Language   The Irish alphabet has 18 letters
Though you don’t see it very often these days, Irish used to be written with this script:
Old Irish script

1.5.1 History of the Language: Gaelic and The Six Celtic Languages
Gaelic is the name of the Indo-European group of languages that includes Irish.
Gaelic is also the name of the Scottish language within that group.
Gaelic languages: Irish, Gaelic (Scottish), Manx, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton
Manx and Cornish are no longer spoken as a first language. 

1.5.2. The Celts

The Celts occupied lands stretching from the Ireland to Galatia, an ancient territory of central Asia Minor, in present Turkey (around modern Ankara). There are historical accounts of the Celts coming from northern Italy around 400 BC.
Celtic descended from the original Ur-language and from Indo-European languages.
Old Celtic was the closest cousin to Italic, the precursor of Latin.

Two Groups
  1. q-Celts were the original wave of Celtic immigrants to Britain.
They spoke Goidelic circa 2000 to 1200 BC.
Goidelic led to the languages spoken in Ireland, the Isle of Man. and later Scotland.
There was no p in Celtic and an a in place of an the Italic o.
  1.  p-Celts came later in a second wave of immigrants speaking Brythonic.
Brythonic gave rise to two; Welsh and Cornish in Britain and. Breton, in Brittany.
An example of the difference between the two Celtic branches:
The word ekvos in Indo-European, meant horse.
In q-Celtic this was rendered as equos. In p-Celtic it became epos.

1.5.3 What Gaelic means
The local inhabitants of Britain called the Irish arrivals gwyddel savages. From this comes geídil, goidel, Goidelic and finally Gaelic.
Please note that Irish people refer to their language as Gaeilge when speaking in Irish and Irish when speaking of it in English. They do not call their language Gaelic. The language called Gaelic is the Celtic language of Scotland and, while related, is an entirely different language.

1.5.4 Irish Mythology
Irish myths were probably recorded in the eighth century or earlier, possibly written by the Druids in Ogham. There are few surviving examples of Ogham because this writing was primarily done on bark, or on wands of hazel. However the legends of the early Celtic people were also passed down in stories.
The best record of the rich Celtic mythological tradition is contained in the four cycles drawn up by twelfth century Christian scribes:
the Mythological Cycle
the Ulster Cycle (also known as the Red Branch Cycle)
the Fenian or Fianna Cycle
the Kings or Historical Cycle
Thank you so much for your interest in Irish. It means more than you will know.

1.6 HOMEWORK:for the very motivated student. That’s you, right? Ara, give it a shot anyway.
Homework Exercises for Lesson 1 Gaeilge
Other Useful Irish Language Resources  http://alturl.com/y4cj5

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