These lessons’ pronunciation of “-inn” at a word end was at first given as (ing) and then interspersed with (in). The pronunciation guide’s symbol for the sound is logically (ny), but because the beginner might be confused by this, the actual pronunciation has been deferred. Practice pronouncing (nnn-yuh) and then shorten the (yuh) until it nearly disappears. Practice with words: sinn, binn, linn, rinn, tinn. All are one-syllable words, each with a trace of the (yuh) at the end. Then try: seinn, thagainn, d’fheicinn. The sound is there even in “Sinn Féin”, pronounced slightly differently from “sin féin”. The lessons will still give (n) as pronunciation for “-inn” at word end, so you must remember to add the trace of (yuh).
Read these sentences aloud to get their sense and to visualize the subject (whether it is I, you, he, etc.):
Cheapfá é sin, dá bhfeicfeá a athair (daw* VEK-faw* uh A-hir).
Ní dhéanfaimis (YAY*N-hi-mish) an obair, mura nglanfaí an garáiste ar dtús (MU-rung LUHN-fwee un guh-RAW*SH-te er doos).
Dá ndíolfadh Diarmuid a bhád, ní fhanfadh a dheartháir (nee AHN-huhk* uh yri-HAW*-ir) anseo.
Thitfinn (HIT-hin) san uisce, dá ngearrfá an téad (daw*ng YAHR-faw* un tay*d).
Dá bhfágfadh (VWAW*K-huhk*) Máire a rothar (ROH-huhr) amuigh, nach ngoidfí é (nahk* uhng IT-fee ay*)?
An ligfidís (LIK-hi-deesh) dom dul abhaile, mura mbeadh mo cheacht críochnaithe (muh hyahk*t KREE-uhk*-nuh-he)?
Mura mbeidís anseo, ní chreidfinn tú (nee HYRET-hin too).
Key: You would think that, if you were to see his father.
We wouldn’t do the work, if the garage were not cleaned first.
If Diarmuid were to sell his boat, his brother wouldn’t stay here.
I would fall into the water if you were to cut the rope.
If Maire were to leave her bicycle outside, wouldn’t it be stolen?
Would they let me go home if my lesson were not finished?
If they weren’t here, I wouldn’t believe you.
Notice that there are two of the irregular verbs above: feic and déan. Both are regular in the modh coinníollach, however.
Má ólann tú é, beidh tú tinn. Mura n-éisteann tú liom, ní thuigeann tú na focail. Má fhilleann sé abhaile, nach bhfanann sé ann?
Dá n-ólfainn é, an ólfá é? Mura n-éistfidís liom, d’ólfaidís an t-uisce.
Key: If you drink it, you will be sick. If you don’t listen to me, you don’t understand the words. If he returns home, doesn’t he stay there?
If I were to drink it, would you drink it? If they wouldn’t listen to me, they would drink the water.
Verbs such as “imigh” and “ceannaigh”, which are in the second conjugation, also have different forms in the modh coinníollach. The forms resemble the future tense, but word endings differ from those of the future tense.
Learn these forms by repeating them aloud until you can say them without hesitation. For each one, visualize the action and the subject:
cheannóinn (hyan-OH-in), I would buy
cheannófá (hyan-OH-faw*), you would buy
cheannódh sé (hyan-OHK* shay*), he would buy
cheannódh sí, she would buy
cheannóimis (hyan-OH-i-mish), we would buy
cheannódh sibh (hyan-OHK* shiv), you-all would buy
cheannóidís (hyan-OH-i-deesh), they would buy
cheannófaí (hyan-OH-fwee), people would buy
For the negative, “ní” (nee) precedes these forms. For example, “ní cheannódh sé é” means “he wouldn’t buy it”.
Other forms, with “an”, “nach”, “dá”, or “mura” before them, have the initial consonant aspirated if it can be.
Learn these forms for “dá” with “ceannaigh”:
dá gceannóinn (daw* gyan-OH-in), if I were to buy
dá gceannófá (daw* gyan-OH-faw*), if you were to buy
dá gceannódh sé (daw* gyan-OHK* shay*), if he were to buy
dá gceannódh sí, if she were to buy
dá gceannóimis (daw* gyan-OH-i-mish), if we were to buy
dá gceannódh sibh (daw* gyan-OHK* shiv), if you-all were to buy
dá gceannóidís (daw* gyan-OH-i-deesh), if they were to buy
dá gceannófaí (daw* gyan-OH-fwee), if people were to buy
Samples of other forms: An gceannófá é? Would you buy it? Nach gceannóidís teach? Wouldn’t they buy a house? Mura gceannódh sí cóta, If she were not to buy a coat.
If the second-conjugation verb ends in “-igh” instead of “-aigh”, there is a slight difference in pronunciation and spelling. The example here is “bailigh”. “I would collect, etc”. becomes:
bhaileoinn (vwahl-YOH-in), I would collect
bhaileofá (vwahl-YOH-faw*), you would collect
bhaileodh sé (vwahl-YOHK* shay*), he would collect
bhaileodh sí, she would collect
bhaileoimis (vwahl-YOH-i-mish), we would collect
bhaileodh sibh, you-all would collect
bhaileoidís (vwahl-YOH-i-deesh), they would collect
The other forms are similar in their relation to those for “ceannaigh”. For example: “ní bhaileoinn”, I wouldn’t collect; “an mbaileofá?”, would you collect?; “nach mbaileoimis?”, wouldn’t we collect?; “mura mbaileofaí”, if people were not to collect; “dá mbaileoinn”, if I were to collect.
Chríochnóinn é (hyreek*-NOH-in ay*). An labhrófá Gearmáinis (un lou-ROH-faw* GYAR-maw*-nish)? Ní mhíneoidís é (nee veen-YOH-i-deesh ay*). Dá n-imeoimis (daw* nim-YOH-i-mish). Ní ullmhódh sí é (nee UL-vwohk* shee ay*). Mura n-imreodh Seán (MU-ruh NIM-rohk* shaw*n).
Key: I would finish it. Would you speak German? They wouldn’t explain it. If we were to depart. She wouldn’t prepare it. If Seán wouldn’t play.
Note that verbs ending in “-ir” or “-air”, such as “imir” or “labhair”, drop out a syllable. Instead of “labhaireodh sé”, we say “labhródh sé” for “he would speak”. This occurs in other tenses, as well, and is called “syncopation”. It is not the usual meaning of the word “syncopation” that you know in music.
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