The letter “f” in Irish is pronounced almost like the “f” in English, except that you must start with the inside of the lower lip against the edge of the upper front teeth. Then, if “a”, “o” or “u” is the nearest vowel to the “f”, move both lips out for the vowel sound. Examples: fá (faw*), fód (fohd), fuar (FOO-uhr), scríofa (SHKREE-fuh). This is the broad sound of “f”.
Start the slender sound the same way, but draw the lower lip back a little to make the vowel sound. Try: fear (far), féin (fay*n), fill (fil), deifir (DE-fir), fliuch (flyuhk*).
In some cases “f” is pronounced (h). We will study this later.
solas (SUH-luhs), light
balla (BAHL-luh), wall
sorn (SOHR-ruhn), stove
cúisneoir (koosh-NYOH-ir), refrigerator
gloine (GLIN-e), glass
doirteal (DUHRT-uhl), sink
forc (fohrk), fork
fó-chupán (FOH-k*u-PAW*N), saucer
citeal (KIT-uhl), kettle
naipcín (nap-KEEN), napkin
pota (POHT-uh), pot
sconna (SKOHN-uh), faucet
éadach boird, an t-eadach boird (AY*-duhk*BWIRD, un TAY*-duhk*BWIRD), tablecloth, the tablecloth
oigheann, an t-oigheann (EYE-uhn, un TEYE-uhn), oven, the oven
scian, an scian (SHKEE-uhn), knife
síleáil, an tsíleáil (SHEEL-aw*-il, un TEEL-aw*-il), ceiling
cathaoir, an chathaoir (KAH-heer, un K*AH-heer), chair
i lár na sráide (i LAW*R nuh SRAW*-de), in the middle of the street
ag ól bainne (eg OHL BAHN-ye), drinking milk
ag ól tae (eg OHL tay*), drinking tea
ag ól uisce (eg OHL ISH-ke), drinking water
ag ithe a bhricfeasta (eg I-he uh vrik-FAS-tuh), eating breakfast
Go hiontach (goh HOON-tuhk*), Great!
We will try a vocabulary drill first, to help you learn the larger vocabulary that you are acquiring. Go to the kitchen and begin this drill for each object you can name:
Céard é seo? (kay*rd ay* shuh), What is this?
Or: Céard é sin? (shin), What is that?
Is ___ é. Tá an ___ anseo (un-SHUH), The ___ is here.
Continue for as many objects as you can name. If necessary, replace “anseo” by one of these:
ansin (un-SHIN), there; ar an mbord (er un mohrd), on the table; ar an urlár (er un oor-LAW*R), on the floor; ar an mballa (er un MAHL-luh), on the wall.
The next drill is a mini-conversation drill. Do these short exercises alone or with another student. Repeat them several times to get the full benefit from them.
Note: To tell someone to give an order to a man, say “Abair leis” (AH-bir lesh) and add a verbal noun, such as “teacht” or “dul”. An example: Abair leis dul abhaile (uh-VWAHL-e), Tell him to come home.
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