English has no sound comparable to Irish broad “d”. Pronounce it by placing the broadened tongue tip against the back of the upper front teeth, with the front of the tongue along the roof of the mouth before the hard ridge that you can feel behind the upper front teeth. This sound occurs when the nearest vowel in the word is “a”, “o”, or “u”. Try these:
dá (daw*), two; dath (dah), color; duine (DIN-e), person; doirt (dirt), pour; dó (doh), to him; doras (DUH-ruhs), door; damhsa (DOU-suh), dance; dún (doon), close; dlúth (dloo), compact.
draein (dray*n), drain; droichead (DRUH-huhd), bridge; druid (drid, close in; púdar (POO-duhr), powder; acadamh (ah-KAHD-uhv), academy; airgead (AR-i-guhd), money; bád (baw*d), boat; duilleog (dil-YOHG), leaf; ródaí (ROH-dee), wayfarer.
Where aspirated broad “d” is sounded, pronounce it like “g” in English “goat”. Examples:
mo dhoras (muh GUH-ruhs), my door; mo dhá dhán (muh gaw* gaw*n), my two poems.
Inside a word, or at a word end, aspirated broad “d” usually indicates a special sound for the letter group in which it is. Examples:
deireadh (DER-uh), end; moladh (MUHL-uh), praising; adhmad (EYE-muhd), timber, wood; adhain (EYE-in), kindle.
By now you should have some ability to form the comparative of most adjectives. There are some irregular ones, however. Some are only slightly irregular. “Cóir” (KOH-ir), just, is one. Its comparative is “córa” (KOH-ruh) instead of “cóire”. “Deacair” (DAK-uhr), difficult, becomes “deacra” (DAK-ruh). The most important of the highly irregular ones are in the vocabulary below.
maith (mah), good; fearr (fyaw*r), better
beag (byuhg), small; lú (loo), smaller
mór (mohr), big; mó (moh), bigger
olc (uhlk), bad; measa (MAS-uh), worse
te (te), hot; teo (tyoh), hotter
breá (bi-RAW*), fine; breátha (bi-RAW*-huh), finer
dócha (DOHK*-uh), likely; dóichí (DOH-hyee), more likely
furasta (FU-ruhs-tuh), easy; fusa (FU-suh), easier
Read these sentences aloud, putting the comparative forms in them.
(olc) 1. Is olc an madra é sin, ach is ___ an capail ná é.
(beag) 2. An ___ an teach (tahk*) seo ná ár dteach?
(te) 3. Nach ___ an pláta ná an cupán?
(breá) 4. Ní ___ an lá seo ná an lá eile.
(mór) 5. Is ___ an cóta seo ná an cóta a bhí ort inné (in-YAY*).
(dócha) 6. Is ___ an scéal sin ná an scéal a d’inis do chara dúinn inné.
(furasta) 7. Ní ___ an ceacht (kyahk*t) seo ná an ceacht a thug (hug) an múinteoir (moo-in-TYOHR) dúinn.
(maith) 8. Nach ___ na bróga seo ná iad sin?
Key: 1. measa; 2. lú; 3. teo; 4. breáthá; 5. mó; 6. dóichí; 7. fusa; 8. fearr
1. That dog is bad, but the horse is worse. 2. Is this house smaller than ours? 3. Isn’t the plate hotter than the cup? 4. This day isn’t finer than the other. 5. This coat is bigger than the one you had on yesterday. 6. That story is more likely than the one your friend told us yesterday. 7. This lesson isn’t easier than the one the teacher gave us. 8. Aren’t these shoes better than those?
To put a sentence into this form of comparative in Irish, Change “John is taller than Mary” to “Is taller John than Mary”, which then easily becomes “Is airde Seán ná Máire”. After a little practice, you will be able to dispense with this, because the adjective form will come naturally to your mind first.
Seán (shaw*n): Ó, a Shéamais! Nach tusa an fear cróga, a bheith amuigh inniu! (oh uh HAY*-mish. nahk* TU-suh un far KROH-guh, uh ve uh-MWEE in-YOO). Oh, James! Aren’t you the brave man to be out today!
Séamas (SHAY*-muhs): Lig isteach mé (lig iish-TYAHK* may*). Is fuaire an lá seo ná lá eile ar bith a raibh mé amuigh ann (is FOO-i-re un law* shuh naw* law* EL-e er bi uh rev may* uh-MWEE oun). Let me in. This day is colder than any other I was out in.
Seán: Agus is measa na bóithre sa chathair ná na bóithre i lár na hÁise (AH-guhs is MAS-uh nuh BOH-i-re suh K*AH-hir naw* nuh BOH-i-re i law*r nuh HAW*-she). And the roads in the city are worse than the roads in the center of Asia.
Máire: Ná bí i do sheasamh ag an doras oscailte. Tar isteach go tapaidh (naw* bee i duh HAS-uhv eg un DUHR-uhs OH-skil-te. tahr ish-TYAHK* goh TAHP-ee). Don’t be standing at the open door. Come inside quickly.
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