Dear Bitesize: Audio Resources and How To Say “Have”

Dear Bitesize: Audio Resources and How To Say "Have"

In today’s Dear Bitesize post, I’m answering two questions that came in recently to Bitesize Irish Gaelic. The first learner wanted to know the which resources are available to hear more Irish Gaelic. Another Irish language learner wished to know more about the peculiar way of expressing having in Irish.

Here we go:

Can you recommend any Irish Gaelic video or audio streams?

Here’s a list I compiled of what I think are some of best online listening resources for Irish language learners. Enjoy!

Audio

The Doegen Records Web Project (Archive recordings from Irish Dialect Sound Recordings 1928-31)  This site is particularly useful for hearing particular dialects.

Video

Many of the videos available at the above links have English subtitles.

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Now let’s get on to our second question:

How do I say that someone has something in Irish?

There are a couple of ways of expressing possession in Irish but one of them is much more common than the others.

To say someone has something in Irish, you must word the sentence very differently from how it would be worded in English. Let’s look at the sentence Seán has a dog:

Tá madra ag Seán.

The preposition ag, which literally means at, is used in most sentences where someone has something. Literally, the above sentence translates as There is a dog at Seán. 

What if you don’t want to use the person’s name or say what they are? That’s where prepositional pronouns come in. Here’s ag and its prepositional pronouns:

 

From the list on the left, you can now say:

He has a dog: Tá madra aige

They have a cat: Tá cat acu.

I have children: Tá páistí agam.

You have a wife: Tá bean chéile agat.

You (pl.) have a house: Tá teach agaibh.

 

 

 

You can listen to the above sentences here (these can be pronounced in a number of different ways):

However, the preposition ag usually isn’t used when speaking of emotions and illnesses. The preposition ar is used instead. Ar means on so therefore when you say you have a cold, tá slaghdán orm, you’re literally saying there is a cold on me. Though you don’t say that you have anger in English, as is the case with most other emotions, it said in Irish that emotions are on you. 

 

From the list on the left, you can now say:

I have a cold: Tá slaghdán orm.

You are angry: Tá fearg ort.

He has cancer: Tá ailse air.

We are sad: Tá brón orainn.

You (pl.) have headaches: Tá tinneas cinn oraibh. 

They have hair: Tá gruaig orthu.

 

 

You can listen to the above sentences here (these can be pronounced in a number of different ways):

As you can see in the last example, the preposition ar is used when saying that you have certain body parts, usually external body parts such as hair, the head, and foot.

The preposition le is used to express possession in the sense of That’s mine or He’s one of my friends. Since this is little off topic, we’ll leave it for today.

If you’ve ever got any grammar questions, or any other questions, for that matter, don’t hesitate to email info@bitesize.irish.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading!

Le gach dea-ghuí, (Best wishes)

Siobhán

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