Dear Bitesize: Different Ways of Saying “You” and the Letter “A”

Dear Bitesize Different Ways of Saying You and the Letter A blog post

In today’s Dear Bitesize post, I’m answering two questions that we recently received at Bitesize Irish Gaelic. First of all, one learner wanted to know the difference between the two words in Irish Gaelic which means you.  Another Irish language learner wished to know how the letter a is pronounced.

Here we go:

I notice the word “you” is “tú” in Irish. I am wondering whether there are formal and informal versions of addressing another person with “you”.

Unlike many other European languages, Irish does not have formal and informal ways of saying you. (pronunciation) is used regardless of age or status. However, there is a word for the plural you which is sibh (pronunciation), similar to how ye or y’all is used in English, except that sibh is always acceptable to use.

Now, on to the next question.

Is the letter A pronounced “aw” or “eh”?

The letter a is an aw sound in the Connacht and Munster dialects but can have an ey (as in hey) sound in the Ulster dialect. In such words as Dia the letter a isn’t being emphasised, so aw sound isn’t clearly heard. You can hear some variations here. Sometimes, the letter a can sound so much like aw that it almost sounds like the letter u.

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

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

Le gach dea-ghuí, (Best wishes,)

Siobhán

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