In today’s Dear Bitesize post, we’re answering two questions that came in recently to Bitesize Irish Gaelic. First of all, one learner wanted to know the uses of the different words for green and orange in Irish Gaelic. Another Irish language learner wished to know how letters are formatted in Irish.
Here we go:
Can you explain in which circumstances you use the different words for green and orange?
The following are not hard rules but are a general understanding of the use of glas and uaine. Glas is what is used to refer to naturally occurring green, such as the colour of plants. Uaine, on the other hand, is used to mean artificial sources of green, such as paint. That being said it is not incorrect to use either glas or uaine to mean any sort of green. Glas can also be used to mean naturally occurring grey, such as grey fur.
Listen to both glas and uaine here:
Oráiste is both the word for the colour and for the fruit. Flannbhuí, which tends to be rarely used, can only mean the colour orange, never the fruit. You may often hear flannbhuí in reference to the orange found in the Republic of Ireland’s national flag.
Listen to both oráiste and flannbhuí here:
Now, let’s go on to the second question:
What are the Irish equivalents of Dear Sir/Madam, Hi, Kind Regards, Best Regards, Your’s Faithfully etc?
Letters or emails in Irish usually open with A chara, or A (name), a chara if you know the recipient’s name. Though it means friend or my friend, it’s widely used, even in formal circumstances. It’s probably the best alternative to Dear Sir/Madam.
Listen to A chara here:
A more formal way to address a letter is A Dhuine Uasail (Dear Sir) and A Bhean Uasal (Dear Madam). Another option is Don té lena mbaineann which means To whom it may concern.
Listen to A Dhuine Uasail, A Bhean Uasal and Don té lena mbaineann here:
When you come to the closing, there are a number of options. One of the most formal is Is mise, le meas, It is often used in business letters. It can be shortened to just “Le meas.” An English equivalent is Yours Sincerely.
Listen to Is mise, le meas here:
If you would like to close your letter with something like Kind regards or Best wishes, use Le gach dea-ghuí or Le gach dea-mhéin. They are both close in meaning to Best wishes.
Listen to Le gach dea-ghuí and Le gach dea-mhéin here:
If you want to go for a more informal, two common options are Slán agus beannacht, which literally means Goodbye and blessing, and Beir bua agus beannacht, which means Be victorious and blessing.
Listen to Slán agus beannacht and Beir bua agus beannacht here:
Now that you know how to open and close a letter or email, you’ve no excuse not to get in contact with any queries you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading!
Le gach dea-ghuí, (Best wishes)
15 thoughts on “Dear Bitesize: Green, Orange and Letter Writing in Irish”
Can ‘Haigh a Mháire’ be used?
A Darrell, a chara
Indeed you can use that!
Táim ag cur iarratas ar phost faoi láthair agus dá bhrí sin táim an-bhuíoch díot, go raibh míle maith agat! Ní raibh mé cinnte má’s féidir “a chara” a rá ar dtús litreach foirmiúla, mar sin de bhí mé ag googláil go cráite hahaha
Táim sásta go raibh Bitesize cabhrach! Ádh mór le d’iarrtas 🙂
Very helpful! Thank you . ☘️😊
Niamh does not need any other letter in front of it. A Niamh is correct.
A Niamh is correct 🙂
Hi. Is “A Uasail” ok to use in a formal letter instead of “A Dhuine Uasail”?
You would only use “A Uasail” when the person’s name is used eg. “A Uasail Séamus Mac Suibhne.” “A Dhuine Uasail” is used for addressing a man and “A Bhean Uasal” for addressing a woman.
What a wonderful website! Beautifully clear and very helpful. Thank you!
Hello, I thought “a chara” adressed to a woman was “a cara”, gan séimhú?
Ex: “A Máire, a cara” agus “A Seàn, a chara”?
As this is the vocative case and doesn’t have anything to do with the possessive adjective (which is what I’m guessing you are basing the above on) it does take a séimhiú in both cases.
A Mháire, a chara,
A Sheáin, a chara,
We have a blog about it here: http://bitesize.irish/blog/irish-vocative/
I hope this helps!
I have just discovered this wonderful website. I have been going to Ireland frequently, and have been looking for a really easy introduction to the Irish language. Coming from a Dutch background, and then becoming completely immersed in English, and now having to learn Maori as well, the Irish language seemed so daunting. However, I just love the simple phrases and the careful pronunciation.
Thanks so much for your comment. We do like to think that we make it easy to learn the language, so I really appreciate that you are finding it helpful!
If you’ve any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch on email@example.com
Slán go fóill,
Hi, is there a letter to go in front of or after the N in a name like Niamh, or is just “A Niamh,” ?