Last week, we put a call out for words that you often come across in the Irish language.
This week, we’ll bring them all together, and explain them in a bit more detail.
You can keep this post for reference – come back every once in a while to revise the phrases.
Let’s start with an easy one: And
agus means “and”, and you pronounce it like /ogg-us/.
In fast speech, you may here it often as ‘gus /gus/ or even ‘s /ss/.
An example would be:
Síle agus Seán (Síle and Seán)
/Shee-leh ogg-us Shawn/
If you’re speaking with someone in Irish, you can reply to them with some standard phrases.
So if Síle says:
Tabhair dom an salann. (Give me the salt.)
/tow-er dum on sol-onn/
… Then Seán could reply with:
Ceart go leor. (Alright.)
/kyart guh lyore/.
Literally, “ceart” means correct. “Go leor” means enough. So the phrase translates to “correct enough”, or alright.
Seán might also reply slightly more negatively with:
Maith go leor. (Alright.)
/mah guh lyore/
It means “alright” in this case again. “Maith” means “good”, and we already saw that “go leor” means “enough”, so the phrase literally translates to “good enough”.
Síle also wants the pepper (she’s very abrupt!):
An piobar, freisin. (The pepper, also.)
/on pyub-er, fresh-in/
“Freisin” is a handy phrase for saying “also” or “too”.
An alternative phrase for this context is chomh maith /kho mah/ (another way to say ‘also’). We already saw that “maith” means “good”. “Chomh” means “equally”. Therefore “chomh maith” literally translates to “equally good”, or “as good”.
Síle might finish with:
Go maith. (Good.)
There’s that word “maith” again, means “good”. “Go maith” can mean “good”, or “well”.
More Irish language phrases
Thanks to our commentators Joan agus Erin who also added these useful Irish Gaelic words:
Cúpla pionta (A couple of pints)
Gan dabht. (Without doubt… certainly)
Buíochas le Dia. (Thank God, literally “thanks to God”).
/bwee-uh-khos leh Jee-ah/
Ag dul go dtí… (Going to…)
/egg dul guh jee…/
Ní raibh. (Wasn’t.)
Patterns are always good for learning a language. As you practice, you see them more.
In this post, you’ve seen that the little word “maith” /mah/ meaning “good” gets used in many different ways.