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Irish Gaelic Grammar 101 | Lenition

Let’s learn what lenition is! Here is another instalment in our grammar series. This series focuses on helping you crack the code of the basics of Irish Gaelic grammar. 

Lenition, also called aspiration, is known in Irish as séimhiú:

lenition, aspiration

Its function is to make speaking easier and also to make sentences more precise. 

Séimhiú, lenition, is indicated in modern-day Irish with a letter h after the first consonant of a word.

If you see a word with a h following the first consonant, such as a noun: chat, a verb: bhí, or an adjective: mhór, and you want to find out what the word means, remove the h before looking up the word in the dictionary.

The h is usually inserted there as a result of what comes before it in a sentence. There are many reasons for this which we won’t go into here. 

You can learn when to add the séimhiú to a word by learning the rules in a grammar book or online. You can learn when to use the séimhiú on the Bitesize Irish course.

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5 thoughts on “Irish Gaelic Grammar 101 | Lenition”

  1. Frank W. Kirwin - Hall

    Go raibh maith agat! Your video presentations have been a helpful supplement for my Gaeilge classes with Scoil Ghaeilge Ghearóid Tóibín, sponsored by the Hibernians. Irish grammar and word order have not been a problem to learn, but spelling and the inflection of the BEGINNINGS of words (rather than the ENDS of words) have proven to be challenging., Nollaig Shona agus Grianstad an Gheimhridh! Slán, Frank (Proinnsias Ó Ciardhubháin.

  2. Excellent video! I now know that the three (lenition, aspiration and séimhiú) mean the same. I used to confuse them, now I will forever remember them as, “LAS.” Actually, I’ll add the, “h” and remember them all as, “LASH” GRMA! Well done,

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