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Fast and Slow Irish Language Conversation Audio Pronunciation: A Free Lesson

It’s a noble effort for you to consider learning Irish. It’s a noble effort to consider wanting to visit Ireland next time and strike up a simple conversation in Irish when you’re visiting a Gaeltacht area (where lots of the community speak Irish).

  • But are you worried that you won’t ever be able to follow what Irish-speaking people say when they talk at a normal pace?
  • Are you afraid of seeming foolish when you try out your Irish on locals?
  • Do you find it frustrating trying to learn Irish because you’re not sure if you’re pronouncing the words correctly?

Why learn to speak Irish? To have conversations.

Your ultimate goal of learning to speak Ireland’s language is to speak with Irish people, right? You don’t want to simple speak at Irish people. You want to converse in Irish with with them.

Your first step is to hear how conversations may go, practice the words, to begin to follow along. In the next section, you can hear the audio of spoken Irish (Gaelic). We’ll start you off with slower audio Irish pronunciation, and work it up to faster pronunciation later. This will give you the chance to first get familiar with some words, and then just listen to the expressions at a more natural pace.

Listen to Irish audio pronunciation: Discussing jobs & professions

In this conversation with audio, two men, Tadhg and Aodhán are catching up with each other,  and getting to know their new friend Seán.

Step 1: Listen & Repeat: Slow lesson

Don’t be afraid of the the Irish language audio below. Even Bitesize Irish Gaelic audio doesn’t bite 😉 Just go with the flow, try the slow recordings, then move on to the following section for faster pronunciation. You can always come back and repeat the sections at your own pace.

Listen to the conversation below, repeating each line after the speaker. Do this as often as you like, until you are comfortable repeating the lines and can say them smoothly.

AODHÁN: Cén post atá agat anois, a Thaidhg?

/Kane pust ah-taw ah-gut ah-nish, ah Higue?/
(What kind of work do you do now, Tadhg?)

TADHG: Is múinteoir bunscoile mé. Céard fútsa?

/Iss moo-in-chore bun-skul-yeh may. Kayrd foot-sa?/
(I’m a primary school teacher. What about you?)

Note: the phonetic Irish (Gaelic) pronunciation is marked /like this/. It’s our way to help you learn how the written Irish language connects to the spoken word.

AODHÁN: Oibrím i mbanc. Is airgeadóir mé.

/Eb-reem ih monk. Iss ar-gij-ore may./
(I work in a bank. I’m a teller.)

TADHG: Agus tusa, a Sheáin? Cén tslí bheatha atá agatsa?

/Ogg-us tussa, ah Hyoyne? Kayn chlee vya-ha ah-taw ah-gut-sa?/
(And you, Seán? What’s YOUR line of work?)

SEÁN: Is garda mé.

/Iss gawrda may./
(I’m a police officer.)

TADHG: An maith leat do phost?

/On mah lyat duh fust?/
(Do you like your job?)

SEÁN: Is maith, cinnte!

/Iss mah, kin-teh!/
Yes, certainly!

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by now, just slow down. Take a listen to the pronounced audio above again, it’s free. The whole point is that you get familiar with the sounds of the Irish language, and not just regurgitate travel-book phrases.

Important note

Did you notice that our friends used different ways to ask about jobs/careers? The first, “cén post atá agat?” /kane puh-ust a-taw a-gut?/, is literally “what job do you have?” and roughly corresponds to the English what kind of work do you do? The second was:

Cén tslí bheatha atá agat?

/Kane chlee vya-ha ah-taw ah-gut?/
(What’s your line of work?)

That recording above literally means “what is your way of life?” and roughly corresponds to the English “what is your career?” or “how do you make your living?”. You can use either.

Step 2: Listen & Repeat: Normal Speed lesson

Now you’ll hear the conversation at a more normal, conversational speed. Listen to each line and try to emulate the speaker. You don’t want to learn Irish, only to be left out of conversations, right? Learn with these faster audio recordings to familiarize yourself with some faster speech.

In this section, I’ll leave out the Irish phonetic pronunciation of the Irish words with the audio, to make the text easier to read. Refer to the slower conversation above for phonetics (lots of learners find them useful, you may too). Ok here goes:

AODHÁN: Cén post atá agat anois, a Thaidhg?

(What kind of work do you do now, Tadhg?)

TADHG: Is múinteoir bunscoile mé. Céard fútsa?

(I’m a primary school teacher. What about you?)

AODHÁN: Oibrím i mbanc. Is airgeadóir mé.

(I work in a bank. I’m a teller.)

TADHG: Agus tusa, a Sheáin? Cén tslí bheatha atá agatsa?

(And you, Seán? What’s YOUR line of work?)

SEÁN: Is garda mé.

(I’m a police officer.)

TADHG: An maith leat do phost?

(Do you like your job?)

SEÁN: Is maith, cinnte!

(Yes, certainly!)

What you’ve already achieved by listening to these Irish audio pronunciations

  • You have heard some Irish (Gaelic) pronunciation (yay!)
  • I do not expect you to have learned immediately from this sample conversation, it’s something you should come back to
  • The slower audio pronunciations allow you to study each word, and make connections between written Irish with how it’s pronounced by native speakers. You’re getting familiar with the Irish phrases for conversation.
  • The faster audio shows you how words do blend into each other when spoken in conversation. Don’t be afraid of this, the objective is to start to be able to pick out individual words when you hear native speakers speak.

A big thanks to Donovan at The Mezzofanti Guild who reviewed our full Bitesize Irish Gaelic program of online lessons that teach you Irish language pronunciation, and he made nice suggestions on how our online lessons can better help learners. Audrey, who has done fantastic work at expanding our lessons, has worked hard to have both slow and fast recordings in many of the lessons available to members.

We’re excited about how our online members’ lessons have now improved thanks to Donovan’s and others’ feedback (a shout-out to Roibeárd for this suggestion too). If you’re a member like them, you can start benefiting from these improved lessons immediately.

How Bitesize Irish Gaelic is now better for learning conversation (hint: the fast & slow recordings are new)

I’ll back up a bit. If you’re new to the Bitesize Irish Gaelic family, we give you the chance to learn the sounds of Irish, by listening to several thousand audio recordings throughout our members’ lessons.

Audrey, who has written many of our lessons now, has made a range of improvements that will help you to better learn to speak Irish (Gaelic):

  1. Learn slow, then fast with audio: Did you like learning with the fast & slow recording examples in this post? We’ve added conversations at a more normal, “conversational” speed. Now, in addition to listening to and repeating the conversation at a slow pace with distinct articulation, you have the opportunity to listen to and repeat the conversation at the speed and level of articulation you’d hear from a native speaker conversing with another native speaker.
  2. Role play: In the “role play” and “over to you!” sections we’ve changed the recordings to the faster, more natural speed as well, so you’ll get the opportunity to hear them over and over and to get a real feel for how the language sounds in conversation.
  3. Learn like a native: We’ve changed the wording in some of the conversations to more idiomatic forms. Basically, you can learn the Irish language that’s closer to how natives speak. Don’t be afraid to learning “textbook” Irish that would never be spoken by Irish native speakers.
  4. Conversation lessons throughout our program: Instead of lumping all the conversation lessons into one section, we’ve distributed them among the vocabulary and grammar lessons, so you can more easily jump right into conversation practice.

These conversational lessons now available

If you’re a member, please click through and try these updated lessons below (the links open in a new window).

If you’re not yet a member, feel free to sign up for all 130+ Bitesize Irish Gaelic lessons, but no pressure.

Get confident with conversation with Irish audio lessons with pronunciations

It takes time. If you’re not dedicated to the idea of learning a language, please don’t start now. Seriously – it’s a long journey.

If you are serious about setting off on this journey with us, we would love to have you with us. Join Amanda, and Roibeárd, and Mary, and Laurie, and all our other regular members who tell us that they’re enjoying learning so far.

Now it’s time to make the decision, if you have not already decided. Do you set off on this new journey into the unknown? Or do you “leave it until later”? Don’t miss this opportunity to make a real connection with your Irish heritage. If you’re seriously ready to start, then please:

Click here to join Bitesize Irish Gaelic, and we’ll see you inside.

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14 thoughts on “Fast and Slow Irish Language Conversation Audio Pronunciation: A Free Lesson”

    1. And thanks of course for the suggestions that you took the time to put together – go raibh maith agat.

      Are you going to make it over to Ireland at all?!