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Lesson Highlight: Irish Gaelic Terms for the Family

March is National Irish-American Heritage Month in the U.S.! Let’s kick it off with a little mini-lesson in Irish Gaelic!

Welcome to our first Bitesize Lesson Highlight!

From time to time, we’d like to offer you a little taste of what the Bitesize Irish Gaelic on-line learning program has to offer by highlighting one of our lessons.

(I guess you could call that “a nibble”!)

In this highlight, we’ll look at one of our vocabulary lessons: Family

Types of lessons available at Bitesize

As of this writing, Bitesize currently offers three types of lessons:

  • Vocabulary: These lessons help you learn new words and terms in the language, and show you how to apply them by putting them into useful, everyday, sentences.
  • Grammar: These lessons give you the basic building blocks of the language in easy, “bitesized” steps, so it doesn’t get overwhelming.
  • Conversation: These lessons give you a chance to use what you’re learning in real-world situations, such as meeting and introducing people, ordering in a restaurant, giving directions, etc.

All of the lessons are audio-rich, so you can learn the correct pronuciation by listening to and emulating the speaker.

In addition, the conversation lessons offer both a “slow” and “normal” speed: The first to help you get the correct pronunciation of the words, and the second to help you learn to hear and use them in a more natural situation.

These lesson highlights will include some of the audio from the lesson being featured, so you can get a feel for how the program works. Bitesize members, of course, can always access the complete lesson, with full audio.

Words for “family” in Irish

It may surprise you to learn that Irish has multiple words that correspond to the English “family,” depending on exactly whom you are talking about.


Unlike the English word “clan,” to which it is related, “clann” in Irish refers to your children and descendents, or to the collective children of a household. Sometimes it’s used to refer to your siblings.


“Teaghlach,” which comes from the word “teach” (house), usually refers to the people in a particular household, though it’s also often used to refer to the immediate family (mother/father/children, or whatever combination comprises a particular family).


“Muintir” has regional variations. In some regions, it’s used to refer to one’s parents. In others, it’s used to refer to one’s “folk” or “people,” or to the extended family.

Words for family members

Here are some words for members of your family:













(Note: The exact pronunciation of both “deartháir” and “deirfiúr” can vary widely from region to region, so if you’ve already learned a different way of pronouncing these, don’t worry about it.)

Quite a few other terms are available in the actual lesson, including “aunt,” “uncle,” “cousin,” “parents,” “grandparents,” etc.

Sample sentences

Here are some examples of the sample sentences that help you learn to put the vocabulary you’re learning into context:

An í seo d’iníon?

Is this your daughter?

Is í. Gráinne is ainm dí.

Yes. Her name is Gráinne.

An iad seo do thuismitheoirí?

Are they your parents?

Ní hiad. Seo iad mo sheanthuismitheoirí.

No. They’re my grandparents.

See how easy it is?

Bitesize Irish Gaelic gives you the tools you need to begin learning to speak Irish at your own pace, in small, easily assimilated, increments.

If this lesson highlight has whetted your appetite to learn more, how about signing up for our no-obligation free trial? It’s a fun and risk-free way to get started learning the language of your ancestors!

Did you find this post helpful?

Have you ever thought about learning Irish Gaelic, but weren’t sure how to begin? Let us know your thoughts below!

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3 thoughts on “Lesson Highlight: Irish Gaelic Terms for the Family”

  1. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s
    the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Audrey, a chara,

    What is ‘Nibble’ in Irish?
    Would it be something like “Greim beag”?

    Le meas,

    1. Hmmm…good question. Collins offers “gráiseáil” or “creimseáil” as verbs.For nouns I’m finding “líomóg” (“to have a nibble at the cake”: líomóg a bhaint as an gcáca”), among others.