Our blog serves as regular motivation for you to speak the Irish language. Find posts about culture, videos where you find how to say certain phrases, and member interviews to tell you about their experience of learning the language.

IRISH LANGUAGE Q&A

Q&A Le Siobhán Agus Emma – Thursday July 22nd 2021

Watch back July’s Live Q&A with Siobhán and Emma above!

  • Can payment be made in Euros or Sterling?
    • Payment is in US Dollars but it can be made using any currency as the currencies are exchanged automatically. The approximate price in Euros is stated under the cost in US Dollars but please check the latest conversion rates for the most precise figures as they fluctuate daily.
  • Do the accent marks (sometimes more than one in a word) have to do with where you accent that syllable? Is it something more to do with the lilt of the sound of it than just the emphasis?
    • That accent mark that you see is called a ‘síneeadh fada’, or ‘fada’ for short. Fada means long. They are used on vowels and cause the vowel to be pronounced long. For example, a short ‘a’ without a fada accent would be pronounced ‘ah’ but with a fada it would be ‘aw’. Similarly with ‘e’ – ‘eh’ without a fada, ‘ay’ with a fada; for example, féar /fayr/ (grass) and fear /far/ (man). This is something that is covered in our free taster course.
  • What are your thoughts about UNESCO’s labelling Irish as Definitely Endangered & the Irish government’s efforts to encourage and strengthen use of the language. Are you encouraged by these efforts? Article on UNESCO’s labelling of Irish: https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/irish-languagedefinitely-endangered-as-linguists-predict-it-will-vanish-in-the-next-century-40427361.html
    • UNESCO has a chart in which they categorize the languages. Safe – Vulnerable – Definitely Endangered – Severely Endangered – Critically Endangered – Extinct. So Irish is number 3 on a scale of 6 overall if you look at it like that. The criteria for being ‘Definitely Endangered’ is listed  – children no longer learn the language as a mother tongue in the home and I read somewhere else that another reason is because it is being used as a primary language by 44,000 or fewer people in the country. 
    • New funding and support for Irish – Over €1.6m approved for Tuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta over 3 years to support families raising their children through Irish – May 2021
    • €3.4m for Údarás na Gaeltachta/Foras na Gaeilge for language planning
    • More can be done of course but it is good to see movement in the Irish language and Gaeltacht sector.
  • How often do the Bitesize Beo scripts change?    
    • There are currently 9 scripts so they change in a cycle of 9 weeks. 
  • What is a common name that the Irish currently use to refer to their grandmother? An informal nickname. I have read that it could be Maimeo?
    • Mamó/Maimeo = granny
    • Grandmother: seanmháthair / máthair chríonna / máthair mhór
    • Daideo = grandad 
    • Grandfather: seanathair / athair críonna / athair mór
  • Is there anywhere I can find the Hail Holy Queen prayer in Irish with pronunciation tips?
    • Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNyGSCaAGJ8
    • You can find the words online by googling Salve Regina as Gaeilge. There’s a video where the prayer is read slowly. You will find it linked in the blog post linked below following this livestream
  • If the translation of the sentence,” Music is his life” in Irish is: “níl ina shaol ach ceol”, as was provided by focloir.ie, then could I ask how to say ,” Music is my life?”
    • “Níl ina shaol ach ceol” literally means “there is nothing in his life but music.” To say “music is my life, say “Níl imo shaol ach ceol”.
  • How do I find people local, to practice Irish with? Also, how do I know which version to learn, how it’s spoken in Galway, vs Donegal?  
    • You can always look on Peig.ie under the events section which will have a list of Irish language events happening around the world. It is completely up to you which dialect you learn, most books follow the official standard of Irish and often include more than one example of dialects. 
  • I want to know just how to make the Irish language my own.
    • Learn phrases and vocabulary that apply to your life. Start off with learning things that mean something personally to you and also songs that you enjoy in Irish. Try and do things that interest you in Irish or at least incorporate Irish words into such activities, even if just by speaking to yourself.
  • I understand that to say that one “knows” in Irish, it is common to say that “one has knowledge” – “Tá a fhios agam” –  but I’m afraid I don’t understand why there is an “a” in this sentence.
    • Fios means knowledge and the ‘a’ in front of it is the possessive adjective. 3rd person singular ‘it’s’ knowledge is at me. Other possessive adjectives are mo, do a etc. and that ‘a’ meaning it’s or his (fios) masuline noun – lenites the word following it therefore it’s a fhois. 
  • Is there a verb form of “knowing” in Irish or is knowledge always a noun? 
    • Fiosaigh – used philosophically.
  • Some languages have distinct verbs for “knowing” a fact and “knowing” a person. Is Irish like French and German in this regard or is it more like English?
    • Kennen vs Wissen in German function the same way as ‘Tá a fhois agam’ and ‘Tá aithne agam ar’. Kennen is usually used for knowing someone or something, almost to recognise them. That would be the same as ‘aithne’ as Gaeilge. Wissen would be to know about something so to have knowledge – working the same as ‘fios’ or even ‘eolas’. Tá sé ar eolas agam means I am knowledgeable of it/I know about it.
  • What’s a good Irish to English and English to Irish dictionary?
  • Cén leabhair is fearr libh? | What are your favourite books? 
    • Emma: A Thig ná Tit orm / An Taistealaí / Scéalta an Chéid
    • Siobhán: Fiche Bliain ag Fás / Deoir ón tSúil / Ó Pheann an Phiarsaigh/Scéalta an Phiarsaigh

We want to help you achieve Gaeilge Gach Lá – Irish Every Day. We’ve a whole set of resources collected for you in our Gaeilge Gach Lá email series. It starts with an ebook for 10 secrets for Gaeilge Gach Lá. You’ll also get our weekly newsletter with upcoming live Q&As. Get the Gaeilge Gach Lá emails from Bitesize Irish.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.