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Irish Language Questions Collection

Irish castle, Count Limerick, Ireland
Irish Castle in Castletroy, Co. Limerick, near the University of Limerick.

You’re not on your own on your Irish language journey: Bitesize Irish Gaelic is here to help.

Here are some recent questions sent to us from members of our online course, and non-members alike. Members can contact us for any questions related to our online lessons. Our answers might help you out too.

Pronouning our Language Assistant’s surname

Maureen asked:

How does Siobhan pronounce her family name???

Siobhán Ní Mhaoildhia is our Language Assistant at Bitesize Irish Gaelic. She records videos, arranges member calls on our private Facebook group, and answers language questions.

Here’s her recording of how to pronounce her surname:

Advanced: Gender of country names

On Bitesize Lesson 62: Countries and nationalities, Lisa asked:

In past lessons, I have read ‘an tEireannach’, ‘an tIndiach’ and ‘an tOstarach’. I think these nouns are masculine because of the initial mutation. Are all or most of the nationalities masculine, even though most of the countries are feminine?!

Thank you for your question.

You’re right! They’re all masculine and you can tell because of the initial mutation. You can also check also by searching it in the dictionary https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/%C3%89ireannach

It’s even clearer still in the Grammar tab: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/gram/%C3%89ireannach

To the best of my knowledge, all nationalities are masculine.

Vowels spelling rule in Irish Gaelic

On Bitesize Lesson 14: Spelling rule, Michael asked:

In one of the examples provided in this lesson i.e. “gháirdín” the first vowel is á.

By what i’ve learned in this lesson should the next vowel not be an A, O or U?

“Gairdín” is spelt correctly because there’s an “i” between the “a” and the “r”. The first rule listed below stands when the “a” (a broad vowel) comes directly before the consonant (the “r” in this case). Let’s take the word “garda”. You can see that since there’s no “i” (a slender vowel) between “a” and “r”, therefore, the vowel immediately following the consonants (“rd” in this case) is either “a”, “o”, or “u”.

  1. If the vowels “a”, “o” or “u” are immediately followed by one or more consonants, then any vowel immediately following those consonants will also be “a”, “o”, or “u”.
  2. If the vowels “i” or “e” are immediately followed by one or more consonants, then any vowel immediately following those consonants will also be “i” or “e”.

Recordings of some Irish Gaelic phrases

Rich replied to one of our Irish for Beginners emails with this question:

I would like to be able to say basics. I love you. Thank you. Hello. Bless you.

I love you:
Tá grá agam duit /Taw graw a-gum ditch/ (Just one of the many ways to say this) Here’s a recording:

Thank you:
Go raibh maith agat. And watch our video below!


Dia dhuit! /Jee-ah ghwitch/ Recording:

Bless you:
Dia leat! /Jee-ah lyat/ Recording:

Do you have a question for Bitesize Irish Gaelic? It doesn’t have to be a language question. Maybe you have a travel or cultural question. You can always contact us (it’s an easy form to fill).

5 thoughts on “Irish Language Questions Collection”

  1. I am confused about the he/she pronouns sé / é and sí / í

    For instance,
    He eats bread: itheann sé arán
    She is a girl: Is cailín í
    Why does the ‘she’ come at the end of the sentence and why is í
    I thought word order was VSO in Irish.

    1. In the cases where you see é and í – they are the objects in the sentence.
      When you are using the copula ‘is’, imagine the sentence as
      ‘a girl is she’ – ‘girl’ is the subject and ‘she’ is the object.
      Verb – Is
      Subject – cailín
      Object – í

      I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Bo,

      Thank you for your question.

      Órlaith is the most Gaelic of the spellings you supplied. The older spelling is Órfhlaith. This is closer to the name’s meaning which is golden princess but literally “gold prince”.

      If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

      Le meas,

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