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Saying “Hello” in the Irish Language

Saying Hello in Irish Gaelic.
Saying Hello in Ireland.

To say “Hello” in the Irish language, you say:

Dia dhuit.

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That phrase is how you say hello to someone in Irish.

Starting a conversation with “Dia dhuit”

Conversation starters, such as “hello,” “how are you?” etc., are among the first things you learn in any language, and for a very good reason! They set the tone for the conversation.

I mean, it’s pretty rude to just walk up to someone and start talking, without bothering to greet him or to introduce yourself, right?

Basic greetings also tell us a lot about the culture that gave rise to a particular language. Does it have both formal and informal greetings? Do greetings vary among friends, or between men and women? Do they vary among regions? Do they have a religious element?

And the nice thing about knowing basic greetings, even if you don’t know any other words in the language, is it shows speakers of that language that they matter to you…that you care enough about their culture to make an attempt to learn a few words of their language. Greeting someone in his or her native tongue can be a terrific ice breaker!

SAYING “HELLO” IN IRISH

The greeting I used at the beginning of this post — Dia dhuit (pronounced, very roughly, JEE-uh ggwitch) — is a very basic, formal, way of saying “hello” in Irish Gaelic. It is addressed to one person, and it literally means “God to you.”

And even though people in Ireland (even in the Gaeltachtaí, or Irish-speaking regions) also speak English, they’re sure to be pleased if you trot out your cúpla focal (“few words”) of Irish!

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