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Learning the Irish Language Lesson 3

Introduction

This is lesson three of the learning Irish language tutorial. In this tutorial we will discuss possessive pronouns and the empathic form of these pronouns. Lastly, we will explore how preposition are used in Irish and explain the usage of a couple. The goal of this tutorial is to teach a person the Irish language in the simplest way possible.

Possessive case of pronouns

The possessive case in English comes in two flavors: possessive adjective and possessive nouns. Possessive adjectives shows ownership of an object but acts like an adjectives. In other word, it precedes a noun and is used to modify the noun. The English words “my, your, his and her” are example of possessive adjective pronouns. See below for an example sentence that demonstrate this.

1)My cat is big.
2)His car is red.

Possessive pronouns are nouns that show ownership and can be used on its own. For example, the English words “mine, yours, his and hers” are nouns in the possessive case. See below for an example.

1)That is mine.
2)That idea is yours.

Below is a list of possessive adjective pronouns that are used in Irish.

Possessive pronouns (adjective)
my	mo			our		ár
your	do			your(pl.)	blur
his	a			their		a
her	a

Rules for possessive adjectives

  1. If the following noun begins with a vowel then mo and do becomes m'<noun> and d'<noun>
  2. If the following noun begins with a vowel and the possessive pronoun is “a”(her) then a “h” is put at the beginning of the noun.
  3. If the following noun begins with a vowel and the possessive pronoun is “ár “, “bhur” or “a”(their) then “n-” is added to the beginning of the noun.
  4. If the following noun begins with a consonants then the noun is lenited by adding a “h” after the first consonant (refer back to lesson one if you do not remember about mutations). This rule applies to “mo”, “do” and “a”(his). Note that “a”(her) does not do this. The reason being is that one is able to distinguish between his and her.
  5. If the following noun begins with a consonants and one is using the possessive pronoun “ár”, blur or “a”(their) then the noun is Eclipsed. Again if you do not remember what an Eclipse is please refer back to lesson one.

Examples:

English	Irish			        English	Irish
car		carr			uncle		uncail		
my car		mo charr		my uncle	m'uncail
your car	do charr		your uncle	d'uncail
his car		a charr			his uncle	a uncail
her car		a carr			her uncle	a huncail
our car		ár gcarr		our uncle	 ár n-gcarr
your car	bhur gcarr		your uncle	bhur n-gcarr
their car	a gcarr			their uncle	a n-uncail

Emphasis form of possessive pronouns

An important difference between English and Irish is that unlike English these possessive are not stressed. When stressed is needed, Irish uses a special form called the emphasis. Example is shown below.

English		        Irish			Irish Emphatic
car			carr			charrsa
my car			mo charr		mo charrsa
your car		do charr		do charrsan
his car			a charr			a charrsan
her car			a carr			a carrsa
our car			ár gcarr		ár gcarrna
your car		bhur gcarr		bhur gcarrsa
their car		a gcarr			a gcarrsan

Rules for the Emphatic Form

  1. If the last vowel of the noun is “a”,”o” or “u” and the possessive pronoun is mo, do, a(her), or bhur then “-sa” is added to the end of the noun.
  2. If the last vowel of the noun is “a”,”o” or “u” and the possessive pronoun is a(his) or a(their) then “-san” is added to the end of the noun.
  3. If the last vowel of the noun is “a”,”o” or “u” and the possessive pronoun is ár then “-na” is added to the end of the noun.
  4. If the last vowel of the noun is “e” or “i” and the possessive pronoun is mo, do, a(her), or bhur then “-sen” is added to the end of the noun
  5. If the last vowel of the noun is “e” or “i” and the possessive pronoun is a(his) or a(their) then “-ne” is added to the end of the noun
  6. If the last vowel of the noun is “e” or “i” and the possessive pronoun is ár then “-sen” is added to the end of the noun

Possessive Pronoun Used as Nouns

Possessive pronoun that can stand on its own without modifying the following nouns (for example, mine, yours, his, hers, ours, yours, theirs) does not exist in Irish. There are two ways one can use this form of possessive pronouns in Irish. The first way is to use a possessive adjective followed by either the nouns ceann (“head”) or cuid (“share”) or muintir (“people”). The other way is to use the preposition “le” which we will discuss in more detail later. An example is shown below.

Sin é mo cheannsa = That is mine. 

A general list of these type of pronoun is listed below.

mine		mo cheannsa
yours		do cheannsa
his		a cheannsan
hers		a ceannsa
ours		ár gceann-na
yours		blur gceannsa
theirs		a gceannsan

Vocabulary List

English	        Irish			English	        Irish
cold		fuacht			house		teach
hungry		ocras			door		doras
thirsty		tart			kitchen		chistin
tired		tuirse			bank		banc
afraid		eagla			college		coláiste
sorry		brón			day		lá
happy		áthas			beer		beoir
hot		te			family		clann
dark		dorcha			class		rang
old		sean			shop		siopa

Prepositions

Prepositions are words that link nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. Usually, a prepositions shows a temporal or spatial relationship between to objects. One of difference between English and Irish is the use of prepositions. English tend to use verbs to show changes in the mood of the sentence. By contrast, Irish uses preposition to show changes in the mood of the sentence. For example, in English, the verb “have” is use to show ownership of an object. An example sentence is the following: “Tom has a book.” Irish do not have a verb “have” instead it uses a preposition “ag” (which means “at “) to show ownership of an object. For example, the same sentence in Irish is “Tá leabhar ag Tom”. The literal translation of this sentence is “A book is at Tom”. You will see this type of usage of prepositions is very common in Irish and can be a little confusing at times but with a little practice you will get use to this type of sentence construction.

Preposition ag

The Irish preposition “ag” means “at”. It has many different usage in Irish. One of the way this preposition is used is to show ownership which was briefly mention in the above section. Preposition in Irish are not allowed to be followed by a personal pronouns. Instead the preposition has a special form called the personal preposition forms. The personal preposition form for “ag” is shown below.

English		        Irish
at me			agam
at you			agat
at him			aige
at her			aici
at us			againn
at you(pl.)		agaibh
at them		        acu

Examples:

He has a new bicycle. - Tá rothar nua aige.
I have a car. - Tá carr agam.
They have a nice house. - Tá teach deas acu.

Preposition ar

The Irish preposition “ar” means “on”. In Irish most state of being or physical sensation is expressed using this preposition. The personal preposition form for this preposition is shown below.

English		        Irish
on me			orm
on you			ort
on him			air
on her			uirthi
on us			orainn
on you(pl.)		oraibh
on them		        orthu

Examples:

I am hungry -  Tá ocras orm.
You are afraid - Tá eagla ort.
He is happy - Tá áthas air.

Practice Exercises

Translate the following sentences into Irish.
1)I have a black car.
2)I am cold.
3)My uncle is small.

Translate the following sentences into English.
1)Tá tart air.
2)Tá teach ag m'athair.
3)Tá clann mhór agam

Answer to the Practice Exercise

1)Tá car dubh agam.
2)Tá fuacht agam.
3)Tá m'uncail beag.
-------------------------------------------------------
1)He is thristy.
2)My mother has a house.
3)I have a big family.

Conclusion

This is the third lesson of learning the Irish language. In this lesson, we explain the possessive case and how preposition are used in the language. For example we showed how the preposition “at” changes the meaning of sentence. Hopefully, this tutorial will help you learn the Irish language.

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