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Alan OhAoire ( -
Posted on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 11:13 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Dia Daoibh,

I am designing a few sets of flashcards to help myself with learning Irish. So far I've finished a complete set of prep. pronouns, as well as several cards in an ongoing "common phrases" category. I've just begun a set on grammar and related material, but I need a bit of help.

One card deals with aspiration, simply "What causes a consonant to be aspirated?", I've a short list that is definately incomplete and probably incorrect, which is basically:
1/ mo (my).
2/ do (your).
3/ sa (in).
4/ bá
5/ cá (where).
6/ seo (here!) ?
7/ níor
8/ Initial consonant of adjective following feminine nouns.
9/ Initial consonant of noun when preceeded by an adjective.
10/ Initial consonant of any feminine noun (except "s") when preceded by "an" (the). {would "na" count as well?}

Also, would there be any general rules to follow when dealing with aspiration?

The other flashcard I need help on is almost exactly the same, except dealing with eclipses.."What causes a consonant to be eclipsed?"

Any help on either of these would be greatly appreciated.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

...If anyone else is doing anything similar with flashcards, one grand idea I've had is to take them to the pub (if you've any freinds learning Irish) and play drinking games with them. A perfect way to combine a great language with great craic.. It's surprising what you learn with the promise of a sip of your favorite potion in front of you..


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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 02:24 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

One good word to deal with is the possessive "a" because it covers all three possibilities, depending on meaning:


a bhád, charr, ghairdín, phictiúr : his boat, carr, garden, picture


a mbád, gcarr, ngairdín, bpictiúr : their boat, car, garden, picture


a bád, carr, gairdín, pictiúr : her boat, car, garden, picture

For number 4, I think you mean 'ba', not bá

Cá (no. 5) causes eclipsis, not lenition.

'Seo' (no. 6) doesn't cause lenition (or anything else).

Add 'ní' to 'níor' in no. 7.

In no. 9, you should lenite the initial consonant of the second (or third) word in any compound word, no matter what part of speech it is: carr + páirc > carrpháirc (car park or parking lot). An-bheag, very small; an-charr, a great or wonderful car; frithMheireacánach, anti-American; an-fhrithMheireacánach, very anti-American.

Rule 10 applies only to the singular. You would prefix 't' to an 's' for feminine words: srón, an tsrón. (This is done elsewhere when lenition is called for with masc. or fem. words: sa charrchlós, sa tsiopa -- but you will hear sa siopa too.)

There are many situations where lenition is called for. The same for eclipsis. Both are mutations. When Irish speakers feel mutation is called for, eclipsis may be chosen in one dialect, lenition in another: The following examples all conflict with the standard grammar: sa gcarr(chlós) in Conamara; den gcrann in Munster (I think); ag an fhear in Ulster.

These examples point out a big set of categories for your cards: prepositions. Here are some examples of lenition, according to the standard grammar ONLY:

de, do, ar, faoi, trí, thar cause lenition: de chrann (from a tree)

den, don, sa cause lenition: den chrann (from the tree)

I may have left out a couple of others. The rules get more complicated, of course: 'Ar bhord' means 'on a table'; 'ar bord' means on board. Just deal with the basics for now.

Have fun with the flashcards. Ná hól an iomarca. Don't drink too much.

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Alan Ó hAoire ( -
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2001 - 02:00 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Go raibh maith agat, a Sheosamh

I appreciate the time that fluent speakers such as yourself contribute to helping us beginners develop our Irish. I am personally commited to becoming fluent (I'm estimating about 10 years of continuous study). I should be living in Éireann in the next few months, and that will definately help, but with your support it has been alot easier to begin from afar.


ps - any ideas about my "fara" post?

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Seosamh ( -
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2001 - 12:22 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ní thógfaidh sé deich mbliana ort agus greim seo an fhir bháite agat uirthi mar theanga. Won't take you ten years with the way you've fastened on learning the language. Yes, I have thought about your other questions and if no one else gets to it before I can, I'll post a reply. Part of the answer has to do with Munster Irish - 'far' and 'um' are typical of the southern dialect. Beir bua.

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