Let’s start with necessary words.
Hello. - Dia dhuit.
Hello. (as reply back) - Dia is Muire dhuit.
How are you? - Conas atá tú?
I’m well. - Tá mé go maith.
What’s your name? - Cad is ainm duit?
… is my name. - … is ainm dom.
Nice to meet you. - Tá sé go deas bualadh leat.
Goodbye - Slán
Excuse me. - Gabh mo leithscéal.
Please - Le do thoil
Thank you - Go raibh maith agat.
You’re welcome. - Tá fáilte romhat.
Unlike many English sentences that stay within the “subject - verb - object” structure, sentences in Gaelic tend to stay in the “verb - subject - object” word order (shown below).
To Be + An Adjective
Ólann an páiste bainne.
The child drinks milk.
Léann an bean an leabhar.
The woman reads the book.
To be, like in many other languages, is irregular. The verb alone is bí
, but the present tense form is tá
. One use of this form is to show a relation between a noun/pronoun and adjective.
Tá siad go hálainn. = They are beautiful.
Tá sé fuar. = He is cold.
Tá an madra mór. = The dog is big.
Speaking of pronouns, below are the subject forms.
I - mé
you - tú
he, it - sé*
she, it - sí*
we - muid / sinn**
y’all - sibh
they - siad
*There isn’t a specific word for it because all objects possess a grammatical gender (masculine or feminine.)
**The difference between these two is regional. Munster Irish tends to use sinn while muid is used in Ulster and Connacht. However, they mean the same exact thing.
To Be + A Noun
There is another form of to be in Irish. It is used to connect a subject to - what we’d call in English grammar - a predicate nominative. It is used in sentences such as I am a man, That is a book, or She is my friend.
I am … - Is … mé.
You are … - Is … tú.
He / It is … - Is … é.
She / It is … - Is … í.
We are … - Is … muid / sinn.
Y’all are … - Is … sibh.
They are … - Is … iad.
*Note the change in pronouns.
Some simple sentences would be:
Is úll é. = It is an apple.
Is mac léinn tú. = You are a student.
Is Éireannach mé. = I am an Irishman.
*One Final Note: You may have noticed the lack of a and an. The Irish language doesn’t contain indefinite articles. It only has the definite article the (an / singular ; na / plural).