You Have to Work at Irish a Bit!

Counting in Irish

Learning any language is never a piece of cake. It takes Motivation, Patience and Practice.

The Christian Brothers' Phonetics Guide is one place to start.

I started to learn Irish by counting.

First I used my fingers to count from 0 to 10. Next I used license plates.

There are different words used when counting people. I show both below.

Cardinal Num.

Sounds Like

Ordinal Num

Sounds Like

0 náid

(k)naw + j(et)

N/A

N/A

1 aon

(p)ain

1st an chead

Hay-d

2 dó

dough(nut)

2nd an dara

Dar(t) uh

3 trí

tree

3rd an triú

True

4 cathair

ca(t) her

4th an ceathrú

C- ah rue

5 cúig

coo(l) + wig

5th an cúigiú

Coo(l) goo

6 sé

sha(ve)

6th an séu

Sha(ve)

7 séocht

Shocked

7th an seachtú

Shocked who

8 ocht

oct(ave)

8th an t-ochtú

Oct(ave) who

9 naoi

knee

9th an naoú

New

10 deich

dea(th)

10th an deichiú

Deck who

 

When counting, the word "a" pronounced "uh", is put before each number. So in counting you say "a dó" "a trí " etc. There are just 2 minor changes to mention. You don't say "a aon" for 1 but "a haon" pronounced hay-n and "a hocht" for 8 pronounced hocked.

I tried counting backwards and then by twos and finally at random backwards and forwards. I knew I had learned this lesson when Irish came automatically without my thinking of the english number first.

Aonar is used to indicate aloneness, ie. Tá sé ina aonar. He is in his aloneness. But to count people it's proper to say "aon duine ahmáin", "duine amháin" or simply "duine." Both aon and beirt lenite so it's aon chailín amháin and beirt chailín.

Counting People

Sounds Like

Example

Aonar**

Ain(t) are

Tá aon duine amháin anseo.

Beirt

Birch

Tá beirt leanbh sa clann.

Tríuir

Tree or

Bhí tríuir cailín ag an tsraid.

Ceathrar

Ca(t) her

Beith ceathrar.cailín ag an bhfeis.

Cúigear

Coo wig er

Chuaigh mé le cúigear cara.

Séisear

Sha(ve) shir(t)

Tagainn séisear duine ag armo dteacht.

Seachtar

Schocked (h)er

Tá seachtar scolaire sa rang.

Ochtar

(h)ocked her

Bhí ochtar fir sa drong bocht.

Naonúr

Knee newer

Tá naonúr mac ag Maire.

Deichniúr

Deck newer

Bhí deichniúr buacailli sa cluiche sport.

Aon...déag

Ain(t) Jake

Tá aon bhean déag sa chistin

Dáréag

Door rake

Tá dáréag fear ag féachaint ar an teilifis.

Background Tune: Mountains of Mourne

 

The personal numbers above 12 are treated like regular nouns so it's trí fhear déag, ceithre fhear déag etc.

Email: cyberspoke@aol.com