Irish language

If you have a date, you'd better learn the time

Before we had smart phones and wrist watches the Albert Clock in Belfast let people know if they were on time for that special rendezvous
Robert McMillen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

We have to wait until March 26/27 until we move our clocks and watches forward but there is still enough bright light to give everyone ample opportunity to brush up on their Irish!

Cad é an t-am? means what’s the time? So far, so simple but you are going to need to know your numbers if you aren’t going to be late for that hot date with a TG4 weather babe or that meeting with Foras na Gaeilge.

So let’s go from one to twelve, so we can tell the time.

A haon - one, a dó - two, a trí - three, a ceathair - four, a cúig - five, a sé - six, a seacht - seven, a hocht - eight, a naoi - nine, a deich - ten, a haon déag - eleven, a dó dhéag - twelve.

(Importantly, in other case you do not need to use the little word a but we’ll come to that at another time.

If you learn the above you won’t go far wrong so if you are a regular client of any of our esteemed turf accountants, you will probably still lose the same amount of money!)

You already know tá sé so tá sé a haon a chlog - it’s one o’clock. Tá sé a cúig a chlog - it is five o’clock. Easy, peasy, if not Japaneasy?

And it would be great if everything happened on the hour like the news but it doesn’t so ceathrú i ndiaidh - a quarter past is a phrase you will need to know and use as in tá sé ceathrú i ndiaidh a ceathair - it is a quarter past four.

You could add ar maidin - in the morning or san oíche - at night after telling someone what time it is to avoid using the 24 hour clock.

Leath means a half so tá sé leath i ndiaidh a hocht - it is half past eight and so on.

The next wee two words phrase we need to learn is go dtí which means to as in bhí sé ceathrú go dtí a sé - it was a quarter to six.

Go fóill meaning yet is also a good phrase to learn. It means yet, and you can use it when your Mammy shouts up the stairs at you to get up.

“Níl sé a seacht a chlog go fóill,” - you can reply from your scratcher - it’s not seven o’clock yet.

To say at a certain time you have to put ar before the time. So, bhí mé ann ar leath i ndiaidh a haon - I was there at half past one or buailfidh mé leat ar a naoi a chlog - I’ll met you at nine o’clock.

Right, there’s enough there to keep you going.

You can practice reading out your phone numbers, your bank account details (but don’t swap them), tell people what time you got up at, etc, etc,

CÚPLA FOCAL

Cad é an t-am? (cadge ay un taam) what’s the time?

a haon (a hayn) - one, a dó (a daw) - two, a trí (a chree) - three, a ceathair (a kehir) - four, a cúig (a cooig) - five, a sé (a shay) - six, a seacht (a shakht) - seven, a hocht (a hawkht) - eight, a naoi (a nee) - nine, a deich (a jayh) - ten, a haon déag (a hayn jayg) - eleven, a dó dhéag (a daw yayg) - twelve

tá sé a haon a chlog (taa shay a hayn a khlug) - it’s one o’clock

Tá sé a cúig a chlog (taa shay a hayn a khlug) - it is five o’clock.

ceathrú i ndiaidh (kehroo i nyay)- a quarter past

ceathrú i ndiaidh a ceathair (kehroo i nyay a kehir) - a quarter past four

ar maidin (er madgeen) - in the morning

san oíche (sin eeha) - at night

tá sé leath i ndiaidh a hocht (taa shay leh i nyay a hokht) - it is half past eight

bhí sé ceathrú go dtí a sé (vee shay kehroo gaw gee a shay) - it was a quarter to six

Níl se a seacht a chlog go fóill (neel shay a shakht a khlog gaw foyle) - it’s not seven o’clock yet

bhí mé ann ar leath i ndiaidh a haon (vee may un er leh i nyay a hayn) - I was there at half past one

buailfidh mé leat ar a naoi a chlog (booilhee may lat er a nee a khlug) - I’ll met you at nine o’clock.

Irish language

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