Irish language

Video: The Bluffer explains the ordinal and the cardinal – and the pope

Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh, hello my friends  agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

We’ve done laethanta na seachtaine - the days of the week, míonna na bliana - months of the year but how do you talk about dates.

Well to do this you need to know the ordinal numbers, first, second, third, fourth and so on.

So let’s have a go up to ten. Like in English, you out an - the before the number

An chéad is the first and an dara is second but after that you (mostly) just add -ú to the cardinal number.

So an tríú is third, an ceathrú  - fourth, an cúigiú - fifth, an séú - sixth, an seachtú - seventh, an t-ochtú - eighth, an naoú - nineth and an deichiú - tenth.

Now the ordinal numbers change the nouns in certain circumstances but we won’t get into the whys and wherefores of that just now you’ll be glad to hear.

When you are talking about dates in Irish you need to put the word lá - a day in. 

It’s always an chéad lá de mhí Iúil for example the first day of July rather than simply the first of July.

An dara lá de mhí Lúnasa - the second of August and so on.

We’ve got up to ten but let’s boldly go into the teens.

The good news is that you just add déag to the ordinal numbers above except for one. 

An chéad changes to an t-aonú so an t-aonú lá déag is the eleventh (day).

An t-aonú lá déag de mhí Aibreáin - the eleventh of April; an seachtú lá déag de mhí Eanáir - the seventeenth  of January.

For the twenties you would put is fiche - literally “and twenty” after the noun.

Of course you’d use the ordinal number for more than talking about dates.

So, an t-aonú haois is fiche - the 21st century; an tríú hurlár is fiche - the 23rd floor and so on.

If you remember the words for thirty upwards - ok, then - tríocha (30), daichead (40) caoga (50), seasca (60), seachtó - seventy, ochtó - eighty, nócha - ninty and céad - a hundred - you put those in preceded by is after the noun so you get something like Donald Trump is an cúigiú hUachtarán is daichead - the 45th President of the United States of America. (Note that the word for first and a hundred are the same but you will always know which is which because of the context.)

However, if the ordinal number begins with a 0, then we have a different set of words that go ficheadú - 20th, tríochadú - 30th, daicheadú - 40th, caogadú - 50th, seascadú - 60th, seachtadú - 70th, ochtadú - 80th, nóchadú - 90th and céadú - 100th.

There is no room in the cúpla focal for these but you could talk about mo chaogadú lá breithe - my fiftieth birthday or (back to dates) an ficheadú lá de mhí Dheireadh Fómhair - the twentieth of October and so on.

So, there my friends are the ordinal numbers. They are really useful to know.

One more thing, when we are talking about kings, queens. opes etc we use cardinal numbers so Anraí a hocht is Henry the Eighth, an Pápa Eoin Pól a dó - Pope John Paul the second and so on.  

CÚPLA FOCAL

laethanta na seachtaine - the days of the week

míonna na bliana - months of the year

An chéad (un cayd) - the first, an dara (un dara) - the second, an tríú (un chreeoo) - the third, an ceathrú (un kehroo) - the fourth, an cúigiú (un cooigoo) - the fifth, an séú (un shayoo) - the sixth, an seachtú (un shakhtoo) - the seventh, an t-ochtú (un tokhtoo) - the eighth, an naoú (un neeoo) - the ninth, an deichiú (un jayhoo) - the tenth

An t-aonú lá déag de mhí Aibreáin (un taynoo laa jayg de vee abraan) - the eleventh of April; an seachtú lá déag de mhí Eanáir (un shakhtoo laa jayg de vee anaar) - the seventeenth  of January

an t-aonú haois is fiche (un taynoo heesh iss feeha) - the 21st century; an tríú hurlár is fiche (un chreeoo hurlaar iss feeha) - the 23rd floor

cúigiú hUachtarán is daichead (un cooigoo hooakhaarran iss dyhid) - the 45th President

ficheadú (feehadoo) - 20th, tríochadú (chreehadoo) - 30th, daicheadú (dyhadoo) - 40th fortieth, caogadú (caygadoo) - 50th, seascadú (shaskadoo) - 60th, seachtadú (shakhtadoo) - 70th, ochtadú (okthtadoo) - 80th, nóchadú (nohadoo) - 90th

céadú (caydoo - hundredth

Irish language

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