Irish language

How the shyest of you wallflowers can start a conversation in Irish

I LOVE PARIS: If the Bluffer were to describe his perfect weekend, it would definitely include a trip to the French capital with friends and family  
Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia duit and fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer’s Guide to Irish,whether you area a loyal fan or first time reader.

What is a language? You can argue all day about féiniúlacht - identity and power structures and hegemony but basically language is a means of communication and that my friends, is what the Bluffer is all about - giving you the means to chat up a barman or a waitress in Gaoth Dobhair, or get to know the foghlaimeoir - the learner beside you in your Irish class or to speak to anyone else who knows Irish.

Now, many people don’t know how to start a comhrá - a conversation because they are faiteach - shy, so the Bluffer, my little wallflowers, will give you some hints about starting a conversation so there will be lots of questions.

Given the time of year, you could say cad é rinne tú ar Lá na Féile Pádraig? - What did you do on St Patrick’s Day?  

The Bluffer and most of his friends watched the rugby on a big screen while others watched the GAA club championship games on TV - gura slán le Riail 27!

In your conversation, the person you are chatting with could say chuaigh mé - I went and it could be to lár na cathrach - the city centre, to the pub or, like many people, they might say ní maith liom Lá na Féile Pádraig? - I don’t like St Patrick’s Day because of the mayhem and debauchery that accompanies it in certain quarters.

But if your new bestie doesn’t wear a leprechaun suit on the feast day of Ireland’s éarlamh - patron saint, that doesn’t mean that tumble-weed should waft across the room.

There are loads of other questions you could ask to keep the conversation going. You could invite them to cuir síos ar do dheireadh seachtaine foirfe - describe your perfect weekend.

This will give give your prospective new friend the chance to wax lyrical about what makes them happy and whether they are someone you would like to spend more time with.

For instance, if they say is breá liom a bheith ag fiach coiníní le firéad - I love hunting rabbits with a ferret, then it’s time to suddenly remember you left the immersion on and need to go home.

A penchant for seitheadóireacht - taxidermy, an asarlaíocht - the occult or Manchester United should also be warning signs.

However, it is nice to picture a perfect weekend and people’s idea of what it should consist off depends on the people involved.

No doubt aimsir mhaith - good weather would be involved, teaghlach agus cairde - family and friends, tírdhreach álainn - beautiful scenery, bia maith - good food and the rest is up to yourselves.

So now you are chatting, reminiscing, choosing, wondering about and picturing your favourite Saturday and Sunday, miles away from work, school and household chores.

It could be up in the Gaeltacht, at a Bruce Springsteen concert, walking in the Mournes or anything else that you’d really like to be doing.

So if you feel like it, you can send your favourite weekend to the Bluffer - in Irish or English - at and we’ll continue the conversation next week.

féiniúlacht (faynyoolakht) - identity

foghlaimeoir (foelamore) - a learner

comhrá (cora) - a conversation

faiteach (fytchakh) - shy

cad é rinne tú ar Lá na Féile Pádraig? (cadge ay rin too er laa na fayl padreeg) - What did you do on St Patrick’s Day?  

chuaigh mé (khooee may) - I went

lár na cathrach (laar ne cahrakh) - the city centre

ní maith liom Lá na Féile Pádraig? (nee my lum laa ne fayl padreeg) - I don’t like St Patrick’s Day

éarlamh (aryloo) - a patron saint

cuir síos ar do dheireadh seachtaine foirfe (ker shees er do yeroo shakhtinya firafa) - describe your perfect weekend

is breá liom a bheith ag fiach coiníní le firéad - I love hunting rabbits with a ferret

seitheadóireacht (shayhadooreakht) - taxidermy

an asarlaíocht (un aseerleeakht) - the occult

aimsir mhaith (iymsher why) - good weather

teaghlach agus cairde (chaowlakh agis carja) - family and friends 

tírdhreach álainn (cheeryraakh aleen) - beautiful scenery

bia maith (beea my) - good food

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