Irish language

Playing doctors and nurses can help you learn Irish vocabulary

HOLBY CITY: If you are ever bored in a hospital you could always match the medical staff you see with characters from the BBC’s long-running medical soap opera
Robert McMillen

HAIL TO THE hale and hearty and to the under the weather, the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish is going in for some role play today.

Yes, today we’re playing doctors and nurses (stop giggling at the back!) but what Irish do you need if you have to talk to a doctor or a nurse?

Here goes. You’ll probably start off speaking to the dochtúir éigeandála - the emergency doctor as it is easier to get an audience with the Pope or with the Queen (delete whichever is inappropriate).

The emergency doctor will start by asking you questions?

Cad é atá ort? or Cad é atá cearr leat? both mean what is wrong with you?

Now, there could be a million reasons for calling the doctor, but we’ll stick with the most common ones.

Tá pian mhillteanach i mo chloigeann - I have a terrible pain in the head is one or i mo ghlúin - in my knee, i mo thaobh - in my side or i mo bhrollach - in my chest.

You might be in a position to self-diagnose and tell the doctor, for example, tá daorghalar orm - I have piles but we won’t go there! 

Pain comes with different characteristics so you could have a pian ghéar - a sharp pain or a pian phreabach - a throbbing pain.

Of course, you might not be in pain at all or you might be ringing on behalf of someone else.

For instance, if a child has a temperature, you would day tá fiabhras air/uirthi.

There is a list of questions that a doctor or a nurse will ask you such as cad é chomh fada is atá an phian ort?  - how long have you had the pain.

An bhfuil sé ag éirí níos measa? Is it getting worse.

An gcaitheann tú? - do you smoke and so on.

Depending on your answers – and whether you are telling the truth or not – the Beldoc doc might ask you to come to the surgery or to go to the otharlann - the hospital.

Depending on how long you have to wait, you can do a number of things like match a doctor/nurse/porter with a character from Casualty or from Holby City – the guy in the flowery shirt is obviously Sacha, for example – but such are waiting times nowasays that you might as well  bring War and Peace with you or you can watch a complete box set of Orange is the New Black followed by the whole Fast and Furious franchise on your phone/kindle/ipad or whatever your technology of choice is.

This however, might lead to a taom scaoill  - a panic attack so maybe it’s best just to sit there, glumly feeling sorry for yourself and judging the other patients all around you.

So now you can start your role playing, although pretending you’re Harold Shipman will be in very bad taste.

You’ll need a dictionary

if you want to find out what malaria or rabies or leprosy are although tropical diseases are rare in these parts.

You can keep your patient in for observation or you can tell them to glac cúpla paracetamol - take a couple of paracetamol and all will be fine. Then you can exchange roles although if you are a junior doctor you are only allowed four hours sleep and be on call 24/7.


dochtúir éigeandála (dokhtoor aygandaala) - the emergency doctor 

Cad é atá ort? (cadge ay ataa ort) or Cad é atá cearr leat? (cadge ay ataa kyar lat)  - what is wrong with you?

Tá pian mhillteanach i mo chloigeann (taa peean vilchanakh i maw khlygan) - I have a terrible headache

i mo ghlúin (i maw gloon) - in my knee

i mo thaobh (i mo heeoo) - in my side

i mo bhrollach (i maw wrollakh) - in my chest

tá daorghalar orm (taa deergalar orim) - I have piles

pian ghéar (pane yayr) - a sharp pain

pian phreabach (pane frabakh) - a throbbing pain

tá fiabhras air/uirthi (taa feeavriss er/erhee) -  he or she has a temperature

cad é chomh fada is atá an phian ort? (cadge ay kho fada is ataa un fane ort) - how long have you had the pain

An bhfuil sé ag éirí níos measa? (un wil shay eg eeree nees massa) - Is it getting worse.

An gcaitheann tú? (un gyhan too) - do you smoke?

otharlann (oherlaan) - the hospital

taom scaoill (teem skeel) - a panic attack

glac cúpla paracetamol (glak cupla paracetamol) - take a couple of paracetamol 

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 to get full access



Irish language

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: