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  5. "I speak Irish."

"I speak Irish."

Translation:Tá Gaeilge agam.

August 28, 2014



'Tá Gaeilge agam,' is really the only correct way to say that you have the ability to speak Irish.It literally means, 'I have Irish,' which is really expressing that you have possession of the language.

'Labhraim Gaeilge,' would only be used if you were saying that you spoke Irish at a particular time. Mar shampla, (for example), if you were saying, 'I speak Irish at work,' - 'Labhraim Gaeilge ag obair.'


Yeah, this strikes me as idiomatic, and it's the first time I've ever heard this phrase.


Like everyone else here, thank you too. I'd laboriously spelled out Labrhaím Gaelige and felt pretty clever only to ... well. Makes good sense, though.

  • 1815

this was most helful!!


Thank you very much for also providing an example of where Labhraim would be used!


You explained it very well


thank you! I was just about to ask the same question!!!


@ruamac, thank you for this clarification


Thank you for that clarification.


ohhhh i finaly get it!!!! thank you!


Spot on! I said Labhraím Gaeilge which should be correct and it says the answer is Tá gaeilge agam, literally meaning 'I have Irish'.


Can you explain how to read Irish?


Thank you, I was horribly confused!


When first starting this language on the mobile app, it taught me Labhraím Gaeilge for I speak Irish and hasnt changed until I went back to practice and then it said I answered wrong, correcting it to be Tá Gaeilge agam.... Im so confused now..


YES... That exact thing just happened to me, and even when I did the drop down menu on the words to check myself, there was NO "Tá" in the translations. Very confusing and discouraging.


The phrase Tá Gaeilge agam means "I have the ability to speak Irish", it doesn't mean "When I open my mouth, Irish words come out".

English is ambiguous in this regard - it allows you to say "I speak Irish" even if you haven't spoken a word of Irish in decades, but you still retain the ability to speak Irish. isn't going to show up on a "drop-down" of the 3 individual words "I", "speak" and "Irish", because none of those words mean .

People in Ireland can say things like "I have a little French, but I haven't spoken it in years" (they say this in English). In other places, English speakers say the somewhat illogical "I speak French, but I haven't spoken it in years". Because it is so common in English for people to say "I speak French" or "I speak Italian" or "I speak Irish", when they actually mean "I can speak French/Italian/Irish", the phrase Tá Gaeilge agam is typically translated as "I speak Irish".

Translating it as "I can speak Irish" instead wouldn't solve the problem, because the typical Irish for that expression in Is féidir liom Gaeilge a labhairt or Tá mé in ann Gaeilge a labhairt, or Tá mé ábalta Gaeilge a labhairt.

It's just an ambiguous statement in English, so you can't assume a one to one translation. Tá Gaeilge agam, Labhraím Gaeilge and Is féidir liom Gaeilge a labhairt are 3 distinct sentences in Ireland, with 3 distinct meanings that can't be adequately differentiated with the two available English statements "I speak Irish" and "I can speak Irish", but the problem is with English, not Irish.


So "Tá Gaeilge agam" would translate as "I know Irish"?


"I have the ability to speak Irish" or "I know how to speak Irish" might be clearer - "I know Irish when I hear it" is something that people say in English, but you wouldn't use Tá Gaeilge agam to say that in English.

The ambiguity here is all in English - "I know (language)" and "I speak (language)" are not very precise.


Ive come to expect this app to throw stuff at me without explanation but this translation was never used in the learning part. Even highlighting the sentence only lists labhraionn and labhraim.


I am a beginner also. Here is the issue I take with this: Duolingo taught me 'Labhraím Gaeilge' for 'I speak Irish.' If this is incorrect, then I should have been given the correct phrase from the beginning, or given the multiple correct phrases along with the context under which each should be used. It's very frustrating to think you've learned something and, in a basic review, discover you've not.


Your problem is with English, not with Irish.

Labhraím Gaeilge means "I speak Irish" - in school, or at work, or with your Uncle Eoghan - it's something that you actually do - an activity that you perform habitually.

Tá Gaeilge agam means "I speak Irish" - at least in theory. Maybe you haven't used it in 40 years, but you still remember the cúpla focal. Because of the way English works, "I speak (language)" doesn't necessarily mean that you actually use the language, it can also mean that you possess the ability to use the language, even if you never actually use it.

Tá (skill) agam means that you possess a particular skill. Tá snámh agam - "I can swim". Tá Gaeilge agam - "I have the skill of being able to speak Irish".

Labhraím Gaeilge and Tá Gaeilge agam don't mean the same thing, but they are both the Irish for "I speak Irish", because "I speak Irish" can mean two different things in English.


I dont think this person's problem is with either language. It's that the app told us one way to say it and then expected us to know the other way. I understand how everyone is explaining the nuances of this phrase, but the app itself never used "tá Gaeilge agam" until this very moment. Of course it's going to cause confusion and annoyance for those who lost a heart because of something they'd never seen before.


So what you're saying is that Duolingo shouldn't teach people stuff that they don't already know because it will cause confusion and annoyance for those who lose a heart?

You're not going to get far if you get annoyed by being taught things that you've never seen before, especially when English uses a single phrase to mean two very different things and Irish uses two different phrases for those two different concepts.


All they said is that the app didn't prepare people the way it was expected to, you don't need to be like that.


Duolingo is very confused about which answer it wants for this sentence. The first time I came across it, tá gaelige agam was the correct answer (and even as I type this comment it says "tá gaelige agam" is the correct one at the top of the page). However just now I forgot about this exception and chose labhraím gaelige without thinking twice, and my answer was marked as correct, even though tá gaelige agam was an option too.


Can some one teach me all the grammatical rules of Irish?


Theoretically, someone could teach you all of them. In the meantime, you could explore the Gramadach na Gaeilge site to learn them by yourself.


Well.. just as many other colleagues before, I expected the 'labhraim' version.. Thank you for the explanation :)


Thank you this helps


Ta Gaeilge agam = literally means I have Irish. I speak Irish should surely be Labhraim Gaeilge ???????


I think that happens to a lot of people on the first go, and apparently some statements like this are mostly contextual. So when you say "Ta Gaeilge agam" what you're really saying is "I have [the knowledge of] Irish" as in you know some of the language. I hope that helps.


Strictly speaking, it's more about possessing the skill or ability - "I have (the ability to speak) Irish". It's also used with other skills:
tá snámh agam - "I can swim"
tá léamh an cheoil aici "she can read music"
tá léamh agus scríobh aici - "she can read and write"
níl ceol agam - "I can't sing"


See ruamac’s comment above; labhraím would be used to translate “I speak in …”.


Why do we say "labhraím" in some contexts. Yet ghe correct way to say you speak the language is "Tá Gaeilge agam". Other times I have written "Labhraím" and the amswer has been accepted as correct.


Ta Gaeilge agam means "I have the ability to speak Irish". It is not an answer to the question "What language do you speak in Irish class?"

The issue here is that English is ambiguous. Nobody says "I drive a car" when they want to say "I can drive a car" or "I swim" when they mean "I can swim", but when it comes to languages, that "can" somehow becomes optional..


labhraíonn an t-ulchabhán glas linn in Gaeilge


The exercise i was given just prior to this, on this pass, was "labhraímid béarla" for we speak English. They are kind of trying to have it both ways...

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