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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.

  • 1332

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.


So both are correct.


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.

  • 1448

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"?

  • 1448

"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.


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.


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


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.


labhraíonn mé gaeilge

was wrong! harsh!!


Shouldn't it be considered right?


How is "labhraim" pronounced?


In Ulster Irish, labhraím is roughly “lore eam”. In Connacht and Munster, it’s roughly “lour eam”, where “lour” rhymes with “sour”.


What about Leinster? Sorry, just wondering as I'm in Wicklow :)


the site teanglann.ie lets you look up words and gives you the pronunciation in the three dialects


for this one i said Ta Geailge agam and it said i was wrong


There are two correct answers - It asked for ALL of them. I did the same as you


Perhaps it's because you spelt 'Gaeilge' wrong. You transposed the 'e' and 'a' in the middle - an easy mistake to make.


I also did the same as you. Except i did the other correct answer


This statement makes no sense. I isn't it I speak instead of I have it's so confusing.


Thank you this helps


The lesson where it teaches you "Lebhraim Gaeilge" really needs to be corrected, or, at the very least, it should accept both as an answer in both situations.


Am just a beginner and i kinda find this translation not quite right. Ta Gaeilge agam ( i speak Irish)

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