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  5. "Mo dheirfiúracha agus do dhe…

"Mo dheirfiúracha agus do dheartháireacha."

Translation:My sisters and your brothers.

December 4, 2014

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May 14, 2016, the new voice. I believe she's saying "mo dheartháireacha" rather than "do dheartháireacha." (She does speak very fast though.) I've reported it. It might be easier to change the sentence than the recording!


I'm never going to remember how to spell these... Anybody got any tips?


stick a paper on your sisters/brothers foreheads


or better yet, use an indelible marker to write it on their foreheads while they're asleep. Then you'll definitely never forget, and neither will they. This marvelous language learning technique can be extended to all other members of the family such a dozy aunts and uncles, drunken persons, and even slow moving pets.


I'm just going to copy them down in longhand and keep them in my wallet to look at every now and again. Maybe repeated exposer will help me remember . . .

  1. Learn to spell the singular form first. 'Deírfiúr' and 'deartháir' aren't terribly difficult to commit to memory.
  2. Remember the 'caol le caol, leathan le leathan' rule - 'slender with slender, broad with broad', so that, when you add the plural endings, you'll know whether it's 'acha' or 'eacha'. This rule is very useful when trying to spell any word in Irish.
  3. Understand how possessive pronouns affect the noun. In this case 'mo - my', and 'do - your' cause lenition, hence the 'h' after the initial consonant.

See? Not that difficult to spell after all!


Ruamac - that was one of the most helpful answers I've seen on Duolingo. Thanks! I'm realizing that Irish isn't a language I can just "pick up" quickly like others...it takes actual work, but it's worth it because it's the most beautiful language I've ever heard! Anyway, thanks for the help. :-)


To keep it straight I try to think of the sister as being slender and the brother as being plump.


Very helpful! On the 2nd point, I still have a difficulty to understand what is supposed to be slender or broad... any help on how to distinguish that?


Thank you! I had been using mostly the mobile app so I only recently discovered the tips/notes


Jesus, that worked. Have a lingot.


Am I the only one who thinks that she is saying "mo dheartháireacha" instead of "do dheartháireacha"?


yes, that's what I hear also


I heard a 'm' rather than a 'd' in there. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately - if the object is to learn) I had one of those "select the words from a list" exercises and there was only one 'mo' leaving the 'do' as the only possibility!


Why on earth would you introduce words in their lenited/eclipsed/plural/etc form instead of introducing them as their (theoretically) simpler singular form and then letting us figure out how to change them based on all of the language rules after we know what the base word is? :p I'm trying to keep a list of vocabulary, but when you introduce a word like this, I have no idea what the base word is. Same thing with all of the verbs... I wish they would start of with, for example, "ith=to eat", then go into the conjugation.

I'm so confused. :(


See my reply to becky3086 below.


dheartháireacha. That's a long word


Sure is. But you can break it down a bit. The basic word - without lenition and without the plural ending - is deartháir. Similarly, the basic singular word for "sister" is deirfúir.

As you can see, they both have similar prefixes, which have been modified to match in terms of slenderness and broadness with the root parts, tháir and fúir

The story is that the original Irish words for brother and sister were inherited from Proto-Indoeuropean and looked quite familiar: bráthair ( PIE *bʰréh₂tēr) and siúr ( PIE *swésōr). At some stage, these came to be applied to religious "brothers" and "sisters", which is what they still mean (e.g., Na Bráithre Críostaí, the Christian Brothers, a Catholic lay order; An tSiúr X "Sister X"), and the words for the siblings were distinguished by the addition of the Old Irish derb "certain". (Modern dearfa "certain" and dearbhaigh "affirm")

So in Old Irish we had the more transparent forms derbráthair and derbṡiur (the dot over the s is the old way of indicating lenition: = sh). Somehow over the centuries we ended up with the spellings deartháir and deirfiúr, but it's worth noting that the generally used pronunciations are quite different:

(Major simplifications follow)

Outside of Ulster, both are widely pronounced as if they began with dr

"Brother", standardly written deartháir, is usually pronounced as if it were spelled dreáthair, dreábhair, dricheáir, or (in Ulster) deárthair

"Sister", standardly written deirfiúr, is usually pronounced as it it were spelled driofúr, dreabhúr, or (in Ulster) deirfear. (It can actually be spelled driofúr, too).

Any of these is OK if you're not too worried about speaking exactly in one local dialect.


The modern descendant of Old Irish derb is dearbh (and dearbh-).


Thank you for sharing this! Etymology is fascinating and in this case extremely helpful!


Good article. You refer to the buailte used in the Gaelic type. The needless abandonment of the "cló Gaelac" over half a century ago was a tragedy. Its typographical artistry was unparalleled. Ireland should have been proud of it, but instead found its link to Elizabeth 1 too distasteful.


Only a few years ago, producing Cló Gealach on a word processor was asking for trouble; and even now, a lot of so called "Irish fonts" are just tourist versions that lack the fada, the Tironian ampersand and the ponc séimhithe. Back in the 50s, manufacturing and using typewriters with these extra letters - even without the ponc séimhithe - demanded effort and expense that businesses couldn't afford. If you have ever used a manual typewriter of this kind, I'm sure you will forgive the switch to a cheap, international font - whatever the cultural connotations may have been. Nowadays, when using multiple fonts is quite simple, there's no reason not to use one of the Clónna Gealacha, if you can find one with a complete character set.


Businesses that could afford one typewriter could afford two - if there was a perceived value in having two typewriters. The fada survived because it as valuable, the séimhiú replaced the buailte. Not to mention the fact that h had been used as a séimhiú for centuries before the typewriter was invented.


That's true. However there are economies of scale in manufacturing typewriters with fonts that were less in demand . There are basically two ways of producing a fada on a manual typewriter. Either as an extra key which makes a stroke over any vowel key, without progressing the carriage, or as a second set of vowels which include the fada. Either way requires a specially tooled mechanism. This is more expensive than a standard English typewriter, not because of the different design, but because the demand is relatively limited.


I think you might be over-estimating the economies of scale in type-writer manufacturing during the time-period in question.

And you're also making the implicit assumption that a higher price lead to lower demand, and that demand would have been higher if "Irish" typewriters cost the same as "English" typewriters. The alternative is that "English" typewriters were in greater demand because they could be used to create content in both English and Irish, but "Irish" typewriters weren't as useful for producing content in English. (especially if they didn't have keys for j, k, q, v, w, x, y and z).

Leaving aside assumptions that would take rather more research than either of us is likely to do, the one clear fact is that the fada survived this transition, the buailte didn't.


That's an interesting point. The buailte is nothing if not economic and unambiguous. I'll keep an eye out for the reasoning behind that reform.


These words are both on forvo now. I'm pretty sure the man who says dheirfiúracha also says dheartháireacha after it though. At first I thought it might be the same word in two dialects but, listening to the other entry for dheartháireacha, it sounds the same. dheirfiúracha - http://forvo.com/search/dheirfi%C3%BAracha/ga/ and dheartháireacha - http://forvo.com/search/dhearth%C3%A1ireacha/


I don't want to frighten the horses, but Wiktionary explains that the Irish word for "sister", standardly written as deirfiúr, is pronounced as if spelled deirfear, deirfeár, deiriofúr, deirthiúr, dreabhthar, dreithiúr, drifiúr, or driofúr. The dictionary at www.foclóir.ie (which is usually so helpful) appears to have thrown the towel in and gives no pronunciations at all!


If you look for the pronunciatino of deirfiúr on the other dictionary website that Foras na Gaeilge is responsible for, teanglann.ie, it shows that there is audio for deirfiúr chéile and deirfiúr chleamhnais.

focloir.ie and teanglann.ie use the same audio files, and you can also hear these samples on the focloir.ie entry for sister-in-law.


I thought it would be 'mo chuid dheirfiúr agus do chuid dheartháir, just as we say, 'mo chuid mhac agus do chuid inion.' I could be entirely wrong, of course but I'm really hoping I'm right! If I'm not, I'm totally disowning my siblings!


cuid X is used with "non-inalienable" mass nouns. Things that are definitely all in one category (which brothers are), and could potentially cease to be yours (which brothers can't).

Brothers, body parts, etc. cannot cease to be yours, so they are "inalienable", and don't take cuid. The same goes for mac and inion, so you wouldn't say cuid mac or cuid hiníon. Although it seems hair and teeth can take cuid, even if arms and legs can't.

By the way, cuid doesn't lenite the next word! https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cuid#Irish


I learnt the term, 'mo chuid mac,' from P10 of Now You're Talking. (Yes, you're right, it shouldn't lenite 'mac'.)

It says that this is how you introduce more than one son. I've also been taught, 'mo chuid fiacla,' and 'mo chuid gruaige'. It refers to something that a person owns that is countable, divisible or can in some way be measured or quantified.. It can also be used in reference to work, land, patience, books, friends, etc. Maybe it's an Ulster thing.


fuaimniú uafásach


jesus i know not just one person created this language but who the hell made these words so damn long


That's an interesting perspective. But first note that Irish has many (substantive) words that are very short: lá, mí, alt, céim, cor... And then consider Hawaiian, which is also offered on Duolingo. Even with fewer sounds than Irish, it offers 'Ho'okanaka' (human), 'Ho'omake'aka' ('to make someone laugh'), 'lilialanaikawai ' (water lily) and 'kamaikahuliwa'a' (the technique of righting a capsized canoe).


How do you pronounce the letters "gh" and "dh"? I've been having problems with this lately. Are they both pronounced like "gw"?


Normally, they're like a Greek gamma, or somewhat like a French "r". Say "g", but let the air escape over your tongue instead of stopping it.

But before "e" and "i" (and after "i"), they are "y". dheirfiúracha is (very) roughly "yairfyooracha".


Thank you very much!


For the life of me I can't understand why they have introduced us to sister and brother this way. Why not introduce the singular noun first? Seems so backwards.


It’s the luck of a random number generator that has given you an exercise with the plural forms before exercises with the singular forms. The only way to guarantee that the singular forms would be presented before the plural forms would be to put the singular forms in a separate skill that comes before the skill with the plural forms.


I would support that breaking into separate lessons! And maybe get a few of the simplest terms - father, mother, son, daughter - up into one of the 'basics' lessons, before you have to face lenition too.

The way it is organized now probably works well for people that grew up exposed to Irish, or some Celtic language, and have an intuitive framework to build on; but for those who were not (in my case, the ancestors left 180 years ago ...) this is a tough. I'm going through each of the lessons multiple times; and still am not sure when I've got the base form of a word drilled into my head vs. a linted, eclipsed, declinated, conjugated, whatever-else-I'm-missing-in-this-list form of the word; and then I hope I've figured out the pronunciation right too.


Introducing “mother” or “woman” before lenition would mean that you couldn’t have “the mother” or “the woman” before the Lenition skill — lenition is particularly important for feminine nouns.

If most of Duolingo’s users use one of the apps rather than the Web site, then for Irish it would be helpful to have access to each skill’s Tips and Notes in the apps, since people without previous exposure to Irish might be confused as to why e.g. fear becomes an fear, but bean becomes an bhean. However, that would be an issue for the Duolingo infrastructure people to implement, not the course creators.


Can anyone please explain to my the pronunciation of the "dh-" sound at the beginning of both of these words? I keep hearing what, in my native language is a sort of guttural g-sound (similar to 'ch' in the Scottisch "loch"), but this makes no sense to me...


dh has two pronunciations in Irish (like most consonants), depending on whether it's leathan or caol ('broad' or 'narrow').

When dh appears next to an i or e, it's caol and is pronounced like English y (so dhia is pronounced like 'yee-ah').

When dh appears next to an a, o, or u, it's leathan and is pronouced as a voiced velar fricative, i.e. a voiced version of the sound in 'loch', which you might imagine being spelling 'gh' in some language. So dhá is like "ghaw".

Also, the Irish letter gh is pronouced exactly the same as dh in all circumstances.


Thank you, ataltane! This is really helpful.


Isn't that DH a J sound?


No, dh is never a J sound.


How come in Spanish Duolingo there is an option to listen at a slower speed and not in irish?


The Irish voices are human speakers speaking at a moderate to slow rate, not a machine.

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