Covid-19 enters the conversation!


Clíodhna Campbell

BHUEL a chairde, cad é mar atá sibh? How are you (plural)? Nach bhfuil sé deas an aimsir te a fheiceáil? Isn’t it nice to see the warm weather? I want to highlight a few words that wouldn’t usually have come up in basic Irish lessons before 2020, but are so relevant now. All pronunciation shared is in the Ulster dialect.

coróinvíreas cor-own-veer-iss coronavirus
díghalrán lámh G-gal-ran la-ow hand sanitiser
masc aghaidhe mask eye face mask
scaradh sóisialta scar-u so-shale-ta social distancing

Tá coróinvíreas air—Tah cor-own-veer-iss air—He has coronavirus.

An bhfuil díghalrán lámh agat?—Ann will G-gal-ran la-ow ugut?—Do you have hand sanitiser?

Beidh masc aghaidhe de dhíth agat—Bay mask eye de yith ugut—You’ll need a face mask.

Tá scaradh sóisialta de dhíth sa seomra ranga—Tah scar-u so-shale-ta de yith sah show-mra rang-a—Social distancing is needed in the classroom.

On that note, I want to give you a few more notes to play with regarding health.

go maith go my-h good
tinn chin sick
sin shin that
leat latt with you
is iss is
is maith sin iss my-h shin that’s good
Tá sé sean tah shay shan He is old
Níl sé óg nail shay O-g He is not young
Tá sé go maith tah shay go my-h He is good
Níl sé tinn nail shay chin He is not sick
Tá sé an-sean tah shay ann-shan He is very old
Tá sé an-óg tah shay ann-O-g He is very young
Tá sé an-mhaith tah shay ann-Y-h He is very good
Tá sé an-tinn tah shay ann-chin He is very sick
Níl Seán leat inniu? nail shan latt in-you? Seán isn’t with you today?
Níl, tá sé tinn nail, tah shay chin No, he’s sick.
Níl sé an-tinn? nail shay ann-chin? He’s not very sick?
Níl sé go dona anois nail shay go done-a an-ish He’s not bad now
Is maith sin iss my-h shin That’s good

*Letters capitalised are pronounced using the name of the letter rather than the sound.

You may have noticed a few different words that look the same such as ‘sean’ and ‘Seán.’ Sean means young and Seán is the name but both are pronounced in the same way. Shan.

I asked at the beginning ‘Cad é mar atá sibh?’ So, now, Cad é mar atá tú? How are you?

Tá mé go maith. (I am good)
Tá mé an-mhaith. (I am very good)
Tá mé go dona. (I am bad)
Tá coróinvíreas orm (I have coronavirus)
Tá mé go holc. (I am bad)
Tá mé go dona leis. (I am bad with it)
Níl mé go dona leis. (I am not bad with it)

Ta súil agam go bhfuil sibh uilig go maith agus an baint sult as an ghrian i bhur shláinte.

Clíodhna Campbell is a teacher, language enthusiast and mother. If you would like to get in touch with her with any linguistic queries, e-mail: