Time to focus on the past (tense)

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BHUEL a chairde, tá mé ag scríobh chugaibh ar oíche fliuch i nGleann Gormlaith, ar imeall Thuaisceart Bhéal Feirste agus is cinnte go bhfuil an samhradh thart. Ag amharc siar ar an samhradh a bhí againn, beidh an aimsir chaite de dhíth agus mar sin de, tá mé ag iarraidh dul fríd cúpla rialacha bunúsacha.

I am writing to you (plural) on a wet night in Glengormley, on the outskirts of North Belfast and summer is certainly over. Looking back at the summer we had, we’ll need the Past Tense and for that reason I want to go through a few basic rules.

San Aimsir Chaite, cuirimid séimhiú isteach an chuid is mó den am.

“Cuir na leabhair sa mhála,” arsa an múinteoir.
“Put your books in the bag,” said the teacher.

“Chuir mé iad sa mhála cheanna féin,” arsa Sinéad.
“I already put the books in the bag,” said Sinéad.

Buailbhuailwoo-allhit
Cuirchuirher/hurrput
Siúilshiúilwho-llwalked
Bainbhainwinreached (a location)
Brisbhrisvrishbroke
Druiddhruidgh-ridgeclosed
Glacghlacgh-lakbrought
Glanghlangh-lanncleaned

Má amharcaimid siar ar an cholúin roimhe seo, labhair muid faoi pleananna an tsamhradh. Anois ba mhaith liom seo a athrú go dtí an Aimsir Chaite.

Taistil-to travel
Thaistil mé ar bád        
hash-til may air bad
I travelled by boat

Tiomáin-to drive
Thiomáin muid
hum-ann m-widge
We drove

Lots of words in Irish have different meanings depending on the context. One example of this is ‘bain.’

In the table, you can see it represents reaching a destination. It can also be used to denoting have in terms of having fun/ enjoyment. It can also describe removing fruit/vegetables or plants from soil and in the same way it also means taking blood for the likes of a blood test.

Bain-have (fun)
Bhain na páistí an-sult as an saoire.
Win nah pwaish-chee ann-sult ass ann see-ra.
The children really enjoyed the holidays.
Bain-reach (a destination)
Bhain mé an teach amach ar a 4i.n.
Win may ann t-ach am-awk air a cah-hir.
I reached the house at 4pm.
Bain-picked (vegetables)
Bhain muid na meacan dearg ag deireadh an samhradh.
Win m-widge nah mac-ann jar-ig igg jerr-oo ann sow-roo.
We picked the carrots at the end of the summer.

Taobh amuigh de séimhiú, athríonn cuid mhaith focail nó frásaí i nGaeilge don Aimsir Chaite go hiomlán.

Outside of adding lenition (a special h, as it is very often referred to), lots of words or phrases in Irish change completely for Past Tense. ‘Tá’ changes to ‘Bhí’, ‘ag dul’ changes to ‘chuaigh’ and ‘ag déanamh’ changes to ‘rinne.’

Tá dinnéar dul a bheith agam
Tah din-yer dull a vay ug-um
I’m going to have dinner.
Bhí dinnéar agam
Vee din-yer ug-um
I had dinner.
Tá muid ag dul ar laethanta saoire
Tah m-widge igg dull air lay-hanta seera
We’re going on holidays.
Chuaigh muid ar laethanta saoire.
Who-ee m-widge air lay-hanta seera
We went on holidays.
Tá mé ag déanamh pictiúr duit
Tah may igg jan-oo pick-tour ditch
I’m making you a picture.
Rinne mé pictiúr duit
Rinn may pick-tour ditch
I made you a picture.

Cad é a rinne tú i rith an tsamhradh? (words underlined have been adjusted to suit the past tense)

Chuaigh mé ar saoire sa bhaile.
I went on a staycation.

Bhain mé an-sult as.
I really enjoyed it.

Thiomáin muid thart ar an tír.
We drove around the country.

Bhauil muid lenár chairde i Chondae an Chláir.
We met up with friends in County Clare.

Shiúil muid thart ar Aillte an Mhothair agus ghlac muid an madadh linn.
We walked around the Cliffs of Moher and took the dog with us.

Cad a rinne tú féin?
What did you do?

Slán agus beannacht, Clíodhna

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: cliodhnamorgan@live.co.uk

PIC: CHRISTOPH THEISINGER