Irish Lesson 2.
A Little Review
The four ways of using "tá" that we learned were:
Now we will leave John the invalid behind in the present tense where he is most comfortable and pass on to other things, such as the...
The verbal noun is a construction equivalent to the English form of a verb that ends with "-ing" (e.g. "running", "jumping") and which describes continuing action. In Irish, this is formed of two words, the first of which is always "ag", and the second of which is the verbal noun form of the particular verb itself. (The word "ag" means "at"; you can imagine this as being like the old English form "he is at playing" or "seven lords a' leaping"). The verbal noun is used with a form of "tá", for example:
which gives us --
Some other common verbal nouns are:
Past Tense of "tá"
The past tense of "tá" is "bhí". The negative form is "ní raibh". As with "tá" these forms do not vary by pronoun (although in some places "bhíomar" will be seen instead of "bhí muid").
The positive question form is "an raibh...?" ("was/were there...?") and the negative question form is "nach raibh...?" ("wasn't/weren't there...?")
As with the present tense, the answer to a question is a repetition of the verb. A yes answer to the above questions would just be "Bhí." A no answer would be "Ní raibh."
As "bhí" is just a form of "tá", the verbal noun can be used quite handily here, for example:
(Remember that "i" means "in" and causes eclipsis. "i" before a vowel becomes "in", e.g. "in Arizona").
Future Tense of "tá"
The future tense form of "tá" is "beidh" and the negative future tense form is "ní bheidh". The question form is "an mbeidh?" and the negative question form is "nach mbeidh?" (Notice that "an" and "nach" cause eclipsis while "ní" causes aspiration).
And now, since you may be thoroughly sick of "tá" at the moment we'll move along and take up the rest of it later.
Two useful question words are "cé?", who, and "conas", how:
Different from above is the word "cá", meaning "where", which is used with the relative form of the verb "tá", "bhfuil". (I've referred to in the past to "bhfuil", "raibh" etc. as the "question" form of the verb but they are usually referred to as the "relative" form, as they have other uses besides asking a question). A sentence with "cá" would therefore look like
... which is a question you can use when it's "dorcha" outside.
The normal definite article (equivalent to "the") in Irish is "an". The question word "cé" used with the article becomes "cén", e.g.:
Gender of Nouns
Irish nouns are either masculine or feminine. While some nouns predictably fall into one category or the other, many are random and their gender has to be memorized.
However, it's generally the case that nouns denoting males are masculine:
... and that ones denoting females are feminine:
But there are exceptions even to this, most notably that the word "cailín" (young girl, origin of the word "colleen") is masculine.
According to the Christian Bros. the following are mainly feminine: names of languages; nouns to two or more syllables ending in -acht; and all nouns ending in -óg.
Article + Noun
When "an" comes before a noun the noun itself can be changed slightly. The most important thing is that all aspirable feminine nouns coming after "an" are aspirated, except those beginning with d, s, and t. So:
But feminine nouns beginning with "s" have "t" added in front:
Masculine nouns are not aspirated after "an" but have "t-" added in front when they begin with a vowel:
The above forms of the nouns and their articles are used when the nouns are the subject or direct object of a sentence.