Does anyone here speak Irish?

Several years ago I was interested in learning Gaelic, particularly the Irish dialects. I learned a few individual words, mostly forgotten. Then a woman I was talking to at the time wanted to know how to say “I love you” in Irish.

In my naivety I turned to my usual source, a site where you could search a word, pick the region (various dialects of Irish, Scotland, Mann, etc.), and get a translation. Bear in mind this was back in the days before Google Translate and this was a site that focused specifically on Gaelic lexicons. I told her “I love you” is “Mé grà tù.” Then things came up and I didn’t have time to keep trying to learn the language.

Last night my friend turned me onto Google Translate and she said it can translate between Irish and English. I tried it out, typed the only phrase I remembered, and the only phrase I thought I knew, and it translated into “I you love.”

I thought I just got it out of order, different syntax and all, so to see the proper order I did an English to Irish translation expecting to see something like “Mé tù grà” or something similar, just those three words in a different order than I originally entered. Instead I got back “Is braé liom tù.”

Then it hit me. I don’t even have the basic knowledge required to learn the language. For instance, “love” always translates into “is braé,” never “grà,” but “grà” always translates into “love.” So how do I know when to use grà and when to use is braé?

Playing around with a song title I’ve always wanted translated has led to further confusion (in fact, my desire to learn Irish stemmed from the desire to listen to Irish music, which I’ve always loved, and know what the non-English recordings were saying). I typed in “Éamonn an Chnoic” and got back “Edmund Hill.” Then I deleted the “an” and it came back “Edward Hill.” I typed in “an” alone and it translated into the.

Now here’s where it gets really confusing. A person’s name seems to be context sensitive. “Éamonn an” translates into “Edward the,” but if you leave an out altogether move it to the front, or add one to the front Éamonn becomes Edmund. I haven’t found any context that renders as “Edmund the,” though “the Edmund the” is close (I know it doesn’t make any sense. I was just using that to try to figure out the syntax). So what do you do if you need “Edmund the…,” for example Edmund the Great or Edmund the Miller’s Son? And how does a word such as “the” completely change a person’s name?

Can anyone point me to a resource (preferably free, either a downloadable e-book or a web site since I don’t have any spending money now) to at least learn the basic rules of the language? I don’t care if it’s geared toward Kindergarten students as long as I can get a grasp of it. I’ve scoured the web and all I’ve found were books you can order starting at $20, which is currently $19.94 more than I have to spend. I can use Google Translate to translate words and phrases but it doesn’t help me learn the syntax or when to use which word (for example, when to use Liom and when to use Mé for I).

Some of the “tales” in the Bible are really Irish “tales”. Stolen from Irish and pasing them as Jew History.
But I would not enter deep there or there will be a closing of this thread.
David and Goliath I will say only.

I’ll address two things here. Your reply is completely off topic and I’ve seen how derailed threads end up. I did not mention the Bible (as evidenced by the fact that the search function in Firefox will turn it up only in your reply and this particular reply), any synonyms for it, or religion in general. In short, the original post was purely about the Irish language, my ignorance of it, and my desire to rid myself of that ignorance.

If you have an axe to grind with Christianity do it in your own thread. Don’t just come in, get in your little jabs, and count on fear of thread closure to go unchallenged. It’s unproductive and comes off as a bit on the cowardly side.

However, since you’ve engaged me I will respond. The Irish were largely a mystery to the Roman historians, and they pretty much kept a dossier of every European, Middle Eastern, and Asian civilization known at that time. Many of the civilizations were already known to them before conquest through trade, travel, or other means. The Romans didn’t know much of Irish until their attempts to conquer Ireland.

The Irish were a new breed of Celts to the Romans. They were familiar with other varieties as they inhabited the mainland (Spain has always had a fairly large Celtic population from what I understand, though I may be wrong as European history has always been a weak point of mine) but the Irish were fairly isolated. With Israelite tradition being largely oral (they did have manuscripts but for the most part one generation taught the next orally before they had the training to read at the temple and synagogues) it’s probably safe to say that tales of David, second only to Moses, who himself is second only to Abraham in importance to their culture, predates the Roman empire.

Europe was known to the Israelites prior to Rome. In fact, it’s believed that Jonah was on his way to Spain when he was thrown overboard, but given the isolation of the Irish in that time it’s not likely the Israelites would have had any knowledge of their existence, let alone their traditions.

And you point to David and Goliath. Every civilization has tales of giants. In Ireland they were cannibals, if I’ve read right. One American Indian nation (I don’t remember which one. The Cherokee woman who told me of this passed away a few years ago (and even if she were still alive she wouldn’t talk to me because she turned on me when her daughter broke up with me) so I can’t ask her but she said it’s not a Cherokee tale) has tales of giants who lived in caves and carried people away in baskets to eat. When they’d come across a cave that they believed had a giant in it they’d cave it in and trap them.

Giants are as common among civilizations as the belief of creation by a deity and stories of a catastrophic flood. And given that the American Indians had few, if any encounters with Europeans on a large scale until about 500 years ago (the Viking landing was fairly isolated so it would have only been the local inhabitants who knew of them) it’s safe to say that the tales of giants didn’t come from Ireland or Israel. Their tales of catastrophic floods, giants, creation by a deity, the belief in good and evil, all things shared by civilizations whether Sumerian, Israelite, Irish, African, or Muslim proves that the same traditions can develop independently in multiple civilizations.

Have you considered asking your question on an Irish/Gaelic language forum? A quick google search turned these up.

Thank you.