Mother (Máthair)

Perhaps máthair should be an easy word to learn since it is so much like the English word mother but getting used to saying a common word in a different language my seem odd at first. Let’s look at pronunciation. In English we say “Muh”-“ther” but in Irish we say “Maw”-“hehr”. You can listen to three versions here. In standard Irish, think of the á as “aw” when pronouncing a word. Hint: Always look to see if a word has a fada on a vowel and make sure you get that sound out when pronouncing the word. á “aw” – é “ay” – í “ee” – ó “oh” – ú “ooh”

For your next step, you need to learn associated words for mother such as mam and mamaí. Notice there is no á in these two words and they are pronounced similarly to Mom and Mommy in American English but definitely not “Mum” which sounds much more English. Did you notice the í at the end and think “ee” when pronouncing the word mamaí?

Other important words for mom?: leasmháthair (step-mother) “lass-wawher”, máthair chéile (mother-in-law) “mawher kHayle”, seanmháthair (grandmother) “shan-wawher”, mamó (grandmom/nana) “mah-moh”, also máthair mhór (grandmother) “mawher wohr” and máthair chríonna (grandmother) “mawher kHree-uh-nuh”

Practice: máthair, mam, mamaí, leasmháthair, máthair chéile, seanmháthair, mamó, máthair mhór, máthair chríonna

Listen and Repeat

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