Irish Language Blog

Beannachtaí i nGaeilge a Dó – Or How to Greet Several People in Irish Posted by on Mar 25, 2009 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Beannachtaí i nGaeilge (Cuid a Dó) – Or How to Greet Several People in Irish

As promised in a recent blog, here we’ll look at the greetings used when you’re talking to more than one person. Remember that Irish has two different ways to say “you,” singular and plural. Therefore, phrases such as “Dia duit” or “Go mbeannaí Dia duit” (God bless you) have plural forms as well.

The word “duit” changes to daoibh for the plural. So you’d say “Dia daoibh” or “Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh.” In dialects where people say “dhuit” instead of “duit,” such as Conamara, they’ll use the form “dhaoibh.”

Here are some sample greetings, the first to greet one person and the second to greet several:

a) Dia duit, a Aoife. Hello, Aoife.

b) Dia daoibh, a Aoife agus a Úna. Hello, Aoife and Úna.

a) Dia dhuit, a Shéamais. Hello, James.

b) Dia dhaoibh, a Shéamais agus a Sheáin. Hello, James and John.

Greetings like haló and haigh don’t require any special forms for the plural!

What about entering a house where there’s a whole roomful of people to be greeted? In this case, it was traditional to say, “Dia isteach anseo” or “Dia anseo isteach.” Literally, this is simply “God in here” or “God here in” but the essential meaning is “God bless all here.”

Sa chéad bhlag eile (in the next blog), we’ll finally tackle how to answer the greeting. Unlike English, the second person traditionally doesn’t simply echo what the first person has said (“Hi, Jim,” answered by “Hi, Mary”).

Bhur mblagálaí – Róislín

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