May 18, 2013 | Irish

Some Irish Words Look Familiar

But most don't!

Studying Irish is nowhere near as easy as studying Spanish or French or Italian. 

I Have Been Using the Google Translate App on My iPhone, a Lot

I Have Been Using the Google Translate App on My iPhone, a Lot

Besides the very different grammar, there simply aren’t that many words that look familiar.

Some do, though. They include:

  • mother: máthair
  • father: athair (well, sort of familiar)
  • uncle: uncail
  • aunt: auntín

But this is daughter: iníon. That makes me think of onions.

Also, son (mac), brother (deartháir), and sister (deirfiúr) do not resemble anything I’ve seen before, at least not that I can remember right now.

Fortunately, one can count on a few familiar faces. “Car,” for example, is carr!

Comments (2)

Lena • Posted on Thu, June 06, 2013 - 1:41 pm EST

I actually find French hard to learn. Do you have any advice for me, ways that worked better for you? I have made some profiles on different language learning sites;, and Do you have any experience with any of these?

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Thu, June 06, 2013 - 2:12 pm EST

Lena, how far along are you with French? Have you tried Pimsleur? It is great for oral skills. Please see my review at

I have barely used Livemocha, and I have not used italki or at all. So those are more about exchanges, right? That kind of thing is very, very helpful, but it’s important to have the right basic rigorous texts, audio lessons, etc., to make sure you are getting good basic information in a systematic way. Then you can practice practice practice.

I review a whole bunch of French resources at so ma,ybe browse through those? One option that I often like - and keep in mind, everyone is different and learns in different ways! - is the Practice Makes Perfect series from McGraw-Hill. I review several of their French books in that section. The review for “Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar” is here:

If you want flashcards, you can go to They have a lot of good functionality, and it’s free. Pimsleur is on the pricier side, but is extremely high quality. The Practice Makes Perfect books are not very expensive - less than $20.

Bonne chance, Lena. Feel free to elaborate with more questions if you like.


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