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What Irish Has Taught Me: Writing Prompt

Happy end of January, beginning of February week!


Last May, I started Duolingo, a language learning app. There are many languages available to learn, including a number I would like to study/study again (Spanish, Yiddish, Navaho, Italian, etc.), but I decided to start with Irish, the language of my paternal people.


The Irish language does things we do not do in American English: So many accent marks! Letter combinations such as "bhf" and "bp" and "mh"! Pronunciations that seem to have little to do with the letters--of course, I imagine the Irish feel this way about English. It is not an easy language to learn. One of the joys has been to see the letter combination "ea" in so many words. My last name, Delea (pronounced De-lay), never seemed "as Irish" to me as a kid to all the other kids with what I thought were very Irish names: O'Keefe, Sullivan, Kennedy, Fitzpatrick, O'Malley. I now know that my last name, with its "ea" at the end, is very Irish. Live and learn!


This week's writing prompt is to take one of the sentences below, all of them from my Duolingo Irish studies, and use it for inspiration for your writing. You can start an essay with one of the questions. If you have a poem that you are stuck on, try one of the statements to give you, and your poem, a volta (Italian for turn). Feel free to use more than one, to change the sentence to fit your idea, or--if you are also studying a language foreign to your own--try this with your own studies.


It's just a first draft, so have fun!


Siúlann tú chuig an gcapall. An bhfuil sé marbh?

You walk towards the horse. Is it dead?


Ní bhainimid ár mbróga dinn. Tá do dheartháir freagrach.

We do not take off our shoes. Your brother is responsible.


Tagann no béir ar ais gach lá. Cá bhfuil do bhuidéal?

The bears come back every day. Where is your bottle?


Uaireanta, labhraíonn sé lena bean chéile. An dochtúir é?

Sometimes, he speaks with his wife. Is he a doctor?


Ithim bricfeasta ag an aerfort. Tá m'athair sa phríosún.

I eat breakfast at the airport. My father is in prison.


Snámhann na mná ag an gcósta. Tá na dathanna difriúil.

The women swim at the coast. The colors are different.


Cá bhfuil m'eilifint? Ní buachaill mé.

Where is my elephant? I am not a boy.


Oibrím, scríobhaim, agus léim. Léann sí na nuachtáin.

I work, I write, and I read. She reads the newspapers.


Siúlaim le mo chat ar an Domhnach. Cé mhéad soicind?

I walk with my cat on Sundays. How many seconds?


Tá na póilíní rompu. Bean mhaith is ea í, nach ea?

The police are in front of them. She is a good woman, isn't she?










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