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Bi (is)
Poss. Pronouns
Verb Classes



Irish Gaelic: Numbers and Counting

Like English, there are several forms of numbers (for counting — one, two, three; for ranking things — first, second, third; etc). In addition, Irish has some special forms for counting people.

The standard 'counting numbers' are:

zero a náid        
1 a haon 11 a haon déag    
2 a dó 12 a dó dhéag 20 a fiche
3 a trí 13 a trí déag 30 a tríocha
4 a ceathair 14 c ceathair déag 40 a ceathracha
5 a cúig 15 a cúig déag 50 a caoga/leathchéad
6 a sé 16 a sé déag 60 a seasca
7 a seacht 17 a seacht déag 70 a seachtó
8 a hocht 18 a hocht déag 80 a hochó
9 a naoi 19 a naoi déag 90 a nócha
10 a deich 20 a fiche 100 céad
        1000 míle
21 fiche a haon 101 céad a haon    
22 fiche a dó 102 céad a dó    
        200 dhá chéad
        300 trí chéad

The 'a' in front of number is often omitted. It is required, however, when counting out loud, when saying an address, and when calling out numbers, like a phone number. Using 'a' adds an 'h-' (remember lenition?) to numbers that begin with a vowel — aon (one) and ocht (eight).

Counting things requires a few changes.

Rule 1: The singular form of the thing being counted is used.
teangacha — languages
trí teanga — three languages

Rule 2: The numbers one, two, and four change form for counting things.
one a haon one door doras amháin
two a dó two doors dhá dhoras
four a ceathair four doors ceathre dhoras

As you can see, there are some changes to the words being counted.

  words starting with
words starting with
numbers 2 through 6 lenition no change
numnbers 7 through 10 urú (not l, m, n, r, s) and -n

When counting things greater than 10, the name of the thing being counted is put between the numbers:

cúig five cúig phunt five pounds
cúig déag fifteen cúig phunt déag five pounds and ten
seacht seven seacht bpunt seven pounds
seacht déag seventeen seacht pbunt déag seven pounds and ten

Counting greater than 20 things can be done in one of two ways:

seasca is a cúig punt — 75 pounds, lit. seventy and five pounds, or
cúig punt is seasca — 75 pounds, lit. five pounds and seventy

Counting people is different yet again. The standard 'counting numbers' are not used for people.

1 person duine 6 people seisear
2 people beirt 7 people seachtar
3 people tríur 8 people ochtar
4 people ceathrar 9 people naonúr
5 people cúigear 10 people deichniúr

Rule 1: beirt (two people) causes lenition.
Rule 2: the singular forms of nouns are used for counting
Rule 3: after a people-counting number, clann (children of the family) becomes clainne.

Finally, ordinal numbers (first, second, third) are slightly different as well.

first an chéad sixth an seú
second an dara seventh an seachtú
third a tríu eighth an t-ochtú
fourth an ceathrúr ninth an naoú
fifth an cúigiú tenth an deichiú

These cause a few changes, too.

  words beginning with
a consonant
words beginning with
a vowel
after 'first' lenition (not d, n, t, l, s) no change
after 2nd-10th no change add h-


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Irish gaelic - Notes from a beginner
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