How to Pronounce Irish Names 🗣️👂🇮🇪☘️ (and other Irish words): A quick guide


hey everyone Benny Lewis from three months here and as you may know I’m an Irishman so that means that I would love to encourage you today to learn the Irish language and whenever I talk about this with people they always think it must be hard because of when you see Irish words they look so weird and they’re pronounced very differently to how you’d expect so today I want to make it a little bit easier for you and I’m going to go through the rules of how to pronounce Irish work okay so the first thing to keep in mind is that the Irish language is phonetic and that means that once you learn the rules of how each letter or letter combination is pronounced you can literally see any new word in the language and know how to say it even if you’ve never seen it before so let me walk you through these main rules to help you get used to that okay so the first one is the bout you have the same valve AEIOU and these are pronounced kind of like they are in english but as well as those you also have long vowels which we use the term Father after them for like a father you father and these are just elongated for instance you might see the name Tomas and that has the AH sound after it in general though single vowels are pretty straightforward so next to have the continent all of these consonants are essentially the same as they are in English so let’s look at the ones that are different now you know the way in English when you have the letter C sometimes it’s pronounced like an S if it’s before an IR any the same rule applies for French and Spanish and other languages and sometimes it’s a hard K and Irish it’s always going to be a hard K and that gives you words like the name Keon but an Irish we do actually have that thing where some consonants change before an e and and I the most famous one being the letter S so before you and I it has the sound like in Shawn Shamus or Sinead and in otherwise it’s exactly like in English just an S SAP so back to vows and this time when you’ve to them together so a E is pronounced like a like an Maeve I a we saw with es like in Qian and those aren’t too bad but the trickiest one to remember is a o because that’s pronounced like e the oddest one of the bunch I know but once you know the Rose you’re good to go like if your words like Aoife otherwise in many cases when you see two vowels together it’s often because of this way of transitioning between two ways of saying consonants now you don’t need to worry too much by that except for the fact that this rule means that one of those letters is not going to be pronounced so in these words here the letters in red are not going to be pronounced and that gives you Kira Podrick and Oshin now the last thing that might throw some people off is a feature of irish called the mission it’s actually a really nice part of the language it helps the sounds of words flow together nicer but the thing is it creates letter combinations of light for you all the good news though is they all have one thing in common the letter H so just keep a couple more pronunciation rules in mind when you see these letters with the letter H after them it’s not as bad as it looks so for instance SH and th both have the same huh sounds like in English th so that gives you words like cuddle or flogging pH is the FN like in English or French and F H is silent but looking at the tricky ones BH is the guttural sound that you might know from the word la and th and th could be a similar but kind of different plan which you would know from the Irish way of saying hello Jia glitch so don’t worry too much about that though because in names they tend to have the much easier Y friend like in Thai and finally depending on the dialect you might have W you these in some cases but for names especially B&M you’ll hear them with the V sound so that gives you near and shavonne and that’s pretty much it it takes some getting used to but you can see how these rules would apply for when you see something new like for instance the leader of the Irish government is the tea shop which you would know from the rules I just went through now I know it’s not easy but it’s way more consistent than English is actually made another video of me showing how ridiculous English phonetic and pronunciation rules can be so hope that by showing you a small number of things to keep in mind you might find that that Irish words are that little bit easier to pronounce there’s a little bit more to it than what I gave in the short video so make sure to click here for more info on learning Irish you really want to get into it and otherwise check out this playlist of videos that I’ve made in Irish and if I’ve missed anything be sure to leave a comment thanks for watching lon I’ll just go oh my oh my god

100 thoughts on “How to Pronounce Irish Names 🗣️👂🇮🇪☘️ (and other Irish words): A quick guide

  1. I'm so happy this video is so well received. Thank you everyone!!

    For further tips on any Irish pronunciations I couldn't get to in the video, see my comments below on that. If you liked it, please subscribe to my channel for more fun tips on language learning and much more, and feel free share this video with whoever you think would benefit from watching it!

    For a next recommended video along the same general theme to watch on my channel, check this one out for a laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJFayFOASMg

  2. acording to this video i can get people to call me Dar-eye, insttead of a silent gh

  3. My husband is Arabic and I am none of ya business but when we have a daughter I will name her Siobhan it is my favorite name

    Siobhán Raslan

  4. I’m English, I’m watching this drunk, and I might as well be watching an alien translation video

  5. Im here because of my handsome Irish husband, and my other handsome irish/scottish Husband James Mccavoy 😂🙌

  6. Irish just seems like English, except our language doesn’t make make sense phonetically or visually

  7. I used to have a friend named Siobhan and I was so confused when she spelled it

  8. céilidh More Scotch-Irish céilidh Irish means the same thing. I grew up hearing these words in Nova Scotia, a very high population of Scots and Irish. The D and H are completely silent and I never remember how spell it

  9. A girl in my elementary schools name was Caiomhe and it was pronounced Queevah lol

  10. I started to become curious about Ireland when I discover The Cranberries

  11. My last name is MçElwee and I always hated when people would try and pronounce it because they argue that it’s not pronounced the way it’s spelt. Like I don’t know how to say my last name. They usually pronounce it. “Mic-L-Wee”

  12. Funny I know a girl who said her name is (shuh-VAHN). So I said, "oh! Siobhan!" She said "no..Shavon" 🙂

  13. I was thinking to myself, in my head, that I'd love to hear what the Irish language sounded like then this got recommended to me.

    amazed, grateful, and terrified

  14. There is an Irish YouTuber that I watch, she’s a teen and often says that she is going to a “pree” This May not be what she is saying but it sounds like it

  15. Oh my God, so I've been following this artist with username @siobhanchiffon on Instagram. For God knows how long I've been trying to figure out how to pronounce their username, it's liTERALLY THEIR NAME PRONOUNCED TWICE I–

  16. Hey this was great! Watched it ages ago but just showed my mum, there’s a character in her book called Gonne, I believe it’s pronounced gon-ya, am I right?!

  17. I'm a Canadian of Irish descent but have always been intrigued by the Irish language. My dad told me that my great-grandfather sung in Irish and I once heard it sung in a pub in Dublin. Beautiful, moving language.

  18. the common tongue English of today is a bastard mix of old English,Welsh, old Norse, and old French. Thanks for this lovely video!

  19. This is handy… every time I start to stumble, I just watch it again…
    💚🇮🇪💚

  20. Well for years I deliberately mispronounced my name, Maeve, because in school, my teachers seemed to think it was short for Mavis, which I didn't care for at all. So for many years, I pronounced it Ma Eve. (Nobody ever spells it right regardless of how I pronounce it. Of course the Irish Monsignor at my parish, always calls me Meave. Go figure. Joys of having a name no one in the US ever heard of until the last 20 years or so.

  21. Can you break this one down? “O Laochdha” which apparently is the correct spelling of my surname.

  22. Very nice video….well spoken and smooth….but I’m lost 🙂 Very complicated.

  23. I'm not Irish but I love using irish name.. I use Caoimheseach meadhd

  24. I was writing a book set in Ireland so I learned a bunch. BUT the one that threw me was Findabhair.

  25. I haven’t watched the video- Siobhan better be here. Listen up swines if it is.

  26. The best part of Irish is the T at the end of the word… like a cross between a T and an S.

  27. I need to learn irish since I’m marrying an Irish man ❤️☘️😍

  28. Everything was fine and I enjoyed your video…till you knocked 'English' at the end ☹☹

  29. it made me so happy that he actually pronounced my name correctly

  30. Man… that’s hard! I have to watch it again. 👍🏼 😆😂

  31. Benny-
    Many thanks for this video…as I struggle to learn Irish with only a language app and my own determination to keep me going.

  32. [ seeing the names on the thumbnail ]

    everyone: what? that's impossible to pronounce

    me, an irish person: pronounces all the names within seconds without a single stutter

  33. How would you pronounce Máel ? Not sure if this is Gaelic Irish or Scotland origin. Thank you,

  34. Well this changed a lot of the Mists of Avalon for me during this read through. Thanks!

  35. That was interesting. The pronunciation of Irish words seems like it would be impossible for me. If I ever to to the old sod, I'll brush up with these tips. Thanks!

  36. So apparently we have been pronouncing my name wrong my whole life….Ciara "see air uh" is how we pronounce it.

  37. I feel I'm one of many people who are named Sean and aren't Irish

  38. Lmao this helps cause I know someone who lives in Ireland called Odhran, all of us who lived in NZ used to call him ‘Odd-ran’ but nvm turns out it’s pronounced ‘Orin’ like lol k 😂

  39. Nope 😂 your explanation was fine, but Irish language is so haaaarrrd!!! As a Brazilian, my language doesn’t have any of those sounds originally, so it requires a lot of effort 😐

  40. Thank you Mr. Benny Lewis. It makes it easier. I just need to jot down notes. I need to learn Irish because of my Irish hubby is from Galway. You are the greatest!

  41. I love these types of things! Language and names are great.
    In college a guy said to us ‘remember the first time you saw Siobhan and it blew your mind’ 😂 so true. At playgroup or year 1 there was a siobhan in my class and our drawers had our names on it. I saw sionhan on the drawer and thought- ‘that’s weird I don’t know anyone names siobhan ‘ as in my head it was Siab-Han.
    Then I saw the girl called Siobhan go to that drawer and I was like 😲😲 ‘shivorn’ is siobhan

  42. I remember you from the time you had a few blogs about language learning.
    Ta for the vid. I took a while to know how to pronounce Sinéad.

  43. It's similar to the Welsh language it's the Celtic languages and they follow similar pronunciation

  44. Calls Irish phonetic and explains that in Cian the "ia" is pronounced "eeah"…..

    20 seconds later explains that sometimes the a in "ia" is silent like in Ciara which is pronounced "Cira"

    I love Irish… but it is not phonetic. Come learn Greek and I'll show you a simple phonetic language.

  45. Why not spell out things like how you will say them 🤦‍♂️

  46. I’m Northern Irish so we don’t generally have these names or uses these words. Interesting!

  47. Ive always wanted to learn Gaelic. Idk why but i think its absolutely beautiful. I trained my dog in gaelic lol

  48. Your accent isn't Irish enough. How disappointing
    Oh and Irish speak Garlic

  49. They should teach traditional Irish there was no H it was t with a dot on the t . V was B with a dot Maith was Mait with a dot on the t called a builte. get rid of that modern Irish. Go back to tradition.

  50. Why even use the Latin alphabet? 😒 Rune type alphabets would be more practical for these languages.

  51. Check out my trip to Ireland, I put all of my Snapchat videos into one. Hope you guys like it

  52. Lol i always thought “Aoife” was pronounced “woff” 😂☠️☠️

  53. This is great! I've always wondered how the language worked. It's beautiful~

  54. I’m Irish I have been learning Irish for 8 years and only know a few words thanks disleksa

  55. So the origins of my surname (Mulqueen) O'Maolchaoin is pronounced like Meelcheen? Ch being like the scottish Loch?

  56. I had a girlfriend called Ciarda and I think for simplicity sake she told most people to pronounce it as "kirida" with hard i's. But hearing her Irish parents say her name it rolled much more fluidly and sounded more like "kierda", at least to my ears. Also, I asked her mum if she could say something in Gaelic and she spoke a sentence that sounded liltingly beautiful. She then told me what it meant and it was utterly filthy.

  57. I named my son Eoghan. Lots of people want to call him "eeOgeein" or" EEEion" I get funny looks when I say it pronounced O-in. I want to take him to Ireland so people will pronounce his name correctly.

  58. An bhfuil aon mhúinteoir nó duine in Éirinn is féidir le muintir na hÉireann nascadh le foghlaim nó cleachtadh. Rugadh mé i gCeanada Tá mo theaghlach rianaithe siar go hIrealand agus go Scottland.

  59. ‘aitch’, Barry? Don’t you mean ‘haitch’? Níl fear Gaelach thú mo chara.

  60. As a Latin language speaker with English as second language, this just tangled my neurons.

  61. Welsh is phonetic as well! Sounds like it's got a similar set up! I have read somewhere that Irish also mutates (so does Welsh). So for example, in Welsh, Wales is Cymru; Welcome to Wales is Croeso i Gymru, I live in Wales is Dwi'n byw yng Nghymru. This sounds complicated, but when it's spoken it makes sense because everything flows beautifully! There are 3 types of mutations – Nasal, Aspirate and Soft and are used depending on the word before or the gender of the word and only certain letters mutate. Welsh has 28 letters (which are really phonetic sounds), some letters [sounds] are made up of 2 letters – 'Ch', 'Ll' etc. Irish sounds like a beautiful language too!

  62. My name is Shannahon, & is supposedly Old Irish. No one ever pronounces it properly, or maybe they do, & we are wrong. Lol.

  63. So is the Irish Gaelic of my name, Suibhne, pronounced Sweevne or Sweevney, Swivne or Swivney?
    I've wondered this for decades, without definitive results from my family in the old country.
    (I'm only first/2nd gen depending on mother or father)!
    If only my great grandparents weren't forced to Anglicise their name!

  64. French, spanish and Italian are classed as Romance languages, what is Irish classes as please as I am interested. Fab vid by the way.

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