Table of Contents
Some of the more popular dictionaries (foclóirí) used by students of the Irish language, translators, and native speakers include:
- Foclóir Póca
This is probably the most popular dictionary used by students of Irish. It includes both an English-Irish and an Irish -English dictionary. It's very inexpensive, and the small size ("póca" means pocket) is convenient. You won't outgrow this dictionary until you're well advanced in the language. However, the print is very small, so anyone over twenty may find it difficult to read. There is a slightly larger edition, Foclóir Scoile, which uses a larger font and is much easier to read. Both Foclóir Poca and Foclóir Scoile are published by An Gúm.
- Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla (Ó Dónaill)
This dictionary is popular with advanced students of Irish . This is an Irish-English dictionary; you can look up an Irish word to learn the meaning in English, but not vice-versa. The entries are far more complete than those in Foclóir Póca, and usually include several examples of common phrases and idioms using the word in question. The entry for ceann, for example, is two and one-half pages long. Another feature of this dictionary is that entries for nouns and adjectives list the plural and genitive forms; no need to refer to the front to check how m1 nouns decline, as required with other dictionaries. Similarly, entries for verbs list the verbal noun and verbal adjective forms. Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla is published by An Gúm in both paperback and hardback.
Note that there is an abridged edition of Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla available, called the Gearrfhoclóir. This does not include the dialectal parallel forms with cross-references included in the unabridged version.
- English-Irish Dictionary (De Bhaldraithe)
This dictionary is also popular with advanced students of Irish, although perhaps not quite as essential as Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla. This is an English-Irish dictionary; you can look up English words to get the Irish translation, but not vice-versa. English-Irish Dictionary is published by An Gúm in both paperback and hardback.
- Irish Dictionary Online is an Irish-English and English-Irish dictionary.
- An Foclóir Beag is an Irish dictionary.
- Achhainn.ie a dictionary by Foras na Gaeilge. (very good for uncommon words)
- . Not really a dictionary in a traditional sense, but rather a terminology database. Excellent for science and technology related words.
- Irish Dictionary.org a collaborative Irish dictionary.
- Our native tongue an English-Irish dictionary.
- Pota Focal a helpful aid to those learning or re-learning Irish through the medium of English.
Using a Dictionary
As with any language in which you are not fluent, you should be careful that the words and phrases you look up really mean what you intended. To find the Irish equivalent of an English word, look up the English word first. When you find the Irish word you think you should use, look it up. The entry for the Irish word is usually more complete, so you can double-check that you are using the word in the right context.
If you are a beginner to the Irish language, you may not yet have learned about eclipsis and lenition, or the genitive case. These tips may be helpful when looking up words.
- If you are looking up a word that begins with a two letter combination that seems impossible to pronounce, the first letter is usually not part of the root word. For example:
- Instead of bpáirc, look up páirc.
- Instead of dtír, look up tír.
- Instead of gcat, look up cat.
- Instead of bhfad, look up fad. In this case you drop the first two letters.
- Instead of mbád, look up bád.
- Instead of ndoras, look up doras.
- Instead of ngeata, look up geata.
- Drop an initial n- from a word. For example, instead of n-arán, look up arán.
- If a word has h as the second letter, it is normally dropped. For example, instead of bhean, look up bean.
- If you are looking up a word that ends in i followed by a consonant, and you don't find it, try omitting the i. For example, you won't find báid, but you will find bád.