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Ná feic a bhfeicir
Is ná clois a gcloisir
Is má fiafraítear díot
Abair ná feadrais
Don't see what you see
Don't hear what you hear
And if you're asked
Say you don't know

This is but one of many Irish Proverbs advocating circumspection.

  •  Others are listed in the Talking and Health sections of this website.

Some notes on the Irish in the Proverb:

  • Ná    (pronounced as "naw") makes the verb which follows negative.
  • Feic    (pronounced as "feck") is the verb "to see".  Some Irish dialects (especially Munster) would use the verb "Cí" - pronounced as "key" as the verb "to see"
  • Ná feic therefore becomes "Don't see"
  • A bhfeicir (pronounced "a vecker") means "that you see".  The -ir suffix to the verb indicates the second person, singular.  More often, nowadays, you would hear "A bhfeiceann tú".  The suffix -eann, or -ann indicates the habitual present tense while "tú" (pronounced too) means "you" (second person, singular).
  • Is    is an abbreviation of "agus" (pronounced "oggus") meaning "and"
  • Clois    (pronounced "clush" - rhyming with "brush") is the imperative form of the verb "to hear"
  • Má    (pronounced "maw") translates as "if"
  • Fiafraítear    (pronounced feef~ree~tor).  The imperative form of the verb "to ask" [a question] is "Fiafraigh" (pronounced feef~rig).  The autonomous form of the verb is used in the proverb to indicate that it does not matter who does the asking of the question.
  • Díot    (pronounced dee~ut) means "of you" or "off you". 
  • Abair    (pronounced "ob~burr") is the imperative form of the verb "to say"
  • Feadrais    (pronounced fad~rish) is derived from "feadar" - to have knowledge, i.e., to know.  The ~ais suffix indicates the second person, singular form of the verb.

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