A Bit Irish

irish language and culture
irelandseyeonmyth:

ootahetkenaikaa:

irelandseyeonmyth:

Oooooh yesh.

this grates on me so much Christ

Why does it grate on yeh gowl?

I don’t know why it’s grating on him, but I know why it’s grating on me. I don’t like trashing posts about Irish, or in Irish, but I’m going to use this to illustrate the limitations of Google Translate, or any merely functional approach to translation. A translator cannot handle idioms.
In Ireland, the phrase “you’re looking well” is an idiom, which means, “you appear healthy” with overtones of being attractive. It’s another way of saying “you seem well”. In this case, “looking well” is an adjectival phrase and not a verb at all. No one is “looking” at anything. The phrase ag féachaint is only used when someone is looking at something. 
Therefore, the Irish phrase above is actually saying that your powers of observation are good. You are “looking well” in that sense alone.
If you want to tell someone they’re looking well, you’re better off with something like is cosúil go bhfuil tú go maith, although even that carries unfortunate overtones of something unpleasant lurking beneath the surface. Never mind, maintain that air of mystery, would-be Irish speaker! We will follow you, wherever you may go. 

irelandseyeonmyth:

ootahetkenaikaa:

irelandseyeonmyth:

Oooooh yesh.

this grates on me so much Christ

Why does it grate on yeh gowl?

I don’t know why it’s grating on him, but I know why it’s grating on me. I don’t like trashing posts about Irish, or in Irish, but I’m going to use this to illustrate the limitations of Google Translate, or any merely functional approach to translation. A translator cannot handle idioms.

In Ireland, the phrase “you’re looking well” is an idiom, which means, “you appear healthy” with overtones of being attractive. It’s another way of saying “you seem well”. In this case, “looking well” is an adjectival phrase and not a verb at all. No one is “looking” at anything. The phrase ag féachaint is only used when someone is looking at something. 

Therefore, the Irish phrase above is actually saying that your powers of observation are good. You are “looking well” in that sense alone.

If you want to tell someone they’re looking well, you’re better off with something like is cosúil go bhfuil tú go maith, although even that carries unfortunate overtones of something unpleasant lurking beneath the surface. Never mind, maintain that air of mystery, would-be Irish speaker! We will follow you, wherever you may go. 

Sex Change

The Irish word for “a man” is fear [FARR]. The plural is fir [FIRR], which is as irregular as it is in English.

The Irish word for “a woman” is bean [BAN]. The plural is mná, which again is as irregular as it is in English.

You might see “FIR” and “MNÁ” written over older public toilets in Ireland and draw the natural analogy with “M for male and F for female” which seems to hold good for so many other European languages. Alas, you would be sadly mistaken.

Irish people being what they are, no one will tell you about this beforehand, and people in there of the opposite sex will act as though it is the most natural thing in the world. Don’t be fooled. They disapprove.


Elsewhere the Garda has called on motorists to exercise special care.

The Irish national police force is called An Garda Síochána [ON GAR-da SHEE-uh-KAWN-ah], which means The Guardian of the Peace, and it’s how the entire policing operation is referred to as a single unit. As in the above screencap, “the Garda”.
An individual member of this police force is called a Garda, or colloquially in English, a “guard”. More than one of these individuals are referred to as Gardaí [GAR-DEE], or “guards”.
They are almost never referred to as “police”. Try it. See what happens. I predict a response along the lines of “oh, you mean the guards”.
Yes, this is confusing. Sorry. Have a look at their website to see what they get up to.

Elsewhere the Garda has called on motorists to exercise special care.

The Irish national police force is called An Garda Síochána [ON GAR-da SHEE-uh-KAWN-ah], which means The Guardian of the Peace, and it’s how the entire policing operation is referred to as a single unit. As in the above screencap, “the Garda”.

An individual member of this police force is called a Garda, or colloquially in English, a “guard”. More than one of these individuals are referred to as Gardaí [GAR-DEE], or “guards”.

They are almost never referred to as “police”. Try it. See what happens. I predict a response along the lines of “oh, you mean the guards”.

Yes, this is confusing. Sorry. Have a look at their website to see what they get up to.

irishthings:

That’s right, we’ve reached 3000 followers, hurrah! To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Harry Potter agus an Órchloch, the Irish language translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Entering from overseas? Don’t worry, I’ll ship ANYWHERE!

HOW TO ENTER
It’s simple, just reblog this post! Remember, you can reblog all you want, but likes won’t count as entries! You don’t have to be following Irish Things, but it’d be nice if you did! Also, if you check out my personal blog it’d be very much appreciated, as I’ve been running this blog single-handed from day one.

That’s all there is to it! 

Important Things:
This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Tumblr Inc., apart from the fact that it is taking place on their website. It is not being run by them.

I will be using a random number generator to select a winner, so sending repeated ‘please let me win!’ messages won’t help your chances!

If you are under 18 and entering, ask the permission of an adult to enter, as you will have to supply me with an address to post the book.


This giveaway closes at 00:00 GMT on the 4th of October, so get going!

Win a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone translated into Irish!  I’m hoping to win this, but I’ll be very happy if one of my followers wins it too. (If you live in America, you will know this book as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.)

Anonymous said: Do Irish nouns have gender? How does that work?

Irish nouns have gender, male and female he created them. I’m not getting into it on this blog because it’s very complicated for little result. You can just (incorrectly) treat every noun as male and it doesn’t matter.

This may sound like heresy to some native Irish speakers, because it absolutely is, but I’m trying to keep the blog as lo-tech as I can.

The vast majority of people who speak Irish are not native speakers, and will not notice if you treat all nouns as male. Native speakers will notice, but they will be so grateful that anyone is speaking Irish that they will never, ever mention it.

In other words, if noun gender is a salient issue for you, you’ve already graduated beyond this blog. (Congratulations, and please help me.)

Sorry if this sounds defeatist, but I promise you this is the truth as I understand it.

Anonymous said: Can you explain "Ar dheist Dé go raibh a anam dílis" please?

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Pronounced: [ERR YESH DAY GUH REV A ON-um DEE-lish]

Literally: At right-hand-side of-god may be his soul faithful.

In other words: May his faithful soul be at the right hand of God.

I say “his” because a anam means “his soul”. If it was a woman’s soul, you’d say a hanam.

You use this after naming a dead person as a mark of respect, as you might in English with “may his soul rest in peace”. You’ll hear it a lot around ten o’clock in the morning on any local Irish radio station when they’re listing off the recent deaths in the community.

Irish Letters

Remember letters? They’re like emails, but they take longer and they’re on this stuff we used to have called paper.

In Ireland, everyone speaks English, but we like to drop some Irish bombs every now and again to confuse visitors. You might see some of these slices of Celtic whimsy in written letters:

A Chara

Irish letters often start like that. A Chara [A KHHORR-a] is the vocative form of the noun cara [KORRA], which means “friend”.

Mise le meas

Irish letters often end like that, with your name coming afterwards. Mise le meas [MISHA LEH MASS] means “from me with respect”, more or less.

Beannachtaí

Irish letters sometimes have this instead of mise le meas, or in addition to it. Beannachtaí means “blessings”. It’s an old Irish thing and doesn’t really have any contemporary religious connotations.

Go raibh maith agat

You might see this as a matter of course in an Irish letter. Go raibh maith agat [GUH REV MAW a-GUDTH] means “thank you”.

Now you know.

The Magic Letters: Séimhiú

Irish sometimes puts letters into words without your consent for the purposes of grammar. Here is one of them.

Séimhiú

The séimhiú [SHAY-voo] is a H you sometimes have to put after the first letter of a word which affects how you pronounce the first letter. The pronunciation change works like this (phonetically only!):

  • B -> V
  • C -> KH
  • D -> G or Y
  • F -> silent
  • G -> GH
  • M -> V or W
  • P -> F
  • T -> H
  • W -> WH

The initial letters who do not take a séimhiú are H, J, L, N, R, S, V and all the vowels.

The use of the séimhiú is random, but here is an incomplete list:

  1. The vocative a.
  2. Following some (but not all) prepositions, including sa, faoi, ó and roimh.
  3. To indicate something that’s mine or yours or his (but not hers).
  4. After various preverb constructions, including ba, níor, ar, má and .
  5. Past and conditional tenses (but not present or future tenses).
  6. When talking about one, two, three, four, five or six of something (but not seven, eight or nine of them).

There’s lots more, but six is enough for one post, right? Six is enough for the rest of your life, probably. Here they are explained in greater detail:

     1. Here is a post I made about the vocative a.

     2. The Irish for dog is madra [MOD-ra]. I’m not sure what series of events would lead to this, but if you need to refer to something as inside the poor animal, you would say sa mhadra, [SUH VOD-ra] (or [SUH WOD-ra] depending on what part of the country you come from.)

The same change would apply to:

  • faoi [FWEE] = under
  • ó [O] = from
  • roimh [RIV] = before

     3. The Irish for “my” is mo. The Irish for “your” is do. The Irish for “his” and “hers” is a. The only way you can tell if it’s his thing or hers is to look for the séimhiú. If it has a séimhiú  it’s his; if it doesn’t have a séimhiú, it’s hers. Therefore:

  • Póg mo thóin [POGUE MUH HONE] = kiss my arse
  • Póg do thóin [POGUE DUH HONE] = kiss your arse
  • Póg a thóin [POGUE A HONE] = kiss his arse
  • Póg a tóin [POGUE A TONE] = kiss her arse

Of course, it goes without saying that you should never kiss anyone’s arse. First of all, you don’t know where it’s been, and anyway, if that sort of thing becomes an issue, you should make them come to you.

     4. You have to put a séimhiú after the first letter of verbs in certain constructions. The word maith [MAH] means “good” or “like”. Let’s say you’re a five-year old child who wants a dog, but you’re just out of the phase where you say the exact same thing over and over until you’re put up for adoption. So you want to mix it up a bit.

  • Is maith liom an madra [ISS MAH LUM ON MOD-ra] = I like the dog.
  • Ba mhaith liom madra [BUH WAH LUM ON MOD-ra] = I would like a dog.
  • Ar mhaith liom an madra? [ERR WAH LUM ON MOD-ra] = Did I like the dog?
  • Níor mhaith liom an madra [NEE-or WAH LUM ON MOD-ra] = I didn’t like the dog.

Surely now a canine purchase is secured!

     5. There’s no excuse for any of this. Sorry. The Irish root verb for “put” is cuir [KWIRR].

  • Chuir mé [KKHHHWIRR MAY] = I put (in the past)
  • Cuirim [KWIRR-imm] = I put (every day)
  • Cuirfidh mé [KWIRR-hig MAY] = I will put
  • Chuirfinn [KKHHHWIRR-hing] = I would put

     6. When counting things, one to six of something take a séimhiú. When counting seven to ten of something, something else happens. And you better pray that we never get around to that, because if you think this post is ridiculous…

Numbers you use specifically to count things are called cardinal numbers. In English, cardinal numbers are the same as regular numbers, so sentences like “here is the number four” and “I have four dollars” are both coherent with the same word “four”. It doesn’t work like that in Irish, which I will explain later (you’re welcome). For now:

  • Aon bhád [AYN VAWD] = one boat
  • Dhá bháid [GAW VAW-id] = two boats
  • Trí bháid [TREE VAW-id] = three boats
  • Ceithre bháid [KERR-eh VAW-id] = four boats
  • Cúig bháid [KOO-ig VAW-id] = five boats
  • Sé bháid [SHAY VAW-id] = six boats

And so on. Don’t worry about it too much. Seriously. No one’s going to crucify you if you just say the incorrect “sa madra”. I mean, don’t do that, obviously. But if you did, no one would get too upset. Just know that if you hear a word that sounds just like another word you know, but changed at the start, it’s not a mistake; it’s grammar.

Fun fact: Years ago, before all the keyboards went full Latin, a séimhiú was indicated by a dot over the letter instead of a H. This was called a buailte [BOOL-cheh]. You’ll still see them in older books. Wow, “fun fact” was a really bad introduction to this paragraph.

Some more Irish-based humour courtesy of the always-entertaining Irish Things.

Irish people will understand these visual jokes almost immediately, but because I’m trying to explain things, none of this post will be actually funny. Sorry.

The jokes are explained here, individually, in unnecessary detail:

Top left: The phrase buala bos [BOOla BUSS] is very common in Irish, and means a round of applause.

Top right: The word teach means “house”, and therefore this is an ice house, an igloo. Right? However, teach is pronounced more or less as [CHOCK] and the phrase then becomes “choc ice”, a popular summer ice cream treat.

Bottom right: The word “jacks” is slang in Ireland (but not itself an Irish word) for “toilet”. The word “banjax” is an unconnected slang word in Ireland for “break”, mostly heard as “banjaxed”, meaning “broken”. The word bean [BAN] in Irish means “woman”, and therefore a bean-jacks would mean a toilet for ladies (I suppose) and also something broken. You see. You see what they did there, right?

Bottom left: The Irish phrase bun os cionn [BUN OHSS KYUN] means “upside down”, but literally it means “bottom up” or “bottom above”. And there is a picture of a bun above the Irish phrase os cionn. “Bun” os cionn. You see. You see what they did there, right?

I warned you none of this would be funny, but at least now you know.

Anonymous said: Can you tell me what "an domhain dom" means?

Sure. An domhain [ON DOWN] means “the world” and dom [DUM] is one of those tricky personal pronouns, but it’s easy enough to string it all together.

It means “the world to me”. 

Oh.

I see what you did there.