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Tag: Gaelic

Seoladh na nGéanna agus na nGamhna

Monday, 5 November, 2018

The Irish Gaelic for goose is and the plural is géanna, so a flock of geese translates as scata géanna. The activity of collecting, herding or driving the geese is seoladh na ngéanna. As regards gamhna (calves), they’re below the photo of this fine scata géanna.

Seoladh na nGéanna

A calf is gamhain and calves are gamhna, and all that’s by way of saying that the English for the traditional song, Seoladh na nGamhna, is “driving the calves”.

Tá crainnín cumhra i lúib na coille
Is ragham araon go lá ann,
Mar a mbíonn ceol na n-éan dár síorchur a chodladh
Is geobhaimid na gamhna amárach.
Gabhaim cead saor ó mhaor na coille
Féar a thabhairt go lá dóibh.
Le fáinne an lae béam araon ‘nár seasamh
Is ag seoladh na ngamhan fén bhfásach.

There’s a fragrant bush back in the wood
And we’ll both go there until day comes,
Where there is birdsong to bring on sleep,
And we’ll find the calves tomorrow.
The woodman will readily permit us
To give them grass until day.
With the dawn of day we’ll both be afoot
Driving the calves on the common.


The map is not the language

Tuesday, 21 November, 2017 0 Comments

In this particular case, Fummy, the mapmaker, says: “The map is not most difficult language for an English speaker to learn in Europe. Just most difficult language for an English speaker to learn (Europe) its a zoomed in section of a larger map that I didn’t have the time to make.”

Note: The Foreign Service Institute is the United States government’s primary training institution for employees of the foreign affairs community.

FSI

The MapPorn discussion of Fummy’s map on reddit is entertaining, informative and, at times, very reddit:

Cabes86: “Dude I’ve been doing a mixture of Rosetta Stone and DuoLingo since May in Brazilian Portuguese and I’m basically done with both. All you need to do is about 10-20 minutes a day”

TerrMys: “I actually found French grammar a bit less challenging than Italian and especially Spanish, at least when you get to more advanced levels. The fact that French uses the subjunctive much more sparingly is one big reason why. In spoken French, all of the homophonic verb forms lessen the cognitive burden somewhat too IMO. The most challenging aspects of French compared to the other Romance languages I think are 1) the larger phonetic inventory and 2) the much more complex relationship between spelling and pronunciation. That said, compared to English, French orthography is incredibly regular. Just takes a little while to learn.”

meusnomenestiesus: “Oy mate no a feckin’ shade o’ Gaelic, Scots, nor Welsh they some sorta language ain’t no one can learn eh? Edit: nor Breton nor Basque, eh? Bollocks”


Ploughing the sea and the shore

Wednesday, 20 September, 2017 0 Comments

The Irish (Gaelic) word treabhadh means “ploughing”, but its use is not confined to the land. In An t-Oileánach (The Islander), Tomás Ó Criomhthain writes of “ag treabhadh na mara”, literally ploughing the sea. It’s a beautifully visual phrase for describing the hard, dangerous work involved in making a living from fishing:

“Daoine bochta saonta sinn ag cur an tsaoghail dinn ó lá go lá. B’fhéidir nárbh’ fhearra dhúinn bheith n-ár scannróirí. Bhíomair oilte, toilteannach leis an slí bheathadh do cheap an Máighistir Beannaithe dhúinn a dhéanamh gan leisce, ag treabhadh na mara go mion minic gan súil le dul chun cinn ach ár ndóchas i nDia.”

Ploughing the sea and the shore


Holy Thursday stand-up: Three monks

Thursday, 13 April, 2017 0 Comments

Given that this is Holy Thursday, it’s time for something meditative, and they don’t get much better than this very old Irish joke, which begins: “Tríar manach do·rat díultad dont saegul.” Not familiar with ancient Gaelic? This will help: Tríar = three persons, a trio; manach = of monks (genitive plural of ‘manach‘); do rat = gave (3rd singular perfect active of ‘do beir‘); díultad = denial, repudiation; don = to the (preposition ‘do’ + article ‘in’), saegul = ‘world’.

Don’t know if word-for-word translation would work on the stand-up circuit, though. An impatient audience might start thumbing the phones. The problem is that the language being used is probably more than 1,000 years old. Here’s a modernized, translated version:

Three monks decided to abandon the material world and its distractions for the ascetic, contemplative life in the wilderness. After exactly a year’s silence the first monk said:
“Tis a good life we lead.”
At the end of the next year, the second monk replied: “It is so.”
Another year being completed, the third monk exclaimed: “If I can’t have peace and quiet here, I’m going back to the world!”

Those anxious to read the original can find it in the British Library, where it’s known as Egerton 190. The manuscript was copied in 1709 by one Richard Tipper of Mitchelstown, County Cork. Dennis King, who writes the NÓTAÍ IMILL blag Gaeilge/Sean-Ghaeilge, has gone to considerable lengths to translate, illustrate and record this medieval Irish joke and his web page devoted to the Tríar manach is charming and instructive. It might not be the stuff of stand-up, but it is durable.

Three monks


The Plain People of Ireland look to Heidelberg

Friday, 16 March, 2012

From 4 October 1940 until his death on 1 April 1966 , the great Brian O’Nolan, aka Flann O’Brien, wrote a weekly column for The Irish Times titled “Cruiskeen Lawn” (from the Irish crúiscín lán, “full/brimming small-jug”). Using the pseudonym Myles na gCopaleen (“Myles of the Little Horses”), he employed a mix of Irish and […]

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“I bpoll sa talamh a bhí cónaí ar hobad.”

Monday, 12 March, 2012

Thus begins The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, which was published on 21 September 1937. Now, 75 years later, it is set to appear as Gaeilge (in Irish) as An Hobad. PR blurb: “Is é Evertype, Cathair na Mart, Contae Mhaigh Eo, an foilsitheoir agus beidh an leabhar amuigh ar 25 Márta 2012. Bainfear […]

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