Learn Five things about lots of things

five1Táim díreach tar éis aoi-mhír a scríobh dar teideal Five things you may not know about the Irish Language do bhlagadóir darb ainm do Joe Scanlon. Is breá liom an sraith míreanna seo aige mar is féidir le éinne gur mian leo scríobh faoin ábhar is mór leo nó ar a bhfuil saineolas acu. Má’s mian leatsa a leithéid d’alt a scríobh líon isteach a fhoirm teagmhála anseo. Ní gá duit bheith i do bhlagadóir tú féin agus ar bealach is slí isteach ar an mblagadóireach aoi-mhír a scríobh. Mar bhlagadóir pearsanta agus gairmiúil tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil aon ní níos fearr ná aoi-mhír a fháil a fhad is go bhfuil sé uaithúil, go bhfuil taighde déanta i gceart agus go bhfuil níos mó ann ná “sales pitch”!

I have just had a guest post published on Joe Scanlon’s blog entitled Five things you may not know . Iabout the Irish Language. I think this is a great series by Joe where he invites anyone and everyone to write a post about their area of expertise or an area which they are passionate about. Bloggers being the show-offs that they are (myself included) have gone for it big-style as you will see from the list of posts so far. Contributing to a series like this is a great way to give blogging a go, especially if you are running a business and want to show your expertise. I know as a personal and business blogger that I love getting guest posts as long as they are unique, that the research is done and that it is far more than just a sales pitch!

Míle buíochas, Joe, don deis an blagmhír a scríobh!

Here’s a reprint of the post: (Buíochas le mo chara Ronan Ó D don chabhair 🙂 )

Five things you may not know about the Irish Language

1. Peig is not the worst book in the Irish Language. It’s not even the worst book on the Leaving Cert Syllabus. In my opinion that honour must go to Tóraíocht Dhiarmada agus Gráinne by Nessa Ní Shé* which isn’t even written in standardised Irish. Sadly the best book on the Leaving Cert Syllabus is studied by very few and is an epic story of unfulfilled young love, adventure, humour and high jinks spread over two continents involving gambling, sailing, tattie hoking and hypothermia: a real rags to riches blockbuster. If you have the opportunity try and convince your teacher to study Caisleán Óir. It’s great craic!

2. The Irish word for English is Béarla. You probably know this but did you know it is also the Irish word for nonsense? Says a lot really doesn’t it?

3. There are many loanwords from Irish in the English language as one would expect from two countries so close to each other. Daniel Cassidy claims in his 2007 book that the Irish invented much American slang claiming for example that the word jazz came from teas, meaning heat and having specific sexual connotations. (They didn’t teach you that in school, eh?) Amongst these slang words is also the word “quid” which is slang for money said to come from “mo chuid airgid”. In fairness to him it makes logical sense but being a largely illiterate minority in the nascent United States there is little evidence to back up his claims. There are loan words (and more importantly a wealth of beautiful bardic forms) in Irish from French, of course, and Latin too. In fact there is a whole system for changing a Latin word to Irish thanks to the methodical approach of the religion that brought the words to the country. My personal favourite loan words in the English language come from a very sad source. Two quintessentially English phrases, “Smashing!” and “Bully for you!” are anglicisations of the phrases “Is maith sin!” and “Bulaigh fir!” both common phrases in Ulster Irish (You would definitely know them if you had been enjoying Caisleán Óir rather than Peig as per point 1 above). Apparently they passed from one language to the other in the trenches during the Great War. It speaks volumes about the soldiers from Donegal who managed to remain that positive during such cruel and unusual times.

4. Irish is a funny language. There is no Irish for “I love you” or “I miss you” and yet it has some of the most beautiful love poetry in Europe (see point 3 above). The Irish for “You would feel” is pronounced “Wuhohaw” but spelt “Mhothófá”. The Irish for “would not get” (Ní bhfaighfidh) is pronounced “Knee wee” in Ulster Irish. While these two pieces of information are unamusing to a monolingual Irish speaker us bilingual Irish speakers have a little giggle about it the odd time.

5. Irish and Gaelic are two seperate languages in the same branch of Celtic languages. One major feature that differentiates them from other Celtic languages is that at some point Q-Celtic speakers (us and the Scots) took a notion against the “p” sound so that Pembroke in Wales would be Ceann Broc in Ireland or Scotland or the name David Williams would be Dáithí Mac Liam in Irish or Gaelic but Dafydd ap Gwilym in Welsh. Gaelic is differentiated from Irish by the fact that is has fewer tenses, its spelling was not standardised (meaning they’ve a lot more bhs, dhs and ghs hanging about), it has many loanwords, conventions and placenames from Scandinavian languages and the Gaelic for sweets is “suiteis” which is my favourite Gaelic word.

* For the real Celtic Language nerds among you Nessa Ní Shé was Somhairle Mac Gill-Eain’s muse and the inspiration for his most famour work “Dàin do Eimhir agus Dàin Eile” which is considered a classic of modern poetry regardless of language.

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