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IRISH LANGUAGE Q&A

Q&A le Siobhán agus Aisling – Thursday August 20th 2020

August’s Live Q&A with Aisling and Siobhán took place in August 2020. Watch it above!

  • Aisling’s favourite word – somóg 
  • Siobhán’s favourite word – streille: foolish grin 
  • It’s thought that the language evolved from Celtic, but there is no written proof of the Celtic language. It is an Indo-European language which means it links to other European languages and has evolved over time with influence from Latin and French, Spanish and German. 
  • Changes came about from colonisation (file, druids, tiarnaí), Penal Laws and globalisation, 
  • Some scholars say Irish has been in Ireland since 300 BC. Latin font succeeded Ogham, a system of lines etched vertically into rock, in the 5th century due to Christian missionaries. There has been a strong Latin and also Scandinavian influence on Irish, from early communication with Roman Britain to Church influence, the spread of Latin due to it being a scholarly language
  • Irish through history:
    • Sean-Ghaeilge/Old Irish 6th-9th c. (Latin influence)
    • Meán-Ghaeilge/Middle Irish 9th-12th c. (Viking influence)
    • Nua-Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach/Early Modern Irish and literary version called Classical Irish 12th-17th c. (Norman influence)
    • Nua-Ghaeilge Dhéanach/Modern Irish 17th c. – Today (Flight of the Earls/technology/globalisation) 
  • Éist must take the preposition le, can’t say le an, must say leis an. Doesn’t necessarily mean ‘to’ just the preposition needed after éist.
  • Use in a sentence when the pronoun is the subject (who or what performs the action).
    • Rinne sé seo dochar = This did harm. (This did the action)
  • Use é when the pronoun is the object (a pronoun that is affected by the action). 
    • Rinne Seán é seo = Seán did this. (This had the action done to it) 
  • Seo is used following a noun 
    • An cóta seo = this coat. 
  • Nowadays 3 main dialects. Most speakers can understand all dialects, sometimes a certain word may be used in one dialect and not in the other. E.g feicim vs cím = I see
  • It is said that at one point, the 3 dialects were so diverse that they could all have been classified as separate languages! At the beginning of the Free State when children started to learn Irish in school, the Caighdeán was brought about to make Irish a bit more uniform. For that reason, most people can understand each other even though they may have different dialects.
  • Fillers
    • Bhuel (well, like)
    • ach am (but am)
    • ná habair! (Not again! Don’t tell me!)
    • mar sin (so, basically), mo dhuine (what’s his face, yer man)
    • í siúd (what’s her face, yer one)
    • rud/ruidín (yoke, thingamajig)
    • tuigim (right, yeah)
    • ceart go leor, tá go maith, maith go leor (right, okay, grand)
    • Tá sin togha (that’s grand),
    • An dtuigeann tú leat me? (do you know what I mean?)
    • Á, i ndáiríre? (ah, really?)
    • Abair (specifically in Munster but very common) (let’s say)
    • Ta fhios agat (y’know)
    • cinéal (specifically in Conemara) (kinda)
  • Actually = chun an fhírinne a rá, déanta na fírinne, dáiríre píre / mar a tharlaíonn sé 
  • Wow / gosh = muis, muise, m’anam, A Mhaighdean!, A Thiarcais! (Lordy!)

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5 thoughts on “Q&A le Siobhán agus Aisling – Thursday August 20th 2020”

  1. Dear Siobhan and Aisling, thank you very much for your suggestions as to documentaries one may watch on youtube, very helpful indeed! Thank you for the good will and the effort you put into helping others to learn your beautiful language. This spirit of service and goodwill that you have is very inspiring!

      1. Thank you, I will! I did not get to find the “Cuimhní ón mBlascaod” documentary that you recommended, but there is one on Youtube called “Inis Airc: Bás Oileáin” (with English subtitles as well) – probably the story of another island similar to that. It left a deep impression of me.

        Topic of books to read is a fascinating one, thank you for bringing it up. The books in Irish are now so many, one would need advice! A few years back, I enjoyed reading “Ón tSeanam Anall”. It is a collection of old legengs and stories put down on paper, but that were actually told by one amazing person called Micí Bán Ó Beirn about a hundred years ago. Part of the gratification was to recognize common themes and bits and pieces from the Russian folk tales I loved reading as a child.

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