In several recent blogs, we’ve looked at the word “beart” in its many meanings. Remember the four different basic meanings (freagraí thíos) as they apply to phrases such as:
a) Oifig na mBeart
c) i mbearta crua
d) beart curtha in áireamh
And for a total semantic workout, try:
e) i mbeart. This phrase could have three, possibly four, meanings, depending on which “beart” is “i gceist” but context should tell them apart. Hmm, come to think of it, with blagmhír an lae inniu, it’s really up to five basic strands of meaning. (Freagra thíos freisin)
So, what constitutes “beart a cúig“? Sometime, probably about 25 years ago, the Irish word “beart” took on the additional meaning of “byte.” 1995 is the earliest dictionary entry I have for “byte” as “beart” in a general Irish dictionary, so I assume this usage of “beart” started maybe late eighties, early nineties. If anyone knows of earlier usage, I’m sure we’d all be interested to know–please write in and tell us. The term in English actually dates to earlier than I thought (O! the fíoróidí one finds out when researching a blog like this–the term “byte” was coined in 1956 by IBM computer scientist Werner Buchholz). So there’s a 40-ish year stretch in which the Irish term could have evolved, but so far I haven’t found any really early examples of it.
It seems that every time I turn around, there’s a new type of “byte” and a new abbreviation to learn. Some seem to be reserved for “computers in the future,” even more powerful than what we have today, but at least we’ve got the terminology. Heads up, a gheocacha ríomhaire, so far I haven’t found “exabyte” (perhaps “eas-” + “beart” with something in between?) or “yottabyte” (mh’anam, níl a fhios agam–an bhfuil rud ar bith mar ” *gheota” ann?).
Anyway, here’s the list, with the English “exabyte” and “yottabyte” entered as placeholders. Note that all of the compound words involve lenition, changing “beart” to “bheart” (pronounced “vyart” with the “v” like English “view,” not like English “voodoo”). They’re in size order. If anyone has any additions or suggestions, please do let me know.
leathbheart – nibble, nybble (in computing; otherwise it’s “gráinseáil” or “miotú” or “piocaireacht a dhéanamh, if we’re talking luchóga agus cáis, or, errmm, maybe cluasa)
These forms of “bearta” (except the “leath-” version, I suppose) are all “decimal.” So far, I’m not even tackling the binary prefixes (kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi, exbi, zebi, yobi). Am éigin eile, b’fhéidir.
As for “bits,” that’ll mostly have to wait for blagmhír éigin eile also, but the nutshell version is:
giotán, bit (based on “giota,” a bit or small piece; totally unrelated to “bridle-bit” which is “béalbhach” or “béalmhír“)
cilighiotán (with lenition, the “gh” sound is now “y,” like “YIT-awn”)
meigighiotán (a “bit” eye-boggling, if I do say so myself), srl.
All of which is sort of making my head swim, that is to say “meadhrán” is entering my brain pan or whatever’s in there, so I’ll wrap up and say “goodby(te)” for now. — Róislín
a) Oifig na mBeart, Parcels’ Office, lit. Office of the Parcels. This “beart” could also be translated “bundle,” etc., but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “Bundles Office”!
b) bléinbheart, jock strap, lit. groin-garment/groin-covering. This “beart” on its own can mean “garment” or “covering” but in my experience (not with bléinbhearta per se, mind you!), we usually see some version of “éadach” for “garment” (ball éadaigh, mar shampla) and either “cumhdach” or “clúdach” for “covering.” “Beart” in this sense is usually part of a compound word (coisbheart, ceannbheart, dallbheart, srl.)
c) i mbearta crua, in evil plight (technically plural, but that doesn’t work in translation, though we could say “in dire straits,” which, afaik, is never singular in English). This is based on yet another “beart” (move, plan, action, proceeding, etc.).
d) beart curtha in áirithe, a reserved berth (on a boat or ship)
e) i mbeart (five possibilities):
- i mbeart: in a package, in a bundle (“package” and “bundle” are within one “strand” of meaning for current purposes)
- i mbeart (this is the one that I think is least likely to occur in real life, probably being replaced by “ball éadaigh,” “cumhdach,” or “clúdach“): in a garment, in a covering
- i mbeart: in a plan (more typically, “i bplean,” I’d say), in an action (also, “in aicsean” or “i ngníomh, etc.)
- i mbeart: berthed (i gcomhthéacs muirí), or simply “in a berth” (also in a nautical context, but generally regarding people, not the vessel itself)
- 5. i mbeart (i gcomhthéacs ríomhaireachta, as per today’s blog post): in a byte (as in “Tá ocht ngiotán i mbeart,” There are eight bits in byte.)