Buataisí, Buataisíní, agus Búiteanna: Variations on a theme of “boot” in Irish

Posted on 28. Jul, 2015 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

The usual Irish name for this character is 'Cat i mBróga' (aka 'Cat na mBróg').  Hmm, why not 'Cat i mBuataisí'? (Illustration issue de Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté de Charles Perrault en 1885, source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chatbott%C3%A91885.jpg from http://editions.bnf.fr/objets/papeterie/pap_papiers.htm)

The usual Irish name for this character is ‘Cat i mBróga’ (aka ‘Cat na mBróg’). Hmm, why not ‘Cat i mBuataisí’? (Illustration issue de Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté de Charles Perrault en 1885, source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chatbott%C3%A91885.jpg from http://editions.bnf.fr/objets/papeterie/pap_papiers.htm)

In some previous blog posts (naisc thíos), there were passing references to the Irish words for boot (buatais) and bootees (buataisíní).  Perhaps this would be a good time to look further into those words and check out “búiteanna” as well.

So let’s start with the basics, and then we’ll look at some additional usages.

For “boot,” in the basic sense of “coisbheart,” we have “buatais” [BOO-uh-tish], and the following forms:

an bhuatais [un WOO-uh-tish], the boot.  The letter “b” changes to “bh” here because the word is grammatically feminine.

na buataise [nuh BOO-uh-tish-uh], of the boot (dath na buataise)

na buataisí [nuh BOO-uh-tish-ee], the boots

na mbuataisí [nuh MOO-uh-tish-ee], of the boots (dath na mbuataisí)

Sometimes, the even more familiar word “bróg” (shoe) can be translated as “boot,” so there is some flexibility in the definition, as the illustration (Cat i mBróga aka Cat na mBróg) shows.  Generally (but not always), when “bróg” means “boot,” there seems to be further description that would suggest heavier footwear.  Examples include “bróga troma” (heavy boots) or “bróga tairní” (hobnailed boots, lit. “nailed shoes” or “shoes of nails”).  What’s that “hob” part of “hobnailed” all about anyway? — ábhar blag eile, is dócha.

And now, “bootees,” that is, baby’s bootees, not the “bootees” one might shake while dancing (at least according to K. C. and the Sunshine Band).  And not pirate’s booty, which has the “-ies” ending in the plural, and which in Irish would typically be “creach.”

an buataisín, the bootee.  Note that the word is now masculine, because of the “-ín” ending, so just a regular broad “b” here

an bhuataisín, of the bootee (dath an bhuataisín)

na buataisíní, the bootees

na mbuataisí, of the bootees (dath na mbuataisíní)

And finally, we have the “boot of the car,” at least in Ireland and Britain.

an búit [almost like “boot” in English but with the broad Irish “b” and the slender Irish “t”, which has a slight “tch” quality to it, so, approximately, “un bootch”].

an bhúit [un wootch], of the boot (claibín an bhúit)

na búiteanna [nuh BOOTCH-uh-nuh], the (car) boots

na mbúiteanna [nuh MOOTCH-uh-nuh], of the (car) boots (lán na mbúiteanna de bhuataisíní agus de bhuataisí).  And that tongue-twisterish phrase means “the full of the (car) boots of bootees and boots.”  And if the boots and bootees have been obtained through plundering or looting, we would have boots-full of boots and bootees booty!

So what to say if you’re an American and generally refer to the “trunk” of the car?  Most Irish sources will tell you it’s “búit” but “trunc” is increasingly recognized, at least in the Irish-speaking diaspora.  At least, the American part of it.  My guess is that the Australian part of the diaspora sticks to “búit.”  The older Irish dictionaries generally don’t mention cars at all when discussing “trunks”.  There are lots of other words for “trunk,” besides “trunc” for clothes and elephants and (formerly, I suppose) phone calls (truncghlaonna, which could also be “cianghlaonna“).  Other “trunk” words include  “colainn” or “cabhail” for the body, “stoc” for the body or for trees, “tamhan” also for trees (and it also means “stock” or “stem“), and “mór” for roads (“mórbhóithre,” and why were they “trunk” anyway? Ábhar blag eile!).  But none of the other words for “trunk” (that is, aside from “trunc” itself) has any connections to car boots /trunks

And what to say if you’re an American talking to another American in Irish but in America with American frames of reference.  Búit nó trunc?  Use your judgment, I assume.  It’s kind of like the “first floor/ground floor” dilemma.  If you’re speaking Irish in America do you say “an chéad urlár” when in your mind it’s “an dara hurlár.”  That question has me mildly, um, floored  <fuaim ochaidh>! We can always use “urlár na talún” for “ground floor,” to be clear, but then is the second floor really the third floor?  Or vice versa?  Bhuel , sin an iomarca don bhlagmhír seo.  B’fhéidir am éigin eile.  SGF — Róislín

PS: Sorry, couldn’t really get into some additional boot-related vocabulary here, like “bútáil” and “athbhútáil” for reasons of space.  Maybe yet another blog post sa toghchaí.

PSS: Kudos to anyone who can write in and tell us what “drár ceathrún” has to do with today’s topic, however marginal the connection.


http://blogs.transparent.com/irish/treoir-don-treoir-a-guide-to-the-guide-for-pronunciation/, Treoir don Treoir: A Guide to the Guide (for Pronunciation).  Posted on 25. Jul, 2010 by róislín in Irish Language (passing reference to bootees)

http://blogs.transparent.com/irish/ag-seinm-uirlisi-ceoil-o-alpchorn-go-xileafon-alpenhorn-to-xylophone-in-irish-pt-4-triantan-go-xileafon/, Ag seinm uirlisí ceoil, ó alpchorn go xileafón (Alpenhorn to Xylophone in Irish): Pt. 4: Triantán go xileafón.  Posted on 29. Mar, 2015 by róislín in Irish Language (passing reference to “boots”)

Úsáid an fhocail “Eircode” i gcomhthéacs Gaeilge

Posted on 24. Jul, 2015 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

So we’ve all been inundated lately with news of “lainseáil an chórais Eircode,” which could also be called “seoladh an chórais Eircode.”  Both phrases mean “the launching of the Eircode system.”  But, as happened with the launching of the “euro,” umpteen years ago, one of my first thoughts was, how do we use this word in an Irish sentence?  Does it have “inscne” (gender)?  Does it have a “foirm iolra” (plural form)?  Does it take any prefixed letters the way other Irish words beginning with vowels do?  Remember the “t-anna,” “h-anna,” and “n-anna” that we see in phrases like “an t-úll,” “le hAoife,” “seacht n-uaire,” and “blas na n-oráistí“?  Do any of those apply?

Bhuel, de réir cosúlachta, the word “Eircode” stays the same in Irish and English.  There doesn’t appear to be any actual Irish form like “*ÉirChód” (a hypothetical form, as far as I know).   I did find one use of “le hÉirchóde” [sic] but it appears to be anomalous.  Also, the word “Eircode” appears to be genderless, like the word “euro,” so Eircode’s website uses the phrase “an Eircode” for “the Eircode.”   No question of inserting a “t” before vowels or not –gender’s a moot point here.  So no “úll” vs. “an t-úll” issues.  And as for “genitive plural,” one context in which the “n-” prefix is used (like “blas na n-úll)”, bhuel, not a sign.

I’ve been searching for a plural form of “Eircode” in Irish, but so far I haven’t found anything definitive.   In fact, I haven’t found a plural form at all.  I looked through the main sections of the www.eircode.ie/gaeilge website.  It’s divided into seven main sections (Cad é Eircode?, Buntáistí, Conas Eircode a fháil, Gnólachtaí, CCanna  (Ceisteanna Coiteanta) , Nuacht, and Aimsigh Eircode).  But I didn’t see actually see any plural example in all of that.  I didn’t follow all the secondary links, so maybe it shows up by chance somewhere, ach ní fhaca mise é.  Eolas ag duine ar bith amuigh ansin?

Here are some possibilities for a plural but I’d like to get the official word.  The sample sentence I made up to illustrate this point means “Eircodes use numbers and letters,” a basic enough concept.

Úsáideann na hEircodeanna uimhreacha agus litreacha.  Or would it be:

Úsáideann na hEircodes uimhreacha agus litreacha.  Or:

Úsáideann na Eircodes uimhreacha agus litreacha.

Or would a different plural ending be used?  Irish has a lot of plural endings to choose from, since we have patterns like:

-(n)ta: rónta (seals)

-(n)te: línte (lines)

-eacha: cathaoireacha (chairs)

-acha: cathracha (cities)

-í: cailíní (girls)

-aí: bádaí (boats; NB: this is an alternative plural of “bád“–the standard is “báid“)

-ithe: cruinnithe (meetings)

-aithe: rúnaithe (secretaries)

and the inserted “i,” as in:

báid, plural of “bád” (this is the standard plural, as opposed to bádaí  )

cóid, plural of “cód

And, of course, there are some idiosyncratic plurals, either with syncopation, like “soilse” and “doirse,” or completely irregular, like “mná.”

I’ve checked an Vicipéid, not that that’s bun agus barr an scéil as far as Irish terminology goes, but it’s a good place to start.  As of the time of this writing, the entry for “Postal address in the Republic of Ireland” hadn’t been translated into Irish, so there were no plural samples there. Getting this article translated seems like a good project for some noble volunteer.

Whatever anyone thinks of the Eircode system, it would be nice if there would be a brief note as to language usage in the Irish version of Eircode’s website.  Even if all it does is say there’s no gender, no prefixes.  But surely they would have so say something about a plural form.  If it’s already there, and I missed it, tá brón orm, but I looked pretty carefully.

At any rate, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the use of Eircode in the plural and any other aspects of the word that have special relevance for Irish language usage.  Tá mé fiosrach faoin úsáid!  Agus má fheiceann tú féin é, scríobh isteach, le do thoil, leis an eolas.  SGF — Róislín

Cóid Phoist  – faoi dheireadh  ach cén costas don teanga?  (The New Irish Postal Codes)

Posted on 22. Jul, 2015 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Learners of Irish outside of Ireland often show surprise at the way addresses  (seoltaí) are typically taught in Irish language textbooks, especially ones that primarily depict rural life (an saol faoin tuath).  Typically, there will be the addressee’s name, a house name (Radharc na Farraige, mar shampla), a townland name (An Cnoc, mar shampla), a town or village name (An Cheathrú Rua, mar shampla) and a county name (Contae na Gaillimhe, mar shampla).

Gan uimhir ar an teach agus gan chód poist.  No house number and no postal code.  No house number, because often they were not needed, and no postal code because there was none.

Ireland has just launched its postal code (Eircode) program for the entire nation.  Previously, there were “postal districts” used as codes for Dublin, like “Dublin 4,” and Cork had numbered “postal districts” but the “districts” were different from postal codes as such.

In a nutshell, the main issues that I have noticed in news article and forums and chats are the slighting of the Irish language, the prioritization of English forms of names, the ineffectiveness of the system, and the cost.  There is ample coverage of these issues in the media in general, and I’ve included a few links below.  My main goal for today’s blog is simply to look at the two different Irish terms for “postal code” (yes, there are two) and for the benefit of American readers, a passing comment on the fact that these are not “ZIP codes,” as such.

The two terms are “cód poist” and “postchód.”  “Cód poist” seems to be by far the more widely used, with approximately 1,040,000 Google hits (amais Google).  “Postchód” gets 103,000 (103,000 amas).  I wish I had thought to check these before the July 13 launch, but so be it.  It would have been interesting to see if the proportion of hits per term was about the same, even before the recent hullaballoo about the codes.  Those high numbers are also “unsorted,” meaning there may be duplicates or irrelevant results.  But in general, these kinds of comparisons give a rough idea of word usage.

So let’s look at these two terms, with their plurals and other forms:

A. cód poist [kohd pwisht], postal code. The familiar word “post” has changed to “poist” because we’re really saying “code of post.” Remember, Irish “post” is a close rhyme to the English words “must” and “fussed,” not to the English words “most” or “host.”  So “post” in Irish doesn’t have the “long o” sound of the English word “post office.”

If you’re talking about postal codes, plural, you would say “cóid phoist.”  “Cód” becomes “cóid” [say “kohdj] and “poist” changes to “phoist” [fwisht].

In the first article listed in the webliography below, you’ll see that the phrase for “of the postal codes” is “na gcód poist.”  So we have three slight changes: 1) eclipsis (“c” becomes “gc”), b) a return to the regular (broad) “d” (not the “slender” d which has a “j-ish” sound), and c) dropping the lenition of the “p” that we saw in “cóid phoist.”  All happening quite systematically, since “cód” is a straightforward 1st-declension masculine noun, like many you’ve probably seen before (arán, cupán, capall, fear, zipchomhad).

B. postchód [pust-khohd]. Here we have a compound word, with “post” as the first element and “cód” as the second. “Cód” gets lenited (“c” becomes “ch”), since it’s the second element of the compound.  The same thing happens with thousands of comhfhocail in Irish (cloigtheach, dordchláirnéid, dordghiotár, gobcheol, grianghraf, rapcheol, roc-cheol, snagcheol, and, for that matter, zipchomhad, mar shampla).

To make “postchód” plural, it becomes “postchóid,” again with the slender “d” (the “d” as in Dia, Diarmaid, leid, and méid).

“The postal codes” (plural) is “na postchóid.”

To say “of the postal codes,” the phrase becomes “na bpostchód,” with the eclipsis of the “p” and the loss of that inserted “i.”  Sampla: ceist na bpostchód.

As for the “zip” element of the American designation “ZIP code,” suffice it to say that the word has nothing to do with the Irish terminology.  In Irish, “zipper” is “zip” and “to zip” is “zipeáil” (unzip, dízipeáil) but neither of these are connected to postal codes.  In Irish, an American ZIP code is referred to as a “cód poist,” the same as for any other country, not a “code of zip” or some such structure.  None of the words for “zipping” in Irish have anything to do with mail service.  A bit ironic, though, isn’t it, that the Irish for a “Zip file” ends up being “Zipchomhad,” with the “-chomhad” part pronounced “khohd” (i.e. with a long o).  The “-chomhad” element comes from “comhad” [kohd], a file.  Try saying it out loud for the full éifeacht íorónta.  But it’s simply “comhtharlú,” a sheer coincidence.

Why “ZIP” anyway, and why caps?  The nutshell answer is it’s an acronym for “Zone Improvement Plan.”  But it’s also a clever pun, suggesting that the mail would zip along faster if the code were used.  And of course, zippers make fastening clothing or bags much quicker, so there’s an indirect relationship.  And why are “zippers” called “zippers” anyway?  It’s onamataipéach (onomatopoeic), based on the sound the zipper slider makes.  Deirtear sin, pé scéal é.

Apparently Ireland is the last country in western Europe to set up a nationwide postal code system and it certainly has raised many “ceisteanna.”  Will it settle into a “seirbhís úsáideach“?   Will it offer better recognition to an teanga Gaeilge in the future?  I’m tempted to ask if Ireland really has a new efficient effective córas cód poist or whether it’s simply a new serving of old codswallop.   Or perhaps a dose of old codology.  Do bharúil?  SGF — Róislín

Ceann de na hailt is sine faoi na cóid:

http://www.beo.ie/alt-mibhuntaisti-na-gcod-poist.aspx, Míbhuntáistí na gCód Poist, le Pádraig Mac Éamoinn, Meitheamh 2005.

Cúpla cinn ón bhliain seo caite (2014)

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/new-irish-postcodes-to-be-sent-to-2-2m-households-in-spring-2015-1.1776841, 4/28/14

http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1105/657111-eircode/, 11/5/14

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/devil-is-in-the-detail-of-new-postcode-system-1.1994401, 11/10/14

Agus an hurlamaboc deireanach (2015)

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/eircode-is-useless-says-transport-and-courier-trade-body-340245.html, 7/2/15

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/thousands-of-place-names-have-no-eircode-says-campaign-group-1.2282592, 7/12/15

http://www.rte.ie/news/nuacht/2015/0713/714443-coras-cod-poist-seolta-ach-agoidithe-gaeilge-ag-cur-ina-aghaidh/, 7/13/15

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/eircode-q-a-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-system-1.2283200, 7/13/15

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/eircode-postcodes-will-be-standard-in-2-years-342327.html, 7/14/15

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/protest-over-irish-language-omissions-342326.html, 7/14/15

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/postcode-issued-in-name-of-dead-man-342538.html, 7/15/15

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/long-overdue-introduction-of-postcodes-1.2285003, 7/15/15

http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/yourview/eircode-is-like-something-out-of-monty-python-342928.html, 7/17/15

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/introducing-eircode-1.2287408, 7/17/15