Cén post atá agat? (How to say what your job is in Irish)

Posted on 14. Aug, 2014 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Cad iad na poist atá ag an triúr fear seo?  Na téarmaí i nGaeilge? (http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/File:Rub-a-dub.jpg, public domain super heroes)

Cad iad na poist atá ag an triúr fear seo? Na téarmaí i nGaeilge? (http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/File:Rub-a-dub.jpg, public domain super heroes)

From “agraimeitéareolaí” to “zó-eolaí” (míoleolaí), we recently looked at a lot of “-ologist” occupations (Naisc thíos).

But there are many other occupational terms in Irish that don’t have the “-eolaí” ending, which, after all, implies some kind of a scientist.  Some of the other typical endings include:

“-óir” and its slender variant “-eoir,” (stiúrthóir, múinteoir),

“-aire” (iascaire), and

”-éir” (búistéir), which is undergoing change in Conamara Irish to become “búistéara,” for the common form, at least for some speakers.

Other occupations may have no discernible ending as such, especially with shorter words, such as “file” [FILL-uh], “oide” [IDJ-uh}, and “údar.”

So we’ll look at those and add a few more.  Maybe your job is among them.  If so, please let us know.  We can practice sentences like “Is dochtúir mé” or “Is múinteoir mé.”  If you write in, letting us know your job, we can work up a few phrases and sentences that could go with it, like “Is dochtúir mé.  Bím ag obair in ospidéal agus amanna i gclinic.  Bainim úsáid as steiteascóp agus lansa, i measc uirlisí eile.

You might remember some of these from some blogs from April 2010 (naisc thíos), which also dealt with “jabanna,” “poist,” agusslite beatha.”

So let’s look at some examples with the structure, “I am a _______.”  Can you translate these?  Freagraí thíos:

1) Is múinteoir mé.

2) Is stiúrthóir mé.

3) Is aisteoir mé.

4) Is iascaire mé.

5) Is gruagaire mé.

6) Is grúdaire mé

7) Is grósaeir glasraí mé (nó: Is siopadóir glasraí mé)

8) Is búistéir mé.

9) Is file mé.

10) Is oide mé

11) Is údar mé.

12) Is altra mé. (another occupation with no distinct suffix, although the whole word used to be the ending of “banaltra,” another term for the same occupation.  “Banaltra” is now considered dated because it appears to limit the profession to woman, with the prefixed element, “ban-,” which is based on “bean” (woman).

13) And one more for good measure, with the hint that by giving thirteen examples instead of an even dozen, we’re invoking this occupation: Is báicéir mé.

An bhfaca tú do phost i measc na dtéarmaí sin?   Hope so, but if not, why not write it in?  SGF – Róislín


1) Is múinteoir mé.  I’m a teacher.

2) Is stiúrthóir mé.  … director.  OK, maybe we don’t ordinarily just say, “I’m a director,” but we’re just trying to practice the basics here.  Actually, I do seem to remember a Newfoundland version of “Casey Taking the Census” in which the husband’s job is simply “director.”  When asked for more detail, what does he direct, the answer is simply “envelopes.”  I’ll have to see if I can track down that reference, or perhaps a reader knows it?

3) Is aisteoir mé. … actor

4) Is iascaire mé. … fisherman (or, these days, just “fisher”)

5) Is gruagaire mé.  … hairdresser

6) Is grúdaire mé. … brewer

7) Is grósaeir glasraí mé (nó: Is siopadóir glasraí mé).  … greengrocer

8) Is búistéir mé. … butcher

9) Is file mé.  … poet

10) Is oide mé. … tutor.  Can also mean “teacher,” although that is usually “múinteoir,” and historically meant “foster-father,” in the aristocratic system of fosterage.  Today’s concept of a “foster-father” is “athair altrama.”

11) Is údar mé.  … author

12) Is altra mé.  … nurse.

13) Is báicéir mé. … baker

With “butcher” and “baker” in tow, I now feel I should add one more.  Cén post é seo:

déantóir coinnleoirí

NB: it’s not quite the same as a “coinnealóir,” although they are related.

Cineálacha eolaithe (síceolaí agus bitheolaí, mar shampla … agus mar nuafhocal–*Pottereolaí) Posted on 31. Jul, 2014 by róislín in Irish Language

Eolaithe Eile (agus Eolaíochtaí Eile) Posted on 05. Aug, 2014 by róislín in Irish Language

Poist: Ó ‘A’ go ‘V,’ Cuid a hAon: ‘A’ go ‘I’ Posted on 27. Apr, 2010 by róislín in Irish Language

Poist: Ó “A” go “V,” Cuid a Dó: “J” go “V” Posted on 28. Apr, 2010 by róislín in Irish Language

Whose Hot Dog? Whose Soda Bread? Whose Tea Scone? (Súil Siar ar an Tuiseal Ginideach i nGaeilge)

Posted on 10. Aug, 2014 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Our last blog took advantage of the “uaschamóg earráideach” in the now famous café sign from Waterville, Co. Kerry, to work on “an tuiseal ginideach,” the form of the noun used to show possession in Irish.  Remember the distinction in English between “loud Americans” and “loud American’s”?  For some more entertaining “example’s along tho’se line’s” ( : – J ), you might want to check out  The Apostrophe Protection Society, established in 2001.

But meanwhile, let’s look a little closer at how we show who owns or possesses what in Irish.  And the “dea-scéal” is … no apostrophes are involved.

But we do have a change to the word ending (here it will be “-ach” becoming “-aigh”) and initial mutation at the beginning of the word.  For this blog we’ll just look at nouns in the singular.  Plurals maybe we’ll do i mblag éigin eile.

Let’s look at the some of the nouns we used in the last blog, and add a few more similar ones.  As you remember, we used three nationality terms last time: Meiriceánach, Éireannach, Sasanach.

To whet your appetite for dealing with a topic often considered dry and, uafás na n-uafás, leadránach (boring), we’ll use examples pertaining to food.  And, in fact, let’s make them into a little matching game as well.  Three food items, three nationalities that would most typically consume that food item.  The food items will be in the word bank.  Each nationality is given in its basic form, and then there’s a blank to fill in the food item (freagraí thíos):

Banc Focal 1: a) arán sóide, b) scóna tae le huachtar téachta agus gruth líomóidí, c) brocaire te

Na Náisiúntachtaí

1) Meiriceánach; ________________ an Mheiriceánaigh [… un VERzh-ik-yawn-ee]

2) Éireannach; __________________ an Éireannaigh [… un AYRzh-un-ee]

3) Sasanach; ___________________  an tSasanaigh [… un TAHSS-un-ee]

And here are a few more, le banc focal eile:

Banc Focal 2: d) samósaí, e) burrito, f) hagaois

4) Albanach; ____________________ an Albanaigh [… un AHL-uh-bun-ee]

5) Indiach; _________________ an Indiaigh [… un INDJ-ee-ee]

6) Meicsiceach; _______________ an Mheicsicigh [… un VEK-shik-ee]

By the way, those nationality words were all 1st-declension nouns.  Not all 1st-declension nouns end in “-ach,” but a lot of them do, including most nationality names.  All these “-ach” words become “-aigh” in the genitive singular, used for saying “of the (whatever nationality) person.”

And finally, for good measure, but still on the food theme, some of you might recognize this phrase, adapted from the old song popularized by Josh White (gluais thíos):

millín feola aonarach an fhir bhig

Of course that last phrase introduces “an aidiacht sa tuiseal ginideach” (beag, becoming bhig) and a 3rd-declension noun (feoil, becoming feola here), which will have to be ábhar blag eile.  So did you notice that the noun “blag” in Irish doesn’t change for the genitive singular form here (ábhar blag, the topic of a blog).  And it has lots of company, nouns like “cailín” (hata cailín) and “gúrú” (támhnéal gúrú).  So, however “casta” the “tuiseal ginideach” may be, there is “solas” at the end of the “tollán,” or as more traditionally expressed in Irish, “ábhar dóchais.”  Not every Irish phrase requires as much change as we saw for “Meiriceánach,” “Éireannach,” and “Sasanach.”

Bhuel, sin é don bhlag seo.  Beagán gramadaí, b’fhéidir cúpla focal nua duit, agus spórt is spraoi le meaitseáil focal.  Go dtí an chéad uair eile. – Róislín


1c) brocaire te  an Mheiriceánaigh, the American’s hot dog

2a) arán sóide an Éireannaigh, the Irishman’s soda bread

3b) scóna tae le huachtar téachta agus gruth líomóidí an tSasanaigh, the Englishman’s tea scone with clotted cream and lemon curd

4f) hagaois an Albanaigh, the Scotsman’s haggis   

5d) samósaí an Indiaigh, the Indian’s samosas

6e) burrito an Mheicsicigh, the Mexican’s burrito

Gluais don líne ó amhrán Josh White: an fhir, of the man; bhig, little, small, here used in the genitive case to go with the phrase “of the man”; millín feola, lit. “little ball of meat”

‘Being Loud’ Not Allowed? (i gcaife sa Choireán, Co. Chiarraí)

Posted on 06. Aug, 2014 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

By now you might have seen the article about the café sign in Waterville, Co. Kerry (An Coireán, Co. Chiarraí), which appeared to ban bus and coach passengers and loud Americans.

Why do I say “appeared”?  The punctuation on the sign is such that it defeats its own purpose.  The phrase “loud American’s” refers to something owned by a loud American.  But what?  If the sign was supposed to mean a whole slew of loud Americans, there shouldn’t have been an apostrophe.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the sign, it says “No bus/coach, or Loud American’s.  Thank you.”  It was posted by Maurice Campbell on Twitter, and then picked up by cnbc.com (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101852949)

Anyway, interpreting the sign as written, with “Loud American’s” [sic] as a possessive singular phrase, not as a plural , we’ll see what Irish translations are possible for a loud American, a loud Irishman, a loud Englishman, a loud child, and, let’s see, to wrap up, we’ll do a loud guru.  Even if that last one is a bit ocsamórónach (oxymoronic).  Then we’ll try each phrase “sa tuiseal ginideach” (in the genitive case), to show how possession is shown.

So our first step is actually to decide what word to use for “loud.”  As usual, with translations, there are several choices, shown here with some sample phrases:

ard, loud (ardsoiléir, loud and clear; de ghuth ard, in a loud voice); also means: high, tall (fear ard, a tall man)

scol– (as a prefix), loud (scolmhír, a loud passage of music; scolgháire, a loud laugh or guffaw); as a noun on its own, it also means a song, a shout, or a singing or crying voice (an scol, na scolta)

bladhmannach, loud, loud-mouthed, also blazing, boastful, bombastic, or flamboyant; related to “bladhm” (a flame, a blaze) and “bladhmann” (a sending forth of steam from a fermented haystack)

callánach, loud, loud-mouthed, noisy (cruinniú callánach, a noisy meeting; duine callánach, a noisy person); also means “blustery” (gaoth challánach, a blustery wind)

glórach, loud, loud-mouthed (fothram glórach, a loud noise; duine glórach, a loud person); based on the word “glór” (voice, sound, noise), “glórach” also means “clamorous” and “noisy”

ardghlórach [AWRD-GHLOR-ukh], loud, loud-mouthed, loud-voiced (a combination of “ard” + “glórach,” which has now become “ghlórach“).   In the pronunciation guide, the spelling “gh” stands for IPA  / ɣ /, the voiced velar fricative, a throatier version of the “kh” sound found in German “Buch” and Scottish “loch”.  Usually I’ve been a stickler for using the IPA symbol / ɣ /, but I see it often gets read as a “y,” so I figured I’d try just writing “gh.”  This sound is not in English.

As you can see, the last four can also mean “loud-mouthed,” whereas the first two tend not to be used to indicate loudness of people.

Ardghlórach” seems best suited to our purposes, so now let’s try combining the adjective with some terms for people:

an Meiriceánach ardghlórach

an tÉireannach ardghlórach

an Sasanach ardghlórach

an páiste ardghlórach

an gúrú ardghlórach

Now the plurals:

na  Meiriceánaigh  ardghlóracha

And based on that pattern, can you complete the phrases for “the loud Irishmen” and “the loud Englishmen”?  Hint: I’ve typed these with the correct number of blanks to be filled in.  Freagraí thíos, iad uimhrithe:

1) __a      __Éireanna__ __  __     ardghlórach__

2) __a     Sasana__  __  __      ardghlórach__

Páiste” and “gúrú” are 4th-declension nouns, so the plural endings are different.  The plural for “ardghlórach” stays the same as shown above.

3) __a     páist__     ardghlórach__

4) __a     gúrú__  __  __     ardghlórach__

And now for “an tuiseal ginideach,” singular and plural.  One convenient feature of Irish is that is doesn’t use apostrophes to show possession.   On the other hand, Irish does have some special endings and initial mutations to use to show possession.  Ó theach an diabhail go teach an deamhaín, is dócha, maidir le castacht an struchtúir atá i gceist!

At any rate, there’s no need to worry about “na huaschamóga earráideacha,” or, to translate the linguistic term more literally, “uaschamóga na ngrósaeirí glasraí.”  There are lots of interesting discussions and examples of the “greengrocers’ apostrophe” online (cúpla nasc thíos), but like I said, it’s not an issue that pertains to Irish word endings for showing possession.  Irish has plenty of other instances of using the “uaschamóg,” as with “an” (Ros a’ Mhíl for Ros an Mhíl) and verb phrases based on “an chopail” (‘S é an dochtúir é for Is é an dochtúir é).  But it doesn’t use uaschamóga at the end of the word for the possessor.

But back to the markers of the genitive case.  I’ll use the word “guth” (voice; [GUH, silent “t”) to illustrate the concept of possession, so we’ll be saying  “the voice of the loud-mouthed (person).”

Note that the noun and the adjective have changed ending, and the words for American, Irishman, Englishman, child, and guru will all change at the beginning as well.  Remember, I said “initial” mutation.

guth  an  Mheiriceánaigh  ardghlóraigh [ … un VERzh-ik-yawn-ee  AWRD-GHLOR-ee, the final “-igh” pronounced “ee” because it’s “slender”]

guth  an  Éireannaigh  ardghlóraigh  [ … un AYRzh-un-ee … ]

guth  an  tSasanaigh  ardghlóraigh  [ … un TAHSS-un-ee …, the first “s” of “tSasanaigh” is now silent]

guth  an  pháiste  ardghlóraigh  [… un FwAWSH-tchuh … ]

guth an  ghúrú  ardghlóraigh  [un GHOO-roo …]

Now the plurals, starting with the pattern for the nationality names, and making “guth” (voice) plural also (guthanna [GUH-huh-nuh, silent “t”):

guthanna  na  Meiriceánach  ardghlórach

And based on that pattern, can you complete the phrases for “the voices of the loud Irishmen” and “the voices of the loud Englishmen”?  Leid: once again, I’ve typed these with the correct number of blanks to be filled in.  Note that the adjective (ardghlórach) is back to its basic form.  Freagraí thíos:

5) guthanna  na    __Éireanna__ __     ardghlórach

6) guthanna  na  Sasana__  __       ardghlórach

Did you remember the eclipsis at the beginning of the nouns indicating the people?   That’s the main marker of genitive plural these days.   If “eclipsis” is new for you, there is a list of the changes with the answers below, but I think most learners will agree, it’ll take more than a footnote to thoroughly digest the process.  But there’s no time like the present to start with your initial mutations!

Páiste” and “gúrú” are 4th-declension nouns, so, as previously, their genitive plural endings are different than the endings for “American,” “Irishman,” and “Englishman.”  And now also, hey presto, we make the adjective agree, so it takes its plural ending.

7) guthanna  na   __páist__     ardghlórach__

8) guthanna  na   __gúrú__  __  __     ardghlórach__

So, that’s my response to the Peter’s Place café sign.  Make it a teachable moment.  The sign delightfully conjures up the question of what is being possessed by the “loud American.”  And how we show possession for Irish nouns.

Actually all the grammar on the sign is strange.  No “bus/coach”!  What’s a “bus/coach”?  Aren’t such phrases on signs usually plural?  “No buses or coaches.”  Or “No busses or coaches,” since “busses” is also a plural form of “bus” (although I favor “buses).  Even “no buses/coaches” would read better to me.  Do bharúilse?

Hmm, do we see signs that say “No dog” or “No trespasser” or “No pet”?  Hmm, again, I’m even thinking back to a book I enjoyed as a child, No Children, No Pets, by Marion Holland (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1768858.No_Children_No_Pets).   The title is indelibly printed in my brain as plural.

And then, if you look closely at the sign, there’s also an interesting mixture of “litreacha sa chás uachtair” (ceannlitreacha) and “litreacha sa chás íochtair.”  Cén fáth?

But I do like the cascade of “poncanna” surrounding the leading word “no.”  Cúig phonc atá ann.  Cén fáth?

Nothing like a slight touch of calligraphy to enhance the message.

And, wait, fan bomaite, aha, an nóméad “eureka”!  I think I’ve got it.  The five dots (“dot” is “ponc” in Irish) are actually a cryptic reference to “Poncánaigh” (Yanks).  The “gnáthphonc” at the end of the line isn’t enough to draw attention to this subtext.  So we have the five as decoration.  “Five Yanks.”  The mystery must unfold further somehow.

Or maybe I’ve watched too much X-Chomhaid in my lifetime.

On that bemused note, slán go fóill — Róislín





A. Iolra / Ainmneach

1) na  hÉireannaigh  ardghlóracha

2) na  Sasanaigh  ardghlóracha

3) na  páistí  ardghlóracha

4) na  gúrúnna  ardghlóracha

B. Iolra, Ginideach

5) guthanna  na  nÉireannach  ardghlórach

6) guthanna  na  Sasanach  ardghlórach

7) guthanna  na  bpáistí  ardghlóracha

8) guthanna  na  ngúrúnna  ardghlóracha

Eclipsis spelling changes: b/mb, c/gc, d/nd, f/bhf, g/ng, p/bp, t/dt