Irish Language Blog

“Ga-sheol go Filideilfia nó go Detroit mé, a Scotty! Tá mé ag iarraidh an Taispeántas (Exhibition) ‘RéaltAistear’ a fheiceáil.” Posted by on Aug 4, 2009 in Irish Language

Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil daoine (agus b’fhéidir neacha eile!) amuigh ansin a bhfuil suim acu sa Ghaeilge agus sna cláracha agus sna scannáin RéaltAistear (Star Trek).  Faoi láthair tá an taispeántas i bhFilideilfia ag an Institiúid Franklin ( agus i nDetroit ag an Detroit Science Center (


Seo cúpla frása ón seó, aistrithe go Gaeilge (or could I say “RéaltAistrithe” since the Irish word for “Trek,” aistear, is a cognate of “aistrigh,” which means “translate,” “transfer,” or “journey.”  Ochlán” (groan), you say?  I don’t blame you – that was fíordhroch-chomhfhoclacht, really bad punning).  Pé scéal é:


1) “Ga-sheol aníos mé, a Scotty!”  Tá a fhios, tá a fhios, tá a fhios agam.  De réir an staidéir atá déanta ar an ábhar seo, ní dúradh go díreach mar seo é riamh, ach “Scotty, beam us up!,” srl.  Ach sin mar atá an frása sa phopchultúr agus is leor sin don chás seo. 

Astute observers may notice that I’m flying the face of the punctuation reforms in Irish over the last few decades, by adding a fleiscín between the words “ga” (ray, beam) and “seol” (send, sail, here lenited to “sheol”).  It makes the pronunciation clearer [gah-hyohl, silent “s”] and shows the components of the comhfhocal (compound word), since it is indeed a comhfhocal in Irish.  Being inflected, Irish traditionally hasn’t had quite the flexibility that English has for changing parts of speech around without adding suffixes or prefixes (“I’ll ‘friend’ you, etc.).

Keeping the fleiscín also differentiates “ga-sheol!” (beam!) from Gasheol in World of Warcraft!  To boldly gaelicize Gasheol’s character type, he is an abhacshagart (dwarf priest), at least, fm’e (fad m’eolais, as far as I can tell).  That differentiation is helpful, at least for those of us who constantly search for how new Irish words are being used on the Idirlíon and have to wade through acrainmneacha (acronyms), comhtheagmhasachtaí bréige (flukes), and ainmneacha ar leith do charachtair (specific character names), which may or may not be related to the Irish term in question.  If anyone knows whether the WoW character is named after the Irish word or whether he does any beaming himself, I’d be interested to hear.   “Ga-sheol aníos Gasheol, a Scotty!”  Úúps, I’m commingling my réaltachtaí ailtéarnacha!

One would be hard pressed to find a ready-made verb in Irish for the type of “beaming” Scotty does.  “Beam” as a transitive verb in Irish (spalp) is somewhat uncommon to begin with, and the meaning is more like “burst forth” or “pour out.”  One could always resort to the widely used verb ending “-áil” (as in páirceáil, péinteáil, and sciáil) and add it to “bíoma” to get a verb very similar to the English, but “ga-sheol” is the word that has been well entrenched in Irish-medium Star Trek fandom since at least 1996, when I first saw the term.

I was going to do the “intelligent life” bit here, but it will have to wait for blag eile.

2) “Saol fada agus rath ort!” It may be a hard to prove a direct link, but this traditional Irish phrase certainly serves the purpose for “Live long and prosper!” (lit. long life and prosperity on you).

Some of the other phrases I had in mind will take up at least one more blog, so here’s a closer, hopefully a straightforward one:

3) “Dochtúir agus ní brícléir atá ionam,” a dúirt _____.  Cé a dúirt é sin?  Whoever sends the correct answer in first (via “comments”) will get to nominate another Star Trek catchphrase for translation here, or if you prefer, to send the phrase and your own translation in.  Of course, you could do that anyway!

Gluaisín agus/nó Fuaimniú: RéaltAistear [RAYLT-ASH-tcherr]; neacha [NYAKH-uh] beings; faoi láthair, currently; seó [note the long “ó”] show; abhacshagart [OWK-HAHG-urt, note silent “s”]; comhtheagmhasachtaí [KOH-HAG-wass-ukh-tee]; fíordhroch-chomhfhoclacht [FEER-GHROKH-KHOH-OK-lukht, congratulations – that was three prefixes in a row]. 


ní dúradh [nee DOOR-uh], that’s “door” like the Scots “dour,” or probably the Scots “door” of the “hoos,” for that matter, i.e. not like the English “door” or “dower;” I’m trying to keep my pronunciation guide consistent, with “oo” as in “food” or “mood,” not as in “good” or “wood.”  Best practice, of course, is to listen to native speakers, as you’ll find on Transparent’s Word of the Day and their other programs.

sciáil [SHKEE-aw-il, don’t forget the slender “s” sound, like English, hmm, well, that “shkee” sound isn’t very common in American English. You’ll find it in Yiddish “Shkapeh” (worthless object).  You’ll also find it in some dialect or light-hearted English, like an ad I saw mentioned in a Ballybunion website that commented on the pronunciation “for all of your shkeeing needs” (skiing in Ballybunion? uisce-sciáil, b’fhéidir, ach sin Á.B.E.).  Also spotted in a humorous piece in the Independent (March 8, 2009) entitled “Whishkey on a Shunday.”  Perhaps, to “nutshell” it and take it back to standard Irish, the sound is like the Irish “sc” in “scian” (but not the way the Scots often pronounce their version of the word, as in “sgian dubh,” which is more like “skean” or “sgeen” with no “sh” quality).  So, nine lines to describe one non-standard English sound!  I hope I didn’t just make a “míol mór” (whale) from a “míoltóg” (midge), or as English has it, a mountain from a mole-hill, but if it is a mountain of detail, at least you can “sciáil” down it next time around (for words like sceach, sceadamán, scige, or sciúch, all of which have same “shk” sound. 

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  1. Liam:

    “Dochtúir agus ní brícléir atá ionam,” a dúirt Dr. McCoy. Cé a dúirt é sin?

    “I’m a Doctor, not a Bricklayer.”

    At least, that’s what it sounds like to me. I find bricklayer translated as “brícadóir,” though, in, so maybe it’s not right.

  2. Róislín:

    Iontach léirsteanach, a Liam. Tá an dá fhocal ann agus tá an dá fhocal ceart go leor.

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