Irish Language Blog

A Short Glossary for the Irish Rap Song “C.E.A.R.T.A” by Kneecap (Rapcheol Gaeilge) [Cuid/Pt. 6/6] Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in Irish Language; Nature prints in The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland used fronds to produce the plates By Thomas Moore; edited by John Lindley; nature-printed by Henry Bradbury. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; téacs Gaeilge le Róislín, 2018

(le Róislín)


Faoi dheireadh, an séú (6ú) cuid den ghluais don rapamhrán “C.E.A.R.T.A.” leis an ngrúpa Kneecap (naisc thíos: lyrics, YouTube video and previous installments in this mini-series).    And here I thought glossing this song would just take a couple of posts, at most. But here, finally, are a few more words from the last few verses of “C.E.A.R.T.A.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not printing the lyrics here for copyright reasons, but they’re easily findable at the link below (to the online cultural journal Nós). Hopefully, this glossary will help elementary to intermediate learners, and might help teachers in adult ed night school programs use the song as a classroom activity. As long as you don’t have páistí óga in the class.

The song is an interesting mix of fairly standard Irish and northern Irish (from the Belfast-based group), with a bit of English slang mixed in. There are also some cultural or geographical references that might not be familiar to Irish learners outside of Ireland, like Maghaberry (Maigh gCabraí) or D4. These were discussed in the previous installments of this blog. Of course, for a complete newcomer to Irish, the song text would be more challenging and might need a line-by-line translation. This mini-series has just covered some linguistic highlights.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve added verse numbers here for convenience. They don’t appear in either printed version of the lyrics that I’ve seen.

véarsa 9: rith na bhaile = rith chun a’ bhaile, (to) run home; this is often simply written “abhaile,” which itself comes from “chun an bhaile,” lit. to home, homeward.

véarsa 9: dul na bhfolach, i.e. dul i bhfolach, (to) go in hiding, i.e. to hide

véarsa 9: “taped ar mo bhrollach” [sic], taped to my chest (chest as part of the body); not a rhyme I would have ever expected to find for “bhfolach,” but that’s part of what makes the song so successful – the unexpected combination of sounds, words, and images.

véarsa 10: scanraithe, scared

véarsa 10: ní íocaim as, I don’t pay for (from the verb “íoc as,” pay for)

véarsa 10: deor, often means “a tear,” but here, “a drop”

véarsa 10: raitneach (raithneach), well, traditionally it means “fern” or “bracken,” but now these days it can also mean “cannabis.” That explains the word “dleathach” (legal), following it.

véarsa 10: aontaithe, united

véarsa 11 (this verse is in English so doesn’t need any glossing)

véarsa 12: ag streachailt do, struggling for

véarsa 12: greadadh, a beating, so “ag tabhairt greadadh do d’athair” is literally, “giving a beating to your father”

véarsa 12: lom nocht, bare naked, a little repetitive vocabulary-wise, but that no doubt adds to the impact. Irish adjectives are often doubled up like this, for effect: sona sásta, fliuch báite, etc.

véarsa 13: as mo mheabhair, out of my mind

véarsa 13: achan = ach’an = gach aon = gach uile = ‘chuile, or simply gach (each, every) – that’s 6 different ways of the saying the same thing: each (and) every. A minor difference from English is that English would include the word “and” between the two parts of the phrase. “Gach,” by itself, would be the simplest way to say “each” or “every.” So you could say, “gach fear” (with no lenition) or pick any of the other versions, with lenition (achan fhear, ach’an fhear: mostly northern; gach aon fhear: fairly standard; OR gach uile fhear, ’chuile fhear: Conamara). And then, of course, there’s “na fir go léir” (all the men) or “na fir uilig go léir” (all the men, no major difference, despite the doubling)

véarsa 13: achan riail, every rule

véarsa 13: caol le caol.  I love the way the song ends, after being so antithetical, by getting back to one of the most fundamental Irish language spelling rules (the vowel harmony rule): “caol le caol” (as the song says) and its counterpart “leathan le leathan.”

A quick review of “vowel harmony” for anyone very new to Irish: Almost all Irish words are spelled according to the “vowel harmony” principle: caol le caol agus leathan le leathan (slender with slender and broad with broad). In Irish, the two slender vowels are “e” and “i” and the three broad vowels are “a,” “o,” and “u.” If there’s a consonant in the middle of an Irish word, it’s supposed to have a slender vowel on either side (like “ime”) or a broad vowel on either side (like “móra”), but not a mixture. There are a few exceptions, of course. This rule is taken into account every time a suffix is added to an Irish word, for example, adding plural endings (“-anna” in “carranna” but “-eanna” for “sráideanna”) or verb endings (“-faidh” for “ól” in “ólfaidh” but “-fidh” for “bris” in “brisfidh”). Most adult learners will be taught this rule within their first few Irish classes; as for very young children learning the language, well, they probably just absorb it, the way they learn most features of language.

Bhuel, finally, that’s all the verses glossed. Of course, one could simply use online dictionaries, but hopefully this “mionsraith” added a little more dimension to the words as well.  SGF  – Róislín

Iarbhlagmhíreanna sa mhionsraith seo faoin amhrán “C.E.A.R.T.A”:

Cuid a hAon den ghluais: A Short Glossary for the Irish Rap Song “C.E.A.R.T.A” by Kneecap (Rapcheol Gaeilge) [Cuid/Pt.1] Posted by róislín on Jan 7, 2018 in Irish Language

Cuid a Dó den ghluais: A Short Glossary for the Irish Rap Song “C.E.A.R.T.A” by Kneecap (Rapcheol Gaeilge) [Cuid/Pt.2]Posted by róislín on Jan 11, 2018 in Irish Language

Cuid a Trí den ghluaisA Short Glossary for the Irish Rap Song “C.E.A.R.T.A” by Kneecap (Rapcheol Gaeilge) [Cuid/Pt. 3]Posted by róislín on Jan 15, 2018 in Irish Language

Cuid a Ceathair den ghluais: A Short Glossary for the Irish Rap Song “C.E.A.R.T.A” by Kneecap (Rapcheol Gaeilge) [Cuid/Pt. 4] Posted by róislín on Jan 19, 2018 in Irish Language

Cuid a Cúig den ghluais: A Short Glossary for the Irish Rap Song “C.E.A.R.T.A” by Kneecap (Rapcheol Gaeilge) [Cuid/Pt. 5] Posted by róislín on Jan 23, 2018 in Irish Language

nasc don amhrán:  “C.E.A.R.T.A” le Kneecap,

nasc do na liricí:  Foireann NÓS  15ú Nollaig 2017  CEOL#amhrán aoine  Amhrán na hAoine  ‘C.E.A.R.T.A.’, le Kneecap

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