Arbhar Candaí agus Cúpla Cainíneach Cúláilte Gléasta i gcomhair Oíche Shamhna Posted by róislín on Oct 17, 2016 in Irish Language
According to the National Retail Federation (nasc thíos), this year’s most popular pet costume for Halloween is a pumpkin (puimcín). But the two dogs in this picture are sporting a different edible Halloween theme, arbhar candaí.
As far as I know, arbhar candaí is only sold i Meiriceá Thuaidh. If anyone is aware of margaíocht níos leithne for this táirge, please do let us know. From an Irish language learning perspective, the term “arbhar candaí” is interesting on several counts.
First, we have the phrase itself, “arbhar candaí.” Generally in Irish, we use “milseáin” for “sweets,” but since this food is called “candy corn” in English, “candaí” seems the more appropriate choice. “Candaí” is used for a few other specific terms in Irish. One is “flas candaí,” known in the UK and Ireland as “candy floss.” That term doesn’t use “milseán,” which would give us something like “sweet floss,” and to the best of my knowledge, that doesn’t exist as such. In the U.S. it’s “cotton candy.” Another example is “cána candaí,” but that term has two other variations so it’s not quite locked into being “candy.” The other two terms are “maide milis” (literally ‘sweet stick’) and “steotar,” which also means “a pudgy person.”
Secondly, as for the word “arbhar,” its basic meaning in Irish parallels the UK use of the word “corn,” meaning “edible grain,” not specifically “maize.” “Corn” can include oats, wheat, etc. The Irish word “arbhar” has at least two pronunciations, by the way: AR-uh-vur (the more standard) and “AR-oor” in Northern Irish. Sometimes Irish uses the phrase “arbhar Indiach” to specify maize, but it should be noted that in the U.S., which is basically the homeland of “Indian corn,” the two terms are not synonymous. In the U.S., Indian corn is primarily decorative, dried on the cob, and hung on doors as a harvest-theme decoration or used as a centerpiece. It’s often multi-colored, with blue or dark red kernels.
A third point is simply word order, and this applies to thousands of noun-adjective combinations in Irish. In this phrase, the word “candaí” is functioning as an adjective, describing the type of “corn.” Not that it’s really “corn,” of course — it’s just shaped like corn and each “kernel” has three colors, white, orange and yellow. Not that I’ve ever seen a kernel of corn that has all three colors like that! Nach iontach an rud an dathúchán bia! The main ingredient for “candy corn,” like most sweets, is sugar.
In Irish, aidiachtaí usually come after the ainmfhocail, which is also typical in many other European languages. What are some other Irish words with this word order? Here are a few samples, all quite basic phrases: fear maith, bean mhaith, madra rua, bia blasta. Sometimes the second word is actually a noun, functioning as a adjective, as in “scian phóca” (pocketknife), or “cuid súl,” which is the Irish equivalent for “eye candy.” Note that the word “candy” isn’t used in this phrase — cuid (share, portion) replaces “candy.”
Anyway, I’d say these two fellows are definitely canine eye candy, and I’m sure their owner (cara liom agus iníon léinn i gceann de mo ranganna) would agree.
Dála an scéil, is iad Beanie agus Butter na hainmneacha atá ar na madraí sa phictiúr. Is maith leo go mór cultacha agus ribíní agus tá a lán stíleanna eile acu: fear sneachta, prionsa sneachta, mairnéalach, surfálaí, turasóir i Haváí (le léine Haváíoch), srl. Tá siad ag tnúth le cuairt eile a thabhairt ar an mblag seo so b’fhéidir go bhfeicfidh sibh arís iad. SGF — Róislín
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