Irish Language Blog

Cé Mhéad Duine? How Many People? Na hUimhreacha Pearsanta i nGaeilge (ar leanúint) Posted by on Aug 10, 2009 in Irish Language

Finally returning to the uimhreacha pearsanta after the numerous events of the past couple of weeks, both happy and sad ones.  This time we’ll count from six to ten people, more on larger groups of people later!  First, a quick review, for one to five people: duine amháin or aonar (depending on the type of sentence), beirt, triúr, ceathrar and cúigear.  And, as you may recall, that got us through our discussion of the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, the Jackson 5, and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  You were testing yourself as you read that list, right?  Here’s the Irish in order of the musical groups just listed: ceathrar, beirt, cúigear, and triúr.


So now on to slightly larger groups of people, your quintets, sextets, septets, octets, nonets, and dectets.  But keep in mind, that while English has these specific terms for musical groups of various sizes, in Irish you’d use cúigear for any group of five people, such as five farmers (cúigear feirmeoirí) or beirt for, say, beirt otairinealaraingeolaithe (two otorhinolaryngologists). 


The personal numbers from six to ten continue to be fairly recognizable, if you keep the original number in mind:



uimhir phearsanta



seisear mac



seachtar iníonacha



ochtar buachaillí



naonúr néar-mháinlianna



an Deichniúr Maighdean (Matha 25: 1-13)


So I guess I could spot-check everyone on some recent blogs, with this question

a) Cén dóigh a bhfuil cosúlacht ag Mr. agus Mrs. Weasley (carachtair fhicseanúla) le Joseph agus Katherine Jackson, tuismitheoirí Mhíchíl?


And a few more ceisteanna for good measure:


b) Cé mhéad duine atá i “mórsheisear” (lit. a “big” sixsome)?


c) Cé mhéad páiste a bhí ag an mbaintreach fir Henry Fonda sa scannán Yours, Mine, and Ours (1967) agus cé mhéad a bhí ag an mbaintreach Lucille Ball? 


And finally, this one’s probably a little obscure for many people today, but here goes:


d) Cé mhéad páiste a d’fhreastail ar Bhunscoil Phobal Feirste nuair a d’oscail sé i 1971?


Freagraí: a) Bhí seisear mac ag an dá theaghlach (Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, and Ron Weasley agus Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Randy, agus Michael Jackson) agus chaill gach teaghlach mac go hóg (Fred, Michael); b) seachtar, it’s another way to say seven people, very traditional; c) Bhí deichniúr ag an mbaintreach fir (widower) Henry Fonda agus bhí ochtar ag an mbaintreach (widow) Lucille Ball.  d) naonúr.  According to the most recent information I’ve found online, there are now over ceithre chéad mac léinn (400 students) at this pioneering Irish-medium school in Belfast.  Landmark though this is, one of the first links Google found for it recently, is, strangely, a “H8” cyber-rant.  An bhfuil siad i ndáiríre?  


Gluaisín agus fuaimniú: otairinealaraingeolaithe (beagnach mar an Béarla, ach tá an “g” crua, mar an “g” san fhocal “ring”), néar-mháinlia [NYAYR-WAWN-lee-uh] neurosurgeon; ficseanúil [FIK-shan-oo-il] fictional, one of the plural forms of this word is fhicseanúla [IK-shan-ool-uh]; mórsheisear [MOR-HESH-ur, note the first “s” is silent]; baintreach fir [BAN-trukh firzh], widower, lit. a widow-man; d’fhreastail [DRAS-til] attended.

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  1. Rick Forbes:

    Cyber-rant. Unfortunately yes, they are for real. The news may have gone quiet on NI but there are still those who behave like scalded pit bulls, some home grown but I notice also some cyber-agitators from several thousand miles away.

    Fair’s fair though, not everyone is a brain dead football hooligan who hates people because they support a different colour, I was at the British round of the World Superbike championship in June and saw some Ulster lads with their red-hand flag supporting Jonathan Rea from NI who races under the British flag. Eugene Laverty is also from NI but races under the Irish flag. I wondered how these supporters would behave but was glad to see them also clapping and supporting Eugene.

    There is hope.

  2. Róislín:

    Buíochas le Dia nach amhsóirí peile inchinnmharbha go léir iad! GRMA as scríobh!

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