Irish Language Blog

Cén tOileán É Seo?  What Island Is This? Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín); By NASA (WorldWind Screenshot) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; téacs Gaeilge le Róislín, 2017

I recently noticed an interesting article about an island (nasc thíos), not Irish, but let’s just say, near Ireland (relatively speaking).  It was on the November 26th episode of 60 Minutes, on CBS.  Although the article and video are in English, it’s interesting reading, and it occurred to me that some of the vocabulary used could be quite useful to practice in Irish, as a matching game.  Also, the combined words give a sort of linguistic portrait of the island.

A link to the article is given below but I’m refraining from naming the island here, since I hope doing this exercise and looking at the map in the graphic may lead you to figure it out, or at least figure out the general region.  The answer is below, beneath the first chart.

Before we start, two quick spelling points based on the text for the graphic:

1) Why “t” before “oileán“?  Because “cén” is really “” (which/what) + “an” (the).  “Oileán” is masculine, so a “t” gets prefixed, as it would for “Cén t-úll?” or “Cén t-oráiste?”  So “What island is this?” becomes “Cén t-oileán é seo?

2) Why is there a hyphen (fleiscín) in pt. 1 above  and in the graphic but not in the title of the blogpost?  Because the title uses capital letters for the main words and the fleiscín is dropped when the lower-case “t” is followed by an upper-case letter.

Na Focail: In this section, each column is alphabetized but they don’t match up with each other.   The answers, matched up, are given below.

 1 amateur philosopher  ba
 2 camper (vehicle)  boc mór
 3 community  caora, caoirigh
 4 cottage (rural)  cé
 5 cows creagach
 6 craggy  daon-phoblacht
 7 dolphin deilf
 8 driver eangach
 9 fiefdom fealsúnaí amaitéarach
 10 hydroelectric  fíofa
 11 islander  hidrileictreach
 12 main artery  míshlachtmhar
 13 people’s republic  oileánach
 14 pod (re: dolphins)  pobal
 15 grid (power, etc.)  príobháideach
 16 private príomhbhealach
 17 secret ráth
 18 secretary rún
 19 sheep (sg./pl.) rúnaí
 20 sheepdog sípéir
 21 spontaneous combustion teachín tuaithe
 22 toff  tiománaí
 23 ungroomed uathdhó
 24 wharf veain champála

Tá na freagraí thíos, in ord na haibítre.   Tá súil agam gur bhain tú sult as seo agus gur léigh tú an t-alt.   SGF – Róislín

Ainmneacha na n-oileán: an t-oileán mór,  i mBéarla: Eigg, i nGaeilge na hAlban: Eigean t-oileán beag bídeach:    Eilean Chathastail

Freagraí na Meaitseála

 1 amateur philosopher fealsúnaí amaitéarach
 2 camper (vehicle)  veain champála (veain + “campáil” in the genitive case)
 3 community  pobal
 4 cottage teachín tuaithe. lit. little house of the country
 5 cows ba, pl. of “bó”
 6 craggy  creagach
 7 dolphin deilf
 8 driver tiománaí
 9 fiefdom  fíofa
 10 hydroelectric hidrileictreach
 11 islander oileánach
 12 main artery príomhbhealach
 13 people’s republic daon-phoblacht
 14 pod (for dolphins, whales) ráth, can also be translated as “shoal” for fish
 15 grid (power, etc.)  eangach
 16 private príobháideach
 17 secret rún
 18 secretary rúnaí
 19 sheep (singular and plural – English makes no distinction) caora, caoirigh – Irish has a separate plural form, unlike English
 20 sheepdog sípéir
 21 spontaneous combustion uathdhó (uath, self  + dó, burning)
 22 toff  boc mór
 23 ungroomed míshlachtmhar
 24 wharf, pier, quay

Nasc: 60 Minutes; The Isle of Eigg / Just off Scotland, a tiny island with one main road is a testament to human independence  2017Nov 26 CORRESPONDENTSteve Kroft

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