Irish Language Blog

Cúpla Teanga Eile (Cathú Dochloíte): Gearmáinis, Gaillis, Ollainis, Seicis, srl. Posted by on Aug 22, 2009 in Irish Language

Ah, well, this is still only barr an chnoic oighir.  But, cén dochar? 


I’ve picked some representative figures here to illustrate someone saying they speak a given language. 


Is mise Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Labhraím Gearmáinis.


Is muide Asterix agus Obelix.  Labhraímid Gaillis agus Laidin.


Is mise Vincent Van Gogh.  Labhraím Ollainis.


Is mise Franz Kafka.  Labhraím Gearmáinis agus Seicis.


Is mise Oivid.  Labhraím Laidin agus scríobhaim filíocht i Laidin.


Is mise Hóiméar.  Labhraím Gréigis agus scríobhaim filíocht i nGréigis.


Is mise Matsuo Basho.  Scríobhaim filíocht i Seapáinis i bhfoirm haiku.   


Is mise Adi Kavi Valmiki.  Labhraím Sanscrait.  Scríobh mé an Ramayana. 


Is mise Harry Potter.  Labhraím Béarla agus *Snathairtheanga.  Níl ann ach b’fhéidir seisear eile a bhfuil nó a raibh Snathairtheanga acu; ba de shliocht Salazar Slytherin an chuid is mó acu.


Fuaimniú agus Ciall: cathú [KAH-hoo] temptation; dochloíte [duh-KHLEE-tcheh] invincible, here “irresistible”; cnoc oighir [knok AI-irzh] iceberg; filíocht [FIL-ee-ukht] poetry; i bhfoirm X [ih WIRzh-im] in (the) form of X; de shliocht [djeh hlikht, note silent “s”] of the lineage / ancestry of, descended from


Snathairtheanga [SNAH-hirzh-HANG-guh], a tri-partite “comhfhocal,” consisting of “nathair” (snake) + teanga (tongue) + an initial “s” for the “siosarnach” (hissing).  Since lucht leanúna Harry Potter i nGaeilge are still waiting for the actual translation of Book 2 of the series to be done, I have coined this word in the interim.  J. K. Rowling’s term for “snake-speech,” parseltongue, doesn’t actually appear in Book 1, Harry Potter agus an Órchloch, so, so far there is no precedent.  At any rate, it seems to fit the bill, at least as well as Jean-François Menard’s “Choixpeau” (Sorting Hat) did for the French.  Who knows?  If Máire Nic Mhaoláin, who translated Book 1 into Irish, ever does Book 2, maybe she’ll go ahead and use this word!  Comparable compounds already in use for the same hissing language are “Fourchelang” (Fraincis), Serpentese (Iodáilis), Parselzunge (Gearmáinis) and Sisselspraak or Sisseltong (Ollainis). 


Nóta gramadaí: “cúpla” is followed by the singular in Irish: cúpla teanga, cúpla duine, cúpla cailín, cúpla blaigeard, srl.

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  1. donal:

    thanx for the tweets it helps to improve my very weak irish which i am trying to improve – go raibh maith agat agus cuinigh suas do croi? – hope i got that right!

  2. Róislín:

    A Dhónail, a chara,

    Go raibh maith agat as scríobh. I’m glad you find the blaganna helpful. Pointe beag:
    coinnigh = keep
    lenition after “do” -> do chroí

    Ar fhoghlaim tú Gaeilge ar scoil? – R

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