Irish Language Blog

Deireadh Fómhair agus Mí na Samhna: Séasúr na bPuimcíní (Pumpkin Season) Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

puimcín snoite

puimcín snoite

In some previous blogs, we’ve counted pumpkins (puimcín amháin go fiche puimcín, srl.) and talked about smashing them (for which I finally decided on “smidiríní a dhéanamh de phuimcín“); tá cúpla nasc thíos.  In this blog we’ll look a little further into different forms of the word “puimcín,” glance at its history (i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge), and wrap up with a review of using numbers with the word “puimcín.”

Ar dtús, an focal é féin:

puimcín [PwIM-keen], a pumpkin

an puimcín, the pumpkin; Ar shnoigh tú an puimcín fós?

an phuimcín [un FwIM-keen], of a pumpkin; gas an phuimcín, the stem of the pumpkin

“of pumpkin” can be either simply “puimcín,” as in “anraith puimcín” or “phuimcín,” following certain feminine nouns, as in “pióg phuimcín” or “bísc phuimcín

phuimcín is also used after the prepositions “sa,” “de,” and “do“; sa phuimcín, de phuimcín, do phuimcín (this may vary according to dialect)

puimcíní, pumpkins; Tá puimcíní beaga agus guird ar an mbord in aice le corn na flúirse.

na puimcíní, the pumpkins; na puimcíní móra, the big pumpkins

na bpuimcíní, of the pumpkins; séasúr na bpuimcíní: the season of the pumpkins (pumpkin season)

For some practice, how would you complete the following?  Freagraí thíos (A)

1. An maith leat blas ______________ i do chaife?  Díoltar cuid mhór den chineál sin caife i Meiriceá ag an am seo den bhliain.

2. An maith leat blas an ___________?

3. Cé acu is fearr leat: pióg ______________ nó pióg mhuiceola?

4. Cad é luach na __________________ sin?  An bhfuil siad daor?

5. An ndearna tú smidiríní de ____________ riamh?  (Na freagraí: Rinne  / Ní dhearna)

As for the background of the word “puimcín” itself, I haven’t found any examples of it in Irish before the 1950s, and it also doesn’t appear in the 1982 Foclóir Eacnamaíocht Bhaile, suggesting that the use of vegetable itself in Ireland and the use of the word in Irish have mostly developed over the last 50 years.  And my hunch is that it’s more the latter half of that time period.

Not that any of that is surprising.  It’s a New World vegetable and even its early usage in English is spotty.  According to Google’s Ngram for “pumpkin,” there is one use in 1617 and then a leap until the next example, in 1681.  The 1617 example predates the 1654 earliest usage date cited elsewhere.  Not that that this search is exhaustive but it does give us a guideline.  Then there is a slow but steady rise in citations until the 1930s-50s, a brief drop, and then a fairly major escalation in use until the present decade.

Curiously, for a New World food, its name comes from ancient Greek; it’s not an English adaptation of a Native American word the way “succotash” and “quahog” are.  I’ve seen the original Greek word, pepōn, translated both as “large melon” and as “ripened.”  So if there are any scholars of ancient Greek on this list who could clarify, I’m sure readers would be interested.

And for the third part of this blog, we’ll look briefly at numbers and pumpkins.  Remember: séimhiú from 2 to 6 and urú from 7 to 10.  Here are just a few blanks to fill in, with one longish line each, so as not to give away whether one letter or two is needed (freagraí thíos):

dhá _____uimcín

cúig ____uimcín

seacht ____uimcín

aon ____uimcín déag

fiche ____uimcín

Bhuel, bain sult as do phuimcíní má tá siad agat.  Agus snoigh leat, muna bhfuil siad snoite agat fós! SGF, Róislín

Freagraí (A):   

1. blas puimcín (pumpkin flavor) 2. blas an phuimcín (the flavor of the pumpkin) 3. pióg phuimcín  4.  luach na bpuimcíní  5. de phuimcín nó de phuimcíní

Freagraí (B):

séimhiú: dhá phuimcín, cúig phuimcín, aon phuimcín déag

urú: seacht bpuimcín

gan athrú: fiche puimcín

Cúpla nasc: (18 Deireadh Fómhair 2012) (31 Deireadh Fómhair 2011)

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