Irish Language Blog

Glincíní agus na Gloiní as a nÓlann Muid Iad Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Thinking about “glincín” in the last blog got me wondering – what exactly is “glincín” a diminutive of?  And how would one say “shot glass” in Irish?

So, ceist a haon ar dtosach, then we’ll see if there’s even spás go leor for ceist a dó in this blog, or if it will have to be ábhar blag eile.

The diminutive suffix “-ín” that we see in “glincín” can be attached to a wide variety of nouns, and its anglicized form (“-een”) is sometimes used in Irish English.  Well known Irish examples include Séamaisín, báidín, capaillín, teachín (no vowel harmony ach sin scéal eile), and tigín (also derived from teach/house but based more closely on the old spellings of the genitive and dative forms, “tighe” and “tigh,” and with vowel harmony).  In Irish-English we have words like “houseen,” “supeen,” and “Myles na gCopaleen,”

But what is “glincín” derived from?  Can’t say I’ve found it specified anywhere and I’ve found nothing that would actually be “*glinc” or even a vowel-broadened (again hypothetical-so-marked-with-the-asterisk) form, possibly “*glionc.”  But as we can see from “teachín” and “tigín” above, diminutive suffixes can cause considerable change even to the root word.  So my hunch is that “glincín” is from one or both of the Irish words for “clink.”

The two main ways to say “clink” in Irish are “cling” and “gligeáil.”

As nouns, their forms are:

Cling, an chling, clinge [KLING-yuh], na clinge, clingeacha, na clingeacha, na gclingeacha

Gligeáil, an ghligeáil, gligeála, na gligeála.  This type of noun wouldn’t typically have a plural.

As verbs, first intransitively, we have “cling” again, clingim/clingeann, chling, clingfidh, chlingfeadh, srl., and “gligeáil” (gligeálaim/gligeálann, ghligeáil, gligeálfaidh, gligeálfadh, srl.)

Hmmm, I wonder if the 1st-person form can actually apply, since it means “I clink” reflexively.  In other words, the speaker is also the clinker.  I guess it would work if the glass itself were singing or speaking, and at least in the realm of cartoons, animation or general siabhránachtaí (hallucinations) or rámhaillíochtaí (ravings), that can certainly apply.  As for rámhaille (fancies, fanciful imaginings) in general, is í Áine (de chlú Mise Áine; léitheoir an bhlag seo ise) saineolaí na rámhaille, agus ná déan dearmad ar a blagsa (, le do thoil.  If you leave mise mé féin to the rámhaillíocht, we might end up back with the eilifintí bándearga and luchóga gorma previously discussed (23 Márta 2011: Torthaí ól na nglincíní?

Anyway, back on topic, “gligeáil” can be used with certain verbs as part of a transitive verb structure, where the speaker is “clinking” something, a glass, most likely.  So we could have: déanann siad gligeáil, rinne sé gligeáil, srl. OR baineann sé gligeáil as na gloiní, bhain sé gligeáil as na gloiní, srl.

As infinitives, we have “clingeadh” and “gligeáil” (same ending yet again, “-áil” is pretty adaptable)

So it seems to me that “gligeáil” and “cling” may have morphed together to form the root of “glincín.”  They seem to blend well sound-wise.  Teoiricí eile ó dhuine ar bith?

And lo and behold, this is already a blog’s worth, déarfainn, so the discussion of shot glasses will have to wait tamaillín eile.  Meanwhile, can I get away with saying (literally translating, as you probably guessed from this apologetic tone), “Seo láib (or ‘lathach’ or ‘pluda’ or ‘puiteach’ or ‘clábar’ or ‘draoib’) i do shúil!”

In case you didn’t get that last bit, those are all words for “mud” in Irish.  Why so many?  <shoulder shrug>  That question will have to be answered by a peideolaí, that is, a soil scientist (from Greek pedo/pedon, soil, in case you were wondering).  And that peideolaí would probably refer to a focleolaí (philologist) for the more metaphorical possibilities of “mud”, which would include “droch-chlú” (a bad reputation) and “aithis” (slur, reproach).  So, ón leacht geal ómrach so-ólta a n-ólann muid glincíní de go tiús, raimhre, agus draoibeáilteacht na láibe (draoibe, srl.), seo daoibh blag amháin eile.  SGF, Róislín

Nótaí: maidir le “mud,” seo cialla eile na bhfocal sin thuas:

Clábar, mud, mire, muck, dirt, filth (as opposed to, but perhaps distantly related to, “clabar” with a short “a,” which is sour, thick milk, as in “bainne clabair,” bonnyclabber)

Draoib, mud, mire, scum

Láib, mud, mire, mould (US: mold, but in the pedologic sense of “loose friable earth,” as in “to lie a-mouldering”)

Lathach, mud, mire.  Agus anns a’ Ghàidhlig: puddle, swampy place, soft clay on the seashore, et al., má chuidíonn sé sin

Pluda: puddle (a puddle of nice clear clean water more likely being a “locháinín”), mud, thin mud (!), a pool of standing water (Ah! The spectrum unfolds!  )

Puiteach, mud, mire, muck, boggy ground, soft boggy matter, a marshy spot, or, presumably in a specific context, a soft, well-ripened blackberry (the edible kind, ar ndóigh, ní an ceann trádmharcáilte)

So what’s the difference between “mud” and “mire,” anyway?  Bhuel, sin ábhar blag eile freisin.  Agus an t-idirdhealú i nGaeilge, más ann dó. 

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  1. Mise Áine:

    @ siabhránachtaí

    Anois, nach deas an t-ainm a bheadh ansin do bhlag, a Róislín!

    • róislín:

      @Mise Áine Is deas, cinnte. Nó b’fhéidir “SiabhrÁineachtaí” má tá tú ag iarraidh blag eile a thosú.

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