Irish Language Blog

Gníomhaíochtaí Samhraidh (Summer Activities) Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

An raibh tú ag beárbaiciú le déanaí?  Ar ith tú burgair nó burgair veigeatóra nó brocairí teo?  Seachas na beárbaiciúnna, cad faoi ghníomhaíochtaí  samhraidh [SOW-ree, with “sow” as in the pig) eile?

Let’s backtrack and take a closer look at that impressively consonant-laden word, “gníomhaíocht.”  And you may have noticed that following “faoi” (about, under), it acquired consan amháin eile, becoming “ghníomhaíocht.”

Fuaimniú ar dtús [dooss], mar is gnách, and in order to do this, we’ll apply beagán ais-innealtóireachta (reverse engineering, a word I never really thought would find a place sa bhlag seo, ach seo é!)

gníomh [gneev], and yes, both the initial “g” and the initial “n” are pronounced, sort of like “ignite,” but without the initial “i”.  As you might suppose, this word is the core of “gníomhaíocht”.  It normally means “act,” “action,” or “deed,” including “an act of a play” (gníomh a haon, gníomh a dó, etc.).  In certain, admittedly limited circumstances, it could also mean “the grass of one cow” (i.e. the twelfth part of a ploughland).  And for more on that last, intriguing definition, see an nóta (thíos).

gníomhaí [GNEEV-ee], a doer, performer, agent (but not an “actor” as such, that’s “aisteoir”)

gníomhaíocht [GNEEV-ee-ukht], activity (adding the “-ocht” ending makes an “activity” of the “act”)

gníomhaíochtaí [GNEEV-ee-ukh-tee], activities (adding the plural ending, “-aí”)

And with the inital mutations so frequent in Irish:

ghníomhaíocht [NEEV-ee-ukht], adding “h” after the “g” almost completely reduces the initial sound to simply “n” although there is a very faint “yuh” before the “n,” almost impossible to indicate in a rough pronunciation guide.  If I had to, I’d show “yuh-NEEV,” but that doesn’t really indicate how minimal the “yuh” is.

And, for good measure, although today’s blog doesn’t happen to use it,

ngníomhaíocht [NGNyEEV-ee-ukht].  And why did I ever undertake to “rough guide” that one?  It’s “ng” followed by another “n” followed by a very quick “yuh,” which glides into the “ee” sound.

And so what are some of these gníomhaíochtaí eile, now that we’ve hashed the word “gníomhaíocht” to pieces?  Cad fúthu seo?


marcaíocht toinne

picnic (yes, same in Irish as in English)

imirt leadóige

déanamh bolg le gréin (or, to yield to the standard, “le grian“)


turas go páirc siamsaíochta théama

ithe reoiteog uisce or simply ithe reoiteoige

ithe mealbhacán uisce (i Meiriceá ar a laghad)

snorcalú (and never mind the entry for “snorcal,” since it’s unrelated, although it is, at least, not as scateolaíoch as most of the rest of Urban Dictionary’s entries, having simply to do with California, Theas agus Thuaidh)

tumadóireacht scúba or scúbthumadh

and on the more mundane side,

suiteáil aerchóiritheoirí

Of course, some most of these activities could be practiced at seasons other than the summer, especially if you can travel, mar shampla, go dtí an Mhórsceir Bhacainneach (An Astráil) nó Haváí nó an Indinéis.  Cad é an ghníomhaíocht shamhraidh [here “HOW-ree,” for the “of summer” part] is fearr leatsa?  Inis dúinn, más mian leat scríobh isteach.  The format for your answer, should you care to write it, would likely be either:

Is maith liom _________  . I like …; mar shampla: Is maith liom iascaireacht, I like fishing (as an activity in the abstract).

Is maith liom a bheith ag ________ .  I like to be …; mar shampla: Is maith liom a bheith ag iascaireacht, I like (to be) fishing, implying actually being involved in the activity.

Ag tnúth le tagairtí uait, SGF, Róislín

Nóta faoin bhfocal “gníomh“: Right, well, don’t ask me for the exact segue from “gníomh” as “action” to “gníomh” as “the grass of one cow.”  I’m just the vocabulary messenger here, not the creator of cultural parameters!  “Grass per cow” was a way of measuring land in the past, though, not by exact acres or hectares or feet or meters, but by how much of a particular quality of land it took to support one cow.  In areas where the land was richer, “the grass of one cow” would be a physically smaller area.  In areas of sparse vegetation, the “grass of one cow” would be a larger geographical area.  You will find this land measurement meaning in the place names Gníomh go Leith [lit. the grass and a half of a cow, i.e. the grass of one cow and half again as much, not “the grass and one half of a cow!”] and Dhá Ghníomh [two-twelfths of a ploughland, i.e. one-sixth of a ploughland!].  Cé na contaetha ina bhfuil na háiteanna sin (Gníomh go Leith, Dhá Ghníomh)?  Freagra thíos! (mar is gnách)

Now, if anyone ever took into account whether we’re talking about gnáthbha (ba den ghnáthmhéid) or the smaller Dexter and Kerry cows (ba Dexter, ba Chiarraí, bollataigh), níl a fhios agam.  But it is interesting though that Kerry, home turf to the Kerry cow, has several examples of “gníomh” in a place name.   There are also “Gníomh” townlands in Cavan, Longford, and Mayo, and perhaps other locales as well.  I do cheantarsa?

Freagra don cheist, “Cé na contaetha ina bhfuil Gníomh go Leith agus Dhá Ghníomh?  Contae Chiarraí agus Contae Chorcaí.  Gníomh go Leith (Contae Chiarraí) is anglicized as “Gneevgullia” (aka Gneeveguilla) and was the birthplace of Irish actor and author Éamon Kelly.  It is in the Sliabh Luachra region, also noted for its traditional music and musicians, including Paddy Cronin and the siblings Julia Clifford and Dennis Murphy (both anois ar shlí na fírinne) and their teacher, Pádraig  O’Keeffe (ar shlí na fírinne freisin).   Fad m’eolais, tá Paddy beo fós (ina nóchaidí, is dócha, treise leis, nó le bheith cruinn, treise lena uillinn).

As far as I can tell there are dhá “Dhá Ghníomh,” one in Brosna, Kerry and one in Co. Cork.  The place name is anglicized as “Two Gneeves,” half-translated (dhá/two) and half-transliterated (ghníomh/gneeves).  The lenition of “ghníomh” isn’t captured in the anglicized version, ní nach ionadh.  It’s also interesting that “gníomh” stays singular in Irish after the number “two,” as expected, but the anglicized version has picked up a plural ending (-s).   Wonders never cease!

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