Irish Language Blog

Iar-, Iar, Iar dTír, Iarbhír, Iarmhír, and Other Afterthoughts on “After” Posted by on Nov 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

Now that Samhain is over, and we’ve taken a brief but timely detour to cover words like “shellacking,” “drubbing,” and “leathering” (greadadh, broicneáil, leadradh, srl.), due to torthaí an toghcháin sna Stáit Aontaithe, we’re back on track with our “before” and “after” series.   We’re probably in for the long haul here, since there are so many possibilities, but today’s blog will focus on one specific aspect – the use of the prefix “iar-“ to mean “after.”  It also means “ post-“ or “ex-“ (previous) or for that matter, “western.”  But how “after” is related to the idea of “western” will certainly be ábhar blag eile.  For today, it will be more than enough to deal with some phrases that are constructed like “iarsholas” (afterglow) or “iarscoláire” (past pupil). 

Here are some typical words with the prefix “iar-“

iarbháis, posthumous (based on the noun, “bás,” but here used as an adjective)

iarchéime, post-graduate (US English: graduate, i.e. following undergraduate work), as in cúrsa iarchéime.  Or if you’re the one doing the course, you’re an iarchéimí, i.e. a (post-)graduate student

iardhearcadh, flashback

iar-uachtarán, former president

And one of my favorites, with its double prefix, as we also see in the English:

iar-athfhreagra [EER-AH-RAG-ruh], a sur-rejoinder (téarma dlí).  From iar-, after + ath-, re- + f(h)reagra, answer.  Note the silent “t” and “f.” 

Here are the remaining examples from the title of this blog:

iarbhír [eer-veer, equal stress on both syllables], actual(ly), effective(ly)

iarmhír [eer-veer, equal stress on both syllables], a suffix

iar dtír [eer djeer], over land.  Here “iar” is actually a preposition, with the extended meaning of “iar” as “across” or “over.”   Note the urú (eclipsis).

And now for some that are that less common today, at least in my experience, or that are much more specialized, but which are still of interest:

iarfhaighte, after-acquired (téarma dlí)

iarghal, after-damp, (i mianach)

iar n-éag (after death, a literary-type expression, with “iar” as a preposition causing urú of the initial vowel “é,” resulting in “n-éag

iarimpriseanachas, post-impressionism

And if you find all this cross-examining of the role of prefixes to be a dry and dusty subject, and your whistle has been w(h)et(ted), here’s one way to say “small beer” in Irish: iarleannSlog siar é!  As for “chronicling small beer,” however, I hope you don’t consider this blog an example!  For the Irish version of that expression, we’ll wax more metaphorical, but i mblag éigin eile!

Nótaí: athsmaoineamh [AH-SMWEEN-yuv], afterthought (one might think we could use “iar-“ here, but not de réir na bhfoclóirithe.  A “gotcha” example of prefixization?); faighte, gotten, received; leann, ale; mianach, a mine; mír, bit, segment; slog, swallow

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