Irish Language Blog

Irish Pronunciation Roundup for the Blog on “Carancailí an Turcaí” Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

In the last blog, we looked at caruncles, wattles, snoods, and dewlaps, words which are almost as intriguing in English as they are in Irish.  A few of the Irish terms we used might deserve a little further attention for pronunciation:

fiafhás [FEE-uh-AWSS; the second “f” is silent], outgrowth, excrescence (lit. large or outsize growing/growth)

fuílleach [FwEEL-yukh, don’t overlook fact that the “i” in the middle is actually “í” (i-fada), the “síneadh fada” may be harder to spot next to two l’s, especially in small print], leftovers

i gcomhair [ig-OH-irzh], for

laghairt, and its plural: laghairteanna, [LY-irtch, plural: LY-irtch-uh-nuh], lizard, lizards

musclacha, and its plural: musclachain [MUSK-LAH-khuh, plural: MUSK-LAH-khin], Muscovy duck.  Remember the “u” of the “musk” in the pronunciation guide here isn’t quite like the typical short “u” of the English “musk” as “musk-ox” (or “tusk” or “rusk”).  It’s the typical Irish short “u,” as in “bus” or “cur” or “lus,” i.e. more like the English “u” in “push” or “put,” but not “rush” or “to putt” (in golf).

príomhbhóthar [PRzhEEV-WOH-hur, silent m, b, and t], main road

snúda [SNOO-duh], a snood.  Fairly straightforward, but I want to return to this word below, so will include it here for a baseline pronunciation.

sprochaille [SPROKH-ul-yuh], wattle, dewlap, gill, double chin, barbel, bag or pouch under the eye, and, when followed by “sróine,” it’s one of the words for “snot.”  But what’s the main word for “snot”?  It’s “smuga,” which has several interesting offshoots, like “smugachán” (snotty-nosed person), “smugairle” (thick spittle), and “smugairle róin” (jellyfish, lit. seal-spittle).  As you may have figured out by now, “sróine” means “of (a) nose.”

So that’s a nice handful from the most recent blog.  But somehow, I can’t get the word “snúda” out of my head.  Both for its intriguing meanings and for its fun sound.  So hang on for a little more on the word “snood.”

I’m still looking for the Irish for “desnooding,” as in “to desnood a turkey,” but so far, the term has proved elusive.  I assume it would be something like “díshnúdú,” patterned on “díchnámhú” (to debone, deboning).  But I always like to find a source, when possible.  At any rate, assuming we use “dí-” as the prefix, we’d have lenition, changing the initial “sn” of “snúda” to “shnúda.”  The “s” is now silent, leaving us with “DEE-HNOO-doo.”  For “díchnámhú,” we start with “cnámh” ([knawv], bone), add a verbal ending, “-ú,” and then the negating prefix “dí-,” leaving us with “DjEE-KHNAWV-oo.”

If you’re thinking, “Why should I learn to pronounce ‘hnoo,’ since might never need to desnood a turkey, let alone talk about it in Irish?”, please keep in mind that you’ll need that same sound to say:

mo shnúda, my snood

do shnúda, your snood

a shnúda, his snood

And the “hn” sound will also come up in a few more words or phrases, like:

shnoigh sé, he carved

mo shnaoisbhosca, my snuff-box

And a couple that actually start with “tn-” —  they end up with the same “hn” sound when lenited:

Níor thnúth mé riamh do Taylor Swift é (ag caint faoina hioncam nó a rath nó rud éigin mar sin), I never begrudged it to Taylor Swift.

Ba thnúthánaí é, he was a sponger.

And then you could try, “Ar dhíshnúdaigh tú do thurcaí, a Thoirealaigh?”  That gives you a nice cluster of lenited consonants to enjoy.  It means, “Did you desnood your turkey, Terrence  (or Turlough, or Tarlagh)?”

Oh, and by the way, there’s also a verb, “to snood,” at least in Scots (Lallans), but it’s not the opposite of “desnood,” at least not when we’re talking turkey.  At this point in time, I’d say “to snood” is pretty archaic, but you might recall it from Burns’ “Tam Lin,” which says, “Janet has kilted her green kirtle / A little aboon her knee, / And she has snooded her yellow hair / a little aboon her bree.”

I haven’t seen much evidence of “snúdú” in Irish, but presumably it would be a regular, Type-2 verb.  So we could wrap up today’s blog post with:

Ar shnúdaigh Judy agus Trudy a gcuid  gruaige?

The answers: Shnúdaigh (for “yes”) OR “Níor shnúdaigh” (for “no”)

On that “hnote,” SGF — Róislín

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