Irish Language Blog

Irish Vocabulary Round-up for Cén fhéile? Cén deoch? Posted by on Mar 12, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Here are a few interesting vocabulary words concerning beverages and related topics from the previous post in this blog (Cén fhéile? Cén deoch? (An Irish Language Guide to Beverages and When to Drink Them) Part / Cuid 1)

leannlus: hop plant, lit. ale-plant (remember “leann” as in “leann dubh“?).  Often the reference is “leannlusanna” (hops), the dried flowers of the plant, but this can also be the plural of the plant itself.  I guess English does the same thing– we can say, “Hops [i.e. the flowers] are an important ingredient for beer” OR “Do you grow hops [i.e. hop plants]?  Pé scéal é, an bhfásann duine ar bith agaibh leannlusanna (hop plants)?

Someday maybe we’ll do a full blogpost (nó mionsraith) on the ingredients (comhábhair) of beer (beorach, remember, from the last post?).  Sounds tasty (blasta) and sialagogic (for which I can’t find a word in Irish).  But for now I’d just note that in English “hop” can be used as an adjective (attributive), with no “s” ending, in phrases such as “hop-picking” (in Kent, natch) and hop flower, hop yard, hop growth, and hop bines (yeah, I’m still getting used to that, hop “bines” but grape “vines”).  So far most of the recent examples in Irish that I see for “hop” as an adjective use the plural form (leannlusanna): hop powder (púdar leannlusanna), hop extract (eastóscán leannlusanna), and hop-drying kiln or oast (áith leannlusanna).  In these cases, we could technically translate the phrase as “powder of hops,” extract of hops,” and “drying kiln of hops.”

A few phrases use the genitive singular (leannlusa), which is more like saying “of hop.”  These include: braichlis leannlusa (hopped wort, lit. ale-wort of hop) and “táirge leannlusa” (hop product, lit. product of hop).

There are a few more terms that are perfectly clear in meaning, but which are a little puzzling grammar-wise, since they seem to use “leannlus” as a genitive plural form, despite the fact that “leannlusanna” would be more typical for that.  Sometimes I just end up thinking, c’est la vie, regarding the complex variety within the Irish noun system!  So we have, among others, baint leannlus (hop-picking, or, as it’s also known traditionally, “hopping”), buanaí leannlus (hop-picker), and feirmeoir leannlus (hop-grower).

Bhuel, this was meant to be a vocabulary round-up, not just a treatise on “hop” singular vs. “hops” plural, so I should move on to a few other words.  But I seem to keep dwelling on this issue of saying “hop” or “hops” or “leannlus” or “leannlusa” or “leannlusanna.”  Actually, the more I look at the related English and Irish terms, the more intricate it seems, since I see that we can say “hops drying kiln” or “hop-drying kiln,” and of course, wherever we have a fleiscín these days, people are likely to leave it out, leaving us with a “hop drying kiln.”  Or could we say “hop drying-kiln”?  Or would that be redundant, since a kiln, more or less by definition, dries?  Is it that important to say that a kiln is for drying hops as opposed to drying, say, barley, or curing tobacco?  And since fleiscíní are in the brink of extinction these days, it’s hard to say whether the typical punctuating of the phrase really tells us what’s going on.

Anyway, the Irish word “áith” can be translated as “kiln” or “oast” or “oast-house” and it already implies “drying” so that word as such (triomú) doesn’t need to be included in the phrase.  So would we ever say “áith thriomaithe” in Irish (a kiln of drying)?  Well, I found one (just one) related example online, but it’s not exactly what I was looking for, since it’s a compound adjective, not a noun: “an t-adhmad gearrtha agus áith-thriomaithe” (the wood [having been] cut and kiln-dried” (  A Dhia, I think I’ll rewrite Shari Lewis’s “Song That Never Ends” to be “This Is the Linguistic Query and Disambiguation Endeavor That Never Ends.”

As for the term “oast” or “oast house,” I can at least volunteer the following, without delving too far into Thomas Hardyishness, to say that I have slept in one, but och, aye (áith?), it was converted into a youth hostel.  In Kent, naturally!  And I’ve never heard the word used in a North American setting, so I wonder where that might lead us.  What’s an equivalent term in the American vernacular?  But for now, this discussion must lead me to at least a few more words from the last blog since this was supposed to be a round-up.

But, OMG, before I leave the topic, it always pays to Google.  Lo and be(er)hold, the following: Oasthouse Kitchen and Bar, Austin, Texas, with 20 distinct draft beers as well as locally sourced food, established in 2015 — no wonder I don’t remember it from my visit to Austin there sometime in the 1990s.  Tuilleadh eolais, if you’re visiting the area: .  Of course, naming a pub after an oasthouse doesn’t necessarily mean that the term was used locally in traditional agriculture.  Anyway, time to move on and at least note the following:

rian: trace, track, mark (as in “Fágann an leannlus rian ar bhlas na beorach“)

grúdaithe: brewed

micreaghrúdaithe: micro-brewed

iompórtáilte: imported

mín: smooth

milis: sweet

oighrithe: iced

dobharchú: otter (lit. water-hound)

dobhareach: hippopotamus (lit. water-steed)

láib: mud

do shúil: your eye (but remember my caveat, that there’s no particular precedent for translating “Here’s mud in your eye,” into Irish, and it would probably sound totally bizarre to anyone who didn’t know the English idiom.  But does anyone not know the English idiom?  And there are actually about a dozen more words for “mud” in Irish, treated fairly exhaustively in Maidir le “Mud” (Muck, Mire, etc.)Posted by róislín on Mar 23, 2012 in Irish Language .  So that’s another topic worth revisiting someday.

Well, maybe not from the sublime to the ridiculous, but we did go from the exhaustive (and exhausting) to the one-wordish, straightforward translation, and we’ve gone through a baker’s dozen of interesting and hopefully useful words.  Any thoughts from hop-growers are especially welcome.  Or from consumers of the final liquid product.  SGF — Róislín

PS: No time or space here, but at some point I guess I should address the terms “hopa” and “hopaí” vs. “leannlus” and “leannlusanna.” At least “hopa,” being a 4th-declension noun, won’t have a distinct genitive singular form to deal with!  Love that category!

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