Irish Language Blog

Lennox (2005-2012): Requiescat in Pace Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Lennox óg

There is little left that I can add to the outpouring of empathy for the Barnes family that has arisen following the killing of their innocent dog, Lennox.  As many of you know, he was taken from his home in Belfast by dog wardens in 2010, confined for two years in a cell with a sawdust floor, and “humanely” euthanized on the morning of July 11th, 2012.  The story is well known, but suffice it to say, that if his euthanization itself was painless, due to the nature of the drug, his treatment at the hands of the Belfast City Council was not.  While there are thousands, perhaps millions of examples of the mistreatment of dogs (madraí) happening daily, this one is particularly poignant because Lennox was not aggressive, and was devoted to his family, especially the daughter, Brooke, for whom he functioned almost as a service dog.  He was condemned because he looked like a pit bull “type,” whatever exactly that is supposed to mean.   And he wasn’t even pitbull as such; he was a mixed breed, generally described as bulladóir-labradór (well, most people described him in English, bulldog-labrador, but that goes without saying). Over 200,000 people signed an achainí thrócaire on his behalf, mise ina measc, and according one article over a million coinnle ar líne were lit for him (ceann uaimse ina measc).

Lennox ina chillín phriosúin

I can add a little Irish terminology to the mix, and if you stay tuned for the next blog, you’ll find an imaginary scene of Lennox being welcomed to Droichead an Tuar Ceatha, better known in English as “The Rainbow Bridge,” where pet owners believe their loved ones wait to be reunited with them.  There, I hope he will find some other Celtic hounds who have served and loved their owners well, in one case with tragic consequences.  Two of the dogs are fictional, one may be fictional but is certainly legendary (and his grave site is known, at least allegedly), and the last was a quite real and majestic deerhound, memorialized in at least two statues (in Albain) and according to Scott family history, at least one hand-painted snuff-box lid, from Germany, no less.  That blog will be posted as quickly as possible.

Anyway, here’s the some Irish vocabulary related to this sad topic.

eotanáis, euthanasia.  Although the “eu-” prefix is the positive element in the Greek-based word (as also in “euphony,” “euphemism,” and “Utopia”), in Irish the first syllable “eo-” is really just an adaption of the “eu-” sound and spelling.   It shows up in a few other words, not many; some examples are Eocairist (Eucharist), eofón (euphonium), eoitéicteach (eutectic), and eoclaip (eucalyptus).   Most other Irish words that start with “eo-” are either native Irish words where the “eo-” is integral (not a prefix), such as “eochair” or “eorna,” or are based on the actual Greek “eo-,” referring to time periods, as in “eoicéineach” (eocene).

pór, breed (the noun); may also mean “seed,” though that is usually “síol

sainphóir, breed-specific.  I can’t actually find this in any dictionary, but it’s a very straightforward compound word, structured like “sainaoise” (age-specific) and “sainghalair” (disease-specific).  One could also say “sainiúil don phór,” but that becomes a bit bulky when it’s simply one element within a phrase like “breed-specific legislation.”  Note that with “sainphóir,” “sainaoise,” and “sainghalair,” the noun element has the possessive ending, the typical Irish structure for attributive adjectives based on nouns.  The root form of those nouns would be “pór” (as we just saw), “aois” (age), and “galar” (disease).

reachtaíocht, legislation.  Again, I find no specific examples of “reachtaíocht” used with any variation of “s(h)ainphóir” or “sainiúil don phór (or: do phórtha, for plural).  Some typical examples of the word “reachtaíocht” are  “reachtaíocht in aghaidh trustaí” (anti-trust legislation) and “reachtaíocht frithbhaghcait” [… FRIH-WOY-kitch, silent “t,” “b,” and “g”] (anti-boycott legislation).

There’s a lot more one could say, in Irish or otherwise, but for now that will have to suffice.  Please continue reading for the next blog, in which the other dogs welcome Lennox at the Rainbow Bridge.   Slán go fóill, agus slán, a Lennox, a thaisce is a stór (cé nár chas tú orm riamh mothaím gur chas), Róislín

Gluais:  achainí [AHKH-in-yee], petition; droichead [DRIH-hyad], bridge; fiachú, deerhound; tuar ceatha, rainbow

Nóta faoin bhfrása: achainí thrócaire, “petition for a reprieve.”  This seems to be the best phrase to use here although I’m not really sure “reprieve” is the right word here — is it “reprieve” if you’re not guilty of anything?  “Trócaire” can also mean “mercy” or “pity,” though, and that is more the sense in which the phrase is applied here.  Unfortunately, mercy was not delivered, either to Lennox himself or to his family.

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