Irish Language Blog

Looking at the ‘aon’ in ‘aontaithe’ (united) Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Well, the Scottish Referendum has come and gone and I find myself wondering what will happen sa todhchaí (in the future).

But meanwhile, it might be useful to look at the Irish word for “united,” since it shows up in many other phrases and terms, aside from “An Ríocht Aontaithe.”

Aontaithe” is based on the number “aon” (one).  This seemingly short and easy word in Irish does have a few interesting features, such as:

1) becoming “a haon” when telling time, reading off numbers, etc. (the so-called “independent” number usage): a haon a chlog, or, for New York’s area code 212: a dó, a haon, a dó

2) also meaning “any” in certain phrases: aon duine (aka “éinne“), any person; aon rud, anything; to say “one person” or “one thing,” we use a different form of the number one: duine amháin, rud amháin

3) similar to point 2, being replaced by “amháin,” in general, for actually counting things: bus amháin, one bus (but “Bus a hAon” is “Bus No. 1)

Related words are:

aontas, union

aontú, to agree or agreeing (An aontaíonn tú leis sin?, etc.)

aontacht, unity, oneness

Aontachtaí, a Unionist

Here are some samples of the word “aontaithe“:

Na Stáit Aontaithe, the United States

Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, the United States of America; note that the word “na” (“the,” plural) is now dropped because we’ve added “Mheiriceá–and the full explanation will have to be ábhar blag eile

sna Stáit, in the States (usually implies in the United States, at least if capitalized); note the use of “sna,” not “sa” or “na

sna Stáit Aontaithe, in the United States

Uachtarán na Stát Aontaithe, the President of the United States; note the change from “stáit” to “stát” because we’re using “an tuiseal ginideach;” full explanation, again, ábhar blag eile

Uachtarán Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, the President of the United States of America

Here are a few more uses of “aontaithe

Stáit Aontaithe Mheicsiceo, although the more casual usage would be to just say “Meicsiceo,” just like we often simply say “Meiriceá,” not “Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá.”

na Náisiúin Aontaithe, the United Nations.  Note that here we keep the “na” (“the,” plural) because we’re not saying “the United Nations” of [something], just “the United Nations”

There are many subsidiary organizations to “na Náisiúin Aontaithe,” such as this one, abbreviated “CÉINAL“:

Ciste Éigeandála Idirnáisiúnta na Náisiún Aontaithe do Leanaí

An dtuigeann tú é?  Freagra thíos! 

You might have noticed that “náisiúin” has changed to “náisiún” in this phrase.  Why?  Because it’s genitive plural, i.e. we’re saying, literally: international fund (of) emergency (of) the United Nations for children

And one more phrase with “aontaithe,” for now,

Poblacht Aontaithe na Tansáine, the United Republic of Tanzania; again, frequently referred to in its shorter form, “an Tansáin

By the way, regarding the word ‘future,’ as mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog, note that there at least two main words for this in Irish:

todhchaí [TOW-khee], ‘future’ as a noun, in my experience mostly encountered in the phrase “sa todhchaí

fáistíneach [FAWSH-tcheen-yukh], ‘future’ as an adjective, for phrases like “an aimsir fháistíneach’ [un AM-shirzh AWSH-tcheen-yukh], the future tense, when referring to verbs

And then there’s ‘futures’ in the business sense, todhchaíochtaí (singular: todhchaíocht), but I can’t say that was ever much a part of any gnáthchomhráite I ever had sa Ghaeltacht!

For that matter, there’s also ‘ciúb-thodhchaíochas,’ a term which makes perfect sense, but which, again, I haven’t encountered much, even in English, except perhaps in an exhibition catalog.  Which is a clue, since this term pertains to ealaín (art).  It means “cubo-futurism.”  Defining “cubo-futurism” as such, though, I’ll leave to ealaíontóirí ar bith ar an liosta seo, if they’d like to volunteer their opinions.

Bhuel, sin é don bhlag seo.  An chéad Reifreann eile?  SGF — Róislín

Freagra: Ciste Éigeandála Idirnáisiúnta na Náisiún Aontaithe do Leanaí: United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

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