Irish Language Blog

Manannachas Posted by on Feb 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Great to hear recently from a Manannach, who was wondering an bhfuil Manannaigh eile ar an liosta?  Má tá, scríobhaigí isteach, mura mhiste libh.  It would be great to hear from you also. 

Speaking of things Manx, I thought we’d review some of the Manx-related terms that came up in one of the first blogs I posted here, sa bhliain 2009 (Bealtaine). 

First, the name of the island, in two versions:


Oileán Mhanann (remember, the lenited “mh” is pronounced like a “w” or “v,” depending on your dialect).  “Mhanann” is one of the possessive forms of “Manainn.”

Notice that the “i” drops out for the possessive form.  This isn’t a very typical pattern in Irish but it is found in some other place names, like “Ulaidh” (Ulster) and “An Mhumhain” (Munster).  In possessive phrases, they lose the “i,” as in Gaeilge Uladh (the Irish of Ulster) and Cúige Mumhan (the province of Munster).  This “i-dropping” also occurs in words like “máthair” and “athair,” as in “carr na máthar” and “carr an athar.”  

Next, the people:

Manannach, a Manxman

Manannach mná, a Manxwoman (though, as with Éireannach, Meiriceánach, srl. women often use the basic form, Manannach, as well)

Manannaigh, Manxmen, Manx people

And finally (for now), a few terms pertaining to the Isle of Man:

slinn Mhanann, Manx slate, lit. slate of Man (the island’s bedrock).  There is also an adjective, Manannach, but it isn’t always used.  The place name itself can also function as an adjective (as in English, “a Canada Goose,” instead of “a Canadian goose,” the latter being, I presume, any goose that happens to be from Canada).

cat Manannach (Manx cat), which is “gan ruball” (tailless).  Known in the Manx language as the Kayt Manninagh or Stubbin. 

cánóg dhubh, the Manx Shearwater, whose name in Irish doesn’t contain the reference to Man.  For those éaneolaithe amongst you, the one contrasting term I can find is “cánóg bhán” (fulmar petrel).  At one time, “cánóg” apparently could mean “seabird” in general, but now the generic term for that would usually be “éan mara.” 

And finally, some of you may remember my proposal from almost two years ago for the term:

sicín Manannach neamhphrompach, the Manx rumpy chicken.  Somehow this term doesn’t seem to have generated much buzz online since I last talked about it.  Anything we can do about that, folks?  There’s actually lots of discussion of rumplessness online in the appropriate circles (chicken-breeders).but so far, I don’t see much about what I’d like to call “neamhphrompachas.”  That word seems to fit the gob!  Oops, I mean “bill.”  

Speaking of all of this makes me wonder if Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation of  Hall Caine’s The Manxman has ever been dubbed in Manx.  A Mhanannacha, an bhfuil a fhios agaibh? 

Gluais: gob, beak, bill (of a bird), beak-nosed person, or “gob” just as we use i in English, or at least in Hiberno-English (but not “gob” as in ”a gob of gum” or a “gob” in the U.S. Navy); mura mhiste libh, if you wouldn’t mind (plural; the singular is “mura mhiste leat”);

Nóta faoin eitneainm “Manannach”: “a Mhanannacha,” Manxmen (in direct address; note the difference from the regular plural, Manannaigh).  In case you intend to address a single Manxman in Irish, the direct address form is “a Mhanannaigh,” Manxman (in direct address).  That’s a “single” Manxman as in “one Manxman.”  As for a single Manxman in the sense of one who is “neamhphósta” (or “singil”), maybe we’ll save that idea for the upcoming Valentine’s Day blogs, which will include terms of endearment and maybe some “línte pioctha suas” (shameless Béarlachas there, I know) and whatever dating jargon I can remember.    

Also, I don’t actually see any use online of “Manannachas,” but it seems to me the term should exist, for “Manxness,” just like “Éireannachas” and related terms. 

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