Irish Language Blog

Nature Words in Irish, pt. 4: blackberry, budgerigar/parakeet, buttercup (and bluebell in review) Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Irish Language

(le Róislín) , CC0 Public Domain. Téacs Gaeilge le Róislín, 2019

Continuing our list of nature words in Irish, today’s blog will cover the following: blackberry, budgie/budgerigar/parakeet, and buttercup, with a nod back to “bluebell,” which was the first subject treated in this series.   Is é sin le rá, déanfaidh muid na “b-anna.”  “acorn” (dearcán) agus “almond” (almóinn) déanta againn cheana féin.  BTW, probably when this series is finished, we’ll re-alphabetize it “in ord na haibítre i nGaeilge” and do one big summary article.  But for now, I’m using the English word order, since I pulled the list together from various English language publications.  And the blog posts will cover small clusters of entries, grouped alphabetically.

For anyone new to this series of blogs, it’s not a random list — it’s the nature words that were removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary (OJD) to make room for tech and social media words, like MP3 player and chatroom.  The removal of the nature words has triggered ongoing controversy since it was first noticed, ca. 2009.  I’ve also asked and would love to hear from readers what they would think of the removal of similar words from an Irish dictionary, and if anyone further afield can respond, what would happen if words like “bilby” or “moa” were removed from an Australian or New Zealand dictionary, respectively.

But regardless of these lexicographical issues, they’re great words to know, anyway, so here we go.  Na B-anna!

a blackberry:  sméar dhubh (needless to say, this is the actual berry, not the communications device)

Here are some basic forms of the word, and a few related phrases:

an sméar dhubh, the blackberry

na sméire duibhe, of the blackberry

na sméara dubha, the blackberries

na  sméar dubh, of the blackberries

And the related phrases:

blackberry jam: subh sméara dubha

picking blackberries: ag piocadh sméara dubha

picking the blackberries: ag piocadh na sméar dubh

blackberrying: ag piocadh sméara dubha

a budgerigar  (“budgie”): budragár.  Also known in the US as a “parakeet”.  There are varying opinions about whether budgies and parakeets are exactly the same bird.  Not being an ‘éaneolaí,” I’m not going to try to solve this issue here, but for those interested, I’ve provided two links with contrasting opinions below (i mBéarla).  The one thing that I can definitively say is that Irish has a separate word for each, but further background on parakeet isn’t as relevant to the main theme of this blog (words removed from the OJD), since I doubt if “parakeet” was ever included to begin with, being more of a US term, when it comes to Melopsittacus undulatus

At any rate, here are some basic forms for “budgie”

an budragár, the budgerigar

an bhudragáir, of the budgerigar (fara an bhudragáir, the perch of the budgerigar)

na budragáir, the budgerigars

na mbudragár, of the budgerigars (dathanna na mbudragár, the colors of the budgies)

And for parakeet (pearaicít):

an phearaicít, the parakeet

na pearaicíte, of the parakeet (gob crúcach na pearaicíte, the hooked beak of the parakeet)

na pearaicítí, the parakeets

na bpearaicítí, of the parakeets ( bréagáin cháis na bpearaicítí, mar shampla bréagáin choganta agus bréagáin a neartaíonn an gob, the cage toys of the parakeets, for example, chew toys and beak-strengthening toys)

The buttercup (cam an ime) has been discussed pretty thoroughly in a previous blog (nasc thíos) and there are many varieties, so I’ll simply provide a list here, and perhaps we’ll investigate them further some day.  It’s very striking that although all of these are types of buttercups, the root (!) words are very varied (fearbán, cam, gruaig, toircheas (!), tuile, and gairgín), not simply variations on one word.  In English, afaik, the basic variations are “buttercup” and the former name, now in limited usage, “crowfoot.”  Anyway, here’s the list, starting with the most basic words: fearbán, cam an ime (cam = cresset), and crobh préacháin (close to the English ‘crowfoot’), and then the more specialized terms: fearbán féir (meadow-buttercup), fearbán beag (small-flowered buttercup), fearbán reatha (creeping buttercup), gruaig Mhuire (goldilocks buttercup),  toircheas fiáin (celery-leaved buttercup aka cursed buttercup, OK, this needs a little more research, toircheas lit. means “pregnancy” and “fiáin” means “wild”!), and “tuile thalún” (bulbous buttercup).  And then there are two more terms for “common buttercup” but, after all this, I’m still trying to figure out what “common buttercup” actually is — the Irish terms, anyway, are “fearbán léana” or “gairgín.”

“Bluebell” will also just be a quick reference here, since it was treated pretty thoroughly in the blogpost that launched this series.  It’s “cloigín gorm,” quite literally “little bell blue,” with “cloigíní gorma” for the plural.

I hope we all have enough reason to talk about nature to bring these some of the words, at least, into our everyday conversations.  An chéad bhlag eile?  Na c-anna, ar ndóigh.  Is é sin le rá na c-anna i mBéarla: catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, and crocus).  SGF — Róisín

iarbhlaganna sa tsraith seo (nature words)

‘Bluebell’ or ‘Broadbrand’: Which Word Should Be in a Children’s Dictionary? — A British Example and Irish Question Posted by róislín on Aug 20, 2019 in Irish Language

Nature Words: Should They Be in a Children’s Dictionary or Not? Let’s Consider the Irish Word “dearcán” (acorn) Posted by  on Aug 31, 2019 in Irish Language

Nature Words: the Irish for ‘almond’ and a baker’s dozen of related termsPosted by  on Sep 18, 2019 in Irish Language

iarbhlag faoin fhearbán (buttercup):

An Maith Leat __?  (Can you complete the question in Irish?) Posted by  on May 21, 2016 in Irish Language

budragáir vs. pearaicítí (mar théarmaí): By Alyson Kalhagen  Updated 10/04/19  Posted on May Author homekeethome

And in case you’ve run out of articles to read online, this one is probably more or less as relevant to budgies as it is to parrots:  July 29, 2013 by Carol D’Arezzo and Lauren Shannon-Nunn (aon chatagóir déag de bhréagáin do phearáidí — mh’anam!)

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