Sraothartach (Sneezing), Smaoisíl (Sniffling), and Srannadh (Snoring) Posted by róislín on Mar 30, 2009 in Irish Language
As promised, we’ll address sneezing and related phenomena in today’s blog. You might have already anticipated that some more beannachtaí (blessings) and wishes for good health will be involved, just as they are with English (bless you, Gesundheit).
Sraoth is a sneeze. In Irish, it’s not so customary to use a verb that actually means “to sneeze,” but rather someone “makes” or “releases” a sneeze.
If you’re fairly new to the language, remember that the “th” at the end of sraoth is basically silent, just a little puff of breath. The same thing applies to sraothartach, although the puff of breath in the middle of the word is more pronounced, like the “h” sound in “huh” – SREE-hur-tukh.
Examples could include:
Rinne sé sraoth. He sneezed.
Lig sé sraoth dhá uair. He sneezed two times.
Cad a deir tú má ligeann duine sraoth? What do you say (in Irish) when someone sneezes?
The most widely heard response for the first sneeze is “Dia linn” (God bless us, or literally, God with us). This would seem to ensure the good health of everyone in the vicinity! In Irish formulaic fashion, the response to a second sneeze, or a first sneeze if it is especially strong, is “Dia linn, is Muire” (God and Mary bless us).
A little more cryptically, one could wish the sneezer “capall bán fút” (a white horse beneath you). I’ve never found a real explanation for this unusual phrase and can’t say I’ve heard it used very often. ”Dia linn“ is far more widespread. But at least the white horse wish is intriguing (like many other traditional phrases in Irish)!
A few other choice terms pertaining to one’s srón (nose):
smaoisíl (sniffling, sniveling), as in Tá an leanbh ag smaoisíl (The child is sniffling).
srannadh (snoring), as in Tá an seanduine ag srannadh (The old man is snoring).
As far as I know, there are no traditional blessings for sniffling, sniveling, or snoring, although some srannairí (snorers) could probably use some. Or at least those in aice leo (near them) could!
Bhur mblagálaí – Róislín
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