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Táirge Gearrshaolach Guinness – An Cuimhin Leat É? Ar Bhlais Tú É? Posted by on Sep 28, 2009 in Irish Language

I’m still mulling over some good descriptions of Guinness in Irish and the one that comes first to mind, in English, doesn’t seem to exactly fit in Irish.  “Mellow” could be “méith” or “súmhar” or “maothlach” or “lánaibí.  But these could also mean “fertile,” “succulent,” mushy,” or “fully ripe/mature,” in that order, and none of those terms seem to conjure up blas pionta Guinness, at least not “i mo shamhlaíocht féin.”  Smaointe ar bith ag duine ar bith?  Any ideas, any one?  If so, please send them in as comments on the blogs.transparent.com/irish/ page. 


So I’ll look for another Irish angle on Guinness for the time being, and wait to see what suggestions you might have for describing “a pint of plain” aka “your only man” aka “cara an oibrí,” to borrow rather loosely from Flann O’Brien aka Myles na gCopaleen aka Brian O’Nolan.  OK with the aka’s, just trying to be thorough and give credit where credit is due.


Bhíodh Guinness “Breó” ann agus deirtear go raibh blas “citreach” air sin.  Rinneadh as cruithneacht é agus bhi torthaí agus spíosraí ann. 


Too bad “Breó” didn’t catch on, since it showed that the company was trying to use Irish to promote a new product.  It was discontinued in 2000.  The word “Breó” was based on the Irish word “breo” (usually without any long mark), which has a variety of meanings.  Guinness defined it as “glow,” but it can also mean “fire,” “flame,” “torch,” or “brand” (the burnable kind).  In most cases, the word “breo” is a bit on the poetic side.  There are more basic words that I would say cover the same meanings: tine (fire), lasair or bladhm (flame), tóirse (torch, flashlight), and splanc (brand).  Breo” is also used as part of the Irish word for “flint,” which is “breochloch” (lit. fire- or spark-stone). 


But as a product name, it was certainly tarraingteach (catchy, attractive).  I’m sure that that as a brand name, Breó’s similarity to the Italian word, brio (vigor, vivacity) was neither coincidental nor overlooked by the creators of Guinness’s advertising campaign for that brew.  In fact, though Italian, the word “brio” is believed to have Celtic roots, as are a small but interesting number of other Celtic words we know via Latin or the more modern Romance languages.  Of course, the idea of a “brew” that has both “brio” and “breo” is especially appealing, both from a marketing viewpoint and for the “blaslóga” (taste buds). 


An cuimhin le léitheoir ar bith “Breó?”  Ar bhlais duine ar bith agaibh “Breó?”


Nótaí: gearrshaolach [GYAR-HEEL-ukh, note silent “s”] short-lived; mo shamhlaíocht [muh HOW-lee-ukht] my imagination; bhíodh [VEE-ukh] used to be, used to exist; deirtear, it is said; rinneadh, was made; cruithneacht [KRIN-yukht, note: first “t” is silent], wheat; torthaí [TOR-hee] fruit; an cuimhin le X [un KIV-in le X] Does X remember; bhlais [vlash] tasted


Fuaimniú: méith [may], súmhar [SOO-wur], maothlach [MWEE-lukh]; bladhm [blime, that is more or less rhyming with the fruit, “lime,” the “d” being completely silent; breochloch [broh-khlukh]

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