Téarmaí Nollag gan an Focal “Nollaig” – Cána Candaí, Bleathach Uibhe, agus Fíoracha Sinséir Posted by róislín on Dec 30, 2009 in Irish Language
Seo roinnt téarmaí faoin Nollaig nach bhfuil an focal “Nollaig” féin iontu (some Christmasy terms that don’t have the word “Christmas” itself in them):
an cána candaí, the candy cane
an bhleathach uibhe, the eggnog or the egg-flip. ”Bleathach” normally means “grist” or “oat-meal cake.” Add “uibhe,” the possessive form of “ubh” (egg), and somehow, you get a beverage, lit. “egg-grist” (Say “Céard!”). The word “an bhleathach” looks curiously similar to, but isn’t the same as, “an bhláthach” (the buttermilk).
an t-arán sinséir, the gingerbread
an fhíor sinséir, the gingerbread man, lit. the ginger[bread] figure, from “fíor” (figure). Interesting, i mo bharúil ar a laghad, go bhfuil an téarma ar son “gingerbread man” baininscneach (feminine, grammatically) mar tá an focal “fíor” baininscneach. A nicely politically correct and non-gender-biased term. How the gingerbread man himself feels about his grammatical gender being feminine is something I can’t determine and it might be, as they say, more than anyone wants to know.
an fhíor sinséir, the gingerbread woman, exactly the same as the phrase above. Hmmm, curiouser and curiouser. I suppose if one really needed to be specific you could say “an fhíor sinséir fhireann” (the male gingerbread figure) and “an fhíor sinséir bhaineann” (the female gingerbread figure). For example, you could say:
“Bain úsáid as rísíní mar chnaipí don fhíor sinséir fhireann ach déan sciorta reoáin don fhíor sinséir bhaineann.” (Use raisins as buttons for the gingerbread man but make a skirt of icing for the gingerbread woman).
Not that most gingerbread figures are i gcruth ceart de réir anatamaíochta (as close as I can get to saying “anatomically-correct” in Irish), anyway. This is the point where I’ll stop the discussion of the inscne (gender) of gingerbread figures, since this is a blag a thacaíonn le teaghlaigh (family-friendly blog).
But just one last thought. One could always defy established lexicography and just say “an fear sinséir” (lit. “the ginger man,” the man of ginger[bread]) and “an bhean sinséir (lit. “the ginger woman,” the woman of ginger[bread]). Irish often has more than one way to say the same thing, some in the dictionary and some simply in popular usage. There are also some references online to “fear an aráin sinséir” (the man of the bread of ginger), which is quite clear but longer, as well as to “buachaillín sinséir” (little ginger[bread] boy). I add “bread” in square brackets to the English to clarify that I’m not trying to say the boy is “ginger” (red-haired). Not that I’ve ever seen a “buachaillín sinséir rua” (a red-haired gingerbread boy), come to think of it.
So, on that side-note, I’ll wrap this one up for now, and add a few more terms before New Year’s, and then we’ll get to the second half of the Twelve Days of Christmas! Then, hmmm, Mí Eanáir (January)? I might even have something to say about hagaois (haggis) before the month is out. Fainic! (Look out!). Slán go fóill — Róislín
Some pronunciation tips:
bleathach [BLA-hukh] (silent “t”)
an bhleathach uibhe [un VLA-hukh IV-uh]
an bhláthach [un VLAW-hukh]
cruth [kruh, silent “t”]
fhíor [eer, slightly like “ee-ur” but not a real distinct second syllable; the “fh” is silent]
teaghlaigh [TCHA-lee, both “g’s” silent]
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