Irish Language Blog

The Irish Twelve Days of Christmas Redux Redux with a Blogliography of Other Blogs on the Song Posted by on Dec 25, 2015 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Cé mhéad bronntanas? (Pictiúr le Xavier Romero-Frias,

Cé mhéad bronntanas? (Pictiúr le Xavier Romero-Frias,

First, you’re probably wondering why the “redux redux.”  That’s because we’ve looked at all the verses of this song quite thoroughly over the last few years.  Féach an blagliosta (blogliography) thíos.  And we’ve already had one recap (18 Mí na Nollag 2013), so this is now the second recap (reredux?).

In the first recap, we tried fitting the words for the gifts into the phrases describing them, like adding “cailíní” to “(an méad)  ____  bleánaí” (or “ag bleán“).  A fun exercise which could be easily used in an Irish language classroom, come December.

Here we’ll use a word bank to match the numbers to the gifts.   And to mix it up a bit more, I’ve used all the relevant bunuimhreacha and the uimhreacha pearsanta in the word bank, so there are twice as many choices as necessary.  And I added the maoluimhreacha (minus the “a” particle), when they are different from the bunuimhreacha!  No simple little single “freagra breise” to ratchet up the dúshlán a notch.  This one’s ratcheted up eangaí go leor.

Oh, and one number is used twice, but I won’t tell you which one (nyah-ah-ah!)

dhá trí beirt haon
aon … déag amháin dhá … dhéag ceathair seisear
ocht cúig naoi cúigear
ceithre hocht seacht dó dhéag seachtar
deich triúr ceathrar ochtar dháréag
naonúr aon … dhéag aon déag dáréag deichniúr

Agus anois, na frásaí.  Freagraí agus nótaí fuaimnithe (pronunciation) thíos:

1a. patraisc ______

1b. crann piorraí ______

  1. ______ fhearán (OR ______ fhéarán, and you could add “bhreaca” or “Eorpacha” to either version, since the song doesn’t specify.  If you ask me, “bhreaca” sings well here, metrically, but “Eorpacha” doesn’t really.  Same answer for both blanks, btw.
  2. ______ chearc fhrancacha
  3. ______ lon dhubha (Remember, “calling” is supposedly actually “colly” or “coaly,” i.e. “black”)
  4. ______ fháinne óir
  5. ______ ghé ag breith
  6. ______ n-eala ag snámh
  7. ______cailíní bleánaí(or “ag bleán“)
  8. ______ ban ag damhsa (Remember: “ban” means “of women,” so this phrase is close to saying “a nonet of women,” although the English word “nonet” is mostly limited to describing musical groups)
  9. ______ tiarnaí ag léimneach
  10. ______ phíobaire ______ ag píobaireacht
  11. ______ drumadóirí ag drumadóireacht

Bhuel, I hope you found that to be a fun but challenging work-out.  Tá na freagraí, le cúpla nóta, thíos. 

Nollaig Shona, agus is cuma cén lá a léann tú é seo. — Róislín

Freagraí agus nótaí:

1a. patraisc amháin [PAHT-rishk uh-WAW-in, the “m” is silent]

1b. crann piorraí amháin [krahn PyUR-ee uh-WAW-in]

  1. dhá fhearán [γaw AR-awn, that gamma sign (γ) is the voiced velar fricative, for which there is a description at the following link  and various other blogs in this series; loosely speaking it’s like a guttural “h,” similar to the “ch” of German “Buch,” Welsh “bach,” and Yiddish “chutzpah,” but deeper in the throat.  For starters on the “dh,” try “Saying “I love you” in Irish and Minding Your Velar Fricatives (9 Meán Fómhair 2011) at]
  2. trí chearc fhrancacha [trzhee hyark RANK-ukh-uh]
  3. ceithre lon dhubha(remember, “calling” is supposedly actually “colly” or “coaly,” i.e. “black”).  And remember the “γ” sound in “dhubha” [say: γUV-uh)
  4. cúig fháinne óir [KOO-ig AWN-yuh oh-irzh]
  5. sé ghé ag breith [shay yay egg brzheh]
  6. seacht n-eala ag snámh [shakht NAL-uh egg snawv]
  7. ochtar cailíní bleánaí(or “ag bleán“) [OKH-tur KAI-leen-ee BLyAW-nee … or “egg blyawn”]
  8. naonúr ban ag damhsa [NEE-noor bahn egg DOW-suh
  9. deichniúr tiarnaí ag léimneach [DJEH-nyoor TCHEER-nee egg LAYM-nyukh]
  10. aon phíobaire dhéag ag píobaireacht [ayn FEEB-irzh-uh yayg egg PEEB-irzh-ukht]
  11. dháréag drumadóirí ag drumadóireacht [γawr-ayg DRUM-uh-doh-irzh-ee egg DRUM-uh-doh-irzh-ukht; remember that “drum-” in Irish isn’t quite like the English “drum.”  The vowel “u” in the Irish is more like the English “put” while in English, “drum” and “to putt” have the same vowel sound.

Sin iad!  364 bronntanas, or if you just count one set per day, you still get an impressive ocht mbronntanas is ochtó (88).

And where did the big change occur in the sequence of numbers?  With Véarsa a hOcht, where we start using the “uimhreacha pearsanta” (personal numbers) because we’re counting people, not things.   And where, if at all, would we use the maoluimhreacha?   Nowhere in this song, but maybe if we added an exercise like taking roll call of the gift people, identifying each member of the group by number:   “Drumadóir ag drumadóireacht a haon?” and the drummer would answer “Tá mé anseo.”   Then “Drumadóir ag drumadóireacht a dó?” and drummer number two would answer, “Tá mé anseo.”  Sounds kind of boring to me, but it would offer some practice with the maoluimhreacha.

Blaganna Eile faoin Amhrán Seo: (Cé Mhéad Patraisc? Cé Mhéad Drumadóir? (or ’12 Lá na Nollag’ Redux and an Irish Counting Lesson to boot) Posted on 18. Dec, 2013 by róislín in Irish Language  Bunuimhreacha, Orduimhreacha is Maoluimhreacha — A Thiarcais! (Oh my!) Posted on 25. Dec, 2012 Dhá Lá Dhéag na Nollag (The Twelve Days of Christmas), Posted on 25. Dec, 2010 Cearca Francacha agus Lonta Dubha (Cuid a Dó don tSraith: Dhá Lá Dhéag na Nollag) Posted on 29. Dec, 2010 “Ór,” “Óir” or “Órga”? “Fáinne” or “Éan”? Éan?! (Cuid a Trí: Dhá Lá Dhéag na Nollag) Posted on 31. Dec, 2010 JAN 4 2011: Géanna agus Ealaí (Cuid a Ceathair: Dhá Lá Dhéag na Nollag) Posted on 04. Jan, 2011 Na hUimhreacha Pearsanta i nGaeilge (Irish Personal Numbers and Cuid a Cúig or the Last Installment of Dhá Lá Dhéag na Nollag) Posted on 06. Jan, 2011

Tags: , , , , , ,
Keep learning Irish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

Leave a comment: