Irish Language Blog

Traein na nDineasár: Gluaisín do Théamamhrán an Chláir Teilifíse (Cuid 1/3) Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Before we completely leave the topic of “na dineasáir” and “na teireasáir,” as discussed in several recent blogs (naisc thíos), I thought it might be useful to provide a little glossary to the Irish version of the “Dinosaur Train” theme-song.  It’s a charming little song and has been translated beautifully into Irish.  You can hear it at

BTW, the liricí go by so fast that I had to listen to this about deich n-uaire before I could catch all the words.   In this blog, I’ve glossed the phrases I think are most interesting or challenging from a language viewpoint.  I’ve left them in sequence to make it easier to follow the original (instead of putting them in ord na haibítre).

1) fadó fadó: one “fadó” simply means “long ago,” doubling up the phrase makes it mean “long long ago.”

2) Bean Uí Tearanódóin [ban ee ter-AN-oh-dohn].  NB: within the pronunciation guide, this “ban” is pronounced like the English word “ban,” i.e. rhyming with “tan” or “man” (except, I guess, “man” i mBéarla Iamáice, which is more like “mahn”).  In other words, it’s not like the actual Irish word “ban,” which is pronounced more like “bahn” and means “of women,” as in “Sliabh na mBan,” aka, i mBéarla, “Slievenamon”}.  “Bean Uí” is one of the two standard ways of saying “Mrs.” in Irish; literally it’s “woman of.”  This form is used for “O” surnames, so presumably the family surname is “Ó Tearanódóin.”  Normally, of course, we’d have lenition of the “t” for the “Mrs.” form, but here that the original “t” sound remains.

What’s the other way to say “Mrs.,” you might be wondering?  It’s “Bean Mhic” [ban vik], as in “Bean Mhic Liam” (Mrs. Williams, lit. “wife of Mac Liam”).  And both forms, Bean Uí and Bean Mhic, can also drop the “bean” element and simply appear with the woman’s first name, as in “Úna Uí Mhurchú” (Mrs. Úna Murphy, or Agnes, Oona, etc.) and “Úna Mhic Liam” (Mrs. Úna Williams).  Changing “Ó” to “” and “Mac” to “Mhic” is sufficient to show that we mean “Mrs.”   But the ins and outs of titles in Irish are definitively ábhar blag eile, so let’s get back to the topic at, errmm, claw.

Bottom line?  “Bean Uí Tearanódóin” means “Mrs. Pteranodon.”

3)  ina suí [in-uh see], sitting: since Bean Uí Tearanódóin is female, we use the feminine form for this phrase.  If the male of the species kept the egg warm until hatching, as with na piongainí impireacha (Aptenodytes forsteri), we’d say “ina shuí” [in-uh hee, with the “hee” sound of “shuí” (sitting) conveniently, but simply by coincidence, matching the masculine pronoun “he”].  Actually the piongain impireach stays “ina sheasamh” (standing) while the ubh is incubating, but that’s also ábhar blag eile” (ina suí vs. ina shuí, ina seasamh vs. ina sheasamh, srl.)

4) ag goradh [egg — what a coincidence! — GOR-uh], hatching.   The Irish preposition “ag” (at) is pronounced like English “egg” and doesn’t rhyme with English “bag” or “crag.”  Comhtharlú suimiúil for today’s blog, nach ea?

5) ceann le ceann, one by one.  Remember, “ceann” can mean “one” as well as “head.”

6) beagán níos mó, a little bigger.  Note that in this recording, “” is pronounced with an “oo” (ú) sound, like English “moot” or “moon.”  Many other speakers pronounce “” as “moh,” as one might expect from the spelling.   The same pronunciation (ó as ú) occurs with other words such as “,” which often sounds as if it were spelled “.”

Bhuel, it looks like this will be at least a “blag dhá chuid,” perhaps even a “blag trí chuid,” since we’re just about at the halfway point of the song.  Tuilleadh le teacht!  But meanwhile, I hope you check out the song if you haven’t already.  Agus bain sult as!  SGF, Róislín

Nascliosta (na blaganna eile faoi thearanódóin agus faoi theireadachtalaigh, srl.)




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