Irish Language Blog

Tragóid i Háítí: An Crith Talún Posted by on Jan 15, 2010 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)  

Before returning to the ábhar éadromchroích I had planned for following up on the blogpost on “Lochlannach” (nasc thíos), I’d like to introduce some terms for discussing na himeachtaí i Háítí. 


Mostly this will just be in list format, since I find the situation almost too overwhelming, especially so close on the heels of other disasters around the world, to weave much of a text around it.  But perhaps some of you would like to send some smaointe using these frásaí in to the comments section.   


an t-adhlacadh [un TELL-uk-uh, both “dh’s” silent]: the burial

an bás (pl. na básanna): the death, the fatality

an brablach: the rubble

an Criól: the Creole (language)

an crith talún [krih TAL-oon] (pl: na creathanna [KRA-hun-nuh] talún): the earthquake

an daonra: the population

an deor (pl. na deora): the tear (that’s “tear” as in “crying”)

an t-eipealár: the epicenter

an éasclíne [AYSK-LEEN-yeh]: the fault line (éasc, m, fault, in the geological sense + líne, f, line; since “líne” is feminine, the compound word éasclíne is feminine)

an leathsféar thiar: the western hemisphere (leath + sféar)

an méid [maydj]: the magnitude (also, “amount,” in general)

an t-oibrí cabhrach [KOW-rukh]: the aid worker

an t-olladhlacadh [un TOLL-ell-uk-uh]: the mass burial

an riosca seismeach [SHESH-makh]: the seismic risk

an tír is boichte [un tcheer iss BWIH-tcheh]: the poorest country (“boichte” is from “bocht,” poor.  “Bocht” has a broad “ch,” like the German and Yiddish sounds we’ve discussed previously.  “Boichte,” the superlative form, has a slender “ch,” meaning it’s very breathy, but not in the throat like “bocht” is.  You might know the slender “ch” also from words like “oíche” [EE-hyeh] or “fiche” [FIH-hyeh], “night” and “twenty” respectively.  The sound is like the initial “h” in words like “hew,” “Hugh,” and “humid.”  It’s not easy to represent in Roman letters.  In IPA, the sound would be represented by /x’/.  IPA is a great tool for learning Irish if you use a book that uses that transcription system such as the Foclóir Póca.  If you decide to learn IPA for Irish, remember that the Foclóir Póca uses “Irish-modified” IPA, which is a bit of a saga unto itself, so Á.B.E. (ábhar blag eile).


Coiste Idirnáisiúnta na Croise Deirge: the International Committee of the Red Cross

Crois Dhearg na hÉireann: the Irish Red Cross Society

scála Richter: Richter scale


ag caoineadh, ag gol: crying, weeping; caoineadh coscrach, heart-rending lamenting

ag sileadh na ndeor: shedding tears (as the subject of a sentence, deora is the plural, but here the plural form drops the final “-a,” for a combination of two reasons – it’s definite in Irish (na ndeor) though not in English, and it follows a verbal noun).   

ar iarraidh: missing

marbh: dead; na mairbh: the dead (as a noun)


an Háítíoch (pl, as noun: na Háítígh, pronounced [HAWTCH-eee, with the last syllable of the plural drawn out just a tad longer than normal]: the Haitian (person)


Háítí: There’s not too much difference in the spelling of Haiti in English and in Irish, except that the Irish has the two long vowels.  While many country names in Irish are preceded by the definite article (An Spáinn, An Fhrainc, An Bholaiv, an tSeapáin), some, like Háítí and a good many others (Meicsiceo, Ceanada, Cúba, Eacuadór, Lucsamburg), are not.  “Háítí” is feminine, as are many country names, but with no definite article and no lenitable consonant at the beginning of the word, it’s almost impossible to predict the inscne (gender).


“Tá ár bhféiniúlacht caillte againn.  Ní eisim.”  Sin dhá abairt choscracha ó mharantóir a bhí ar an nuacht agus a bhfuil Gaeilge curtha agam orthu. 

NascIarsmaoineamh (maidir leis an bhfocal “Lochlannach”) Posted by  on Jan 12, 2010 in Irish Language


Nótaí: féiniúlacht, identity; caillte, lost; abairt, sentence; coscrach, heart-rending; eisim [ESH-im], I exist, in the philosophical sense; marantóir, survivor.  So “Ní eisim” means “I don’t exist.”  There are at least two more ways one could say “I don’t exist”—Níl mé ann (lit. I’m not in it, i.e. in existence) or “Níl mo leithéid ann,” a twist on the well-known expression “Ní bheidh ár leithéidí arís ann” (the likes of us will not exist again”), but here expressed in the present tense, giving it some added poignancy.  Hmm, maybe a fourth way, “Is neamhdhuine mé,” (I’m a non-entity/non-person).   


Nótaí deiridh: éadrom, light (adj); croíoch, -hearted; imeacht, going; imeachtaí, events


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