Irish Language Blog

Trí Fhocal ar ‘Asteroid’ (in Irish) Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Since we’ve been on this astronomy kick, covering dreigítí agus cóiméid, I figured we may as well cover asteroids as well.

Crios na nAstaróideach (NASA, fearann poiblí)

Overall, I’d say that of the three terms (meteor, comet, asteroid), the term “astaróideach” is the most straightforward of the three.  There are still several choices, but they all break down into recognizable prefixes, roots, and suffixes.  Seo iad:

1) astaróideach, clearly related to the word “asteroid” itself; its forms are:

an t-astaróideach, the asteroid

astaróidigh, of an asteroid; an astaróidigh, of the asteroid

astaróidigh, asteroids; na hastaróidigh, the asteroids

astaróideach, of asteroids, as in “braisle astaróideach” (a group of asteroids)

na n-astaróideach, of the asteroids, as in “Crios na nAstaróideach” (The Asteroid Belt, lit. the Belt of the Asteroids)

2) mionphláinéad (minor planet), based on “mion-” + “pláinéad” (planet), which is lenited, so it becomes “phláinéad” [FLAWN-ayd]

an mionphláinéad, the minor planet

mionphláinéid, of a minor planet; an mhionphláinéid [un VIN-FLAWN-aydj], of the minor planet

mionphláinéid, minor planets; na mionphláinéid, the minor planets

mionphláinéad, of minor planets

na mionphláinéad, of the minor planets

3) And the third choice, “pláinéadóideach,” is basically like saying “planetoid.”  Seo foirmeacha an fhocail sin:

an pláinéadóideach, the planetoid [un PLAWN-ayd-ohdj-ukh]

pláinéadóidigh, of a planetoid; an phláinéadóidigh, of the planetoid

pláinéadóidigh, planetoids [PLAWN-ayd-ohdj-ee]; na pláinéadóidigh, the planetoids

pláinéadóideach, of planetoids; na bpláinéadóideach, of the planetoids [nuh BLAWN-ayd-oh-idj-ukh]

So that’s three choices.  As for when to use which, primarily I leave the fine-point distinctions in usage to the actual réalteolaithe out there.  While the terms “asteroid,” “minor planet,” and “planetoid,” used to be considered more or less synonymous, the situation has gotten more complex recently, with the discovery of mionphláinéid nach astaróidigh iad.  But those issues are way above my head, as are, in fact, all the “reanna neimhe,” as I sit here faoi mo bhuaic phríobháideach féin.  And I suppose we could say that all the “reanna neimhe” are above ár gcomhchloigne go léir as we all sit beneath ár mbuaiceanna príobháideacha féin.  And on that slightly philosophical note, slán go fóill, or as Jack Horkheimer used to say (ina chlár teilifíse, Star Gazers), “leanaigí libh de bheith ag féachaint suas!”  Ar ndóigh, dúirt sé i mBéarla é.

Gluais: buaic, zenith; réalteolaí, astronomer; rinn neimhe, heavenly body, pl. reanna neimhe, heavenly bodies, from “rinn,” a feminine noun meaning “star” or “planet” (not from “rinn,” the masculine noun meaning “promontory” or “headland”)

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