Uirlisí Ceoil: Musical Instruments (18 Irish Words or Phrases) | Irish Language Blog

LearnIrishwith Us!

Start Learning!

Irish Language Blog

Uirlisí Ceoil: Musical Instruments (18 Irish Words or Phrases) Posted by on Apr 7, 2018 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Néal focal le Róislín do Transparent Language, 2018

Recently we’ve been looking at the Irish words for various musical instruments, particularly those used for playing ceol traidisiúnta (naisc thíos). Today we’ll review the ten terms previously introduced and add eight more.  Additional suggestions are welcome, especially if anyone can think of some non-traditional instruments (uirlisí neamhthraidisiúnta) for playing ceol traidisiúnta.

Today, we’ll just practice using the word “the” with these words, instead of practicing with phrases like “ag seinm” (playing), ag bualadh” (playing, beating, hitting), or “ag casadh” (playing, but also means turning, twisting, etc. — so that would be perfect for the hurdaí-gurdaí, which I guess I’ll have to introduce next time.  That and the orgán bairille!).   From an English language perspective, adding “the” might seem like a, well, a cakewalk, but in Irish it is more challenging.

If you already know a language like Spanish or French, you know that grammatical gender is a major feature of the language, and that you always have to decide (or just intuitively know) whether to say “el” or “la” or “le” or “la.”  Spanish also has specific feminine plural and masculine plural forms.  German goes even further, with three genders (marked by “der,” “die,” and “das“), plus specific rules for plurals.

With Irish, the situation is almost in reverse, but grammatical gender is still very important.  In Irish, the definite article is either “an” or “na,” but unlike those other languages, “an” is used for both masculine and feminine nouns (an fear, the man; an bhean, the woman).  “Na” (the plural form) is also used for both masculine and feminine nouns (na fir, the men; na mná, the women).  For today’s purposes, we won’t be dealing with the word “the” in possessive phrases, like “hata an fhir” (the hat of the man), “hataí na bhfear” (the hats of the men), “hata na mná” (the hat of the woman), and “hataí na mban” (the hats of the women), except to note that yes, there is that distinction and we’ll talk about it more another time.

So how do we see grammatical gender in action in Irish?  By what happens after the definite article is applied!   Remember: bean, a woman, but an bhean, the woman.  That change is called lenition (séimhiú) and we have to remember to use it for words starting with b, c, f, g, m, p, if the word is feminine and singular (“the woman” but not “the women”).  This process, lenition, is part of the practice of “initial consonant mutation,” which applies in various ways to all Celtic languages, and in very very few other languages of the world.  So for today, we’ll practice applying “the” to the instruments named in the néal focal (word cloud) above.

The first 10 have been practiced in recent blogposts, so this should be just a quick review.  Then we’ll add the other eight.  The answers and translations will appear below (thíos).

1..bainseó — an _____

2..basúcaí — an _____

3..bodhrán — an _____

4..cláirseach — an _____

5..feadóg stáin — an _____

6..fidil — an _____

7..fliúit — an _____

8..giotár — an _____

9..maindilín — an _____

10..píb uilleann — an _____

And now the new ones:

11..bosca ceoil — an _____

12..cairdín — an _____

13..consairtín — an _____

14..cruit — an _____

15..orgán béil — an _____

16..pianó — an _____

Finally, we have two that must be plural, since just like the “sound of one hand clapping,” we need at least two of these to make a sound (unless, of course we bang them on a hard surface, like a table, but I doubt that that would be considered very “ceolmhar” (musical).   So, here we have the plural form “na” (“the” before plural nouns):

17..cnámha — na _____

18.. spúnóga — na _____

Hope that was fun and useful.  A good classroom exercise, I imagine.   SGF  — Róislín

Freagraí

1..bainseó, an bainseó, the banjo

2..basúcaí, an basúcaí, the bouzouki

3..bodhrán, an bodhrán, the bodhrán

4..cláirseach, an chláirseach, the harp (lenition)

5..feadóg stáin, an fheadóg stáin, the tin whistle (lenition)

6..fidil, an fhidil, the fiddle (lenition)

7..fliúit, an fhliúit (lenition), the flute (lenition)

Now that’s intriguing — three musical instruments starting with “f,” and all feminine  — any mnemonic is good enough for me!

8..giotár. an giotár, the guitar,

9..maindilín, an maindilín, the mandolin

10..píb uilleann, an phíb uilleann, the uilleann pipes (lenition)

And now the new ones:

11..bosca ceoil, an bosca ceoil, the melodeon

12..cairdín, an cairdín, the accordion

13..consairtín, an consairtín, the concertina

14..cruit, an chruit, the harp (a second word for harp) (lenition)

15..orgán  béil, an t-orgán béil, the harmonica (our only example today of the t-prefixing which happens before masculine singular nouns beginning with a vowel, as you’ve probably seen with phrases like “an t-uisce” and “an t-im”)

16..pianó, an pianó, the piano (as if I really needed to say so)

17..cnámha, na cnámha, the bones

18.. spúnóga, na spúnóga, the spoons

Naisc d’iarmhíreanna faoi uirlisí ceoil sa bhlag seo

Irish musical instrument series, 2018: 

Ag Seinm Ceol Gaelach?  Irish Words for Musical Instruments and How to Use Them in Phrases (Pt./Cuid 1)Posted by  on Mar 22, 2018 in Irish Language

Ag Seinm Ceol Gaelach?  Irish Words for Musical Instruments and How to Use Them in Phrases (Pt./Cuid 2)Posted by  on Mar 25, 2018 in Irish Language

Eleven Pipers Piping, but not for Christmas per se, or, Ó Mhálta go Mars ag píobaireacht linn Posted by  on Mar 31, 2018 in Irish Language

4-part series (Alpchorn go Xileafón), 2015

Ag seinm uirlisí ceoil, ó alpchorn go xileafón (Alpenhorn to Xylophone in Irish, pt. 1)Posted by róislín on Mar 19, 2015 in Irish Language

Ag seinm uirlisí ceoil, ó alpchorn go xileafón (Alpenhorn to Xylophone in Irish, Pt.2): ideafón go  hócairínPosted by róislín on Mar 21, 2015 in Irish Language

Ag seinm uirlisí ceoil, ó alpchorn go xileafón (Alpenhorn to Xylophone in Irish): Pt. 4: Triantán go xileafónPosted by róislín on Mar 29, 2015 in Irish Language

Ag seinm uirlisí ceoil, ó alpchorn go xileafón (Alpenhorn to Xylophone in Irish): Pt. 4: Triantán go xileafónPosted by róislín on Mar 29, 2015 in Irish Language

Want to hear more? Sign up for one of our newsletters!

For more language learning advice, free resources, and information about how we can help you reach your language goals, select the most relevant newsletter(s) for you and sign up below.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Share this:
Pin it

Leave a comment: