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  5. "Thit luach an euro inniu."

"Thit luach an euro inniu."

Translation:The value of the euro fell today.

August 30, 2015



Is "an euro" a genitive form here? I gather it's treated like a masculine noun, but not subject to lenition.

I've found a few items online with the one that makes some sense to me one on wikipedia that says, "In Irish, the words euro and cent are used without change in spelling or pronunciation, and immune to the regular rules of Irish mutation after numbers." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_issues_concerning_the_euro#Irish)

(There are others who claim that doing this is wrong, but I'm not going there!)


Yes, an euro is genitive in luach an euro, but a vowel wouldn’t be lenited. A masculine noun beginning with a vowel outside of prepositional phrases would normally undergo T-prothesis after an (e.g. Tá an t-euro áisiúil for “The euro is convenient”), but the word euro is exempt from this as well.

My understanding of these special rules applying to the word euro is that they’re due to a directive (for all languages in the eurozone states) from the European Council. It’s only required for EU legislation, but there’s a certain complication with applying special rules to a word due solely to a document’s content. Michael Everson made the case for why this doesn’t make sense in many eurozone languages in this PDF document, where he’d suggested either eora or eoró for a “naturalized” Irish form of the word “euro”, which would be declined and mutated according to normal Irish rules.


GRMA. I should have known vowels don't lenite, so I smack myself upside the head. I have to say, "an euro" does look weird. Looks like the European Council has a lot of power.


Wow, it's 14 years since I read that document, and I was completely unconvinced by his argument back then, though at the time I was only interested in his claim that the plural should be Euros in English. As he conveniently neglected to mention the widespread use of "quid", plural "quid", not to mention the commonplace use of "pound" ("that'll be five pound, please") as a plural in English (at least in Ireland), his argument for plural formations that are "natural to the English language" was severely undermined.


I think that he was trying to make the case that the general rule in English is to form a plural with “-s” when the noun is not being used as a description of another noun (e.g. one would generally say “a thousand dollars” but “a thousand dollar fine”, the latter being a remnant of the Old English genitive). Obviously there are currencies that demonstrate exceptions to that rule, e.g. “yuan”, “yen”, “won”, “baht”, “rand”, etc., but nativized currency names found in formal register text (such as legislation) tend to use “-s” — “pounds”, “dollars”, “francs”, “rubles”, “riyals”, “pesos”, etc. Your examples of “pound” as plural and “quid” aren’t used in a formal register.

I can’t speak for Ireland, but here in the States we’ve nativized “euro” to the point that we use “euros” for the plural. Even the English language style guide of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation, §8.4 (page 47) states:

Like ‘pound’, ‘dollar’ or any other currency name in English, the word ‘euro’ is written in lower case with no initial capital. Where appropriate, it takes the plural ‘s’ (as does ‘cent’):

This book costs ten euros and fifty cents

I think that Everson’s point was that the Irish form should be based on Irish and subject to Irish grammar, much as Slovene evro is used rather than euro (based on Evropa, the Slovene word for “Europe”), and is declined with numbers according to Slovene grammar — 2 evra, 3–4 evri, 5+ evrov (all modulo 100); hence his suggestion for eora based on Eoraip (though he’d recognized that the influence of English would lead to eoró as a viable alternative), and his expectation for eclipsis, T-prothesis, and H-prothesis to be applied when appropriate.

Do you know of other common (i.e. non-proper) countable nouns in Irish that are immune to initial mutations and are indeclinable, particularly after numbers?


Unfortunatey, Everson argues against a prescriptive rule by being prescriptive. There's nothing "un-natural" about euro as a plural in English, at least in Ireland (the largest country in the Euro-zone with English as a national language!), where both quid and pound were commonly used as plurals. Legislation is by it's nature prescriptive, so I see nothing wrong about prescribing anything at all for use within legislative texts.

I'm not in a position to address the situation in Irish. I'm more interested in Irish as she is spoken than overly prescriptive rules. For better or worse, I think it is highly unlikely that eoró ever had a chance of supplanting euro as the pronounciation used by native speakers, every last one of whom would be regularly faced with the euro pronunciation, so I think that Everson is just wrong there - euro is really a loan-word in both English and Irish, and it doesn't need to be "nativized" in Irish, any more than it does in English. Given how grating "euros" sounds to my ears in English, despite it's "naturalness" for others, I can only imagine that native Irish speakers have quickly adapted to whichever set of rules work for them.

As a learner, I'm torn between "Thank God, a word that I can use without having to parse the rules for!" and "Damn, another exception that I have to keep track of!" :-)


I sent a note to Foras na Gaeilge asking several grammatical questions about the Irish word euro, and I’ve received a reply. They’ve confirmed that euro is sui generis, with neither gender, declensions, mutations, nor emphatic suffix (with the exception of the declension euronna as a plural in informal usage, “as with the English ‘euros’”); and é are its designated singular pronouns, and mo euro and do euro should be used in the singular rather than m’euro and d’euro. Since it is neither feminine nor masculine, attributive adjectives for euro are never lenited. Given its lack of mutations, the preferred form for “his/her/their two euro” is not a dhá euro, but rather dhá euro eisean, dhá euro ise, and a dhá euro siúd respectively.

Time will tell if these rules will work for native speakers.


Yes, he uses prescription to fight prescription — in particular, he uses linguistic prescription to fight legislative prescription. I agree with you that his statement “In the English language, the correct plurals in all contexts must be euros and cents.” is incorrect, as your “quid” and “pound” examples show.

“Dollar” and “franc” are also both loan words in both English and Irish, and yet they conform to the usual grammatical rules in both languages. Punt, scilling, pingin, and feoirling all conform to Irish grammatical rules, despite all of them being loan words. Hmmm — I wonder if your use of “pound” as a plural is a borrowing from Irish, which doesn’t use a plural form following a non-personal number?

Do you also use “euro” to refer to individual coins? That is, would you say “I have three euros in my pocket” only to mean “I have three one-euro coins in my pocket”, or would you also say “I have three euro in my pocket” to describe those three coins without referring to their monetary value?

To my knowledge, euro is a unique noun in Irish with its lack of mutations and declensions. Since it’s not mutated, should a phrase like leis an gcéad euro also not eclipse céad ? Should its attributive adjectives be lenited — e.g. euro forleathan (masculine) or euro fhorleathan (feminine)? Would its emphatic form be eurosan (masculine) or eurosa (feminine) — or could euro also be its emphatic form? A sui generis word needs to have such situations well-defined.


Hmmm — I wonder if your use of “pound” as a plural is a borrowing from Irish, which doesn’t use a plural form following a non-personal number?

I would imagine so.

Do you also use “euro” to refer to individual coins? That is, would you say “I have three euros in my pocket” only to mean “I have three one-euro coins in my pocket”, or would you also say “I have three euro in my pocket” to describe those three coins without referring to their monetary value?

I think I'd say "I have 3 one-euro coins", or "I have 3 euro". Because the 1 and 2 euro coins are pretty much equally distributed, it wouldn't make any sense for the 1 euro coin to be exclusively called "a euro", so "1 euro (coin)" and "2 euro (coin)" seem to the "names". (Of course, as soon as I start to think about what is normally reflexive usage, I disturb the reflex - "Don't think of an elephant!").

I really don't feel equipped to answer the questions on usage in Irish.

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