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  5. "Caitheann sí gúna oráiste."

"Caitheann gúna oráiste."

Translation:She wears an orange dress.

September 2, 2015



Seo gúna oráiste.

Seo gúna flannbhuí.


The NEID entry for Orange suggests that the use of oráiste has supplanted flannbhuí in modern usage when describing cloth or fashion. Flannbhuí is listed as an option, but all of the examples use oráiste.


It does indeed suggest that, although only their dath oráiste examples are used attributively, which in turn suggests that it’s a genitive noun used as an adjective and thus “color of an orange” rather than “orange color”.


It's also worth noting that the NEID has a lot more terms that arose under the influence of English that wouldn't be as common among native speakers.


"The living language is the yardstick for the Irish content of the New English-Irish Dictionary".

You can't pickle a language if you want it to remain a living langauge. Native speakers aren't exactly immune to English influence you know - I'm told that only learners refer to a rothar in Connemara for example :-). The NEID reflects current usage, by both native speakers in the Gaeltacht and the other fluent speakers of Irish in Ireland.


But you also shouldn't just accept everything done by non-natives as acceptable simply because it's an endangered language. If one comes up and says Bhí tromluí agam, that's wrong. That's directly translating an English idiom, not using Irish. The correct Irish would be Tháinig tromluí orm.

Now, if native speakers use it, go for it. But I do feel a lot of where the NEID differs from the EID is that it accepts what is done by non-natives (or natives of "New Irish", which is more like English than actual Irish) and doesn't reflect native speakers (and remember - they're the ones who the language belongs to, and their the ones who cause changes). That's why it doesn't bother me at all to say mo bhike. Because natives in Connemara use it, and I try to emulate that dialect. Is fearr Gaeilge cheart ná Gaeilge mícheart


You've just written the language's obituary then, because even in the Gaeltacht the current generation are not using Dineen's Irish any more.

Irsh is a language of dialects. This "New Irish" that you talk about exists precisely because there is a constituency that supports Irish and wants it to survive and thrive. If their Irish isn't good enough for you, it's because there isn't enough "native Irish" being spoken any more to engage these learners. But you're far more likely to improve this situation by engaging these speakers and improving their Irish than by rejecting them as not-really-Irish speakers.

Is fearr Gaeilge beo ná Gaeilge marbh


I never said that native speakers spoke Dinneen's Irish. All I said is that native speakers are the only valid source of what is actually Irish.

Also, I know several, myself included, who wouldn't really call what is being spoken by most learners as "Irish". It's more of a pidgin, and a lot more like English than the Irish that has come before it.

Now, I do agree that people with high ability in Irish (and not just those who went to the Gaelscoileannaí, since they're the worst about this pidgin language) need to interact with learners more. I wish there was some government provision to encourage native speakers from the Gaeltachts to work in schools and such.

But, to suggest that the only way for Irish to survive is to do a disservice to the language, because it basically means making her more like English. At that point, it's not even Irish anymore; a language doesn't change to suit the needs of learners. People would never suggest it for a non-endangered language, and it does an injustice to suggest it for an endangered one.


The current generation in the Gaeltacht are increasingly likely to be speaking what you describe as "New Irish", because by the time in their life where they are internalizing concepts like nightmares, they are fully engaged with the English language, and they are learning about nightmares from television, videos and books in English, rather than from seanachaí telling stories around the fireside at night.

They way you describe it, you'd think that this "pidgin" that's spoken in the Gaelscoileanna is some distant relation of spoken Irish, but it's not. The basic structure is sound. The problem isn't that these people don't get enough "real Irish" in school, it's that they don't have enough Irish in the rest of their lives, so that they aren't as widely exposed to the full richness of the language, that you don't learn in school.

Gaelscoil Irish won't make it into the NEID unless the Gaelscoileannaí are using Irish in real life, outside school. That's where your speakers of "real Irish" have to engage, to add that richness of the language to the Irish that is being spoken outside the Gaeltacht.

Irish is changing because that's what living languages do. English gains 10 new words a day. At the same time it is losing other terms and grammatical structures. Irish faces different pressures, because it no longer has a monolingual core that can only engage in Irish, so the reality is that whatever Irish is spoken in 20, 50 or 100 years will probably have replaced some structures and idioms with usages that reflect the way English is spoken, just as has happened over the last 20, 50 and 100 years. The alternative to this changing Irish isn't "pure Irish" it's no Irish at all.


That's because they're learning their Irish in schools, sadly taught by non-fluent teachers even in the Gaeltacht.

Also, you mention that it's structure is 'sound'. This is not really true, and the structure of New Irish only resembles Traditional Irish in the basest of ways (basically, VSO and the use of the copula to say "X is Y".

A big change, for example, is that a lot of non-natives would say something like "Tá sé decair ..." for "it's hard ..." This structure is directly imported from English, and is not the native way to say it. In fact, most natives would generally say things like "Is decair...". Same with Is soléir for "It's clear".

Also, I know a lot of people who stress an emphasized word. This is another non-Traditional Irish feature that isn't common among native speakers. They use the copula to add emphasis.

And don't even get me started on idioms of non-native speakers, or their pronunciation (did you know, that a lot of times they don't make any distinction between capall and capaill?). There's a big difference between the two, with the "New Irish" basically being English in everything but words and the most basic of sentences.

As much as I hate it, it's unlikely Irish will survive. Within 10 years, it's predicted to no longer be the public language of the Gaeltachts. I also see the Government dropping mandatory Irish lessons as well, with that decline. Sadly, the government is part of the reason it's in the state it is now.


The problem isn't what's being taught in the schools, it's what they are learning outside school. If there isn't a sufficient corpus of what you consider "real Irish" for speakers to engage with, then the reflexes that shape the (literal) sounds of Irish will atrophy. Capaill will be pronounced the same as capal because it's easier, and because it doesn't impede comprehension. (And that's a particularly poor example - there are far greater variations within the dialects of Irish that you have no problem with).

Irish will survive. But it's going to be second-language Irish, urban Irish, and the biggest dialect is going to be what you dismiss as a pidgin dialect, because the Gaeltacht itself is not able to sustain the language. Nobody needs to speak Irish any more, they speak it because they see value in speaking Irish. If these people see value in speaking what you would consider "good Irish", they'll do that, but that needs people to be encountering a critical mass of "good Irish" so that they are actually conducting their lives in Irish, rather than just translating on the fly. Dismissing them as being outside the club is far more of a problem than anything that the Government is or isn't doing, because that club just keeps getting smaller and smaller.


Very interesting dialogue. You should come to Quebec sometime. Canada and France always poke fun at French Canadian language but it is an ancient French language that was brought over from France in the 1500's. The people who study linguistics are now sending scholars from France to study this very old form of French. Maybe there are outposts in Newfoundland that speak the native Irish from when the rock was settled by your people? Few people understand a Newfie when they break out the language at full speed, and they like it that way.


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