Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/Slothakiin

Hello yes my name is girl and my favorite color is whitered

So I don't know if any of you guys have met someone named "Colleen" before, but if you haven't, today is your lucky day. Hello. My name is Colleen.

You might be thinking, "Hmmm, that seems an awful lot like 'cailín.'" That's because it is. It's the exact same freakin' word. "Colleen" is the Americanized version of the word "cailín," which literally means "girl." It popped up in America around 1910. My personal guess is that because so many Irish came to America in the 1850s and the 1880s, they'd totally speak Irish to each other, right? And somewhere between all the "those gosh darn Irish, taking all our jobs," someone overheard someone else refer to a girl as "cailín" and said, "Hey, that sounds pretty. I'M GONNA NAME MY KID THAT. I think it's spelled like...this!"

That's what I personally like to believe. It helps me get over the fact that I can never find my name in souvenir gift shops and that one in every five people can spell and/or pronounce it right on their first try. Even more than that, when people are going the around the table talking about how their names mean "god has given" and "treasure" and "fire princess of molten flame" (whatever), I have SOMETHING to say other than, "My name literally means...'girl.' In a real language. That people still speak."

By the way, "Colleen" is not a popular name in Ireland. That would be like meeting a woman in America whose name was "Gurrll." But we name babies after compass directions in 2015, so...who knows? Moving on.

After passing my first checkpoint on Duolingo, I was super stoked to see that I had unlocked...drumroll...colors! I love colors. My favorite color is pink.

The first of the two sections didn't have pink. I was disappointed. But I found out that "bán" means white, and I remembered that "bainne" is milk, so I thought that was really cool. Translating the sentence "is maith liom feoil dorcha" wouldn't have been so awkward if it hadn't been prefaced with "tá sé dorcha"...but I powered through, because I wanted to know: What was the word for my favorite color?! :D <3

ahem So, for the record, gorm is blue. Red is dearg. Red and blue make purple, and purple is corcra. Red is dearg, yellow is bui, yellow and red make orange, orange is oráiste. Yellow is bui, blue is gorm, yellow and blue make green, green is glas. "Yeah yeah, I know my color wheel," you're probably thinking. Wait, there's a reason for this. I have one more.

Bán is white. Dubh is black. White and black make grey. Grey is liath.

All the color mixes have new words! ...except for pink.

Bán is white. Dearg is red. White and red make pink. And pink...is bándearg.

Hello yes, my name is girl and my favorite color is whitered.

flips table and walks out of the room

3 years ago

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

Oh, look, there’s a few notes scrawled on the bottom of the table:

  • There’s another word for “green”, uaine, that’s typically used for describing its vivid or “artificial” shades (e.g. green beer). The Irish constitution uses uaine in describing the hoist pale of the Irish flag.

  • There’s another word for “orange”, flannbhuí, that comes from Irish etymological roots (flann [“blood red”] + buí ); oráiste originally referred only to the fruit, not the fruit’s color. The Irish constitution uses flannbhuí in describing the fly pale of the Irish flag.

  • Glas can also be used as “grey” when describing animals, much as rua is used instead of dearg in describing hair or fur.

  • Gorm can also be used to describe the skin tone of people of sub-Saharan African descent.

  • Alternatively, “Colleen” might come from an Irish-influenced spelling pronunciation of “Kathleen”, e.g. the silent film actress Colleen Moore (born Kathleen Moore).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

Yes, I’m aware of the cailín theory, which is why I’d written might in the alternative theory above.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Slothakiin

http://www.behindthename.com/name/kathleen Kathleen is a variant of Caitlín http://www.behindthename.com/name/caitli10n which is a variant of Cateline, the Old French version of Katherine http://www.behindthename.com/name/katherine all of which are unrelated to Colleen.

But that's not really important, what is important is:

It was supposed to be humorous. This was a comedy piece. I'm not actually mad. It's funny. Get it?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

At least you’re unfailingly polite, which counts for something.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

Who’d claimed that you were mad?

Humor is subjective. An dtuigeann tú?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Slothakiin

Tuigim. Póg mo thóin. ;D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

Funnily enough, I was just looking for a link to Bunreacht na hÉireann to illustrate exactly the point about Green and Orange

Article 7 The national flag is the tricolour of green, white and orange.

AIRTEAGAL 7 An bhratach trí dhath .i. uaine, bán, agus flannbhuí, an suaitheantas náisiúnta.

(I'm not sure what that .i. is supposed to indicate, but it is in a number of different sources, so I don't think it's an error).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

.i. = eadhon = “viz” or “i.e.”

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chaered
chaered
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 102

How can "eadhon" abbreviate to ".i."? There is no "i" in eadhon (it's a team player). Confused...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

It was originally a Latin scribal abbreviation — see here for additional examples.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chaered
chaered
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 102

Thanks for the link!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

There's no e in "that is", which we write in English as i.e. (id est, which is where the i in .i. comes from, apparently) and there's no g in "for example", even though we write it as e.g. (exemplī grātiā, apparently).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

I thought it must be something like that, but I'm surprised how different the English and Irish texts are - even suaitheantas is not what I'd expect.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

So, it seems what's happening is that the English is heavily influencing the Irish. The traditional term for 'orange' was, indeed, flannbhuí. However, as more non-native speakers pick up the language, there has been a switch to using oráiste as the color. This is likely because English uses the same word for both the color and the fruit, so it gets translated to Irish too.

However, a quick search of the online version of Dinneen (which is far from perfect), shows only dath oráiste for 'orange color'. It doesn't show oráiste used by itself. And, doing a quick corpus search of Beo! on Potafocal shows no instances of oráiste used to mean the color, but several (6 instances, from 6 different articles), of flannbhuí.

So, I'd say that flannbhuí is probably more traditionally used and would be more likely to be used by native speakers. However, it's likely that native speakers are also starting to use oráiste, due to, well, non-native teachers. And a myriad of other factors that I won't go in to. It's also worth noting that neither FGB nor the EID show oráiste being used as a color, except when quantified as dath oráiste. However, the NEID does. But, I hold some reservations about the NEID, because I feel there are examples of non-native usage within it; Béarlachas that no traditional Irish speaker would say.

Potafocal lists flannbhuí and oráiste as synonyms, though. Personally, I say flannbhuí, but I feel it wouldn't necessarily be wrong to say oráiste in this case (well, it would be if you're talking about the flag, of course).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Knocksedan

According to Wiktionary Orange replaced the Old English geoluread ‎(“yellow-red”). The same thing is happening in Irish, it's just a couple of centuries later. Languages evolve.

Given the significant role that William of Orange played in Irish history, I wonder what he was called in 18th and 19th century Irish?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

Languages evolve.

There's language evolution, then there's what's happening with Irish. What's happening with Irish isn't language evolution. Why? Because native speakers aren't the ones leading the changes. The changes are coming from non-natives, and are basically leading to a version of Irish that is essentially English translated to a VSO word order. Languages don't evolve because people fail to learn them correctly, and just use their native sounds/words/idioms.

Given the significant role that William of Orange played in Irish history, I wonder what he was called in 18th and 19th century Irish?

That's a good question. A quick Google search didn't turn up any results, but Scilling is generally pretty good about finding these things. Or maybe An Lon Dub Beag will know, when he shows back up.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

I don’t have any Irish language sources on the period to provide light on what William of Orange was called, but I did find that after the battle of the Boyne, William’s opponent (and uncle and father-in-law) James II/VII gained the epithet Séamus an chaca upon returning to exile in France despite his relatively low losses in the battle — apparently there was even a tune called Séamus an chaca a chaill Éire.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Uilliam Oráiste.

Oráiste is also the traditional Irish word for the principality in France that he ruled.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/proinsias123

Iv'e heard that william of orange and his men were called hillbillies by their Irish opponents, bringing that word into existence. Maybe they were called this in Gaeilge, but I don't have a clue how it would translate.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
scilling
  • 25
  • 1508

The earliest reference to “hillbilly” in the OED is from 1900, with its usual US English meaning.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/proinsias123

I looked it up, and it appears to be a theory for the origin, although some think it's unlikely.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Slothakiin

It's aight, at any moment galaxyrocker will appear from the heavens and clear up any confusion and answer all questions. Cuz galaxyrocker knows everything. o-o Galaxyrocker is a benevolent god...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I wouldn't go that far when talking about me!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Slothakiin

I've been on this website for less than a week and I've learned more about Irish history from your comments than I ever learned from the American education system. I consider myself an optimist so I'd rather focus on how amazing your vast knowledge is rather than how the public school system failed me. :D Anyway, the point is...you're super rad and smart. You keep doin' you. thumbs up Mad respect.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/galaxyrocker

I wouldn't say all of that, but I am willing to answer any question I can about Irish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickOsa
PatrickOsa
  • 25
  • 23
  • 21
  • 17
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 12
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 959

I remember time when I found out that my name "Patrick" was derived from the Latin word patricius, which translates to the word "Patrician", which was the name for the title of nobility in the Roman Empire. In fact, often times in my Latin class, instead of putting my actual name on assignments, I would write my name as "Patricius", kind of to fit in with the theme of the class :). Surprisingly, my Latin teacher never brought it up, so I'm not sure whether or not she actually noticed!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainandtea

Wow, that sucks. I'm kinda in the same boat as you, my name's Kylee. It means narrows, channel or straight, at least on a couple sites. I've seen sites that said it means boomerang in an Australian Aboriginal language. I also have NEVER found the correct spelling of it in a gift shop, and I have to spell it out at least twice for someone to get it. So, hello my name is narrows or boomerang, but think on the bright side! You have a pretty name, and a cool story to accompany it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ClionaJoyce

oh I didn't know that, must be from caol (slender) like Caoileann (keelin) which is caol-fhionn slender and fair, I think intended to be complementary, it is by todays fashion standards anyway..so many American placenames have Irish words in them too if you look out for them (Brooklyn, Baltimore) it's fun to figure out

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FayeL1
FayeL1
  • 17
  • 15
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2
  • 15

LOL I think a "mic drop" would have been warranted at the end of that. :D

But I feel ya. My name is Faye. Duolingo hasn't confirmed it yet, but I'm pretty sure that means "crazy person" in Irish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/G.P.Niers
G.P.Niers
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 10
  • 7

Suddenly I know I'm going to name my kid Northbynorthwest.

3 years ago