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  5. "Éire agus Sasana."

"Éire agus Sasana."

Translation:Ireland and England.

January 29, 2016



Still a better love story than Twilight.


Is fearr liom Éire <3


Why put these two in the one sentence ? :'(


How do we know when to use Éire, Éireann, or Éirinn?


The case of the noun. Éire is nominative case...I guess...but I am not sure, I am still quite noob in irish.

[deactivated user]

    Yes, Éire is the nominative form.

    Éirinn is dative, and will be mainly used with prepositions that take the dative:

    as Éirinn - from Ireland; in Éirinn - in Ireland; go hÉirinn - to Ireland

    (BTW, you may see "go hÉireann" which is not correct in Standard Irish to my knowledge. I do not know if any dialects accept it, but in Standard, you should use the dative form.)

    Éireann is genitive, and will be mainly used in possessive constructions:

    Taoiseach na hÉireann - the president of Ireland

    Note the adjective, Éireannach, is the genitive form with the -ach/-each ending commonly used to for adjective that describe things belonging to a culture or a country, i.e., Sasanach, Albanach, Ceilteach

    Also, in both the dative and genitive cases, you use the h-prothesis mutation (I do not recall how it is explained in the notes here, but that's the linguist term for it) in phrases where the preceding preposition, article or particle ends with a vowel:

    Failté go hÉirinn

    Taoiseach na hÉireann


    Note that "the President of Ireland" is Uachtarán na hÉireann.

    The President is the Head of State, the Taoiseach is the Head of Government.

    (Taoiseach na hÉireann is a bit of a tautology - Ireland is the only country that has a Taoiseach, so the "na hÉireann" isn't really necessary, whereas Príomh-Aire/"Prime Minister" does need that distinction - Príomh-Aire na Fraince, Príomh-Aire na Breataine).


    Thanks for the clear explanation! Have a lingot!


    Is Saxony Germany also Sasana?


    My guess is that it’s different because the Irish have been referring to the English as “Saxons” for a MUCH longer time.

    Also, it avoids confusion between the two.


    Is "Sasana" the United Kingdom, or a constituent of it?

    • 1560

    "Sasana" is the Irish for England which is a constituent of the UK ("an Ríocht Aontaithe").

    [deactivated user]

      It looks to me a lot like "Saxony" ;).


      I figured "England" and "English' would have more similar words

      • 1560

      The way "The Netherlands" and "Dutch" do, you mean?



      (Apologies for an very late response) Maybe I don't understand your question and/or the response given but the two words are similar as Gaeilge: Sasana vs Sasanach (but when I was a child I was taught that referring to someone as the latter word is cursing them out, not sure if it still has that connotation to native speakers, which I am not).

      Ah, I just realized that when you referred to "English" you probably meant "the English language", and not "the people" ... my bad ... but here I think the etymology of the Irish word Béarla helps to explain why Béarla when referring to the language and Sasana to refer to the country and people: my guess is that Béarla was used to refer to the language relatively recently (i.e. After the concept of an England exists, which is at least during middle irish, may already be modern Irish). I'm imagining after the Irish Norman rules embraced Gaeilge (and more or less embraced Irish culture) but were still forced (by the English) to use the English language in all official settings, they started to use different words for the official language of the land (which you can image would be insulting if you used a word that directly refers to a foreign people/land) vs the mother lanauge of the land (which is my understanding of the original meaning of Béarla (official language) vs Teanga (the language of your tongue.

      I don't thing Dutch and Netherlands is a good example to use since I think in the language spoken in the Netherlands, the country is called Nederland and the language is called Nederlands.

      A good example to consider: Éire (or I guess really Éirinn) vs Gaeilge. I'm no expert but I would guess that languages that developed before the concept of the nation-state in which they are spoken bare little resemblance, except in those cases in which a King/Queen dictated to their "people" the only "proper" "dialect" to speak and dictated what to call it.

      The disclaimer in everything I wrote: this is not my academic area of study, so I may be totally wrong.

      • 1560

      I don't thing Dutch and Netherlands is a good example to use since I think in the language spoken in the Netherlands, the country is called Nederland and the language is called Nederlands.

      I think you missed the point - the question isn't about people in England calling their language English, (as people in the Nederlands call their language Nederlands), it's about why people outside a country would use two different words for the country and the language. Irish speakers do that for Sasana/Béarla, and English speakers do that for "The Netherlands"/"Dutch".

      It may be worth pointing out that Bunreacht a hÉireann uses Sacs-Bhéarla when referring to the English language - where the prefix Sacs can be interpreted as "Saxon" or "English". In a similar way, "Lingua Franca" is francbhéarla.

      Technically, béarla just means "language" in a general sense or speech generally (the FGB includes the example béarla na n-éan - "voices of birds", for example), but it has come to be used for "English" without further qualification.


      Wrt Dutch/Netherlands, indeed my initial reaction to your example clearly showed I missed the point you made.

      Wrt Béarla, again I agree, which I thought I made that point, possibly not clear enough, possibly too much of a story on how it could have become know as the English language.

      Lastly, go igles (between phl in your name and the picture of the liberty bell I assume you have a connection to philly ... I grew up in Olney).

      • 1560

      I think your description of "the Normans" and "the English" is a bit simplistic, that béarla didn't mean "official language" so much as "incomprehensible babble until you learned how to use it", which might be even more true of legalese today than it was then. béarla was used of any language that you couldn't understand (like béarla na n-éan), but came to be primarily associated with English, as it was the "other language" most frequently encountered.

      Na hIolair Abú! :-)


      Go hiontach, go raibh maith agat.

      I appreciate you taking the time to provide the etymology, which I find almost as interesting as the language itself (and indeed no argument from me wrt to my very naive/simplistic English/Norman comment ).

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