List of irish syllable meanings?

Question: Does anybody know a decent resource for typical meanings of syllables in Irish?

For example, there are the words macánta and mímhacánta, so the "mí" at the beginning seems to be un- or something that it is not.

Or more common the -eoir in most (all?) profession descriptions.

Or droch-, which seems to mean mal- or something like that.

I know, I will probably learn them by use eventually, but a list for occasional browsing would be appreciated. After all, many times I am only guessing and may guessing wrong. Just with "fásach" and "tiomach" I was thinking that the "ach" in those words mean something similar like "bad" or "a place".

(the fact that you could easily look up the meaning of EVERY syllable in Japanese is one of its most prominant feature)

1 year ago


Your title is a little misleading. What you are probably looking for is a list of suffixes and prefixes - the syllable doesn't mean anything but the prefix (usually) does.

I don't have a pointer off hand, but you might have better luck by searching for prefix than for syllable,

1 year ago

Not really. Suffixes and prefixes are just the examples that I could think for now.

Every recurring syllable explanation would be fine.

But yes, you are right, these would probably be better search terms.

1 year ago

"syllables" don't have inherent meaning - the words ("month"), imím ("I go away") and tuairimí ("opinions") all contain the syllable , but they have no shared meaning or etymology.

I don't know anything about Japanese, but I understand that the "kana" script is based on syllables, so I can see why individual syllables might have a common root. Irish, and most other western languages, do not use syllables in this way.

1 year ago

Well, one syllable can have different meanings of course. That does not mean they have no meaning.

Anyway, I was just asking because I was thinking about the word "eagrán" and where it has its meaning from. I mean, in my native German I know the word comes from "out-giving" and I imagined since "edition" is a relatively modern word only maybe a couple of hundred years old I imagined that its syllables already had prior meanings. I can tell meanings of the syllables for a lot of german words. OTOH, we are the kings of compound words, so that may come natural to me.

BTW, concerning Japanese: The kana are sound characters, one for each syllable. They have no meaning, just sound. The kanji (the chinese characters) OTOH do always have meanings and consist of one or more syllables. Almost all japanese words aside from particles are made up mostly of kanjis, and knowing the kanjis you aways know the meaning of the parts of the word. Which does not always have to be intuitive or even logical. All parts of the sentence that only have a grammatical function (like endings or particles) are always written in kana. The use of kanji is optional: You can correctly write japanese texts just using the kana (sounds) and indeed it is done in children's books. But these texts are a bit difficult to read so kanjis are added depending on the educational level of the target audience. (or of the writer)

1 year ago
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For prefixes, you could use the FGB by appending a hyphen to the search term, e.g. search on mí- rather than . Since is an independent word, entries for both mí- and would be returned, but the mí- entries will be at the top of the results. This wouldn’t happen for searching on e.g. droch-, since there is no independent word droch.

1 year ago

There's a list of Irish morphemes at Wiktionary:

If you drill down to words with a particular morpheme and look at the definition of individual words, you'll find these normally include an 'etymology' section which provides the meanings of the constituent morphemes, eg if you look up mí-ádh you get:

<pre> mí- ‎(“ill, negative”) +‎ ádh ‎(“luck”) </pre>

As well, each individual morpheme will normally link to an explanatory page so there'll be one for each of 'mí-' and 'ádh'.

1 year ago

Yes, I use this resource already.

Alas, most morphemes listed are not provided with a meaning, even if you click on it. Even if it had, having to click to get to the explamation gets very tedious very fast. A simple table would be better.

Still, wiktionary is a very good resource that I use often.

1 year ago
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You can find some prefixes here and here at . I personally think it's better to learn them as you go, pay attention to word structures (mícheart) and look them up.

1 year ago
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