https://www.duolingo.com/Windsaw

A funny and encouraging Twitter experience

I followed Raidio na Gaeltachta on Twitter. Yesterday I read the following:

"Tá @saolodheas i @ColaistenaRinne inniu le clár speisialta agus muid ag druidim leis an Nollaig"

The first part was probably rather easy: Someone is in something (probably a program) today with a special program. (at first I read "board" but then remembered that it also means program. (like in biachlár)

The second part probably omitted a tá. I know by now that "druid" means shut and that in this context Nollaig means Christmas, but I doubted they really meant they are shutting with Christmas. (at least I hope so) I looked up "druid le" and that means "approach". So they meant "we are approaching Christmas".

That is the encouraging part. I can read more and more, even if there are still many gaps and it is slow.

What I saw that was funny is that Bing offered to translate the sentence to me from Finnish! :D

December 14, 2017

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Rosalina362467

great for you that is awesome that you are geating better and I hope that you only do get better good job !!!

December 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 25
  • 1012

To close in on something is a fairly common idiom for approaching it - ag druidim is also "closing". While "close" and "shut" are usually synonyms in English, this is one example where they aren't interchangeable.

I imagine that the verb "close" and the adverb "close" are related, and "to close (in) on" is directly related to "to get close(r) to", which might make druid le a borrowing from English, if not béarlachas, because druid is not used as an adverb.

December 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Windsaw

Correct me if I understood wrong, but isn't druid always a verb and never an adverb? And "ag druidim le" is a verb use, isn't it?

As for béarlachas, maybe, but really not necessarily. I mean, I often encounter idioms where I am surprised that they are existing in equivalent forms in other languages. (my favourite example: When I first heard someone say "to let the cat out of the bag" I thought he was making fun of me since that saying also exists literally translated in German)

That reminds me of an irish example: Recently I learned "taisce" which means "treasure". I also noticed that there is "A thaisce" which means "my dear" or "my sweetheart". Now, AFAIK "my treasure" would be an odd thing to say to your sweetheart in English. But in German it is very common, even often the default. And I doubt Irish adopted it from German...

December 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 25
  • 1012

I said that druid isn't used as an adverb - you don't use any form of druid to translate "close to" in Irish. If the reason that English uses "close" as a verb is related to it's use as an adverb in English, then the lack of adverbial use in Irish suggests that it's use as a verb was borrowed from English. The point I was trying to make though, is that you didn't make the association between "shut" and "close".

"treasure" is definitely used as a term of endearment in English - it's probably more likely to be used to describe a favoured child than as a romantic term these days. But comparing someone to a thing of value doesn't sound like a particularly language specific trait.

December 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Windsaw

One thing that is becoming more and more of a problem when learning more and more vocabulary is differentiating between the uses of different words with the same meaning. Of course that problem was to be expected.

When do I use dún and when druid? I encountered druid in the context of closing ones eyes and the dictionary says that I can use dún for that as well.

December 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 25
  • 1012

As far as I'm aware, druid is primarily used in Ulster Irish - as such if you normally use dún, you probably don't use druid much, and if you use druid you probably don't use dún much.

December 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
  • 17
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 9
  • 7
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I just want to add a note about the "agus muid ag ..." construction: As you already said, there seems to be a form of "bí" missing. This is called a small clause, and "agus" usually doesn't just mean "and" in this context, linking two completely independent statements, but it describes some kind of correlation between the part before and after the "agus". Often, it can be translated as something like "while". Here, I think a good translation would be "as we're approaching Christmas".

http://www.braesicke.de/conaisc.htm#agus

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL
Mod
  • 25
  • 1012

focloir.ie gives ag druidim leis an Nollaig as one of the suggestions for "in the run-up to Christmas" (https://www.focloir.ie/ga/dictionary/ei/run-up) and for "it's coming up to Christmas" - tá sé ag druidim leis an Nollaig.

Somehow "as we're approaching Christmas" just feels a bit too sedentary - it's technically correct, but it feels a bit soulless, somehow. There's none of the excitement/anticipation/panic/pressure/dread etc that many/most people feel in the run-up to Christmas, and that is implied in the referenced tweet.

Focloir.ie also has examples of the phrase being used the other way around:
"Christmas drew near" - bhí an Nollaig ag druidim linn

December 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/patbo
  • 17
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 9
  • 7
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I'll leave the actual best translation to you native speakers, but yes, I can see that your suggestion might work better.

My point was just that "agus" isn't a simple "and" here.

December 18, 2017
Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.