https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

I remember now why I wanted to learn Irish

Hi folks,

I've been stuying Gaeilge for most of the day and was getting pretty frustrated. I'm struggling with pronunciation and grammar (eclipsis, lenition, verb conjugation, you name it), and can't seem to remember a lot of the words I learned in previous lessons. And so I was wondering why I was putting myself through this. What is so awesome about Irish anyway?

But then I came across this old post on the forum:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/21601676

These words rock! Isn't it amazing that you can pack so much meaning into just one little word? My favourites from the list are: breacaimsir (very useful here in the Netherlands), bogán (how much fun can you have with a peeled egg?) and bothántaíocht (such a weird word).

So now I'm curious to hear from people who have studied Irish for a lot longer than I have: what is your favourite word or expression in Irish, and why?

Slán go foill!

6 months ago

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/John942274

I think my favorite word is sionnach. Favorite expression? Probably " i ndeireadh na dala" (sorry for the missing fada, can't figure it out on my keyboard) I like the way it rolls off the tongue.
Sionnach means fox, and "i ndeireadh na dala" means "at the end of the day" or "at last" or "finally"

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

Thank you for contributing! Sionnach is a neat word, and it comes up early in the course so I had already learned it. :)

I like that expression too and have added it to my list of phrases.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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(sorry for the missing fada, can’t figure it out on my keyboard)

You can configure your device to be able to type vowels with síntí fada using your keyboard, but the method for doing so depends upon which operating system your device runs.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heathermagoo
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Bairín breac (speckled loaf) stayed in my mind because it sounds so festive and blasta (tasty). Something to munch on when Chicago dyes it's river green for Lá Fhéile Pádraig (St. Patrick's Day.) Here is a vegan recipe with how-to-video.

Also fond of Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), because it's a Gaelige word that everybody in Ireland seems to comfortably make use of. Visions of de Valera and the birth of the Irish republic. In these times, I treasure every echo of democracy and this one is so deeply rooted in Irish soil.

And how about this List of "16 Beautiful Words" I'm still enough of a tourist to get excited about aisling (vision). Here's a young Iarla Ó Lionáird singing Aisling Gheal, Bright Vision

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

That loaf looks blasta! Thanks for the recipe.

I like suaimhneas and macnas from your list. :)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL
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The Motherfocloir podcast asks guests what their favourite Irish word is - if I am ever a guest, I think iargúlta ("remote") will be my suggestion (with cuid as my pet peeve!)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickCon600959
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Yes, that is a fun podcast to follow, even for near novices like me.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

That's encouraging PatrickCon! I'll certainly give it a try later today. :D

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

Thanks for the link, I've saved it to listen when I find the time.

Iargúlta, nice word. :)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sean634070
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I read somewhere that it takes Japanese kids eight years or more to comfortably read a Japanese newspaper or what-have-you. Same with Irish I suppose. I've been at it for a year and a half. I'm terrible with pronunciation. I don't force it or expect a miracle breakthrough any time soon. Just practice every day, FOREVER!

My favorite word at the moment is 'saor', because it implies that freedom is cheap. /s 'Ceart go leor' rolls off the tongue nicely.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SatharnPHL
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Do you know the difference between "free beer" and "free speech"? Does it mean that "free speech" isn't worth much?

And don't try to walk out of the shop without paying for that "gluten free yogurt" :-)

You often can't see the ambiguity in English, because you're so familiar with it that you automatically make the correct interpretation without even realizing you are doing it, unless someone deliberately forces the ambiguity to the forefront - "Free Nelson Mandela with every packet of Corn Flakes!"

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sean634070
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Yes, I meant it as a joke. Hence the sarcasm tag ( /s ).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SimonDunne2

Living in South Africa I've given my dogs Irish names, Madra and Taoiseach. The vet just about gets Madra but still writes T-shock. Being Irish Wolfhounds they get a lot of attention so I can tell you lots of people in the Western Cape know Taoiseach means Prime Minister and Madra means dog. Apart from that the only other word that I think was imported into South Africa from Ireland is Commando during the Boer War.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

A dog named Taoiseach. LOL I like that. Irish wolfhounds are fantastic. I used to work as a vet tech and there was a family with 5 wolfhounds who came by regularly. Sweet dogs but very impressive if you don't know they are harmless (well those were, I obviously don't know yours).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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“Commando” came from Afrikaans kommando, which came from Portuguese comando ; the Afrikaans word has been in South Africa since the days of the Dutch East India Company.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SimonDunne2

I sort of expected kommando to be an Afrikaans word and Wikipedia etymology explains it as you have. What confounded me some time ago was a book I read called the Great Boer War by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( of Sherlock Holmes fame). It was originally published in 1900, ( before he was Sir) and is a very detailed and somewhat laborious almost hour by hour and day by day account of the Boer War. There is quite a lot of coverage of the pro Boer/anti British rallies that happened in Dublin in 1899 but he also discusses the brigades of Irish Commandos that fought alongside the Boers. At some point he refers to the Afrikaaners adopting the term Commando's for their units from the Irish. I have no idea where in the book he mentions this, sorry I realise this is poor referencing on my behalf. It has been quite a few years since I read the book but I remember this as one of the real oddities that I never expected.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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There is an online text of a 1902 edition of The Great Boer War, and I didn’t notice any mention of rallies in Dublin in the text (though there are quite a few mentions of the Dublin Fusiliers, or “Dublins”). The only paragraph that I found with both “Irish” and “commando” in it was in chapter 5:

This main Transvaal body consisted of the commando of Pretoria, which comprised 1800 men, and those of Heidelberg, Middelburg, Krugersdorp, Standerton, Wakkerstroom, and Ermelo, with the State Artillery, an excellent and highly organised body who were provided with the best guns that have ever been brought on to a battlefield. Besides their sixteen Krupps, they dragged with them two heavy six-inch Creusot guns, which were destined to have a very important effect in the earlier part of the campaign. In addition to these native forces there were a certain number of European auxiliaries. The greater part of the German corps were with the Free State forces, but a few hundred came down from the north. There was a Hollander corps of about two hundred and fifty and an Irish – or perhaps more properly an Irish-American — corps of the same number, who rode under the green flag and the harp.

Could your memories have come from a different book on the subject, e.g. Thomas Pakenham’s The Boer War ?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Windsaw

I had chosen the word "Foiseach" from that very list as my favourite a long time ago. That there is a language that actually has a word for this strange but at the same time common "thing" was very amusing.

As for the irish word so far that I like most because of its sound and structure, I chose "brionglóid". That it means "dream" makes it even better. But I do wonder about its etymology.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GforGrand

That there is a language that actually has a word for this strange but at the same time common "thing" was very amusing.

I know, right? Quirky.

Brionglóid. I like that. Thanks for sharing!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/scilling
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eDIL notes that brionglóid was a corruption of brionlóid, which came from the Old Irish word brinn (modern brionn, now a literary word for “dream”).

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickCon600959
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There can be many reasons for learning Irish, each of them being equally valid. Personally it is both an act of patriotism and a way of feeling distinct from English.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dar...

"Gomeral" is my favourite word because it was my Nan's favourite word to describe my Grandad 98% of the time. Fierce witch of an old biddy loved him to bits though.

5 months ago
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