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Degu in Irish??

Does anyone know what a degu is in Irish? I tried to look it up from wikipeadia, but there wasn't anything about degus in irish. I have already learned some animals in Irish and learned to tell that someone has a pet/a dog/a cat. Since I have degus (pet rodents) and I'm currently learning Irish, it would be nice to be able to tell someone in Irish that I have degus. Would they just use the word degu? If so, how would it behave in case of plural/lenited/eclipsed?

September 17, 2018



Browsing through some of the usual Web sites didn’t reveal an Irish word for “degu“. The spelling “degu” as is would break the caol le caol agus leathan le leathan rule of Irish orthography, so I’d suggest the spelling daegú for Irish instead, since ae is considered a single broad vowel. As the Spanish word degú is masculine, it would be simplest to arbitrarily define daegú as a fourth-declension masculine noun with a strong plural, which would make its declensions

Case Number Declension
nominative singular daegú
genitive singular daegú
vocative singular a dhaegú
nominative plural daegúnna
genitive plural daegúnna
vocative plural a dhaegúnna

The declensions’ initial mutations would then follow the standard rules for a masculine noun that begins with a d.

Its emphatic forms (i.e. with a possessive adjective, to emphasize or clarify ownership) would be

Person Number Translation Gloss
1st person sing. singular mo dhaegúsa my degu
1st person sing. plural mo chuidse daegúnna my degus
2nd person sing. singular do dhaegúsa your degu
2nd person sing. plural do chuidse daegúnna your degus
3rd person sing. (fem.) singular a daegúsa her degu
3rd person sing. (fem.) plural a cuidse daegúnna her degus
3rd person sing. (masc.) singular a dhaegúsan his degu
3rd person sing. (masc.) plural a chuidsean daegúnna his degus
1st person plural singular ár ndaegúna our degu
1st person plural plural ár gcuidne daegúnna our degus
2nd person plural singular bhur ndaegúsa your degu
2nd person plural plural bhur gcuidse daegúnna your degus
3rd person plural singular a ndaegúsan their degu
3rd person plural plural a gcuidsean daegúnna their degus

Note that the plural emphatic forms could have the emphatic suffix on daegúnna instead of on cuid, e.g. a gcuid daegúnnasan ; it will never be on both of them.

Alternatively, just as the Irish for “rat” is luch fhrancach (“French mouse”) or simply francach, perhaps the Irish for “degu” could be luch shileach (“Chilean mouse”) or simply sileach. ;*) Sileach would be a first-declension masculine noun with a weak plural,

Case Number Declension
nominative singular sileach
genitive singular sileaigh
vocative singular a shileaigh
nominative plural sileaigh
genitive plural sileach
vocative plural a shileacha

and their initial mutations would follow the standard rules for a masculine noun that begins with si. The nominative singular, which ends with a broad consonant, would have the same emphatic suffixes as daegú, e.g. mo shileachsa. The genitive singular, which ends with a slender consonant, would have the same emphatic suffixes as cuid, e.g. le hais ár sileaighne (“compared with our degu”).


Thank you for your impressive reply.


Of course, if there already is an Irish word for “degu” that isn’t daegú (or sileach) as described above, you should get the equivalent relevant information from someone who knows what the word really is, and leave a reply in the discussion here with that information for future reference.

If there isn’t an Irish word for “degu” yet, direct your Irish-speaking interlocutors to this page to explain what you’d meant by e.g. Tá daegúnna agam or An bhfuil sileaigh agat? . ;*)

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