"He is as happy as a shoe."
Translation:Tha e cho sona ri bròig.
As it says in the tips for this lesson: "Hawk-eyed learners among you may notice that the word bròg has been slenderised to bròig. We do not go into the grammar as to why this happens here (didn't want to rush it), but the change is caused by an aspect Gaelic's dative case."
I second that so I looked them up
|sona||content, happy||Lucky, fortunate. Happy, in a state of happiness, blessed||felicitous, happy|
|toilichte||happy, glad, pleased, satisfied, delighted||Pleased, Satisfied, contented, gratified||content, contented, glad, happy, pleased, satisfied|
I have put all the past-participle endings in bold. Toilichte is a past participle so it is no coincidence that lots of the translations end in ed. That means you can be contented with something or by something, so there is a sense of causation. I think sona is more a general state of being, whereas toilichte is your response to something. But apart from that I think the words are fairly interchangeable, like the various words that are given as translations.
This is certainly not sarcastic. It is a perfectly normal thing to say. We have loads of these weird expressions in both Gaelic and English. See here for several examples of 'as happy as a ...' with some rather dubious explanations.
I do not know if this happens in other languages, or if it is in fact a Celtic custom that has spread into English.
Well happiness is pretty modern as a state to aspire to. Our word is Norse, but it was not a common word, because it was not seen as an important state of being. There is one guy in the sagas who was happy. He was what we would call happy-go-lucky. Happy meant relying on fortune rather than virtue. He spent all his money on a polar bear, and set of to have some adventures with the bear.
I am assuming you are regarding glücklich as the German equivalent, but this originally had a very different meaning, relating to knightly virtues. Like happy I think it is a word that has changed over time to represent the new concept of happiness.
I don't think sona would have been translated as happy in the past. In fact none of the dictionaries I looked in gave it as the first meaning:
- Mark (2003) – 'felicitous, happy
- AFB – 'content, happy'
- Dwelly – 'luck, fortunate; happy'
So if the German word has changed meaning (and I have no idea when) then that could explain why it does not occur in this sort of saying. I notice from an Ngram plot that the word was virtually unknown before 1500, reached a peak in 1790, died down again to almost nothing, then suddenly shot up this century. I am wondering if the new popularity is with a different meaning than in the eighteenth century?