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  5. "Corcra nó dearg."

"Corcra dearg."

Translation:Purple or red.

August 26, 2014

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/talideon

Though it doesn't look like it, the word 'corcra' is actually related to the English word 'purple'. Way back in time, Old Irish almost entirely lost the letter 'p', with initial letter 'p' disappearing completely and 'p' changing into a 'k' sound, thus you get words like the 'athair', which means 'father' in Irish and 'pater' in Latin, which share a common ancestor, but the word in Irish lacks the 'p'.

Shortly after this happened, Irish came into contact with Latin speakers, and would borrow vocabulary from them, and the Latin word 'purpura' was one of them, but because Irish lacked a 'p', a 'k' sound was substituted, thus leading to 'corcair' and subsequently 'corcra'.

The other lesson to learn from this is that if you see a word starting with 'p' in Irish, it was probably borrowed from another language.


[deactivated user]

    That is an interesting example! This process happened in Gaelic languages of Irish, Scottish and Manx, that is why they are classified in the q-Celtic group, whereas Brythonic (Breton, Welsh and Cornish) are p-Celtic.

    E. g. the word "head" is ceann in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, kione in Manx, but penn in Breton and Cornish and pen in Welsh!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/talideon

    Exactly!

    Interestingly, the Celtic languages aren't the only IE language family with such a split. A similar split happened amongst the Italic languages, with Latin being one of those that ended up with [k] and some of the others ended up with [p]. Of course, then the Roman Empire happened, and we all know what happened after that. It's particularly interesting, because the Italic family of languages are thought to be the IE branch most closely related to the Celtic languages, and there's even a story that during Caesar's conquest of Gaul, he switched to speaking Greek because he realised he could understand a fair bit of what the Gauls themselves were saying. Apocryphal or not, if you've ever seen Ancient Irish inscriptions, they do bear an uncanny resemblance in some ways to Latin, in that some of the inflections are similar, and some of the words wouldn't look out of place in Old Latin.

    In fact, if you want to see an inflectional ending that has remained intact in many of the Romance languages and the Gaelic languages, the ending -(a/e/i)mos (which ended up as -ons in French, and -amo in Italian, and I couldn't tell you what it is in Romanian) and -muid in the Iberian languages and the the Gaelic language for the first person plural present tense are etymologically related!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ilmolleggi

    Very interesting. So is portán borrowed then? Looked for its etymology on wiktionary but apart from pointing to OI partán it didn't tell me anything. Would you know more about it?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/talideon

    Almost certainly. I've no idea what its ultimate etymology is, but it's almost certainly borrowed from another language, be it some pre-celtic language, or maybe somewhere else.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daraghlol

    "nó" should be pronounced as just no but with slight emphasis on the o, well that's how we'd say it in my region anyway.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coconutlulz

    Yeah, this is a strange pronunciation to me (Dublin).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DylanHourigan

    Yeah all I heard is "new"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seamus747

    I agree. To me, a Tyrone man taught Donegal Irish at school, noo sounds bizarre.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brid-Eilis

    I say it a bit like "noo", but not exactly like that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rewjeo
    • 1834

    It's probably worth pointing out that Irish people say "no" differently from many other English speakers. It's a pure o, whereas many English speakers pronounce it as a diphthong or a triphthong.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aglaring

    A singular pronunciation, of nó. It seems almost: ni


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FionaOnDuoL

    I agree, I heard "nú" where I had expected to hear "nó".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hunith

    Is the speaker's pronunciation of 'dearg' correct? The 'd' is a slender consonant, isn't it? So there should be that little 'dj' sound, not a 'd', or am I getting this wrong?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/erebusnux121

    I was thinking the same. Memrise uses the "j" sound. When I looked the word up in an external pronunciation website, it mentions there are two pronunciations, so perhaps this is one of those regional variations?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SemperVinc

    Because this sentence ends in a period it is a statement. However, could I also use this same sentence as question and be understood (given the right context) or would making it a question require a change to the sentence structure?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/josefderry

    is the pronounciation ''coffcra'' or ''cosscra''


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FionaOnDuoL

    The Irish word for purple/violet is pronounced "Kur-krah". (As a child, I always associated it with a purple crocus, I don't know why.)

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