1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Léann na cailíní."

"Léann na cailíní."

Translation:The girls read.

August 26, 2014



This conjugation is pretty similar to the Spanish third person plural conjugation of "leer" (to read), which is "leen". Common etymology maybe?


Irish is an old Indo-European language so it has been influenced by, and shares heritage with, many European languages! For example, leabhar (book; compare Latin liber, French livre), cathaoir (chair; compare Latin cathedra).


Mind blown: Chair 》Cathedra 》Cathedral. I love etymology.


Yep, because the word 'cathedral' started off as an adjective for a church: a cathedral church was one with 'a bishop's chair.' The seat of a bishop.


Oh cool! Thanks for the reply!


Aren't these just loan words taken directly from Latin? I.e. that's an example of influence, not common roots. I suggest that "an fear" and the Latin "vir", as in virility, are a better example of that shared heritage. (I am just starting with Irish, but I'm a linguist and have studied some history of languages.)


Just the reverse Igor. Many Latin words (and Greek) were taken from the Celtic Language. You have to remember that the Celts covered most of Europe and parts of Asia Minor and invaded Italy/Rome on various occasions. Of course, christian clerical words would have been taken from the Latin with the later introduction of Christianity. Take a look at the introduction to John O'Brien's Irish-English Dictionary 1836 (do a Google search).


This sounds nonsensical to me as far as Greek is concerned, at least for the most part. Greek has had very little direct interaction with Celtic, if none at all, the way these things go. When Celts invaded Greece, Greek had been there for millenia. Plus the idea that the odd invasion of nations that Greeks perceived as barbaric could really influence their "done" language borders on historical absurdity. In this case, the word "cathedral" comes straight from Greek, "cathedral" - καθεδρα - κατα (καθ) + εζομαι = down + lie/be and the έζομαι word comes from IE (sed). So both you and Lancet are mistaken on this. Either cathaoir is a loan-word or there is no relation. "Καθ" comes from Κατά = down (Preposition). Maybe that comes from a common ancestor word. I don't know if that's the case but that would mean that both languages developed their own similar sounding words for "sitting down". It's really tricky to study etymology if you don't have any knowledge of Greek. It's like shooting blindfolded. So your best bet would be that Celtic borrows heavily from Latin which borrows heavily from Greek.


I think you're right. The giveaway is that it's a word for the Church-related technology of reading.

  • 981

according to wiktionary, leabhar is indeed from Latin liber, while cathair comes from a Proto-Celtic word meaning fortification, so it might be related to cathedral eventually, but not nearly as closely as the modern form suggests.


cathair does probably come from an older word meaning 'fortification' - it means 'city'.

cathaoir means 'chair' and comes from Latin 'cathedra'

The 'ao' represents a sound like 'í', so they are pronounced respectively something like 'koher' and 'koheer' (simplifying).


I think you are correct.


cathisma (καθισμα) in Greek means seat or chair, cathedrikos (καθεδρικος) in Greek means cathedral also, cathome (καθομαι) means I sit...amazing similarities


I was thinking the exact same thing


Yes, there’s a common etymological root — Irish léigh comes from Latin lego (“I read” [present tense]), and Spanish leer comes from Latin legere (“to read”).


How come nothing speaks when I click the speaker?


Irish phonetics are hell, so they need an actual voice actor to come in and record instead of text-to-speech. Hopefully they get done soon. xC


I believe Duolingo is still workig on things like that


The structure of the sentence reminds me of japanese.


...Except Japanese is S-O-V. The syntax is completely different...


I think of Colleen (girl name) and it sort of sounds the same


The Irish word cailín is literally directly where the name Colleen comes from!


Is it just my ears or do i hear Léann pronounced with an M instead of N?


The Irish N is more velarized than the English N is, so an Irish N can sometimes sound like an English M.


are these words from Latin?


why leann is used why not leim


Léim is the contraction of léann mé ("I read"), and can only be used when talking in the 1st person (about yourself).


I am realizing that the differing dialects will alter the answer to this-but am is this a silent "L" at the beginning of this word? What dialect is she speaking? Just a beginner here btw.


Is the speaker pronouncing Léann with an "l" sound or "y" sound? I can't tell? Please help.


There are two L sounds in Irish — a “broad” L, and a “slender” L. A broad L is like an English “clear” L, as in “lee” (but note that some English dialects only use the “dark” L, as in “full“); a slender L is described above, in my reply to artiguesmommy.

Note that some dialects of Irish can have up to four L sounds (two broad varieties and two slender varieties), but that’s primarily of interest to phonologists.


I'm having a difficult time deciphering whether the L is pronounced as L or Y. It sounds like it could be either; or it could just be the sound on my iPad!


Léim na cailíní works too

the girls jump


No, "The girls jump" is 'Léimeann na cailíní.'


Well im failing my ordinary level irish test ayyyy


Do the two n's in "Léann" make the "L" sound like an English "Y" or is that just how the L is pronounced in Irish?


That’s how a slender L is pronounced in Irish. (The L in léann is slender because it’s adjacent to é.)


What if the girls are wearing dressses made of sheeet music? (I got the multiple choice version just now.)

Practicality aside, could someone confirm if the sentence léim na cailíní (I read the girls) would, strictly syntacticallly, be corrrect?

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.