'Liath' doesn't just mean 'gray', it can also can also refer to light/pale blue too.
Kinda makes me think of how a lot of grey pet coat colors are often referred to as "blue." I have a grey cat that is typically called a "Russian blue," and I've heard of several dog breeds that have "blue" (grey) coat/fur colors.
Are descriptions like this common in Irish? So far I've seen "red woman", "green boy" and "gray woman"; does the color indicate the color of what the person is wearing, or their hair color, or skin color?
It usually refers to hair colour. "Fear dubh" would mean "a black-haired man". Weirdly, when you're referring to skin colour, "gorm" (literally "blue") is used for "black".
Not so weird: 'gorm' carries the meaning of 'darkness' too, so 'daoine gorma' can reasonably be interpreted as meaning 'dark people'. It's just that the overriding meaning is blue to slightly greenish blue.
Totally different words. Bread is 'arán', the Aran Islands are 'Oileáin Árainn'. They don't even sound alike.
Unless I'm mistaken, doesn't bread require a fada, thus "arán"? This carries a different semantic meaning than without the á accent. There are numerous other example words where an accent completely changes the meaning.
Actually, fear dubh could also refer to the devil. Generally that's with the article, though. An fear dubh is "the devil"
Any speculations on why many European cultures associate red with Satan, yet that instead of red Irish opts for black??
What makes you think that "many European cultures associate red with Satan"? It would hardly be the color associated with Cardinals if that was the case.
I was thinking a lot of French, Italian, and German paintings and poetry used red in their visuals, as well as described "fiery" for coloration. Perhaps my understanding/recollection is off.
So am I correct then that this sentence implies a (somewhat) elderly woman?
It would seem not -- typing in "the grey lady" does not get you the point. I tried it.
Bhí Humptí Dumptí ina shuí ar an bhfalla. Tháinig an ghaoth, is leag ar an talamh. Pléascadh a phlaosc, is briseadh a chraoi; cé go raibh sé bán, anois tá sé buí.
Tháinig amach an tseanbhean liath, agus d'fhéach sí ar Humptí Dumptí ina luí. "Anois," ar sí, "níl cumacht ag an rí, na ag an arm is fearr atá faoi - Humptí Dumptí a chur ina shuí ar an bhfalla arís".
mournful music plays
I was just overcome with the urge to answer The Grey Lady, the ghost from harry Potter. :P
I wouldn't be surprised if this is how it's translated in an Irish copy of HP. total Potter nerd here too
Me too «wincing». I forgot we was in Irish fer a wee minute & thought it was lower London...magic London...lol
That's really a question for English, not for Irish.
English uses the word "Lady" and the word "lady" for two different classes of people, and not all women are ladies. Irish uses different words to resolve these same nuances - "Lady", the female equivalent of "Lord", is bantiarna. in Irish. bean is "woman", the female equivalent of "man". That subset of women who are referred to as "lady" in English are referred to as bean uasal in Irish.