1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "An saol."

"An saol."

Translation:The life.

August 28, 2014



Note: An saol refers to the period of time covered by your life, i.e. "It was here my whole life".

Beatha is used to refer to life in other circumstances, such as "quality of life, my way of life".

Finally "Anam" is the animating quality of life which distinguishes animals and humans from a stone.

Saol has a derived meaning of "The world, All people".

Anam has a derived meaning of "the immortal soul".


If you were talking about something having life in it, medically (like "signs of life"), would you use beatha (to align with beo), or anam, or something else?


Anam would be the norm, "Chaill sé a anam" = He died, "Gan anam" = lifeless.

Beatha is sort of "life" as in your wealth, job, way of conducting yourself.

Now, non-native speakers will probably write "Comhartha beatha" for "life signs", but native books will usually convey it via some phrase with anam.


Funnily enough, Duolingo just asked me to translate chaill a seanmháthair a saol, and it didn't accept "her grandmother died" - it wanted "her grandmother lost her life".

I take it you would consider that a bit of a Béarlachas?


I should also emphasise that "Anam" is specifically the animating force, so plants are "gan anam", although they are "beo", i.e. alive. There isn't really a native noun for "alive" in the general sense.

Although probably younger speakers would consider plants to have "Anam", I know one from Donegal who told me this specifically and I know a few native speakers who use "Anam" for Qi/Chi.


So would the Beatles song be Lá sa Sheol, the Billy Joel song Is í mó Bheatha í and the Nina Simone song Tá Anam Agam?


According to http://www.teanglann.ie/ saol means life, world, or time.


To bring this to the attention of the course creators, use the Report a Problem button.


So the world would also be a correct translation, wouldn't it?


It could be correct, but if you review the definitions of saol in the FGB, its translation as “world” is limited, e.g. Chonaic sé an saol [“He has seen life (‘the world’)”], An saol a thréigean [“To forsake the (secular) world”].


'saol ' also refers to a life's work , is this so?


The FGB entry for saol gives Obair saoil as "life-work", suggesting that saol on it's own don't have that connotation.

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