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  5. "Is altra mé."

"Is altra mé."

Translation:I am a nurse.

November 10, 2014



'Banaltra' used to be the normal term but in recent years 'altra' has become more common as you don't have to be a 'bean' to be an 'altra'.


Curiously, the male counterpart to banaltra was not altra, but rather banaltra fir. (Altra was once a “nourisher” or a “foster father”, coming from altram [“fosterage”].)


You can still hear banaltra from older speakers. I was listening to Comhrá today, and the guest kept using banalta (though he was referring to a woman)


The story goes that shortly after the term Bangharda was dropped, a Sergeant received a call asking that a Bangharda be provided, to which he replied "There are no more Banghardaí any more, only Gardaí that can get pregnant".


All this gender neutral stuff is wearing out my poor brain cells. A banaltra is a female foster father, so an altra is a non-specific memale foster father and a banaltra fir is a female foster father who's done a 180 and become a man again....

I think the British came up with the best, though, when they threw etymology to the winds and came up with midhusband. Move over, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


banaltra is/was like "waitress" or "actress", a specifically gendered term created by adding something to the name of a role that was grammatically masculine. ("created" is probably too strong a word). What is interesting about banaltra is that it was/is grammatically feminine, even though altra is grammatically masculine. Many other -ess words created with the ban- prefix retain the gender of the second part, as is normal for compound words, though another ban- word that crops up in Duolingo, bantiarna, also breaks this rule (bantiarna is feminine, tiarna is masculine). Banríon also appears in one or two exercises, though it seems to be a bit of a tautology as ríon already means "queen" (and is a feminine word).

Here's a few of the grammatically masculine ban- words from the FGB:
ban-aisteoir, m. (gs. -ora, pl. ~í). Actress
banambasadóir, m. (gs. -óra, pl. ~í). Ambassadress
banchigire, m. (gs. ~, pl. -rí). Female inspector
banchliamhain, m. (gs. ~, pl. ~eacha). Daughter-in-law
bandochtúir, m. (gs. -úra, pl. ~í). Woman doctor
baneitleoir, m. (gs. -ora, pl. ~í). Airwoman
banfhreastalaí, m. (gs. ~, pl. -aithe). Female attendant; waitress
banghaiscíoch, m. (gs. & npl. -ígh, gpl. ~). Amazon; heroine
banlaoch, m. (gs. -oich, pl. ~ra). Female warrior; heroine
banmhaor, m. (gs. & npl. -oir, gpl. ~). Stewardess

Some terms, like banaltra and bangharda have been officially deprecated, because they have governing bodies like An Bord Altranais and An Garda Síochána that can make that call. Other terms, like banfhreastalaí, banchigire or banmhaor are probably falling into disuse.


It's now known as 'Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann', and not 'An Bord Altranais'.


Point taken. The formal title is now Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann, but I think it's fair to say that it's still "known as An Bord Altranais".

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