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  5. "Seachtain nó coicís?"

"Seachtain coicís?"

Translation:A week or a fortnight?

November 13, 2014



(I'm American.) I find the very fact that a word for a two-week period exists odd. If I wanted to talk about a 26-week period in Irish (random even number chosen) would I use the Irish translation of "26 weeks" or "13 fortnights"? Which is more commonly used by native Irish speakers, and is there any difference?


I’d imagine that “half year” or “six months” would be used rather than “13 fortnights” or “26 weeks”, in the same way that one would likely use a smaller amount of a larger unit of measurement than a larger amount of a smaller unit of measurement.

“Sevenight” (pronounced sennet ) was long used in English alongside “week”.


To reply to your original question, I highly doubt that one would ever refer to a 26-week period as "13 fortnights". There may be more accomplished gaeilgeoirí than myself who may know of instances as gaeilge where time is measured in fortnights, but to my knowledge this is not usual at all. :)

That being said, whether you find it odd or not, " fortnight" has been around for a very long time and it is widely used in the UK, longer so in fact than the existence of US varieties of English. :P


Talking about Irish & UK English here, but by extension also about the Irish word coicís: you'd never say "13 fortnights" in normal speech. I can just about imagine someone saying "a fortnight or two ago", but the most common way it's used is just as a singular noun meaning "two weeks". And the expression "two weeks" is very common too.


just wondering...if you're American, are you taking English for Spanish speaking people?


Yeah, I was just curious how they teach English. I'm pretty much fluent in Spanish, so that's the one I chose to take a few English lessons through.


I'm sure that, given the state of education in the US, many words might seem odd to you. This comment comes from an American who has had to cope with the paltry language skills of my university students.


Most people are aware of what fortnight means whether or not they use it in daily speech.


Most people? I asked the students in the college class I teach, none of them knew what a fortnight was, outside of a videogame. I have to look it up to remind myself.


Is 'a week or two' too American of me? It wasn't accepted.


Yes, I would think that, 'a week or two,' is 'too American' in this context. If I was to ask someone how long they were going on holiday for I would say, 'Are you going for a week or a fortnight?' If I were to ask them, 'How long are you going for,' and they hadn't quite made their mind up, they might say, 'For a week or two.' Therefore, the expression, 'A week or two,' implies some uncertainty as to the exact period of time.


In the above response I refer to Hiberno-English.


I typed "One or two weeks?" and was counted wrong as well (25 April 2016)

American here as well, and have only ever heard the term "fortnight" in a Hebrew class, since none of us knew WTF they were referring to.

Week-- שָׁבוּעַ Fortnight-- שְׁבוּעַיִם


I've heard fortnight in British English. I have never heard it in an American context, and allowing any American English alternatives seems odd to me.


Irish is surrounded by and interacts with Irish English, not American English. There are some terms (such as coicís ~ fortnight) that correspond between Irish and Irish English - the languages spoken in Ireland - which don't have equivalents in American English. Learning Irish involves learning at least something about Irish English (and by extension British and non-American English).


This course doesn't use British English, it uses Irish English, and rightly so. As a Brit, I'm fine with fortnight but I do struggle (in another lesson) with the "do be"-habitual (which just doesn't exist in BrE). It's me who needs to get used to it, though. We're just learning other corners of our own language: it's a bonus.


It wasn't accepted not because of any Americanness but because "a week or two" means... a week or two. Coicís, on the other hand, (a fortnight in Irish and British English) is precisely two weeks. You might have (should have) got(ten) away with "a couple of weeks" though!


Would it be reasonable to translate coicís as "two weeks", or is there some nuanced distinction made between "fortnight" and "two weeks" that would be expressed in choosing "coicís"?


Etymologically, coicís (before the reform, spelled as {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}cóiciḋis, {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}coicṫiḋis, {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}coigḋís, or {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}cóigṫiḋis) shares the same Old Irish roots as a cúig déag (“fifteen”) — it originally represented a fifteen day period, and at the beginning of the 20th century could mean either a fifteen day period or a fortnight. “Fortnight” is its only meaning now.


Thank you for your responses. I asked mainly because "fortnight" is not used at all, ever, in the part of the world I live, so it is interesting to me when this distinction is made.


If you were making a translation for, say, a US English audience, then “two weeks” could very well be a better choice than “fortnight” for coicís, since “fortnight” isn’t used much in US English. It’s certainly best to tailor a translation for the intended audience.


I'm very thankful Irish went through a spelling reform. I shudder at the thought of trying to learn the spelling system pre-reform, since its still extremely challenging as is.


although just a relative beginner , I like the old spellings, (I'd hope to learn them when it's not daft to do so) and always feel the silent letters are, still , kinda -there


The etymology is interesting. The French equivalent of "fortnight" is "quinze jours" - which means "fifteen days", whereas "fortnight" means "fourteen nights".


It's just better translated as fortnight. dhá seachtain is two weeks.


what is a fortnight?


A fortnight is fourteen nights, and the 15 days surrounding them. In other words, two weeks and a day.


A fortnight is two weeks. If someone were to say, 'A fortnight from today,' they would mean two weeks from now, not two weeks and one day.


That's its etymology ('fourteen nights'), not its present meaning. A fortnight only means two weeks.


DSDragon: That's being unjustifiably over-specific (and over-etymologically-historical!). In modern English a fortnight is a period of two weeks: no more and no less.


More practically, a fortnight corresponds to one half a month. If you are paid fortnightly, you are paid twice a month and not every 14 or fifteen days. In months ranging from 28 to 31 days, the "extra" days are simply ignored. You are paid at the middle of the month and at the end of the month. So, the meaning of the term is relative. Sort of like "month". Does month mean 28, 29, 30 or 31 days? Do we argue about the etymology of "month"? It comes from "moon"!


Why is 'an' not at the beginning of this sentence - an seachtain no coicis?


an tseachtain means "the week".

If you meant the other an that you see at the start of questions, that's the interrogative particle an and it is used to modify a verb. There is no verb in this "sentence", therefore you can't use an interrogative particle.


Tuigim, go raibh mo agat agus Nollaig shona dhuit

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