1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. "Scríobhaim an leabhar."

"Scríobhaim an leabhar."

Translation:I write the book.

December 16, 2014



What fascinates me most about Irish is that you can trace impossibly well when a certain word becam important in Irish history. Some animals were not 'known' before the opening towards the world, so their 'stem-language' is English. (f.e eilifint (elephant) in contrast to madra (dog) ) Writing, however, corresponds to the famous Irish Center of Christian book production (Book of Kells/Armagh etc.), so the stem-language for the word 'write' is latin 'scrivere'.


eDIL notes that elef(a)int (the Middle Irish form of eilifint ) came from an Irish translation of Lucan’s Pharsalia, so English wasn’t involved; it came to Middle Irish directly from Latin elephantus. (Its form in the Pharsalia was elephans, a third declension variant of elephantus that was closer to its Greek source ἐλέφᾱς.)


I recently came across the Irish word for Hippopotamus while looking something else up in the dictionary - dobhareach, which comes from dobhar meaning "water" and each meaning "horse" or "steed".

The English word Hippopotamus comes from the Greek hippopótamos "riverine horse".

I wonder when that came into the Irish language - it's clearly a translation of the Greek, not a borrowing from English.

(There is a famous, or infamous, statue of a rhinoceros in the river Dodder in south Dublin. Nobody knows if it was supposed to be a hippopotamus).


Thanks, Leiphrachan4. I had been wondering about all this and this is helpful when thinking about it.


Is there a reason "write" and "am writing" are not interchangeable here?


Yes. Irish, like English, has a separate present progressive and present habitual form.


I am writing: Tá mé ag scríobh.


Since their broad in both cases, why does the bh sound like a W in "scriobhaim" and like a V in "leabhar"?

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