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  5. "Tá an damhán alla agat."

" an damhán alla agat."

Translation:You have the spider.

March 8, 2015



Maybe someone could explain the etymology of 'damhán alla'? Looks like an interesting one.


Despite damhán by itself meaning “young bull”, my guess would be that damhán alla is a worn-down version of “wild leaper” — the arachnid damhán being related to damhas, and alla coming from allta.


So would spider (damhán alla) literally translated be young bull leaper?


No, damhán is a diminutive of a word that also means "ox", but both the "spider" meaning and the "ox" meaning derive from an older word meaning "beast".


That is interesting info! Thank you. :)


So, would the old form mean "house beast" then? I'm assuming the Old Irish forms would be allaid (wild animal) and a dom (house).


Ah! I've found a source that says the old from is damán n-allaid, so its "wild little deer/stag" I don't know how I ended up at dom instead of dam.


House? The Old Irish dam meant "ox" or "stag".


From reddit u/rforqs:

"Damhán" is a diminutive of "damh" meaning "ox" and it might come from Proto-Indo-European "dṓm" meaning "house" or by extension "domesticated" and many Indo-European languages use this root to refer to animals that work for humans or tend to be found near them (example "house cat", "house fly"). Now "Alla" has many meanings, but one definition roughly means "wild" or "crazy" (it can also mean "undomesticated" but don't worry about that). So it would make sense that the word's "literal translation" is something like "crazy house (creature)". Of course this compound word likely formed many centuries ago so that even if the components still exist today, the logic behind it is lost to time (you try telling me why call them ladybirds/ladybugs, or how a chesterfield could refer to a sofa).


Wiktionary says that damh comes from Proto-Indo-European dm̥h₂-ó- (“bull”), not dṓm. damhán alla is not restricted to house spiders.

As for ladybird, see https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/4291158?comment_id=29055461, and according to Wikipedia, "The first leather chesterfield sofa, with its distinctive deep buttoned, quilted leather upholstery and lower seat base, was commissioned by Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773)."


Níl an damhán alla agam!


Why is the mh in "damhán" pronounced like an English "wah" instead of a "v" (For example, in English "snámh" sounds like "snáv"?


I'm no expert but I think the MH is pronounced as a W before a broad vowel, and as a V before a slender vowel. At the end of a word it can be V often (snámh, lámh, talamh) but I think it could vary.


'The' and 'and' should be allowed


Why should "and" be allowed? There is no "and" in Tá an damhán alla agat.

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