Archive for the Category: Irish

Counting rhymes

We learnt this Irish counting rhyme in class today: Lúrabóg lárabóg Ladhra buithe Buíeán Eoghain Eoghean an Phreabáin Preabán suilí Súilí saic The first two words are made up nonsense words, the others mean something like, “yellow toes, Eoghain’s egg yolk, Jack-in-the-Box, ??, eyelets of a sack”. There are quite a few other rhymes like […]

Also posted in English, Language 10 Comments

Deiseal agus tuathal

Yesterday we discussed the Irish words deiseal (/ˈdʲɛʃəl/) and tuathal (/’tuəhəl/) in class. Deiseal means clockwise, dextral, right-hand, rightward, starboard, and tuathal means the opposite: anticlockwise, sinistral left-hand, leftward, port. Some examples of usage: – bogadh ar deiseal = to go in a clockwise direction – dul deiseal = to go in a rightward direction […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Gleann Cholm Cille

I returned to Bangor from the Isle of Man yesterday after a very enjoyable week at Yn Chruinnaght. I spoke and sang lots of Manx, and heard all the other Celtic languages, except Breton, being spoken and/or sung. I also spoke a bit of French and German, and even some English. I was even inspired […]

Also posted in Cornish, English, French, German, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 5 Comments

Sonic the happy Manx hedgehog

Arkan sonney is a Manx expression I came across today that means hedgehog, or literally “happy sucking pig”. Arkan is a diminutive form of ark (piglet), and sonney means ‘affluent, lucky, fortunate, happy’, and sounds a bit like sonic, hence the little of this post. Another Manx word for hedgehog is graynoge, which is related […]

Also posted in English, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 4 Comments

Yn Chruinnaght

Tomorrow I’m off to the Isle of Man for Yn Chruinnaght (‘the gathering’) – a celebration of Manx and Celtic music and culture featuring performers and participants from the Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. I’m really looking forward to it as it’s a great opportunity to see old friends and make […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, English, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Travel, Welsh 3 Comments

True sisters

The word for sister in Irish is deirfiúr /dʲɾʲəˈfˠuːɾˠ/, and it has always puzzled me why this word is so different from the words for sister in the other Gaelic languages: piuthar /pju.ər/ in Scottish Gaelic and shuyr /ʃuːr/ in Manx. Yesterday I discovered that deirfiúr is in fact a combination of deirbh /dʲɾʲəv/ (true) […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Proto-Indo-European, Scottish Gaelic, Words and phrases 10 Comments


One word for cupboard used mainly in Hiberno and Scottish English is press. When I encountered it in one of my Irish courses as a translation of the Irish word prios it puzzled me somewhat as I’d never come across this word used to mean cupboard before. Today I spotted the term linen press in […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases 7 Comments

Obrigados / Obrigadas

According to someone who wrote to me today, the words obrigados/obrigadas are only used in Portuguese to mean ‘obligated’, and are not used to thank more than one person. However, according to João Rosa, who wrote the article Obrigado – how to express your gratitude in Portuguese, these words are used to mean ‘thank you’ […]

Also posted in Grammar, Language, Manx, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Zulu 14 Comments


While listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta (Irish language radio) today I noticed much use of the word “Jeepers!“. It’s not a word I’ve heard much before so it caught my attention. According to the Free Dictionary, jeepers is used to express surprise or annoyance and is a euphemism for Jesus. A variation on this, “Jeepers […]

Also posted in English, Language 17 Comments

Hunting haggis

I’ve just finished a new video using Xtranormal – it’s in Scottish Gaelic and features Hamish and Helen (Seumas & Eilidh). Hamish is from Harris in the Hebrides and hunts haggis as a hobby with his haggis hound Hector (who doesn’t appear in the video), and also farms ostriches. Helen is a translator from Beijing […]

Also posted in English, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh 6 Comments