Cigire or Cigydd? Cross-language confusion

Last week in Ireland on the last night of the course each class played some tunes, did a sketch, sang songs, and/or did some other party piece. One of the Irish language classes did a sketch about a bunch of unruly school kids whose class was being visited by an inspector, played by Paul Kavanagh, Irish Ambassador to China. When the inspector turned up and he introduced himself as a “cigire scoile” (school inspector), and I processed the word cig in cigire as the Welsh word for meat. So at first I thought he was the school butcher, which would be cigydd ysgol in Welsh, though that made no sense in the context. I soon realised that he was an inspector, but it took a while for my mind to accept that word cigire had nothing to do with meat.

Incidentally, the Irish word for butcher is búistéir or feolaire, and feoil is meat.

Do you ever suffer from cross-language confusion?

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This entry was posted in English, Irish, Language, Welsh.

5 Responses to Cigire or Cigydd? Cross-language confusion

  1. Jim Morrison says:

    I had this a bit when I first started learning Catalan (I already knew French):

    “I go” is “Je vais” in French and “Jo vaig” in Catalan.

    Now,
    French: “Je vais manger” means “I will eat”.
    Catalan: “Jo vaig menjar” means “I ate”.

    So in French “I go” + verb means future tense and in Catalan, it means past tense.

  2. Lev says:

    I had it when I was in Holland. All my Dutch came from a phrasebook, but it looks quite similar to German. (I know the grammar is different, and “ui” is not pronounced like “au”, but still.)

  3. The only other language I’m proficient in is Chinese, so I don’t see a lot of crossover in the other languages I’ve studied (Italian, Spanish, Esperanto, Lakota), but I thought this was a funny story. Thanks for the laugh. :)

  4. SM Jenkin says:

    Man, those ofsted inspectors in Ireland are tough ;-)

  5. Kevin says:

    One Welsh word that kept causing me to stumble when I first started studying the language was gan (core meaning: “with”), because I was used to the Irish word gan (meaning… “without”).

    And I still sometimes catch myself failing to be utterly convinced that the Welsh word barn (“opinion, judgement”) has nothing at all to do with children (barn in Swedish).

    I suppose that which way these “interferences” operate has got a lot to do with the order in which one has learned different languages.