Listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta today I heard the word babysiteáil, in a sentence something like “Tá sé ag Babysiteáil dúinne.” (He babysits for us). This caught my attention because I don’t seem to hear as many English words made into verbs like this in Irish as I do in Welsh. The Welsh equivalent is babysitio, or gwarchod.

There are ways of saying baby-sit in Irish: páistí a fheighil (to care for children) and aire a thabhairt do pháistí (to give care to children).

If you put baby-sit into Google Translate, the Irish comes out as leanbh-suí – a literal translation. The Welsh version, baban-sefyll, is also a literal translation. For other languages the translations are perhaps better: e.g. garder les enfants (French) and cuidar niños (Spanish).

6 thoughts on “Babysiteáil

  1. The machine translations into French and Spanish are not really very good.
    Everyday French uses “faire le babysitting” while Spanish uses the cute phrase “hacer canguro” literally “to do the kangaroo”- presumably referring to the pouch of said marsupial.

  2. Personally I don’t like when people use expressions that incorporate English verbs into Irish with the (e)áil ending such as babysiteáil as you have above or when English nouns are incorporated such as mo bhicycle ‘my bicycle’. There is no need for such borrowing as the language has perfectly native vocabulary to express the concept. It’s just sloppy.

  3. Babysitter is ‘gwarchodwr (plant)’ which is closer to English “childminder” than babysitter I suppose.

  4. I agree with Corcaighist, especially words like that. I can accept that people growing up in the Gaeltacht don’t always use the Irish-derived word for technology or modern concepts, and that I have no problem with. But babysiteáil is just pathetic. I also don’t like that a lot of people on TG4 (which reflects Conemara, not necessarily all native Irish speakers) use English interjections, and not Irish ones.

  5. French will be ‘faire du babysitting’ for the activity, ‘un(e) babysitter’ for the person doing it, et “je garde des/les enfants” when claimed by the person doing it. When this activity becomes a full time job, it is officially assistant(e) maternel(le). The Globish trend started in the 60’s and as it is often the case with borrowing from other languages, the words blend in after a while, many of my students aren’t even aware that it’s English and that there is a possibility to say it with French words they would consider weird or outdated.

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