Irish language

Hair today, gone tomorrow as the Bluffer talks about coiffure

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Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh, hiyaz dudes and dudettes, and welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is a question the Bluffer often asks himself as he gazes at his latest féinphic - selfie.

The answer is a brutal “catch yerself on” as the ravages of time, ragairneacht - carousing and lack of sleep highlight themselves in ardghléine - high definition ó bhaithis go bonn - from head to toe.

(Baithis is the crown of the head).

But bímis ionraic - let’s be honest, how many of us would feature on the front of Vogue or Men’s Health magazine?

When you walk through the city/town centre, how many of the people you pass could be Magherafelt’s Next Top Model, or the Cullybackey Manikin or who uses Strabane’s main street as a catwalk?

But how would you describe yourself.

Cuir síos ort féin means describe yourself.

Last week we looked at saying how we look but here we have some ways to fill in your CV as if you were going to attend a Game of Thrones audition.

(Last Friday, they were looking for neanderthals so that’s most Bluffer readers ineligible and béal bán is the Irish for false flattery).

Hair is gruaig do you would say tá gruaig rua orm - I am a ging.

Or if you have the Nordic look, tá gruaig fhionn orm - I am blonde.

Tá gruaig dhubh ar Cher -- Cher has black hair. It might be what nature intended but it is black.

You can have different hairstyles as in bhíodh gruaig chatach ar Kevin Keegan - Kevin Keegan used to have curly hair. Bring back the man-perm says the Bluffer!

Then there is gruaig dhíreach, ghairid or fhada - straight, short or long hair and that’s all you need to know about hair, though nowadays men are happy to be blagaideach - baldy.

(For people not freaked out by grammar, you will also hear, mo chuid gruaige - my hair, literally my share of hair. In other words, my hair, nobody else’s and not hair in general. You will hear do chuid airgid - your money and a chuid Gaeilge - his Irish.

It’ll take time to learn when to use cuid but we’ll get there.

And gruaig is a feminine noun and the adjective that follows it changed so that, as we’ve seen catach becomes chatach, fada becomes fhada.

Your hair is on top of your cloigeann - your head or your ceann - the same thing but luckily it leaves space for your ear/ears - cluas/cluasa so you can hear things.

It doesn’t grow over your súil/súile - eyes unless you are a hardcore Goth which is great as  men can use them in chat-up lines.

“Has anyone ever told you you have beautiful eyes?” was always worth a try at the local post-disco late-night chippy as you stood there waiting for your curry chip with your mates, none of whom got a dance either.

So, that’s a whole column on body parts and we have only got from the crown of the head to the eyes!

One is glad that fans of the Bluffer are in for the long haul. 

Ádh mór - good luck.


féinphic (faynfick) - selfie

ragairneacht (ragermyakht) - carousing 

ardghléine (ardylaynya) - high definition 

ó bhaithis go bonn (o wahish gaw bun) - from head to toe

bímis ionraic (beemeesh unreek) - let’s be honest

Cuir síos ort féin (ker shees ort hayn) - describe yourself

béal bán (bell baan) - flattery

gruaig (grooeeg) - hair

tá gruaig rua orm (taa grooeeg rooa orim) - I have red hair

tá gruaig fhionn orm (taa grooeeg in orim) - I am blonde.

Tá gruaig dhubh ar Cher (taa grooeeg goo er sher) - Cher has black hair

bhíodh gruaig chatach ar Kevin Keegan (veeoo grooeeg khatakh er KK) - Kevin Keegan used to have curly hair

gruaig dhíreach, ghairid or fhada (grooeeg yeeraakh, giridge, aada) - straight, short or long hair 

blagaideach (blagajakh) - bald

mo chuid gruaige (maw cudge grooeega) - my hair

do chuid airgid daw khudge aragidge) - your money

a chuid Gaeilge a cudge gaylocka) - his Irish

cloigeann/ceann (klyggin/kyun) - head 

cluas/cluasa (cloo-iss/cloo-issa) - ear/ears

súil/súile (soo-il/soo-illa) - eyes

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