How twitter can take you back to the mysteries of medieval Irish
Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad míle fáilte isteach chuig the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.
Well, the irregular verbs are done an dusted so let’s look at something that is even more fun - na meáin shóisialta - social media.
Yes, Gaeilgeoirí from Bangor to Boston are tweeting in Irish, chatting to each other on facebook i nGaeilge, sending grianghraif - photos on Instagram and Snapchat from Tory Island and proving that Irish is more than capable of thriving in the 21st century.
The Bluffer is sure you can meet a Gaeilgeoir on tinder but has been warned not to go near it!
An bhfuil tú ar facebook? Are you on facebook is what you can ask a Gaeilgeoir you meet who you want to make friends with.
The range of stuff in Irish on social media is bewildering but here are a few of the Bluffer’s favourites.
Some people think the Irish language is a code made up by Eamon DeValera in the 1930s – seriously, some people actually believe that!
SeanGhaeilge - Old Irish starts around the 6th century.
MeánGhaeilge or Middle Irish was used from the 10th to 12th centuries; An Nua-Ghaeilge Mhoch is early Modern Irish, spoken from the 13th to the 18th century , its literary form is called an Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach - Classical Irish and what we speak and tweet today is An NuaGhaeilge or new Irish.
One of my favourite twitter sites is eDil_dictionary which is an electronic dictionary of the Irish language up until around 1650.
In it, life is breathed into ancient words. You can almost feel the breath of the people who spoke it in bygone centuries but that gives it an archaic feel when people in, say, the 15th century thought the world had reached its apotheosis with the coming of the printing press. The felt as modern as we do today.
The latest entry in eDil is about the word athbeóaigid meaning comes back to life - and it has a great story illustratiing its use, bran was the medieval Irish word for a raven, Sug na Cáelán - Guts’ Juice seems to have been a nickname in 11th-century Ireland and a spider in Old Irish was an aershníthid - air-spinner or an etershníthid a between-spinner.
There are loads of other words that come alive in eDil. For instance, I didn’t know that pell was a rare word for horse and Lúan meaning Monday could also mean Doomsday in early Irish because people thought the world would end on a Sunday.
The provinces each had their stereotypes - Iaruss fis. Tuadus cath. Aithis bláth. Teissus séis - knowledge in the west, battle in the north, prosperity in the east, music in the south.
ChronHib is another good site for looking at things medieval (and good craic as well) while @kingdonncha - Dennis King - is very instructive too although he tweets mostly in Irish.
From Dennis, the Bluffer learned that the word súóg means “a stain left by tears.”
Now probably the best known twitter page for those interested in modern Irish, is @theirishfor and we’ll be taking a look at that and much twittery more next week.
na meáin shóisialta (ne maan hoshyalta) - social media
grianghraif (greeanfraaf) - photos
An bhfuil tú ar facebook? (un wil too er facebook) - Are you on facebook
SeanGhaeilge (shaangaylick) - Old Irish
MeánGhaeilge (maangaylick) - Middle Irish
An Nua-Ghaeilge Mhoch (un nua-gaylick wawkh) - early Modern Irish
an Ghaeilge Chlasaiceach (un faylick khlaseekakh) - Classical Irish
An NuaGhaeilge (un nooa-gaylick) - modern Irish
athbeóaigid (avyawagith) - comes back to life
bran (bran) - a raven
Sug na Cáelán (soo na caylaan) - Guts’ Juice
aershníthid (ayr-neehith) - air-spinner
etershníthid (eterneehith) - between-spinner
pell (pell) - a horse Lúan (looan) - Monday, doomsday
Iaruss fis (eeruss feesh) - knowlede in the east
Tuadus cath (tooaus cah) - battle in the north
Aithis bláth (aheesh blah) - prosperity in the east
Teissus séis (tesshus shaysh) - music in the south