GO mBEANNAÍ DIA daoibh and a 2020s welcome to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.
There is no one Irish word for a decade. Deich mbliana is what we say, doing exactly what is says on the tin but the Bluffer was wondering why some decades have nicknames and others don’t.
For decades, we use the number with -idí at the end so seasca is sixty therefore na seascaidí are the 60s.
In speech, you can also add an chéad - the century so na naoi déag caogaidí are the 1950s.
And you can use it to describe someone’s age, as in tá Aoife sna fichidí - Aoife is in her 20s.
But why do some decades have leasainmneacha - nicknames.
We’ve had The Roaring Twenties, the Hungry Thirties and the Swinging Sixties but I don’t know if any decade since has earned a nickname that has stuck.
We probably remember most fondly the decade in which we were déagóirí - teenagers, that period between childhood and adulthood when we had most freedom to look foolish with our trendy stíleanna gruaige - hairstyles and groovy clothes.
So that pensioner on the bus, might have been a punk rocker when he or she was a kid.
Picture your granny as a hippy or granda as a Teddy Boy, your Da as a new Romantic, your Ma as a mod and wee Sally the lollipop lady as an emo. Time changes us all – yes even you.
Some decades are defined by ancultúr coiteann - popular culture so the 60s are remembered for Beatlemania, mionsciortaí - miniskirts, gréas pháislig - paisley pattern, The High Chaparall, etc.
(Is cuimhin liom teacht nateilifíse daite - I remember the arrival of colour TV.
Society was in general more sexually promiscuous in the 60s than in previous decades (something which sadly passed the Bluffer by!)
However, as well as pop music and way-out fashions, the 1960s brought us Cogadh Vítneam - the Vietnam War (or as the Vietnamese call it, the American War),
Gluaiseacht na gCeart Sibhialta - the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and here and, of course, the outbreak of na Trioblóidí - the Troubles, so political and world events also define a decade.
The 1970s are remembered as the decade that style forgot with their bell-bottoms, lapels you could wrap an elephant up in, and bónaí - shirt collars so big you could tug a light frigate with them. Oh, and bróga bonnarda - platform shoes.
The 1980s brought us na stailcanna ocrais - the hunger strikes in Long Kesh/The Maze, the battle for Las Malvinas, Tienanmen Square at New Kids on the Block.
A decade later, the 90s gave us grunge, raves, hip-hop, Dolly the Sheep and na sosanna cogaidh - the ceasefires.
To be honest, the 21st century has been a bit of a blur.
You look in vain for the real characters, the visionaries, the heroes and heroines in these worrying times.
Will the 2020s end up being defined by a war against Russia and its aftermath? Let’s hope not.
deich mbliana(jayh mleeana) - a decade
seasca(shaska) - sixty
na seascaidí (ne shaskadgee) - the 60s
an chéad(un cayd) - the century
na naoi déag caogaidí(ne nee jayg caygadgee) - the 1950s
tá Aoife sna fichidí(taa eefa sna feehidgee) - Aoife is in her 20s
leasainmneacha(lassanyimnyaha) - nicknames
déagóirí(jaygoree) - teenagers
ancultúr coiteann (un cultoor cutchan) () - popular culture
mionsciortaí(minskirtee) - miniskirts
gréas pháislig(grayss faashlig) - paisley pattern
Is cuimhin liom teacht nateilifíse daite (is kivin lum chahht ne chelafeesha daatcha) - I remember the arrival of colour TV
Cogadh Vítneam(cugoo veetnaam) - the Vietnam War
Gluaiseacht na gCeart Sibhialta(glooishakht ne gart shiveealta) - the Civil Rights Movment
na Trioblóidí - (ne chrobloyjee) the Troubles
bónaí (boenee) - shirt collars
bróga bonnarda(brawga bunarda) - platform shoes
na stailcanna ocrais(ne stalkana ocreesh) - the Hunger Strikes
na sosanna cogaidh (ne sosana cugee) - the ceasefires