lesbiassparrow: (Default)
Having recently suffered through some very interesting subtitles I was thinking about translation and how insane it gets if people try to do it literally. I was reading through a modern Irish comic book version of The Táin (the most famous Irish epic) with someone to help out with their Irish and we had some odd moments. Such as when they translated this phrase 'dar m’fhallaing' as 'by my dressing gown,' which I guess it literally does mean in modern Irish, but it's really a sort of very archaic mild oath. And then there was the whole issue of how Irish doesn't have a verb to say 'I have'; you have to say that something is 'at you' or 'on you.' Nor do we have an all purpose useful word like 'hello' which is annoying if you answer the phone a lot.

Irish doesn't also have a word for yes or no: you just say either the positive or negative form of the verb back at someone. I've always wondered how many other languages don't have a word just to say yes/no. Latin doesn't really (though I guess people always say you can use 'itaque' for 'yes' but it doesn't really work.

Um. That's it.

ETA: As an update on the bunny front, here's an Irish saying:

Is fearr greim de choinín ná dhá ghreim de chat

Literally it means 'one bite of a bunny is better than two of a cat' - in other words that it is better to eat a little bit of rabbit than a lot of cat, or quality is better than quantity. I don't know why people say this as I don't think cats were ever on the menu in Ireland. Maybe it's just that a huge amount of Irish sayings involve cats.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
...who is long dead but still wonderful.

I don't imagine this will really interest anyone besides me but because I have spent all weekend trying to finalize an article on this guy I will post because it is all about me! And Donncha Rua MacNamara, the author of one of the best parodies of the Aeneid out there. Plus a mad drinker and apparently fond of the ladies. He was such a mad 18th century Irish poet there were novels written about him (and thanks to my father I now have one of these!).

This guy was apparently kicked out of his seminary because of moral turpitude and then became a teacher in an illegal school that taught Catholics in 18th century Ireland, but had to leave after some irate woman burned his schoolhouse down. And then he headed off to travel to Newfoundalnd and wrote an account of the trip as a mad parody of the Aeneid. I've been working on this parody forever and it still fills me with amusement when I stagger through the Irish.* I just think he must have been a hell of a lot of fun to know, what with the mad drinking, the apostasy, and everything else.

This is the sort of guy films should be made about because I think he was made of awesome. How else can you describe someone who writes a poem called 'The Anti-Christian Creed' while he is employed by the church?

*It's gorgeous Irish but the spelling has shifted hugely between now and the mid-18th century and as it's not Donegal Irish I do have to throw my hands in the air and hope for the best sometimes.
lesbiassparrow: (Default)
How you write Irish has notoriously little to do with how it is pronounced; it takes people forever to really, truly believe that you don't pronounce F most of the time (and never in the centre of a word!). I was trying to explain this to someone and then came across this, which is the Gettysburg Address as it would have to be written in Irish to get that pronounciation. Some of the words are coincidentally Irish, most are not.

Fómhar scór aind saibhin iars agó, ár fómhar fátars brat fómhart an tios cantaineant uan néisean, consaoibhd en liobartaí, aind dedicéatad tú de propasaisean tait ál mean ár criaétead íocual.

Rest behind cut )
lesbiassparrow: (hyd umbrella closeup)
You should all go and look at this short film 'My name is Yu Ming.' It's a funny and a little bit sad film about a Chinese guy learning Irish because he wants to travel to Ireland and when he arrives in Dublin no one understand Irish and thinks he is speaking Chinese. But then he meets some old guy who finally understands him and.... ell, go and watch!

Well, I think it's worth watching, at any rate: http://www.atomfilms.com/af/content/yu_ming


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August 2011

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