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'S Wonderful Irish - Gaeilge 'S Iontach
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Ty Alexander Huynh
  2/1/2022 2:28 PM
“It’s Wonderful Irish!” And, forgive any bad Irish grammar (I’m far from fluent in Irish), “Gaeilge Is Iontach!” [pronounced “goo’ehl-geh iss in-tach”] have the “It’s” and “Is” shortened in the title of this thread because I noticed in many old Irish folksongs, single syllable words are shortened to one syllable or sound to give better flow to lyrics, like “Is” is shortened to ‘S, which is only the ‘s’ sound.

By the way, the Irish word “is” is always pronounced like the “is” in “list” or “isthmus,” not like the English word, “is.” The Irish “is” can mean “It/He/She is,” “and,” or “plus,” among other things.

After seeing many Irish songs shorten words into a single sound, I noticed some songs from the musicals, Funny Face (1957) and An American In Paris (1951), did the same thing. The songwriter, Ira Gershwin, shorted “It’s” into lyrics, like “’S wonderful, ‘S marvellous, ‘S awful nice,” so I thought I’d connect the lyricism across languages and talk about interesting Irish language connections here.

Musical Cole and Nicole 2/1/2022 2:55 PM
The name Cole is a short form of Nicholas, which means “Victory of the People” from Greek nike (victory) and laos (people)[1.1]. Cole could also be a form of Cola, which is an Old English name meaning charcoal or coal, and was used to describe someone with black or dark features[1.2, 1.3], much like the Irish name Ailbhe [pronounced "al-veh" or "al-vah"], might have come from the old Celtic root "albiyo-," meaning "world, light, white."

Cole sounds like “ceol,” the Irish word for music, so Cole would mean “music” to an Irish speaker.

To lead into Nicole, I need to bring up the Irish word, Ní [“nee”], when it is used in names, it is not a name in itself but is a prefix or connector word that means “daughter or female descendant of.”

So when you see a name like Mary ní Malley, it means Mary is a daughter or granddaughter of a father or grandfather named Malley. The surname word, ní, comes from the contraction of the Irish Gaelic, “Iníon Mhic” ["in-neen vic" or "in-neen mik"] or “Iníon Uí,” ["in-neen ee" or "in-neen oh"], which mean “Daughter of the son of…” or “Daughter of the grandson of…,” respectively[1.5]. Iníon is the Irish word for daughter, so over time, variants of Iníon Mhic and Iníon Uí took the first stressed syllable to become simply, ní.

So when we look at Nicole – The female form of Cole or Nicholas. Some interesting wordplay with Irish can be seen with the surname prefix, ní. Nicole could mean “daughter of Cole” to an Irish speaker or even “daughter of music,” since Cole sounds like the Irish word for music, ceol.

[1.1] "Nicholas". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Jan. 25.

[1.2] "Cole". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Jan. 25.

[1.3] "Cola". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Jan. 25.

[1.4] "Ailbhe". Behind The Name. 2022 Jan. 21. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 1.

[1.5] “Irish Medieval History”. Facebook.

Won = Happy 2/1/2022 3:28 PM
The Irish past-tense of “to win” is pronounced like the Vietnamese for “happy”.

So “won” in Irish, “bhuaigh,” is pronounced “v’oo’ee” (one syllable), and linguistically and literally, if you won then you are happy.

Happy Names 2/8/2022 12:10 PM
Last time I talked about an interesting linguistic link with winning and happiness. It reminded me of names that mean “happy,” so I will share some here. The most obvious one is the English name, Happy, which may be uncommon, but I have known people with that name. The names Joy and Merry also have obvious links to happiness.

The Irish-English name, Mab, (a more Anglicized name from Celtic origins) means joy, happiness, hilarity, or baby[2.1, 2.2].

A Biblical Hebrew name meaning happy and blessed, is Asher, a son of the patriarch, Jacob (Genesis 30:13), from whom one of the 12 Tribes of Israel is named. Asher is a form of the Hebrew word “esher,”[2.3] which means happiness or blessedness.

Another common name in the Western world, or at least well recognized, is Beatrix or Beatrice, which likely came from the combination of the Latin name, Viatrix, meaning voyager or traveller, and the Latin word beatus, meaning blessed or happy[2.4]. Beatrix may be familiar to you because of the famous British author and creator of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter.

The Irish word for happy is “sona” [pronounced “sun-nah”], which turns into “shona” [“hun-nah”] in a different grammatical form. Sona in other languages is also a name, such as the Indian/Hindi name Sona meaning gold or good color[2.6] and the Turkmenistan name, Sona or Suna, which is a kind of duck[2.7, 2.8]. Incidentally, Shona is the name of a people and language from Zimbabwe, though linguistically, the word Shona has no link to the Irish "shona."

If you’re interested in more names associated with happy, check out the link for reference [2.5].

[2.1] "Mab". The Bump. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.2] "Mab - Meaning of Mab". BabyNamesPedia. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.3] "Strong's #835 - אֶשֶׁר ". Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.4] "Beatrix". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.5] "Names associated with happy". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.6] "Sona (1)". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.7] "Sona (2)". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

[2.8] "Suna". Behind The Name. Retrieved 2022 Feb. 8.

Colleen 10/24/2022 2:44 PM
The name Colleen, Coleen, or Colene, pronounced "cah-leen" is the Anglicized transliteration (a translation meant to sound like the word in the original language) of the Irish word for "girl or a young unmarried woman," cailín, which is pronounced exactly the same way.

Galore 10/24/2022 3:13 PM
You might have grown up with the word, "galore," meaning "a lot" or "a large number and variety of things," but did you know the word comes from Irish? It is an Anglicized transliteration of "go leor," pronounced just like galore.

The Irish "leor" means "sufficient or enough" and "go" means "to or until." "Go" is used in expressions like "Erin go bragh" which means "Ireland forever" and "go maidin" which means "until the morning." So a literal translation for "go leor" would be "until sufficient or enough," but generally it means "a lot" or "enough."

Tyrone is not Tyrone 10/24/2022 3:46 PM
When is Tyrone not Tyrone? County Tyrone in Ireland sounds like the same name as the common name (originally from Greek), Tyrone, today. However, Ireland's Tyrone actually comes from the Anglicized version of the Irish name, Tír Eoghan, which is actually pronounced "tier owen" or "cheer owen."

Tír Eoghan translates to "Land of Eoghan" which refers to the kingdom of a King Eoghan in ancient Irish history. Some say this king was the son of King Niall of the Nine Hostages.

How did County Tyrone, Ireland come to be pronounced the same as the Greek name? It comes from the Anglicization or transliteration of the Irish words. Like cailín became Colleen in English because translators needed to use English letters and syllables, Tír Eoghan became Tyrone because when spoken, Tír Eoghan, sounds like Tier-own, so English translators wrote it as Tyrone, and it would have been pronounced like Tier-own, like the Irish is supposed to sound. But over time, the original Irish pronunciation was lost because speakers would read and pronounce Tyrone like the name they were familiar with, Tyrone, pronounced "Tie-rohn," which in Greek means "sovereign, lord, or king."

Now, both County Tyrone, Ireland and the name, Tyrone, are pronounced the same way. However, it's interesting to see how these, originally, very different sounding names converged into Tyrone, yet they both have meanings linked to kingship.

Aching Prosperity -> Group News and Articles -> 'S Wonderful Irish - Gaeilge 'S Iontach


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