Gàidhlig air Beurla

O Goireasan Akerbeltz
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Gearr leum gu: seòladh, lorg

Funny stuff happens to words when they're borrowed from one language to another. Like when English borrowed the word Ersatz which in German has no negative connotations but in English usually refers to something inferior. Or when Japanese borrowed the word カルテ (karute) to mean a sick chart when the original German word Karte refers to any sort of card, map or chart or ハーフ (hāfu), from English half but in Japanese meaning someone who is biracial.

Gaelic does that too but for some reason, it seems to give many loanwords a rather dramatic twist. At this stage, I'm not going to comment on why and how and I'm simply going to start collecting a list of them. If there's any missing, feel free to drop me a line!

Often these are characterised by odd stress placement or sounds (from the Gaelic point of view of course), so they're quite easy to pick out. Harder to explain, semantically.

In particular the group which has gotten borrowed with initial ra- but stress on the second syllable is strange (but fascinating) in its semantic shifts. Just how many words for a telling-off does a language need :)

  • aig picket "dating, courting"
  • aig point "dating, courting"
  • brabhd/brobhd (« broad?) "hulk; big chunk; bow-leg"
  • bratàillean (« batallion) "really loud noise"
  • a' cur careels dheth (« cartwheels) "rolling around"
  • cronaig (« chronic) "terrible" tha sin cronaig! "that's terrible"
  • caill do chrònaigil (« chronicle?) "lose your marbles"
  • cil-onaidh (« colony?) "idiot"
  • cliobhar (« clever) "quick, speedy"
  • cliobht/cluft (« cleft?) "chunk, hefty slice"
  • curs (« coarse) "rough, harsh" (semantically wider than coarse in English)
  • cut (« cut) "1 mood 2 appearance"
  • dibhearsan/dibheirsean (« diversion) "fun"
  • duf (« duff (pudding)); tuigidh tu fhéin duf [dəf] "you know what's going on"
  • féir/féidhir (« fair) "just; simply"
  • fit/fut (« fit) "ready, prepared"
  • giofaidhear (« give fire) "(act of) hurling"
  • plòigh (« ploy) "joking, fun and games"
  • plunndraigeadh/plùdraigeadh/plobhdraigeadh (« plundering) "plundering; but also a sound thrashing"
  • rafaille (« reveille) "spirited rendering, laldy"
  • ranuns (« renounce) "a telling off"
  • raphuins (« revenge) "a telling off"
  • ratuilich (« retell?) "a telling off"
  • ratunsach (« ?) "a telling off"
  • rustaige (« rustic) "unpleasant person"
  • smeilig (« smell?) "figure out/suss out, see something coming"
  • spriodadh/spriodail (« spread (eagle?)) "flailing, floundering"
  • stem (« to stem ?) "manage" dèan stem air cùisean [sdɛm] "manage things"
  • studaig (« study) "cogitate, muse"
  • suaip (« swap) "resemblance"
  • trum/triom (« trim) "mood"
  • tuf (« tough); tha mi tuf "useless"
  • tùirn (« turn); feat, endeavour "useless"



Beagan gràmair
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