Friday, February 12, 2016

Celtic Linguistics

The phrase we had engraved on our Irish teacher’s decanter was this: Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste, ná Béarla cliste, broken Irish is better than clever English. If you are wondering how this breaks down, a literal word-for-word translation is this: “is better Irish broken, than English clever.” Irish always has the verb first in the sentence, and they don’t even have a word for “to have” – they say “A car is at me” rather than “I have a car.” Or actually, “is a car at me,” because of course the verb must come first. One of the things I gave up for Lent is listening to music in the car, so I am planning to listen to my Irish CDs and getting the sound of the language in my ear. However, what I am listening to at the moment is the Welsh CD that Travalon gave me for Christmas. There isn’t a lot of overlap between Irish and Welsh, despite their both being Celtic languages, but they do both seem to have the verb first in the sentence, and every once in a while they say a word in Welsh that is very similar to one in Irish, like their words for “beach” and “time” seem to be very close. However, it does seem like Welsh may have a verb for “to have,” so that is one difference between them. I think I have gotten the numbers in Welsh so far. It turns out you can study it on Duolingo, the online language learning program, so maybe after I master Irish, I will take a stab at Welsh. They keep promising they will soon have Hungarian, which is what Travalon is waiting for, but so far it isn't on the site yet.

Famous Hat

No comments: