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GAELIC-L  August 1993

GAELIC-L August 1993

Subject:

Re: A' sireadh tri orain

From:

Tom Thomson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Tom Thomson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 5 Aug 93 23:59:10 BST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (144 lines)

Here's one of the three songs Craig asked for recently, with a
word list, translation, and a note on one of the grammatical
constructions. One point about orthography: I probably ought to
have typed "oidhche 'n raoir" rather than "oidhche raoir"
throughout - the version in Kennedy-Frazer doesn't have the 'n
but I think that's a mistake. I think the first verse and the
chorus are traditional, and the other two verses were written by
Kenneth MacLeod (author of The Road to the Isles) for MKF's
book, but the book seems to say he wrote all three verses so I
may be wrong. (Incidentally, MKF's English words haven't the
least connection to the Gaelic words - that book can be
frightfully annoying.)
 
-----------------
 
Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 's mi bruadar
Mar ri ni\onagan na buaile;
B' fhi\nealt' uasal mi\n na gruagaich
Seinn nan duanag anns an a\iridh.
 
Seisd:
        Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 'san a\iridh,
        Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 'san a\iridh,
        Chaith mi 'n oidhche cridheil caoimhneil
        Mar ri maighdeanan na h-a\iridh.
 
Thug mi 'n oidhche raoir 'san a\iridh
'S crodh a' sileadh bainne ta\laidh,
'S dealt na h-oidhche sileadh caoimhneis
Air na maighdeanan 'san a\iridh.
 
'S cianail du\sgadh an fhir-fhuadain
'S e sior-ionndrain ti\r a bhruadair,
'S tiamhaidh buan da thar nan stuadhan
Ceo\l nan gruagach anns an a\iridh.
 
Word List
---------
 
air             on
a\iridh         sheiling (sometimes written a\irigh)
anns            in (but anns an a\irigh = on the shieling)
bainne          milk
bruadar         dream
buaile          fold, pen
buan            eternal
chaith          spent (past tense of caith - spend, use up.
                        the verbal noun is caitheamh, not
                        caith - not a mistake you want to
                        make.)
caoimhneil      kind, friendly.
                this word is often written coibhneil, or
                caoibhneil, or coimhneil. I think the different
                spellings represent small variations in pronounciation
                in different dialects.
caoimhneis      kindness, friendliness. same spelling variations
                as immediately above.
ceo\l           music
cianail         folorn, unhappy; in this song it means
                feeling miserably homesick.
cridheil        friendly; "hearty"; joyful (shared joy)
crodh           cattle
dealt           dew
duanag          little song(s) (gen. plural and nom. singular)
                    diminutive of  duan (song)
du\sgadh        awakening
fi\nealta       fine, gentle.
fhir-fhuadain   exile (genetive case)
gruagach        girl (lon haired person)
maighdeanan     maidens (pl. of maighdean)
mar             as
mar ri          along with, in the company of
mi\n            soft, mild, gentle
ni\onagan       young girls (often written nigheanagan).
                   ni\onag  is a diminutive of nighean (daughter)
oidhche         night
raoir           yesterday evening. oidhche 'n raoir = last night
seinn           singing
seisd           refrain, chorus
sileadh         dropping, dripping, shedding
sior-ionndrain  eternally missing, perpetually longing for
stuadhan        waves (pl. of stuadh)
ta\laidh        attracting, alluring
thar            over, across
tiamhaidh       plaintive, melancholy, heart-rending
ti\r            land
thug            took, gave (past independent tense of toir;
                    thug mi an oidhche - I spent the night)
uasal           noble
 
 
Translation
-----------
 
I spent last night in my dreams with the maids of the cattle fold;
Gentle, noble, mild were the girls singing songs on the shieling.
 
(Chorus) I spent last night on the shieling (repeat once),
I spent a joyful friendly night with the maids of the shieling.
 
I spent last night on the shieling where the cows were dripping
enticing milk, and the dew of the night dripping kindness on the
maids on the shieling.
 
Homesick is the exile's wakening as he longs eternally for the
land of his dream, and perpetually heart-rending for him across
the waves the music of the lasses on the shieling.
 
Note on grammar/construction
----------------------------
 
This song contains several examples of a very common Gaelic
construction which leaners need to get the hang of: where
English (most dialects - but some Scots and Irish dialects use
the Gaelic construction in English) has a (finite) clause Gaelic
introduces a phrase with "is" (and) consisting of a noun and
some qualifiers. This represents a state that coexists with the
action or state described by the main clause, and usually needs
some conjunct like "because" or "although" or "where" or "when"
to express in English and is often hard to translate without
introducing a finite verb that isn't present in the Gaelic.
 
The first example is in the first line: 's mi bruadar = and I
dreaming, and doesn't need a clause to translate it; but think about the
possibility of the noun not being the subject of the sentence -
if it were "thug mi'n oidhche 'n raoir 's i bruadar" you would
have to translate it "I spent last night when she was dreaming".
Even as it is you have to resist the temptation to translate the
phrase just as "dreaming" because that would suggest the writer
was dreaming with the girls rather than dreaming that he was with
them - even if you try to correct that impression by
mistranslating mar ri as "about" instead of "with" you lose some
of the sense, he wasn't just dreaming about the girls he was
dreaming that he was with them.
 
The second verse has two examples of this construction: "and the
cattle ..." which has to be translated "where the cattle were ..."
and "and the dew ..." where it seems ok to leave out "where" and
"was" because they are in effect supplied in the translation of
the previous clause. The third verse also has two examples ('S
in the first line is a verb, the other two 'Ss aren't).
 
Tom.

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