Sunday, December 17, 2006

Beannachtaí an tSéasúir - Greetings Of The Season

I've always loved the sound of spoken Gaelic. It's even better when it's sung. I'm sure it has something to do with my Irish roots, but I've never known a relative who spoke Gaelic.

An excellent example is this Irish folk song, performed by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

Today I have been doing a bit of research just for the Holiday. Let's practice a Gaelic Christmas.

If you were in Dublin (for example, it could as easily be Shannon), and alone, you would likely hear someone say, "Nollaig Shona Duit" (NO-Lihg HO-nuh ditch, or in some places, ghwich). That is "Happy Christmas". If you were accompanied by another the greeting would be, "Nollaig Shona Daoibh" (NO-Lihg HO-nuh JEEV) or "You have a Happy Christmas".

Gaelic, like English, is not always phonetically spelled. In some parts of Ireland the S in Shona would be sounded, in others dropped as in my examples. I won't even get into how one gets "ditch", much less "ghwich", from "duit", or "JEEV" from "Daoibn".

I used to have a recording of Buala Bas (Jingle Bells in Gaelic) by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. It was used (loudly) to wake the household on Christmas morning. Actually, I do still have the vinyl, but I haven't owned a working turntable in years.

Note to younger readers, vinyl refers to a plastic disc about 14" in diameter into which grooves were pressed, an "LP". A turntable was required to play music recorded in that manner.

At Amazon I have found a short clip of Buala Bas, and I've included it below.

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