Connacht Irish

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The three dialects of Irish. Connacht's speakers are spread between Galway and Mayo and later in 1935 to Co. Meath.
An Irish-language sign in County Galway

Connacht Irish (Irish: Gaeilge Chonnacht) is the dialect of the Irish language spoken in the province of Connacht. Gaeltacht regions in Connacht are found in Counties Mayo (notably Tourmakeady, Achill Island and Erris) and Galway (notably in parts of Connemara and on the Aran Islands. The dialects of Irish in Connacht are extremely diverse, with the pronunciation, forms and lexicon being different even within each county. The irish of South Connemara is often considered the "standard" Connacht irish owing to the number of speakers however it is unique within Connacht and has a lot more idiomatic connection to extinct dialects in North Clare (for example "acab" instead of "acu" in the rest of Connacht). Words such as "dubh" and snámh tend to be pronounced with a Munster accent in South Connemara whereas in Joyce Country, Galway City and Mayo they are pronounced with the Ulster pronunciation. In addition to this the standard in Connacht would be to pronounce the words "leo" and "dóibh" as "leofa" and "dófa" however in South Connemara and Aran they are pronounced "Leothab" and "dóib". Lexical and pronunciation differences exist within Mayo with Tourmakeady featuring an "í" sound in vowel endings much more commonly. In addition to this the lexicon of Dún Chaocháin to the east of Belmullet tends to be far more Ulster influenced than that of Eachléim ("murlas" vs "ronnach") and there is a huge Ulster influence on the dialect of North Mayo in general owing to historic migration. The Irish of Eachréidh na Gaillimhe and Dúiche Sheoigheach tend to share more phonetic commonalities with neighbouring Mayo than with South Connemara

Documented sub-dialects include those of Cois Fharraige[1] and Conamara Theas,[2] both of which are in Galway, and Erris in Mayo.

Lexicon[edit]

Some differences between Mayo and Galway are seen in the lexicon:

Mayo Galway Gloss
Cluinim / Cloisim / Mhothím / Airím Cloisim I hear
Doiligh Deacair Difficult
Úr Nua New
Nimhneach Tinn Sore

Some words used in Connacht Irish that aren't found in other dialects include:[3]

Connacht Standard Gloss
Cas Buail, Bualadh Meet, uses verbal noun of casadh
Gasúr - Young child; Mayo, Munster & Ulster: Young boy
Cisteanach / Cistinidh Munster: Cistin Kitchen

Variant spellings include:

Connacht Standard Gloss
Tíocht Teacht verbal noun of tar: To come
Aríst Arís Again
Caiptín Captaen Captain
Col ceathrar Col ceathrair Cousin
Feilm, Feilméar Feirm, Feirmeoir Farm, Farmer
Ariamh / Iriamh Riamh Ever / Never

Variants distinctive of, but not unique to Connacht include:

  • fata, fataí, "potato", "potatoes"
  • fuisce, "whiskey"
  • muid, emphatic form muide/muidí for the first person plural pronoun, Ulster Irish uses this form as well, whereas Munster Irish uses sinn, sinne although sinn, sinne are used in Mayo, particularly in the Erris dialect.
  • chuile, "every" (contraction of gach + uile)

Phonology[edit]

The phonemic inventory of Connacht Irish (based on the accent of Tourmakeady in Mayo[4]) is as shown in the following chart (see International Phonetic Alphabet for an explanation of the symbols). Symbols appearing in the upper half of each row are velarized (traditionally called "broad" consonants) while those in the bottom half are palatalized ("slender"). The consonant /h/ is neither broad nor slender.

Consonant
phonemes
Labial Coronal Dorsal Glottal
Bilabial Labio-
dental
Labio-
velar
Dental Alveolar Alveolo-
palatal
Palatal Velar
Plosive

        t̪ˠ
 
d̪ˠ
 
 
 
     
c
 
ɟ
k
 
ɡ
 
   
Fricative/
Approximant
   
 
  w
 
   
 
   
ʃ
   
ç
 
j
x
 
ɣ
 
h  
Nasal  
          n̪ˠ
n̪ʲ
 
       
ɲ
  ŋ
 
   
Tap                   ɾˠ
ɾʲ
               
Lateral
approximant
              l̪ˠ
l̪ʲ
 
               

The vowels of Connacht Irish are as shown on the following chart. These positions are only approximate, as vowels are strongly influenced by the palatalization and velarization of surrounding consonants.

Connacht Irish vowel chart.svg

In addition, Connacht has the diphthongs /iə, uə, əi, əu/.

Some characteristics of Connacht that distinguish it from the other dialects are:

  • In some varieties, vowel lengthening before word-internal clusters of voiced plosive + liquid (e.g. /ɑːɡləʃ/ eaglais "church")
  • In some varieties (e.g. in Erris Irish (Co. Mayo)[5] and, as seen in the table above, in Tourmakeady) a four-way distinction among coronal nasals and laterals: /n̪ˠ ~ n̪ʲ ~ nˠ ~ nʲ/, /l̪ˠ ~ l̪ʲ ~ lˠ ~ lʲ/, often without lengthening of orthographic short vowels before them.
  • In the variety spoken in Cois Fharraige (the area along the north shore of Galway Bay between Barna and Casla), underlying short /a/ is realized as a long front [aː] while underlying long /aː/ is realized as a back [ɑː].
  • /n/ is realized as [ɾ] (or is replaced by /ɾ/) after consonants other than [s]. This happens in Ulster as well.
  • Broad bh is rendered /w/ even in initial positions, with a few exceptions.
  • The inflected pronouns agam, agat and againn are usually reduced into monosyllables /amˠ/, /adˠ/, /an̪ʲ/.
  • The prepositions do, de are both realised as [gə] and their inflected forms are frequently pronounced (and sometimes written) in their lenited forms.
  • The preposition-article compound sa (i + an "in the") causes eclipsis, where it causes lenition in the Caighdeán and in the other dialects.

Morphology[edit]

Nouns[edit]

In some dialects of Connacht the plural endings -anna and -acha are always replaced by -annaí and -achaí. It is also common in many Gaelic-speaking areas of Connemara that the dative singular form of all 2nd declension nouns has been generally adopted as the nominative, giving these nouns the typical ending in palatalized consonants in the nominative singular. This is indicated in the spelling by the letter i before the final consonant.

Connemara form Standard form Gloss
-achaí, -annaí -acha, -anna Plural ending
bróig bróg Shoe
ceird ceard Craft
cluais cluas Ear
cois cos Foot, Leg
láimh lámh Hand

Verbs[edit]

Irish verbs are characterized by having a mixture of analytic/an fhoirm scartha forms (where information about person and number is provided by a pronoun) and synthetic/an fhoirm tháite forms (where this information is provided in an ending on the verb) in their conjugation. In Galway and Mayo, as in Ulster, the analytic forms are used in a variety of forms where the standard language has synthetic forms, e.g. molann muid "we praise" (standard molaimid) or mholfadh siad "they would praise" (standard mholfaidís). However, the synthetic forms, including those no longer included in the standard language, may be used in answering questions.

Connemara Standard Gloss
Díonaim Déanaim I make/do
Íosaim Ithim I eat

Connacht Irish favours the interrogative pronoun cén and forms based on it such as cén t-am, "what time" instead of the standard cathain, or céard instead of the standard cad. Relative forms of the verb such as beas for beidh, "will be", or déananns/déanas, "do", for déanann are frequently used.

Music[edit]

Some notable Irish singers who sing songs in the Connacht Irish dialect include Seosamh Ó hÉanaí, MacDara O Conaola, Darach Ó Catháin, Seán Mac Donncha and Máire Áine Ní Dhonnchadha.

References[edit]

  1. ^ As documented in books such as Learning Irish, by Micheal O'Siadhail, and Colloquial Irish, by Thomas Iyde
  2. ^ As documented in Cainnt Ros Muc, which recorded speakers from one town in the Conamara Theas district, Rosmuc
  3. ^ Ihde, Thomas; Ní Neachtain, Máire; Blyn-LaDrew, Roslyn; Gillen, John (2008). Colloquial Irish. New York and London: Routledge.
  4. ^ de Búrca, Seán (1958). The Irish of Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. ISBN 0-901282-49-9.
  5. ^ Mhac an Fhailigh, Éamonn (1968). The Irish of Erris, Co. Mayo. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. pp. 38–42. ISBN 0-901282-02-2.

Bibliography[edit]

  • de Búrca, Seán (1958). The Irish of Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. ISBN 0-901282-49-9.
  • Ihde, Thomas (2008). Colloquial Irish: The Complete Course for Beginners. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415381307.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Mhac an Fhailigh, Éamonn (1968). The Irish of Erris, Co. Mayo. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. ISBN 0-901282-02-2.
  • Ó Siadhail, Mícheál (1980). Learning Irish. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300064629.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Published literature[edit]

  • Becker, Heinrich, ed. (1997). I mBéal na Farraige: Scéalta agus seanchas faoi chúrsaí feamainne ó bhéal na ndaoine. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnacht. ISBN 1900693844. Lay summary. [folklore about the sea and seaweed in Cois Fhairrge dialect]
  • Breathnach, Pádraic (1978). Buicéad Poitín agus scéalta eile. Baile Átha Cliath: Clódhanna Teoranta. [short stories, Maigh Cuilinn]
  • —— (1984). Bean Aonair agus scéalta eile. Baile Átha Cliath: Clódhanna Teoranta. [short stories, Maigh Cuilinn]
  • —— (1986). Maigh Cuilinn:A Táisc is a Tuairisc. Indreabhán: Cló Chonamara. ISBN 9780863290121. [folklore, Maigh Cuilinn]
  • —— (1987). Ar na Tamhnacha. Baile Átha Cliath: Clódhanna Teoranta. [short stories, Maigh Cuilinn]
  • —— (1996). An Pincín agus scéalta eile. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnacht. ISBN 187470029X. Lay summary. [short stories, Maigh Cuilinn]
  • Mac Amhlaigh, Dónall (1960). Dialann Deoraí [Diary of an Exile]. Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Teoranta. [autobiography]
  • —— (1981). Beoir Bhaile agus scéalta eile. Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Teoranta. [short stories and journalism]
  • Mac an Iomaire, Séamas (1985). Cladaí Chonamara. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. ISBN 9781857914474. [folklore, Connemara]
  • Mac Con Iomaire, Liam (2000). Breandán Ó hEithir: Iomramh Aonair. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. ISBN 1902420292. Lay summary. [biography, Aran Islands]
  • Mac Domhnaill, Tomás; Mac Énrí, Seán; Ó Tuairisg, Lochlann, eds. (2009). Mícheál Breathnach: Scríbhinní. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnacht. ISBN 9781905560387. Lay summary. [collection of writings by Mícheál Breathnach, Cois Fhairrge]
  • Mac Lochlainn, Alf (1999). Fiáin na Bocs a Bhí ann an tAm Sin. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [local history, Connemara dialect]
  • Mac Ruairí, Mícheál (1993) [1908]. Ridire an Gháire Dhuibh agus scéalta eile. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [stories, Northern Mayo dialect]
  • Mag Uidhir, Séamas (1994). Fánaíocht i gContae Mhaigh Eo. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [Northern Mayo dialect]
  • Mná Fiontracha (2004). Ár nOileán: Tuile ’s Trá [Our Island: Ebb & Flood]. Bailiúchán Bhéaloideas Árann. Árann: Mná Fiontracha. ISBN 0954606116. OCLC 56759040. [folklore from the Aran Islands]
  • Ní Mhainnín, Cáit (2000). Cuimhní Cinn Cháit Ní Mhainnín. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. ISBN 1902420233. Lay summary. [autobiography, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Baoill, Pádraig, ed. (2005). Glórtha ár Sinsear: Béaloideas Oirdheisceart na Gaillimhe. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [folklore, eastern Galway]
  • —— (1970). An tSraith dhá Tógáil. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal agus Dill. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1975). Idir Shúgradh agus Dáiríre. Baile Átha Cliath: Oifig an tSoláthair. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1977). An tSraith Tógtha. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal agus Dill. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1986). An tSraith ar Lár. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal — Ó Marcaigh. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1990). Ó Laighin, Seán (ed.). Ó Cadhain i bhFeasta. Baile Átha Cliath: Clódhanna Teoranta. [essays, journalism, history, politics, miscellany, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1991). An Braon Broghach. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1995). Athnuachan. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1998). Ó Cathasaigh, Aindrias (ed.). Caiscín: Altanna san Irish Times 1953/56 [Wholemeal: Articles in the Irish Times 1953–56]. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [journalism, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1999). Prút, Liam (ed.). Caithfear Éisteacht! Aistí Mháirtín Uí Chadhain in Comhar. Baile Átha Cliath: Comhar Teoranta. [essays, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1999). Tone Inné agus Inniu. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [history, politics, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2002). Ó hÁinle, Cathal (ed.). Barbed Wire. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2002). Ó Laighin, Seán (ed.). An Ghaeilge Bheo: Destined to Pass. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [research and opinions, Connemara dialect & English]
  • —— (2004). Cois Caoláire. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal — Ó Marcaigh. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Caithlín, Antoine; (Tony Catherine Antoine William) (1999). A Chomhairle Féin do Mhac Anna. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [folklore, Achill Island dialect]
  • —— (1995). Seanfhocail as Acaill. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [folklore, Achill Island dialect]
  • Ó Catháin, Séamas; Uí Sheighin, Caitlín, eds. (1987). A Mhuintir Dhú Chaocháin, Labhraigí Feasta!. Indreabhán: Cló Chonamara. [folklore, Northern Mayo dialect]
  • ——; Uí Sheighin, Caitlín, eds. (1996). Le Gradam is le Spraoi. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [folklore, Northern Mayo dialect]
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Colm (1995). Brídín. Indreabhán: Cló Iar-Chonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2002). Meilt Mhuilte Dé. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2004). Clann na Feannóige. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Ceannabháin, Peadar, ed. (1983). Éamon a Búrc - Scéalta. Leabhar Thaighde. 42. Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar. [folklore, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Coincheanainn, Peadar (1993). Ó Siadhail, Pádraig (ed.). Inis Meáin: seanchas agus scéalta. Bill Doyle (illustrations). Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [local history, Aran Islands dialect]
  • Ó Conaola, Dara (1983). Cor in Aghaidh an Chaim. Inis Oírr: Ceardshiopa Inis Oírr Teoranta. [story, Aran Islands dialect]
  • —— (1988). Amuigh Liom Féin. Inis Oírr: Ceardshiopa Inis Oírr Teoranta. [story, Aran Islands dialect]
  • Ó Conaola, Máirtín (1994). Munch-Pedersen, Ole (ed.). Teideal. Holger Pedersen (collected by). Baile Átha Cliath: Comhairle Bhéaloideasa Éireann. [folklore, Aran Islands dialect]
  • Ó Conghaile, Mícheál (1986). Mac an tSagairt. Béal an Daingin: Cló Iar-Chonnachta. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2002). Seachrán Jeaic Sheáin Johnny. Indreabhán: Cló Iar-Chonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Conghaile, Seán (1974). Cois Fharraige le mo Linnse. Baile Átha Cliath: Clódhanna Teoranta. [folklore, autobiography, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Corbáin, Seán (2005). Daoine Dathúla an Iarthair. Baile Átha Cliath: Cló Chaisil. [West Galway dialect]
  • Ó Curraoin, Seán, ed. (2000). Iascairín Chloch na Cora: Scéalta agus Seanchas ó Bhearna agus na Forbacha. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [folklore, Bearna/Na Forbacha dialect]
  • Ó Direáin, Máirtín (1969). Feamainn Bhealtaine. Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Teoranta. [autobiography, Aran Islands dialect]
  • —— (2004). Dánta 1939-1979. Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Teoranta. [poetry, Aran Islands dialect]
  • Ó Duinnshléibhe, Tomás (1995). Taidhgín. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [novel, Tourmakeady dialect]
  • Ó Finneadha, Cóil Learaí (1995). Tórramh an Bhardail agus Scéalta Eile. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [short stories, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Flaithearta, Liam (1970). Dúil. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal agus Dill. [short stories, Aran Islands dialect]
  • Ó Gaora, Colm (2008). Mise. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [autobiography, Ros Muc dialect]
  • Ó Giollagáin, Conchúir, ed. (1999). Stairsheanchas Mhicil Chonraí: Ón Máimín go Ráth Cairn. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [folklore, memoirs, autobiography, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Gráinne, Diarmuid, ed. (1995). Máire Phatch Mhóir Uí Churraoin: A Scéal Féin. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [autobiography, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó hEithir, Breandán (1983). Lig Sinn i gCathú. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh. [novel, Aran Islands dialect]
  • —— (1988). Sionnach ar mo Dhuán. Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal Ó Marcaigh. [novel, Aran Islands dialect]
  • —— (1991). Nic Pháidín, Caoilfhionn (ed.). An Chaint sa tSráidbhaile. Baile Átha Cliath: Comhar Teoranta. [journalism, Aran Islands dialect]
  • Ó Laighin, Pádraig G. (1997). Bánú Phartraí agus Thuar Mhic Éadaigh. Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim. [local history, Southern Mayo dialect]
  • Ó Máille, Tomás (2002) [1936]. An Béal Beo. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [lexicon, expressions, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2007) [1937]. Ó Cadhain, Máirtín (ed.). An tIomaire Rua: Cogadh na Saoirse i dTuaisceart Chonamara. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [history, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2003). Scread Mhaidine. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2005). Lámh Láidir. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Ráighne, Mícheál (1994). Bóithrín na hAille Báine. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (1993). Deoir ón tSúil. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • —— (2002). Nach Iomaí Cor sa Saol. Indreabhán: Cló IarChonnachta. [novel, Connemara dialect]
  • Ó Ruadháin, Seán (1994). Pádhraic Mháire Bhán. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm. [Northern Mayo dialect]
  • Scríbhneoirí Ban Ros Muc (1995). Idir Mná. Ros Muc: Pléaráca Chonamara. [memoirs and folklore, Ros Muc]


External links[edit]