'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Ciamar a chanas mi.... / How do I say...
Mairead
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'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Mairead » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:41 pm

Disclaimer: I realise that this practise may vary a lot among speakers and registers, but as I am still a beginner in Gaelic, I thought it was worth posing this question to the forum in case there is a standard way to do this in Gaelic.

For fun, I am currently tr*nsl*t*ng the names of Harry Potter books into Gaelic. For the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, my inclination as a student was to try to put Azkaban in the genitive. I came up with Harry Potter agus am Prìosanach an Azkabain. However, when I was looking up diphthongs on Akerbeltz to figure out how you would pronounce that, I saw that it's not really normal for ai to come before a single n in Gaelic. So then I thought, 'Maybe it's a different type of genitive ending, such as Azkabana, like pìob/pìoba? Or maybe it would stay the same, like baile?' It just seemed like guesswork, so I'm wondering if this is more than a Gaelic speaker or writer would do. (I am probably going to switch it to "anns an Azkaban" or "anns an t-Azkaban". The dilemma continues in assigning gender...) This question applies to any made-up word, whether it's Hogwarts, Tatooine, or Klingon. Is there an accepted length to which you go to adapt a made-up word into Gaelic rules, or do you just leave it alone?

My question also extends to foreign names and places. For example, would the vocative of 'Beethoven' be 'a Bheetoven'? 'Matsuo' to 'a Mhatsuo'? Sometimes, like with Azkaban, it seems unnecessary, but with letters that lenite in Gaelic words, I'm wondering if it sounds unnatural in Gaelic to keep their original pronunciations. (For example, to you go 'do Shan Francisco' or 'do San Francisco'?)

Tapadh leibh! :)
Last edited by Mairead on Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Tha avatar agam à dhealbh aig mo phiuthar anns an Cellardyke. Tha trì videothan Ghàidhlig agam anns an Youtube.
My avatar is from a photo that my sister took in Cellardyke. I have three Gaelic videos on Youtube.

Seonaidh
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Seonaidh » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:16 am

The usual genitive of "cànan" is "cànain".

I don't get this "an Azkabain" bit, though: it looks as if you're trying to say "in Azkaban" ("ann an Azkaban" in full, often the "ann" is missed out). If so, it's definitely not genitive anyway. Have you, perchance, heard of a place called "Alba" in Gaelic? You sometimes come across genitive and prepositional cases of it, viz. Albann and Albainn respectively. Why not just substitute it for "Azkaban"? And did you not consider, e.g. "Eanraig Mac a' Chrèadhadair"

Mairead
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Mairead » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:12 am

I was treating Azkaban as if it needed a definite article and following these masculine noun paradigms. Because I was struggling with putting that word into the genitive, and because I'm not sure if the idiom 'of such-and-such prison' sounds as good in Gaelic, I was considering changing it to 'anns an t-Azkaban' to say 'in Azkaban' instead of 'of Azkaban.' (I have now seen that most translations of the title did not give Azkaban a definite article so I'm taking that out.) Maybe you were confused because I mistakenly had two definite articles in my attempted genitive construction. I'm not sure what you're getting at with the rest of your post.

Side concerns:
- As far as 'cànain', I was confused by the Akerbeltz list since it only had 'ai' coming in front of certain letters, whereas I know words that have that combination in front of other letters, like 'aige' and 'cait'. But maybe they're not technically diphthongs? Anyway, I was confused about that, but it's not the main point of what I was asking.
- RE: your suggestion about changing the name; I looked at the list of translated titles, and most of them do not change the name 'Harry Potter', including the Irish edition.
Tha avatar agam à dhealbh aig mo phiuthar anns an Cellardyke. Tha trì videothan Ghàidhlig agam anns an Youtube.
My avatar is from a photo that my sister took in Cellardyke. I have three Gaelic videos on Youtube.

faoileag
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by faoileag » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:52 pm

Hi a Mhairead,

Although Gaelic often does have an article with country names (an Fhraing etc), equally there are many without, both traditional neighbours (Èirinn, Sasainn) and particularly those far away from the Scotland with whom contact was more recent and probably initially via English, eg Canada, Sìona.

So I would leave it without an article, and either leave it ungenitivised, or slenderise it, since it does have a Gaelic-friendly ending. Prìosanach Azkaba(i)n.

My understanding is that the Gaelicisation of borrowed words, including place and personal names, not to mention the tr*nsl*t**n of modern terminology from all fields into Gaelic, has been inconsistent over time, and is still a grey area which people write PhDs on.

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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Mairead » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:16 am

Tapadh leat!! Azkaban is a prison, not a country, so would that change your suggestion about putting it into the genitive? I don't know any prison names in Gaelic to compare.

And thank you for your input on the general question! I had a feeling that was the case, but it was worth asking. :)
Tha avatar agam à dhealbh aig mo phiuthar anns an Cellardyke. Tha trì videothan Ghàidhlig agam anns an Youtube.
My avatar is from a photo that my sister took in Cellardyke. I have three Gaelic videos on Youtube.

Níall Beag
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Níall Beag » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:04 pm

Mairead wrote:Tapadh leat!! Azkaban is a prison, not a country, so would that change your suggestion about putting it into the genitive? I don't know any prison names in Gaelic to compare.
I think the point of prison vs country is about the article, not the genitive. Either would take the genitive, but only a country would take the article. Not having read any Potter I didn't know what "Azkaban" was, and reading your "prìosanach an Azkaban", I read it as being a country.

Mairead
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Mairead » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:34 pm

Okay, great! Thank you! :)
Tha avatar agam à dhealbh aig mo phiuthar anns an Cellardyke. Tha trì videothan Ghàidhlig agam anns an Youtube.
My avatar is from a photo that my sister took in Cellardyke. I have three Gaelic videos on Youtube.

faoileag
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by faoileag » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:42 pm

You might be interested in reading this long thread triggered a couple of years ago by the subject of variant spellings of 'Mexico' in Gaelic... :spors:

Concerning "Meagsago" and other Anglicizations

http://www.foramnagaidhlig.net/foram/vi ... =11&t=1676

Seonaidh
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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Seonaidh » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:00 am

As a prison, I'm minded of "Alcatraz". Obviously, being in Caliphornia, it is an Arabic name...in similar style to "alcohol", "algebra" and, in Spanish, "alfombra" and "alcalde". In "proper" Arabic, the "al" is actually a separate definite article, as seen in such well-known names as "Al Jazeera".

Anyway, like Niall Beag, I'm totally unfamiliar with Harry Potter so have no idea whatsoever whether the author intended "Azkaban" to be something like "The Cabin" in some language: I'm thinking it's possible because of the vague similarity with Alcatraz.

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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Mairead » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:16 am

Okay, thanks for all your input on that, guys. I'm wondering if, when you or any speakers you know or listen to are speaking Gaelic, would they say something like 'do San Francisco' or change it to 'do Shan Francisco' to fit Gaelic pronunication (since anything unlenited after 'do' sounds weird)? Same goes with a foreign name in the vocative, that sort of thing. (Different than the case and article issue above.)
Tha avatar agam à dhealbh aig mo phiuthar anns an Cellardyke. Tha trì videothan Ghàidhlig agam anns an Youtube.
My avatar is from a photo that my sister took in Cellardyke. I have three Gaelic videos on Youtube.

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Re: 'Gaelicising' Foreign and Invented Words

Unread post by Seonaidh » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:52 pm

Varies from speaker to speaker. Not generally regarded as "wrong" either way. But most speakers would use "a" rather than "do" (although you'd get "do" more in writing). One wonders how many might go with "a Naomh Prainnseas"...

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