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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2001 (July-December) » Gaelic for "Owl"? « Previous Next »

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Scotti (slip129-37-237-173.ma.us.prserv.net - 129.37.237.173)
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 05:33 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A reference book I have gives "cailleach-oidhche" as a Gaelic translation of owl, but the same source also says "the owl has many Gaelic names." I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who knows what some of those names are. I also need to know how to pronounce the words.

Specifically, I wonder if anyone knows the translation for "barred owl" or "hoot owl," a particular species (Strix varia).

Thank you!

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Seosamh (1cust247.tnt67.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.57.12.247)
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 11:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

There are often multiple names for animals, plants and other things, either for different varieties or because of dialectal difference. Like English, but over much less territory and among many fewer people.

Your classic owls, Strigidae fine, are most often referred to as (switching to the singular) 'ulchabhán'. That's pronounced with a helping vowel that gives it an extra syllable: UL-uh-khuh-wan. ('Bearded one', from a word for 'beard': ulcha.)

Another common name for the same bird is the one you've already found: cailleach oíche ('night hag or old woman'), pronounced: KAIL-ukh EE-huh (the 'll' is pronounced almost like 'll' in 'million'.)

Srix aluco, the tawny owl, is called the ulchabhán donn.('Donn' means brown or tawny and is pronounced either 'dunn' or 'doonn'.)

A scréachóg reilige is a screech owl, which is I probably the same as a hoot owl (Irish vs. Amer. English?). It means more or less 'little screeching thing of the cemetery'. Pronounced 'SHKRAY-khoag REL-ih-gyuh. I don't know of a word for barred owl, but if you want to describe the creature that way (why not?) I would suggest ulchabhán stríocach (UL-uh-khuh-wan STREE-kukh) or 'striped owl'.

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Dennis (c792392-a.sttln1.wa.home.com - 24.19.205.18)
Posted on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 01:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post

One of the odd names for Judgment Day is "Lá Philib an Chleite", with Pilib an Chleite (Philip of the Feather) explained by some as a nickname for the owl.

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Scotti (slip129-37-237-164.ma.us.prserv.net - 129.37.237.164)
Posted on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"Hullad" is another word I have come across for "owl" but I don't think it is Irish. Have you heard it? Do you know how to pronounce it?

Thanks so much for your help!

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Seosamh (3cust75.tnt48.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.46.56.75)
Posted on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 12:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I don't see 'hullad' in any Irish or English dictionary. Where did you see it?

The Ó Dónaill dictionary gives these variants of ulchabhán: ulagán, ulcachán, ulchabhchán. And it gives another type of owl for your growing list: an t-ulchabhán réisc (pr. rayshk), the short-eared owl. (an [t-] = 'the' in Irish.)

Go raibh maith agat, Dennis, as an eolas sin.

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Scotti (slip129-37-237-85.ma.us.prserv.net - 129.37.237.85)
Posted on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 05:02 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I couldn't remember at first, then I did remember. It's at www.ceantar.org under Kelly's. The entry lists all kinds of owls (for example, "hullad ny gurreeyn" is short-eared owl).

By the way, would you mind telling me how your name (Seosamh) is pronounced? Thanks!!

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Dennis (c792392-a.sttln1.wa.home.com - 24.19.205.18)
Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2001 - 12:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Ah. That's Manx (Gaeilge Mhanann or Manainnis). Here's a complete listing:

hullad owl
hullad eairkagh long-eared owl
hullad ghiare-chleayshagh short-eared owl
hullad ghoan brown owl, tawny owl
hullad Loghlynnagh Teugmalm's owl
hullad ny gurreeyn short-eared owl
hullad ouyr tawny owl
hullad rhennee fern owl, nightjar
hullad rhullickey screech owl
hullad soailt barn owl
hullad vane barn owl, white owl
hullad veg little owl
hullad vooar eagle owl, stock owl

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Scotti (slip129-37-237-216.ma.us.prserv.net - 129.37.237.216)
Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2001 - 01:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thanks, Dennis!

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Seosamh (1cust153.tnt67.nyc3.da.uu.net - 63.57.12.153)
Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2001 - 09:28 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A Thiarna Dé. Do we really have a more complete list of owl names here in Manx than in Irish? My resources are exhausted -- no useful information in my copy of _Éin_ (except that Strix aluco is called la chouette hulotte in French and some similar stuff), but maybe others know more owl names in Irish?

Hullad Loghlynnagh (Teugmalm's owl) is an interesting name -- "Scandinavian or Norse owl"?

Seosamh is pronounced SHOA-suv in standard Irish.

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Scotti (slip129-37-237-136.ma.us.prserv.net - 129.37.237.136)
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 04:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I happened to be in a bookstore today and saw a huge Welsh dictionary which also listed all the different types of owls. However, it didn't mention "barred" owl (Strix varia). Screech owl is a different bird (Genus = Otus). The Strix genus includes Barred, Great Gray, and Spotted owls.

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