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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through November 11, 2004 » Irish Place Names on Luas Irish Times Letter 11.04.2004 « Previous Next »

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Náid (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 62.231.55.52
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 02:07 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Madam, - I was surprised that Mr Séamas de Barra (Oct. 30th) accuses me of "having a go" (to use his words) at the efforts of Luas to provide information in Irish on their public address facility. I never "had a go" at Luas over any such thing.

I am very happy that Luas provides information in Irish to the travelling public.

My only quibble was, and still remains, the choice of some of their translations.

I was very grateful to Mr Frank Allen, chief executive of RPA for his letter of the previous week and found his explanations for their sources for Irish versions of place names very interesting.

Mr de Barra, with obvious erudition, adds his own research, but still I am left none the wiser as to the actual reasons why we need to use inelegant transliterations or borrowings from the Romance languages instead of proper Irish words for saint or museum.

Frankly, I've never heard or seen "San" being used publicly for saintly dedications in Irish, and neologism or not, I definitely prefer "Iarsmalann" to "Músaem"!

On one subject, however, I remain obdurate: Harcourt Street should be "Sráid Harcourt".

Harcourt Street is named after an English title in aristocracy, namely the Earl of Harcourt, whose title dates from 1749. Construction of Harcourt Street itself was begun around 1791 and named in his honour.

To use "Sráid Fhearchair" for Harcourt Street is wrong on two counts. Firstly, it implies that "Fearchar" may be a translation to Irish of Harcourt, which it is not, and secondly, it implies that "Harcourt" is a transliteration of the Irish word "Fearchar" (a meaningless word anyway) in much the same way that "Bally" is a transliteration of "baile" (or dare I say it, as "músaem" is of "museum"). It is not.

The fact that such an august body as Conradh na Gaeilge should sanction and perpetuate this usage shocks me and the suggestion that somehow "Sráid Fhearchair" may exist on an authoritative Irish language street names list frankly makes me laugh. - Yours, etc.,

MICHAEL FINLAY,

Bellevue,

Islandbridge,

Dublin 8.




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Natalie
Member
Username: Natalie

Post Number: 57
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:04 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Ok, before I begin with my daily question for you folks, I'd like to thank Náid for posting all these wonderful articles because sometimes its a bit quiet on here and we need something to talk about. So, anyway, I just wanted to know if there is a lot of cases of "unproper" words being used whereas there are better ones? As it was said in the article above, an example might be "músaem" for "museum" instead of "iarsmalann". And in the same breath, I'd like to state that when I look up iarsmalann, it gives me the word museum, yet when I look up the word museum for an Irish translation, the only thing I am given is músaem. Is this often the case?

Natalie

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Rebecca (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 213.202.138.160
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:15 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Natalie,
The translation that the museum in Dublin gives themselves is 'Ard-mhúsaem na hÉireann' and there is nothing wrong with it. As for the word 'San' it has been in the Irish language for hundreds of years and does belong to the romance languages but again there is nothing wrong with it.
I myself would be more annoyed if the grammar was incorrect or the words used weren't from from the Irish language at all or if there was no translation at all. In fact, the Luas went out of their way to make sure they got a good translator (believe me there are some very bad ones!)to translate all their signs etc. They did a very good job. Molaim go h-ard iad!

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 530
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The usual word is músaem. I've seen a number of Irish museums but never come across 'iarsmalann'. By the way, 'museum' isn't even an English word.

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Aonghus
Member
Username: Aonghus

Post Number: 385
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 06:36 am:   Edit Post Print Post

I have to say that I have been following the letters somewhat about the names on the Luas. And that I find the person who raised these points slightly annoying! He obviously doesn't speak the language, but is consumed with concern for its "purity".

I have heard the word iarsmalann, which is one of may words invented by the revivalists at the start of the twentieth century which did not really make it into the living language. (One could english it as "left-over-ory") Múseam - temple of the muses - is a much nicer word!

As for "San", it is in Dineens 1934 Dictionary, qualified with "usually used only for foreign saints" - which is my experience. It is frequently used for Apostles, and of course for San Nioclás.

I sent a reply on Harcourt Street:
This is it (no idea if they will print it)
quote:

Dear Madam,
Mr. Finlay is correct (letters, 9 Nov.). Sráid Fhearchair is merely a transliteration of Harcourt, and has only been used for a mere hundred years. I look forward to his campaign for the reform of the placenames used in English, most of which are shockingly bad transliterations of Irish names.


yours sincerely


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Natalie
Member
Username: Natalie

Post Number: 59
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:43 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I'm sorry, I had no idea that the word was techinically right. Half the time with these articles, I can hardly figure out what's going let alone remember anyone's names. Thanks for the explanation.

Natalie



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