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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 2005- » 2006 (July-August) » Archive through July 26, 2006 » Top of the Morning search continues « Previous Next »

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Mícheál
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Username: Mícheál

Post Number: 90
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2006 - 09:32 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Mac Léinn na Gaeilge,

I'm still looking for something that predates Locke's poem, but here is another reference in the early 20th Century.

Mike


George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).
A Treasury of War Poetry. 1917.

76. A Letter from the Front

By Henry Newbolt


I WAS out early to-day, spying about
From the top of a haystack—such a lovely morning—
And when I mounted again to canter back
I saw across a field in the broad sunlight
A young Gunner Subaltern, stalking along
With a rook-rifle held at the ready, and—would you believe it?—
A domestic cat, soberly marching beside him.

So I laughed, and felt quite well disposed to the youngster,
And shouted out “the top of the morning” to him,
And wished him “Good sport!”—and then I remembered
My rank, and his, and what I ought to be doing:
And I rode nearer, and added, “I can only suppose
You have not seen the Commander-in-Chief’s order
Forbidding English officers to annoy their Allies
By hunting and shooting.”
But he stood and saluted
And said earnestly, “I beg your pardon, Sir,
I was only going out to shoot a sparrow
To feed my cat with.”
So there was the whole picture,
The lovely early morning, the occasional shell
Screeching and scattering past us, the empty landscape,—
Empty, except for the young Gunner saluting,
And the cat, anxiously watching his every movement.

I may be wrong, and I may have told it badly,
But it struck me as being extremely ludicrous.

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2006 - 10:57 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A Mhíchíl,

Interesting - again we read of another poet, Henry Newbolt, not from Hollywood of course, but this time from England.

So at this point in our research, it looks like the phrase "top of the morning" is possibly of Irish or English origin.

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 04:44 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I don't know how accurate the following is but Old Irish Religions: Sun-Worship at: http://www.libraryireland.com/articles/SunWorshipBonwickDruids/index.php has this to say about "top of the morning."

A Scotch writer observes--"The hearty Celts of Ireland say, 'The top of the morning to you.' Are these expressions to be regarded as remnants of Dawn-worship? It may be so, for many similar traces of the worship of the sun and moon, as givers of good fortune, are still to be found."

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Caitrionasbcglobalnet
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Post Number: 92
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 05:58 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

As I teach Irish dance too I'll be using some of this article. GRMT.

Caitríona

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Mícheál
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Post Number: 91
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 11:27 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I think I had referenced this already, but in case I had not, here is the entry from the 1879 novel Knocknagow - The Homes of Tipperary. by the Irish writer, Charles J. Kickham, in the CHAPTER VI.THE STATION — BARNEY BRODHERICK'S PENANCE — MRS. SLATTERY CREATES A SENSATION. This book is available in digital form page by page at http://www.exclassics.com/knockngw/kn8.htm, the page for this passage:


"Father Hannigan was the first to dismount. He was a tall man, in the prime of life, and the frieze riding-coat, flung loosely over his broad shoulders, set off his manly figure to the best advantage, and gave him a homely, warm, Irish look altogether. The other curate, Father O'Neill was a very young man, with an air of refinement suggestive of drawing-rooms rather than of Irish cabins and farm-houses. They were met by the "man of the house" before they reached the kitchen door, and as he gave a hand to each, Father Hannigan's hearty "Good-morrow, Maurice," struck Mr. Lowe as being admirably in keeping with his appearance. And the words —"The top of the morning to you, Miss Grace," suggested the idea that Father Hannigan affected the phraseology of the peasantry."

Mike

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Caitrionasbcglobalnet
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Post Number: 100
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Posted on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 01:19 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Interesting, Mike. Go raibh maith agat.

There's a lot of subtle and not so subtle reference to class and social standing here. I have to admit the word 'peasantry' bothers me. The person in a riding coat dismounting to talk to the 'lowly' people, I suspect would not (despite his Irish name and his occupation) be fluent in their language and might try to imitate it with mistakes. In this affected phraseology of Hannigan above, I wonder is it possible that the original word in Irish could have been 'togha' and not 'top'?

Caitríona

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Mícheál
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Post Number: 92
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 08:51 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Caitríona,

I had not gotten as far as you in thinking about it. That would be the next step in the process. I've been looking for the earliest reference to the phrase that I could find, but have not analyzed the context of it. It's pretty clear to me that "top of the morning to you" is an Irish or an Irish-English phrase that was brought over to America. It would be great if it could be found as Gaeilge pre-dating Locke and Kickham. Most quotation dictionaries refer to the Locke poem.

By the way, the site you provided in another thread on learning resources is fantastic. Go raibh míle maith agat!

Mike

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Karhu
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Post Number: 19
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 09:10 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

The phrase "top of the morning" occurs in Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering, written in 1815. See http://gutenberg.teleglobe.net/etext01/guymn10.txt

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 10:47 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Great articles a Míchíl agus a Karhu - thanks!

quote:

I have to admit the word 'peasantry' bothers me. The person in a riding coat dismounting to talk to the 'lowly' people



I think there's a strong possibility that the peasantry here is referring to the "country-folk" rather than social standing. I read the article somewhat, but didn't find any reference to 'lowly' people. Is that term contained in the Kickham's novel? The excerpt above indicates that 'Father Hannigan was the first to dismount. He was a tall man, in the prime of life, and the frieze riding-coat."

I think the reason he dismounted is because that's how one gets off a horse, and secondly, he had a riding coat on because I think, at least in the climate of Ireland, one would wear a coat when riding. The excerpt above, if anything, suggests that Father Hannigan was very respectful of the folks he was meeting and showed that be offering his hand in the handshakes of the men and the politeness to Miss Grace.

I don't see how "togha" enters into the picture. There's nothing here that suggests it and furthermore nothing to suggest that Father Hannigan was unfamiliar with the Irish language. It seems to me that the speculation that Father Hannigan was mixing the Irish and English language is unwarranted, and since this is Kickham's novel, that would mean Kickham himself made the mis-interpretation.

I have a question about the Guy Mannering story; where is this taking place? Near the phrase "top of the morming, there's mention of the local cant, which I don't recognize.

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Caitrionasbcglobalnet
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Post Number: 109
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 11:42 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Re. Peasant
Here’s one dictionary meaning
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peasant
peas•ant n.
1. A member of the class constituted by small farmers and tenants, sharecroppers, and laborers on the land where they form the main labor force in agriculture.
2. A country person; a rustic.
3. An uncouth, crude, or ill-bred person; a boor.

Unfortunately many words have acquired derogatory meanings in the course of history.
Pagan is another one. It used to mean people who lived in the country –rural dwellers, paganus. I would not like to be called a pagan or a peasant because they often have a negative meaning built in. When we behaved badly when we were young we were told to “Stop acting like a pagan!

'Lowly' is my word to describe what I think the author was trying to show with his use of the word 'peasantry', that is, the difference in status of the people who were meeting here.

Of course context, tone, and intention are all important and different readers may interpret that piece of writing in different ways.

‘Togha’ is purely a guess. I was trying to figure out what Irish word could sound like ‘top’ and might have been used when describing the morning or how the person felt that morning.

Caitríona

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Karhu
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Post Number: 20
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 11:53 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Are we onto politics now? Is this board moderated? Could we ask someone to appoint a moderator? I am far more interested in reading comments on the Irish language.

(Message edited by karhu on July 23, 2006)

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Mícheál
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Post Number: 93
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 12:07 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

As has been suggested, perhaps it could be that, if the idea of nature worship is explored, perhaps the top of the morning refered to the rising of the sun at dawn and if one witnessed such then one was alive, which was better than being dead. There is the theory about societies changing from hunter-gatherers to farmer-settler communities shifted from moon to sun worship and praised daylight.

I wonder too if, even though thanks to Karhu, we know now that the phrase was written in 1815 and before An Gorta Mór), that the top of the morning could refer to the mid-day noon hour when the main meal of the day was usually served. After periods of great hunger, a meal would be welcomed indeed. Wishing someone the top of the morning would bestow blessings upon the receiver.

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Caitrionasbcglobalnet
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Post Number: 110
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 02:43 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Kahru,
In answer to your questions:
Níl.
Tá.
Ní gá.
Ag caint faoi Ghaeilge atá mé, ag iarraidh a fháil amach an bhfuil gaol ag 'togha’ le ‘top’ sa phíosa.
C


Mike,
Nil ' fhios agam but I like that 'rising of the sun at dawn' idea. We've lost so much of the early traditions and it would be nice to find the connections with the old practices and beliefs again.
C

Caitríona

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 04:59 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I also like the 'rising of the sun at dawn' idea, but it "dawned" on me that the few examples we've been able to find, from Locke to Kickham to Scott don't imply any particular time of the morning. It seems more along, as Mícheál has pointed out earlier and Caitriona recently suggested, to be related to the "best" or "tops" as we would say in English.

As Mícheál has pointed out, we're still at the stage, albeit pre-Hollywood, of trying to determine if the phrase "top of the morning" is of Irish or English origin. This is pure speculation, but it seems probable that the phrase was in existence before the time period we've been able to research so far. Again, pure speculation. But if we can get back further in time, we make come across the meaning of "top," possibly through some Middle English or Old/(Middle?) Irish phrase.

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 11:24 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A Mhíchíl,

I finally got around to re-installing the digital version of Oxford English Dictionary (2nd Ed.) This is what I found for "top of the morning," that was listed under the noun "top":

quote:

17. a. The best or choicest part; the cream, flower, pick. Now esp. in the top of the morning, as an Irish morning greeting (cf. 13).

1815 Scott Guy M. iv, The top of the morning to you, sir.
1843 Lever J. Hinton lviii, Captain, my darling, the top of the morning to you!



So, although we haven't moved back in time prior to 1815 with Scott's writings, the Oxford dictionary does point out that the phrase is an Irish morning greeting.

Could someone explain what the "(cf. 13)" means? I presumed it meant some type of reference to something labeled 13, but I'm no expert at dictionary abbreviations, so I would appreciate any guidance on what "(cf 13)" means.

Early on in this "top of the morning" dicussion appearing on a separate thread, there were opinions that this phrase started in Hollywood and is nothing but an made-up American phrase misrepresenting the Irish way of talking. Although all that show-business stuff is behind us, I'm wondering if this phrase, "top of the morning," is a victim of dialectical myopia. I see it happen when someone's not familiar with a certain word or phrase coming from an Irish dialect not of their own; that word or phrase is summarily dismissed as invalid or worse yet, an "ugly Anglicism." That's what I mean by term "dialectical myopia." Or is this phrase "top of the morning" something that we've shown to have started out at least 2 centuries ago, either in England or Ireland, but isn't presently used there? If so, I wonder who was the last Irish or English "top of the morning" sayer. And when did they last use it? . Since the Oxford English Dictionary carries the date 1994, it seems that the last sayer may still be living!

Also, I'm interested in the other quote from the Oxford dictionary of Lever in 1843. Back to Googling!

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Mícheál
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Post Number: 94
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 11:24 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Another reference indicating Irish origin:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=top+of+the+morning

Dictionary - Thesaurus - Encyclopedia - Web



Top Web Results for "top of the morning"






1 entry found for top of the morning.
Main Entry: top of the morning
Part of Speech: interjection
Definition: good morning; a friendly morning greeting
Etymology: Irish
Usage: slang

Source: Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.6)
Copyright © 2003-2005 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 11:32 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A Mhíchíl,

This is strange - we're both researching "top of the morning" phrases at the same time.

Well, top of the evening to you.

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Mícheál
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Post Number: 95
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 12:29 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Agus tusa, a Mhac, but I am stopping now. I will leave on this "note" so to speak, even though I must have looked at a couple of other materials published between 1815 and now that contained the phrase. I am always amazed at what has been digitized. Thank you, Gutenburg.

TOP OF THE MORNING [2] (An Tucfadh Tu A Vaile Lun). Irish, Jig or Air. G Major. Standard. AABB’. Howe (1,000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; pg. 22.
X:1
T:Top of the Morning [2]
M:6/8
L:1/8
R:Jig
S:Howe – 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867)
Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion
K:G
d2g fdc | B2d cAG | GBA ABG | GBA ABc | e2g fdc | B2d cAF | GAG GAG |
GAG G>AB/c/ :: d2e c2d | B2d cAG | GBA ABG | GBA ABc | d2e ddc | BdB cAF |
GAG GAF |1 GAG G>AB/c/ :|2 GAG G3 ||

Oíche mhaith anois. 12:30 (EST) ar maidin! Tá mé i mo chodladh!

Mícheál

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Mícheál
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 12:53 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I just reread your entry before I left. Cf means compare. I do not have OED in front of me so I do not know where the 13 is that it is directing you to look at. It may be an entry elsewhere. See if the definitions are numbered. Hope you do find it tonight (this morning).

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Karhu
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 02:25 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Maybe "top of the morning" is a translation of an old Leinster dialect phrase that no one remembers now that Leinster dialect has died out?

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Antaine
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 10:16 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I've heard that it was a mistranslation of something referring to the "cream rising to the top" - a dairy reference applied to wishing a good day or somesuch

My feeling is, it may have been something that the Irish did themselves for a short time that worked its way into literature and was thus picked up by Hollywood. So that long after the fad was dead and forgotten at home, the rest of the world felt it was a time-honored matter-of-course.

Much like "Who are you?" in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. At the time of writing, there was a craze in England where one would run into a pub or grab a stranger on the street and shout "Who are you?" with varying emphases and then run off. Had writers made note of that in books published in, say, Japan, and Japanese moviemakers picked up on it as quaint, the Japanese today who've never been to England might be under the impression that that is a common English salutation.

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 04:49 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A Mhíchíl, thanks for the help with "CF"

A Antaine,

I think you may be on the right track with the "cream rising to the top," but since the phrase has been around for at least 2 centuries, it may be more appropriate to consider it an interpretation instead of a mistranslation.

Also, we see the Oxford dictionary indicating that "Now esp. in the top of the morning, as an Irish morning greeting." So I would think that the phrase is still used in Ireland.

Is there anyone reading this thread from Ireland who can confirm whether "top of the morning" is used in Ireland?

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Lucy (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 06:13 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Never heard anyone there or from there say it.

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Caitrionasbcglobalnet
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Posted on Monday, July 24, 2006 - 09:30 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Me neither.

'Top of the morning' is not used as a greeting in Éirinn. Nuair a chloiseann daoine in Éirinn é i plays or movies, they usually cringe. Mise freisin.

Caithfidh mé a adhmháil go gcuireann sé isteach go mór orm, cosúil leis an gcaoi a chuireann an leipreachán sin atá ag Notre Dame isteach orm.

I think most Irish people think it's just some made-up stage Irish.

Beidh ionadh ar go leor daoine if the general view is proved wrong.

Caitríona

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Pangur_dubh
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 05:10 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

In my many years in Ireland, I never heard an Irish person address this greeting to anyone else, except in a gently mocking way. Mocking at Hollywood, ar ndoigh [sorry my capacity to produce the 'siniu fada' seems unavailable at present!], and its often over romanticised view of Ireland and the Irish. I would find such a greeting odd, if it were intended seriously, and yes, as Caitriona has said, I would want to cringe. Personally, I always associate the greeting with Bing Crosby.

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Aonghus
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 06:14 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

It should be remembered in the context of Locke et al that there was a time when writers in English put pictureskew phrases in the mouths of the "peasants" - something which probably led to several cringeworthy phrases, "Top o' the morning" and "May the road rise with you" being among the worst.

Just reading a book by Declan Kiberd which has some interesting points on the subject - will try to dig it out later on this week.

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Julia
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 06:43 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A Aonghus, an bhfuil tú ag léamh _Inventing Ireland_ nó _Irish Classics_? Nó leabhar eile?

I always thought "May the road rise with you" was just a translation of "Go n-éirigh an bóthar leat", i.e., that this was a phrase actually used by Irish speakers. Is that not the case, or is just that the English phrase has become associated with stereotypical "stage Irish"ness?

A Mhícheaíl agus a Mhac Léinn, I'm fascinated by the research; I had no idea that "top of the morning" was anything other than a Hollywood creation. I *never* heard it used in Ireland, and an Irish friend of mine assured me that it was an Irish-American invention.

Keep us posted on your findings, le bhur dtoill!

(Tá brón orm if I've messed up the vocative.)

FRC - Fáilte Roimh Cheartúcháin

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NiallMac (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 07:11 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Shane lynch uses this, all the time. As a valid source, try Celebrity Love Island. Hes a nutjob.. "Top o the mornin te yis" is his interpretation of it..

Note: I don't watch celebrity love island but am infact in the room while it is on

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Aonghus
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 07:30 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Idir Dhá Chultúr atá á léamh agam.

quote:

I always thought "May the road rise with you" was just a translation of "Go n-éirigh an bóthar leat", i.e., that this was a phrase actually used by Irish speakers.



It is an incorrect translation, because "éirí" in this case means "succeed" and not "rise".

(Message edited by aonghus on July 25, 2006)

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Róman
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 07:53 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Go n-éirigh an bóthar leat - means smth trivial - may to travel home safe, may your travel succeed. There is no whatsoever "rising roads" there. Tá fíor do Aonghus.

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Mícheál
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 08:04 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Aonghus,

Is this the book that you reference?

Kiberd, Declan. Inventing Ireland. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Sounds like another book to add to my reading list!

Thanks,

Mike

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Aonghus
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 08:38 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

No.

The book I'm reading is Idir Dhá Chultúr

http://www.litriocht.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=52&products_id=562




Is fíor do Aonghus.

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Mac Léinn na Gaeilge (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 09:54 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

A Chairde,

Go raibh maith agaibh as an eolas! I suppose I can conclude that "top of the morning" is not a phrase used, at least currently in Ireland.

A Julia, I'll keep you posted on the research.

Scríobh Aonghus:

quote:

It should be remembered in the context of Locke et al that there was a time when writers in English put pictureskew phrases in the mouths of the "peasants" - something which probably led to several cringeworthy phrases, "Top o' the morning" and "May the road rise with you" being among the worst.



I'm guessing that this attitude of putting "picturesque phrases in the mouths of the 'peasants' comes from interpreting Kickham's novel "Knocknagow - The Homes of Tipperary." But I must say that John Locke's poem "The Exile's Return" is, at least to me, a thing of beauty. I wouldn't think of his poem, or even the last line of the poem where he himself writes, as though coming from his mouth, "I bid you top of the morning" as "cringeworthy." I suppose there are those that find even Shakespeare's writings "cringeworthy."

Although I had no opinion either way of its origin before we began discussing this phrase, it always seemed like a nice way of greeting someone. Perhaps, instead of it being a phrase put into the mouths of the Irish, it was at one time a way of greeting people. It's been fun exploring this phrase and its origin, whether it be of English or Irish descent - the adventure continues!

The Exile's Return by John Locke

Th' an'am an Dhia, but there it is--
The dawn on the hills of Ireland.
God's angels lifting the night's black veil
From the fair sweet face of my sireland!
O Ireland, isn't it grand, you look
Like a bride in her rich adornin',
And with all the pent up love of my heart
I bid you the top of the morning.

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Antaine
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Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 09:59 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

When I learned the phrases go n-éirí an bóthar leat I was told in the next sentence that it, incorrectly translated, did give rise to the whole "may the road rise to meet you" thing. And it makes sense that people would translate it that way...I did myself (thus elliciting the correction from my teacher).

I think there are many things like that, and perhaps the top of the morning thing as well, that are the result of english speakers with a modicum of Irish mistranslating Gaeilge phrases used at the time the mistranslation occurs. It gets worse when the mistranslation appears to make sense (if the road in front of you has risen to meet you, then the rest of your journey is downhill, and theoretically easier...whereas the road rising with you (a more literal mistranslation) would actually produce an uphill journey the whole way). Because the english speakers were doing the writing and moviemaking, the mistranslation unfortunately becomes the only thing anybody remembers.

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Mícheál
Member
Username: Mícheál

Post Number: 98
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 10:55 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

The New York Public Library maintains this list of
Useful Expressions and Greetings in 26 languages at
http://www.nypl.org/branch/central/dlc/df/useful.html. If they had an Irish-English category, they could have included an entry for "top of the morning to you" in the "Hello" greeting section.

Searching contemporary databases of broadcasts and written materials, I had no difficulty in locating the "top of the morning" phrase. People do say and write it though it may be in the context of celebrating St. Patrick's Day or referencing some connection to a sense of Irishness or Oirishness, depending on one's point of view.

No matter how the phrase is perceived today, we now know that in 1815 it was recorded in writing. I would like to know about what happened before that date either in speech or in writing and what it meant at that time.

This is a fascinating journey. Who knows, maybe there is a book in all of this?

Top of the Daltaí to you!



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