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Seanfhocal na Seachtaine



An rud nach mbaineann duit ná bain dó.

Don't interfere with [any] thing that doesn't concern you.

Note: This week's seanfhocal is universal, as many proverbs are. "Is onóir do dhuine aighneas a sheachaint, ach beidh gach amadán ag achrann." An Bíobla Naofa: Leabhar na Seanfhocal 20:3. (It is an honor for a person to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. The Holy Bible: The Book of Proverbs 20:3) "Let every man mind his own business." Don Quixote de la Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes 1605-1615. "'If everybody minded their own business,' said the Duchess in a hoarse growl, 'the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'" Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll 1865. "Dirt nosed folks always want to wipe other people's noses." French proverb. "He who tastes everymans' broth sometimes burns his mouth." Danish proverb "It's ill meddling between the bark and the rind." Scottish proverb.

Note also: This seanfhocal exhibits the wide semantic range of Irish verbs and their semantic extension under the influence of prepositions. One of the difficulties students of Irish encounter early in their studies is the different semantic range of Irish and English words, i.e., the different meanings of a word. In this case the verb 'bain' has many different meanings. By itself, Ó Dónnaill's Foclóir Geailge-Béarla lists nine different meanings for 'bain', from "1. Extract from bed in the ground, dig out" to "8. Win." and "9. Become due." Combining the verb with a preposition creates even more varied meanings for the verb. For example, Ó Dónnaill gives additional meanings for 'bain' when combined with the set of prepositions below:

  • bain amach, 1. Take out ... 7. Spend ...
  • bain anuas, Take down ...
  • bain ar, 1. Induce, ... 2. Lit: (a) Deprive of ...
  • bain as, 1. Take, remove, from, ... 6. Gut ... draw ... castrate...
  • bain chuig, chun, Start
  • bain de, 1. Take off, remove ... 5. Deprive
  • bain do, 1. Touch, interfere with ... 2. Concern, relate to ... 3. happen to ...
  • bain faoi, 1. Settle; stay, ... 4. Lit: Undertake
  • bain le, 1. Touch, interfere with ... 2. Concern, relate to ...
  • bain ó,1. Take from ... 2. Pacify control ...
  • bain siar as, 1. ~ siar as an airgead, use the money sparingly ...

This seanfhocal plays with two equivocal meanings of 'bain do,' namely 'interfere with' and 'concern'. The prepositions here are fused into prepositional pronouns, ach sin scéal eile.

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