Daltai na Gaeilge
Proverbs

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Is iomaí athrú a chuireann lá Márta dhe.

There is a lot of weather in a March day.

Note: One meaning of this week's proverb is the obvious one about the variations of weather in March. "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."

Charming and fascinating he resolved to be. Like March, having come in like a lion, he purposed to go out like a lamb.
          Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849
New England has this variety of weather all year long.
There is a sumptious variety about the New England weather that compels the strangers admiration -- and regret. The weather is always doing something there; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on people to see how they will go. ... Yes, one of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it.
          Mark Twain, Speech, The Weather, 1876
It has been said that if you don't like New England weather, just wait a minute.

There is another more sublte meaning in this week's proverb. It is a metaphor for the fickleness of youth. This is hinted at in the use of the word 'athrú' which actually means change. The seanfhocal literally means, "'Tis many a change that a day gets done [in] March." The word 'cuir' used with the preposition 'd(h)e' means, among other things, 'accomplish' or 'get done.' The word 'March' is the actual metaphor for youth.

This metaphor is, perhaps, more apparent in a variation of this proverb that comes from the north of Ireland. "Is iomaÌ taghd a thagann i lá earraigh." ('Tis many a change that comes in a spring day.) It is implicit in the use of the word 'taghd' which usually means 'fit' or 'impulse.' "Tá taghd ann." (He is impulsive. Literally: There is impulse in him.) Spring may be a more familiar metaphor for youth than March.

Note also: The speaker pronounces the word 'iomaí' as umi: while we represent it above as imi:. The pronunciation umi: is more common in the south and west of Ireland, while imi: is more common in the north. However, the pronunciation imi: was proposed as the Lárchanúint (Core dialect) pronunciation that is used in Foclóir Póca. The "Pronunciation Guide" in Collins Pocket Irish Dictionary also uses the Lárchanúint pronunciation, saying that the spelling 'io' is pronunced as a short 'i,' e.g., 'fionn' where the short 'i' is pronounced like the 'i' in the English word 'shin.'

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