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An tAontas Eorpach

Through an administrative glitch I was sent an internal EU document today in its Irish translation. It wasn't terribly exciting but I was struck by the names of the member states as Gaeilge:

An Bheilg:
An Bhulgáir:
Poblacht na Seice:
An Danmhairg:
An Ghearmáin:
An Eastóin:
Éire:
An Ghréig:
An Spáinn:
An Fhrainc:
An Iodáil:
An Chipir:
An Laitvia:
An Liotuáin:
Lucsamburg:
An Ungáir:
Málta:
An Ísiltír:
An Ostair:
An Pholainn:
An Phortaingéil:
An Rómáin:
An tSlóivéin:
An tSlóvaic:
An Fhionlainn:
An tSualainn:
An Ríocht Aontaithe:

I am puzzled by why Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic are allowed to be described without the definite article. (Though I suppose "na Seice" is genitive.) And if you had asked me which EU country is referred to as "an Ísiltír" in Irish, it would have taken me a long time to get there (in the end a process of elimination led me to the right answer).

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
peadarog
Dec. 21st, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
You are correct about the Czech Republic being a genitive. Íseal is the Irish for "Low", "Tír" is country...
dougs
Dec. 22nd, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
As so often, Vicipéid is your friend.
nwhyte
Dec. 22nd, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
That's an Vicipéid, a chara!
arwel_p
Dec. 23rd, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
That's a very close analogue to the Welsh "Yr Iseldiroedd", though is the Irish plural like the Welsh? "Isel" = low, "tir"= land, "tiroedd" = lands.
nwhyte
Dec. 23rd, 2011 07:50 am (UTC)
No, the Irish is singular - as of course is the original Dutch!
arwel_p
Dec. 23rd, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
I suspect we got the plural from the large language to our east, or else from "Koninkrijk der Nederlanden"!

I've often wondered why the Goidelic Celtic languages went for "An Ghearmáin"/"A' Ghearmailt"/"Yn Ghermaan" while the Brythonic Celtic languages went for "Yr Almaen"/"Almayn"/"Alamagn". I first became aware of the Irish when I bought a bookcase from MFI which was labelled in English and Irish, "Made in the German Democratic Republic" (though of course screwed together in my house)!
arwel_p
Dec. 23rd, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
On another point, while you're puzzled why four of the country names don't have the definite article in Irish, in Welsh only six of them do have it. It's interesting that fairly closely related languages take a different structure. The Welsh names are:
Yr Almaen
Awstria
Gwlad Belg
Bwlgaria
Cyprus
Denmarc
Y Deyrnas Unedig
Yr Eidal
Estonia
Y Ffindir
Ffrainc
Groeg
Hwngari
Yr Iseldiroedd
Iwerddon
Latfia
Lithwania
Lwcsembwrg
Malta
Portiwgal
Gwlad Pwyl
Rwmania
Sbaen
Slofacia
Slofenia
Sweden
Y Weriniaeth Tsiec

Another curiosity is why Belgium and Poland are "the country of the Belgians" and "the country of the Poles", but Finland is just "the land of the Finns". Aren't languages fascinating?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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