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 Post subject: Re: Outlander
PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun 2016 12:19 am 
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Redwolf wrote:
Thanks all! I don't know if I'll ever watch the series (I have so much that I TiVo right now I'll never get through it all!), but I am reading the books (and, because so many people here can't seem to distinguish between Irish and Scottish Gaelic, I occasionally have to field questions about the Gaelic in the books). I can often get the meaning, but can't tell if the Gaelic is sound (and, speaking of sounds, have no idea how to pronounce it!)

Another quick one, if I may...

I notice the Scottish characters in the book often use "a nighean" as a friendly endearment when speaking to female characters. I'm assuming that's "daughter" (my brain wants to make it "iníon" with a Ulster spin). I've never encountered that in Irish (plenty of "a mhac" but no "a iníon" unless someone is addressing a daughter directly). Am I right about the meaning, and if so, is that common practice in Gaelic?

Thanks again!

Redwolf

Yes, nìghean is the Gaelic equivalent of the Irish iníon, and is a form sometimes seen in older Irish writings and songs as well. Scottish Gaelic often preserves older forms which have changed over time in Irish. There are two variants of the genitive, nìghinne and ìghne. I've never heard the vocative form you mentioned (which doesn't mean much, since I'm not at all fluent), but it would seem that the vocative form you saw was incorrect. I have noticed a few Gaelic phrases on Outlander where the grammar seemed off, but I was not always sure that I was hearing the words correctly.

According to MacBain's etymological dictionary, the Old Irish form of the word was inghean, so one can see how divergent forms may have arisen. It was apparently a combination of the definite article and the word gen, meaning "beget", so it's cognate with a lot of words we have in English, such as indigenous.

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 Post subject: Re: Outlander
PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun 2016 3:26 pm 
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"Nighean" means both "daughter" and unspecific "girl".

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