02 Lúnasa 2013

Dia duit!

Conas a déarfá "Dia duit" i Sean-Ghaeilge? Cuireadh an cheist orm ar Twitter inniu. Seo é an méid a scríobh mé ar an ábhar sin deich mbliana ó shin i dteachtaireacht chuig Old-Irish-L.
> How many traditional Old Irish greetings could we choose from? There are only a few, really. Since none of them provides an exact match to modern English-language greeting formulas, some discussion is called for. Styles of greetings, both verbal and physical (handshakes, bowing, kissing, etc.), seem to vary enormously across cultures and times. Query: Did the early Irish shake hands? Hug? Salute? Verbal greetings:
1.  "Fo chen!"  This is also written as one word, "fochen", but the stress is always on the second syllable.  A common variant is "mo chen, mochen, mochean", which seems to have survived longer in the language.

Context suggests that "fo chen" was a fairly formal expression of welcome.  Sometimes it's translated "hail!", which fits in certain contexts, as in "Scéla Mucce Meic Dathó" when Cet and Conall greet one another in rosc, each one beginning with "Fochen".  Sometimes "fochen" is followed by the preposition "do": "fochen duit"(= welcome to you), "ocus is fochen dóib" (= and they are welcome).

Oddly enough, there is a great big lacuna in DIL in regard to "fochen".  "Mochen" is discussed at some length as an adjective, but "fo chen" is totally ignored.  It's my impression, however, that "fo chen" is the earlier form.

As I suggested recently, the formal response to "Fo chen!" would seem to be "Is ed doróachtamar!"

Rather than make a long e-mail of this, I'll just list some other greetings, and get to them in subsequent messages:

2.  "Dia do betha!"  (and variants)

3.  The casual "Maith (trá / éim / sin / ann)."

4.  The questionable "Cindas sin?"

5.  "Betha ocus sláinte!"

6.  "Síd ocus soinenn!"

7.  "Atrae búaid ocus bennachtain!"

8.  The use of "Beir (...) imchomarc".


  1. Is minice ná a chéile a bhíonn gnáthchaint na ngáthdhaoine in Éirinn go fáiltiúil ar fad fós sa lá inniu. Níorbh eol dom sin go dtí gur léigh mé an bhlagmhír thuas...

    (...bíodh nach mbíonn fuaimniú an "ch" chomh cruinn ag na daoine feasta.)

  2. 6. "Síd ocus soinenn!"

    Síth & soineann?

    Ana dheas.

    Bhfuil aon sampla san litríocht do "Mór agat" mar bheannacht? Bhí Tomás Ó Maille (AN Béal Beo) den tuairim gurbh as "Good morrow" a tháinig Mór agat ar maidin, ach n'fheadar.

  3. Níor casadh a leithéid orm riamh.